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Sunday 29 September 2019

What's Your Favourite Song?

Like the title of the blog: What's your favourite song?

It was pretty late when I asked this of Facebook but sure enough I got some answers. Good ones, too - I mean it's not up to me to judge, it's other people's tastes and answers I was interested in, but it's nice to know that a lot of my friends have a great taste in music.

Out of the answers I got, there were two that fit with a theme I was thinking would show up more, and that was:

1) This is what I am in the mood for right now.

2) I cannot simply decide on one.

And I never used to think I was either of those people until I really thought about it.

Before I go into the reasons why this is on my mind, let's take a brief jaunt through every favourite song I can remember having, shall we?

Age ???-10: Michael Jackson - Smooth Criminal

Yeah I was a huge Michael Jackson fan as a kid. My mother had Bad on vinyl and I think I wore that sucker out. Truth be told I am still a fan, never grew out of that. Though when I was taken to Butlins on holiday by my godmother, I was allowed to have a tee shirt made in a printing shop in town - and I picked a picture of Jackson with the words "MICHAEL JACKSON RULES OK" in these big cartoon bubble letters...ah, memories that come back to haunt us.

Either way, there were so many quality tracks - I hadn't really gotten into his more disco-style songs (and yeah I mean real disco not that ruined shit that people tell us is disco), but Bad and Thriller were just jammed with exceptional music - but this song just absolutely slaps. That bassline! Iconic. Just a superb example of songcrafting.

So what could possibly compete with that? Well...

Age 10-13: Boyz II Men - On Bended Knee

Uh huh. So at this point I'd discovered that singing voices are pretty awesome actually. And while I had started listening to Carter USM and west coast hip hop (much to my mother's lament) the stuff that really struck me, the stuff that moved me, came from Motown.

You can't deny that these guys know how to sing. They really do. The harmonic stuff as well as the solos. What an absolute ballad. Sure, maybe the lyrics are in places a bit cringy - I was a tween at the time, don't hold it against me - but the composition of the chord structure is so damn pleasing. It's got complications in it that I really enjoyed back then, still do now. That chord change at the end, YES. Yes, I am an absolute giggling manbaby for a good chord change... and then? AND THEN they throw you ANOTHER KEY CHANGE. TWO key changes! What is this, All I Need Is A Miracle 96 by Mike + The Mechanics?

Ah but then, dear reader. Then, something changed. A different influence came into my life.

Then, dear reader, I discovered metal.

Age 13-15: Metallica - Nothing Else Matters

I am pretty sure that when I was a teenager I had no idea what this song was actually about or any of the thematics contained in it, but I liked to think that I really, genuinely did. But then, that's what music is about, isn't it? It's about something speaking to you, about feeling understood and communicated with. About something inside of you being transcribed in a way you can just casually show other people and say, hey, this is me right now.

Even if as a teenager I was a bit of an emo dweeb, I still recognised quality. Like, this is the album that James Hetfield got some vocal coaching for, this was the song with the orchestral instrumentation as well as the killer guitar licks. Chortle behind one's hand as much as you might, but I never "grew out" of liking Metallica, and this song is still exceptional now. That solo? Yeah, that solo. It's brilliant.

And thus it was until I discovered grunge.

Age 15-18: Silverchair - Tomorrow

This was the band that I don't know if I would have ever heard of if I had gone to school three years earlier or later. Silverchair were huge amongst my group of friends. Or at least, among the ones that I talked to about music. They were cool because not a lot of people had heard about them, and because they were kind of our age. They were also cool because they were pretty good songwriters, honestly. It helped that Daniel Johns was (and still is) absolutely gorgeous. Yeah at this point I was starting to work out I was bi too.

Get your headbanging gear around that. Simple enough but with absolute gutsy vocals. What's the song about? Who knows man? Who knows. It's kind of about being stuck in a town but not doing much to leave? Yeah, let's go with that. But fuuuuck the chorus, yes. Another great solo in there, too. I wore out the tape I had of this album (that I copied off someone else) so I had to go out and get my own copy on CD - I remember Frogstomp and Freakshow, the band's first two CDs, were ubiquitous with me. Where one went, the other always followed. Then came Neon Ballroom and my first music festival, Reading 1999, specifically to see Silverchair, even if I didn't think they'd play this song. (They didn't.)

It wasn't until I was basically leaving high school and going into the greater world that there came another change, even if it wasn't such a huge change as those previous.

Age 18-37: Pearl Jam - Alive

Yeah, you read that right. Almost twenty years.

I mentioned voices already? Eddie Vedder's voice is one of the best I have heard in my entire life. I mentioned solos already? This song has an absolutely iconic solo from one of the best guitarists on earth, Mike McCready. I mentioned songs speaking to me? This one spoke to me. A lot. An awful lot. It spoke to me about questioning existence and its benefits. It spoke to me about doubt and bad circumstances and all the other things that the genre (as much as grunge musicians hated being put into a genre together) spoke of.

And nothing really shook this song from that spot. For a long time. I mean I have heard better songs, but I am the first to admit that me liking a thing doesn't make it necessarily an objectively good thing. Like, I like Neil Breen films, and they are objectively terrible. Just, nothing came along that I could, with hand on my heart, say spoke to me more than this song did.


Things... have changed.

And I am not exactly sure when but I am pretty sure it has been this year sometime.

So now we have a new entry.

Age 37-???: ??? - ???

...yeah, so...

It isn't that I lost the love for each song as it slipped from the top spot. Even if Smooth Criminal isn't my favourite Michael Jackson song any more (I think that is probably now Thriller or Man In The Mirror), I still love it. Even if I don't find myself listening to Boyz II Men much any more, On Bended Knee remains one of their best. Even if - who am I kidding I still listen to Silverchair all the time.

Now, though... different stuff speaks to me.

Like, there's still this... huge ass list of songs that, if I hear them, I will turn up and put the rest of the world on hold for. Are they my favourite song? I mean they can't all be. Are some of them? I am fairly sure that some of them are, or could be, or would fit the criteria, but - picking just one has become...

...well, frankly, difficult.

Black Hole Sun showed up in the comments - a song very near and dear to me. Do I like it better than Alive? I'm not sure. It varies daily. Does it speak to me more? Varies daily. What about Vincent? A song I feel in my very bones? Some of the story, not the whole story. Recovering The Satellites? One of two songs I have the lyrics for on my own arm - again, a big thing, not everything.

Wish You Were Here? Party Of One? The Pavilion? Thunder Road? So Long Astoria? Learn To Fly? I Am The HighwayThe Rambler? Trees And Jets? Nightcrawler? You Will Be Found? Far From Perfect? Amaryllis? What I Got? Motown Never Sounded So Good? Innuendo? Kashmir? I Stay Away? The Touch? We're In This Together?

How do I even pick?

I guess sometimes you don't. Sometimes you just know.

And sometimes you just know that, right now, everything is kind of in the air.

That's not so bad a place to be, after all.

...wait nevermind I found it it was this all along

If you'd care to share my blog with your friends, I'd appreciate that! If you'd like to thank me in a fiscal form for entertaining you a little bit, I do have a Patreon right here, but please - no pressure. Thank you for reading, and check my social media to the right to keep in touch.

Sunday 22 September 2019

10 Years After The Fall

So the last one was a downer - lets take things back into the realm of positive.

I love me some roleplaying games. You know this to be true, if you are a long-time reader or know me personally. What do I love about them? All sorts - but one of the things I love the most is planning the next thing. The next character, session, plot arc, campaign.

Currently I am engaged in two such campaigns.

The first is a very much back-to-basics Pathfinder game. Starting at level 1 and doing a standard dungeon run. I almost always do the more character-based or gimmicky stuff, so it's unusual for me to just roll with "you kick in the door, there's four goblins and a chest, what do". It's kind of fun though. Liberating almost.

The second one is my favourite, hands down - and it's called Eclipse Phase.

Now some of you know about this. Some of you have played it, heard me yap about it - a handful of you have played it with me before, or with other people.

I ran it for a long time - over a year, easy. Two different games involving two different groups of characters, though the player base remained essentially the same, even if one player insinuated themselves in halfway through the first run.

There's some games that you can play without really knowing the setting very well. Like, Dungeons and Dragons? As long as you know your dwarves from your elves you can muddle through - unless the campaign is specifically very political, social or character-based, you can probably get away with a bluffer's guide and what you have learned from the thousands of derivative settings you've seen bits of already.

Then there's games wherein you really, really do have to know the setting - because so much of the game depends on it.

Eclipse Phase is the second one, which is okay, because I love the setting so damn much.

Welcome to the post-apocalyptic transhuman future, wherein the near-extinction of the human race and the obliteration of life on earth has left us in a position to actually change things - sometimes, even, for the better.

It asks and answers political questions. Like: what is it that ends up killing the world? Where do we go afterwards? What do corporations do when there's no government telling them what to do? What do people do when scarcity stops existing? How does democracy work when in space? Where is humanity's home if humanity can't go back to Earth?

That's before you get onto the bigger questions, like: what threats are big enough that they actually threaten humanity's entire existence? And what do we do to stop them wiping us out?

The thing about having a setting so in-depth - the thing about having a large world that has fleshed-out politics and situations and a distinctive feel - is that when people are putting their characters together, it's easy to find them a place in the world, and thus, in the narrative.

This is the part I love, see. Putting the NPCs together. Building the bits of the world that don't already exist. Looking at the backstory of the characters I have and boosting what I am doing in those sectors, taking plot points aboard to use for my own.

The stories that can come out of it stick with you.

Okay, maybe it is because out of a lot of the folks I game with now, their first game was Eclipse Phase - but there are others who I have played it with who have been veterans at the time who have also enjoyed it. I've covered those stories before, specifically in blogs like this one about RPGs in general.

It remains, though - I think good times were had. I don't want to blow my own trumpet but I like to think that I contributed a little to that. Like, sure, it is a sci-fi horror setting, but that doesn't mean that everything that comes out of it has to be horrible.

For every moment wherein a near-immortal adrenaline junkie comes face-to-kind-of-face with an inscrutable creature that may have been his former travel companions, there's a near-farcical hallucinogenic quest from one end of Extropia to the other, resulting in nude bas-reliefs being left on the outside of the asteroid for the universe to see.

For all the awful destruction wrought by the severing of the space elevator on Mars, and the millions of casualties that resulted of it, there was the moment wherein Captain Persephone of the Lethe decided that - rather than deliberately forget - she would remember, and went back home to Mars to find out what it was she had left behind.

And for the awful horror of discovering that the planet whose ashes we are stood in up to our ankles is Earth - not in a game I ran, but in the same timeline - there is the moment wherein you turn aside the freighter moving at a sizeable percentage of the speed of light, and you miss the habitat housing millions by mere inches. Close enough that you could reach out a hand and touch it... close enough that the people on that habitat can look out, and see you, and love you with all their hearts for almost losing your nigh-immortal life to try and save their own.

That's the moments you get for a game like this. That's what makes the work worthwhile, the planning, the plotting, the inspiration for a hundred different personalities in a dozen different locales. Crafting combat scenarios like Yuen Woo-ping, assembling conspiracies like Richard Condon and nightmare sci-fi scenarios like Philip K Dick. It's what makes it worthwhile, when eleven years later, you can still talk about that time that you found an AI living in an abandoned factory in Martian orbit and realised your pilot was the one that coded it.

This isn't a sponsored blog. I just wanted to splurge my love for the game, as I await the arrival of the hard copy of the 2nd edition core rulebook - and as I plot like a crazed madman to drag my hapless players into the transhuman future of 10 years after the fall, once again.

If you'd care to share my blog with your friends, I'd appreciate that! If you'd like to thank me in a fiscal form for entertaining you a little bit, I do have a Patreon right here, but please - no pressure. Thank you for reading, and check my social media to the right to keep in touch.

Sunday 15 September 2019

What Follows Numbness [Mental Health]

Fair warning: what follows is going to be about my mental health, which is perhaps an ugly place to visit. So if you aren't down for that particular fantastic voyage, I'd check out an earlier blog. A further warning: this will include a frank discussion of topics such as suicide. Yet again, if you don't want to deal with that, don't make yourself. I'm not here to upset you.

I know that I have discussed this before, and I know that a popular definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result.


A term I see used to describe depression, often, is numbness. It's a simple way to explain a complex scenario but - on the surface of it, I agree. You become numb to certain stimuli but not to others. If it's assumed that life's positive stimuli are the "default", then yes, you are numb, because that is the stuff that gets muted. Like flattening the top end of a sine wave.

All the bad stuff, though - that gets worse. Like, even minor setbacks become insurmountable problems or breakdown-worthy complications. If we use the idea of the sine wave - just move the entire thing down. The peaks are less high, the troughs are far more low. Our mountains are flattened while our valleys gouge deep.

That would be pretty bad in and of itself, right? Because that isn't just a thing you sack up and deal with, not if it is hitting you for days, weeks, months. It robs you of life. It robs you of Good Things.

And that isn't the final step.

Not by a long shot.

So with this dunk in your serotonin, stuff that is usually fun stops being fun, and stuff that sucks increases in suck. Which means everything takes a lot more effort. Everything is more tiring. In a brain that isn't working under these conditions, something coming up that you are looking forward to makes it easier to get to the thing, to do what is necessary to enjoy that thing. The drive to go do a thing, when your ability to enjoy the good stuff it will bring you is suppressed BUT your ability to suffer from the bad stuff is heightened, takes a huge hit.

Which begins a spiral, because you start doing less good things, which leads to less good things, and... well, here we start to understand how depression is a battle of attrition against the rest of your existence.

That's what it turns into. It chips at you, digs away at your ability to just go and do things. It erodes your will to take steps to make your life better or even just less sucky. It undercuts you at every turn. All of the things you want or need in a day, become a struggle, and sooner or later, you start to lose that struggle.

You ever wonder where the nihilistic sense of humour comes from, that a lot of folks that suffer depression have? It's about here.

This is where we talk about something called passive suicidal ideation.

Suicidal - that is a very scary word, yes? A lot of people will freak out just from seeing it written down there. It's scary, and we hate to think that people we know have even considered it. When they actually perform the act (there's a reason I don't use the word succeed) then it is a heartbreaking tragedy.

The difference between passive and active suicidal ideation is relatively simple when we get down to it.

If you are active, then you are doing the thing, seeking to do the thing, wanting to actually physically do the thing. If you are passive, then you just... kind of want that, a little. Maybe not even specifically death. You just kind of wish you didn't exist any more. Didn't have to deal with it.

When you have little value for your own life, this passive ideation state is very common. Because life is tiring, and a bit rubbish, and you don't want to have to deal with it day in and day out. Like, you wake up and you are tired already. Great, right? Fucking great.

Some days it is worse than that, and those are the days when you can't really hide it.

It is at this point that, those people I know who are wondering if this is a delayed cry for help or an indictment for not being sufficiently "there" or similar - this isn't that. That's not what I am doing here.

There's not a lot of helping. Not from outside. Nothing much you can do to redress the chemical imbalance that is kicking the shit out of our will to achieve anything at all. That's a very internal thing, and no amount of positive words, friendly memes or song-and-dance numbers will actively correct that. It's like an invisible switch in our skulls.

There just comes a stage when you are halfway doing something totally normal, like something that is just everyday and ordinary and shouldn't cause anyone any issues, even you... and it's like something pops, inside.

You want to break down in tears, right on the spot. Wherever you are. Your face contorts and it is going to be ugly. You grit your teeth and swallow and you tell yourself, no, not here. Not now. Not fucking now.

Not now.

And if you're lucky that only happens once, and you can get on with your day.

That's only on real bad days, mind. But it's those real bad days that dig at you, because even the good days are only okay, and the okay days kind of suck. It's like working retail, customer-facing. You don't remember the 99% of customers who just wanted the thing, paid the fee, said thank you and left. You remember the jerkwipe that took it as a personal insult that you don't stock that brand that you've never stocked, and wants to talk to your manager about it.

That leaves the world looking like a cold place even at the best of times.

I don't know what sparked this particular quagmire of nonsense. Maybe it's the change of season - the Autumnal chill in the mornings telling my subconscious that soon shit is going to turn bad. Maybe it's because I experienced several minor triumphs in the last two weeks, including meeting some family I've never met before, and my brain is incapable of seeing that as just a thing that can happen. Maybe the universe rolled some dice and they came up Double Fuck You, and that's where my brain goes.

I don't know. It happened though.

I am mostly riding out of it, right now. Like, the less of a pit you are in, the easier it is to talk about the pit. Sort of.

If I had anything else in mind to blog about at the end of this week, it all kind of went away late Friday early Saturday. But hey, that's what this blog is for - and for god's sake, don't worry about me. I've lived with this since I was in middle school. It'll be fine.

Sorry. This one was heavy, and it doesn't have an answer or a solution, outside of this:

I am at this very moment planning on getting more help than I currently have.

There is zero shame in getting treatment for any medical condition. Mind, body, spirit.

Get help.

Don't suffer this alone.

If you'd care to share my blog with your friends, I'd appreciate that! If you'd like to thank me in a fiscal form for entertaining you a little bit, I do have a Patreon right here, but please - no pressure. Thank you for reading, and check my social media to the right to keep in touch.

Sunday 8 September 2019

It's Like We Finish Each Other's...

So who remembers this scene from Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

The entire Shave And A Haircut bit.

As a joke that actually became a thing, we used the shave-and-a-haircut knock in several RPGs to test if the being on the other side of a door was sentient, because who doesn't know shave-and-a-haircut? It almost answers itself. It sounds so satisfying as a string of beats that it almost fills itself in even if you don't know what it is from or haven't heard it before.

Those of you who are following this from something I said on Facebook are probably nodding knowingly right now, and for good reason, for I've discussed this over there before now, and relatively recently:

The human brain fills in a bunch of stuff that you aren't necessarily perceiving.

Like you'd be amazed how little of what you think you are seeing right now is stuff you are actually seeing. A lot of it is just what the brain estimates is there, and it feeds you that instead of there just being grey fuzzy patches that you can't perceive at all.

So it's not so unlikely that something similar can happen with audio - and that this can be altered via conditioning. It's part of how we get used to talking, after all. How we learn how to communicate verbally. Our brain starts to connect things together, the language shapes our thoughts, and all of a sudden we have got these entire complex sentence structures inside our mind that inform us if something sounds right.

Which means that, sometimes, we can be conditioned into having a response to a partial sentence or even a single word.

And sometimes, that conditioning can come from something other than conversation.

Let's experiment.

If you are reading this blog there is a greater than zero chance that you watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

I've got a theory.

Which verse did you just riff off that sentence with? My personal favourite is the first one - it could be demons - but I know this one is a crowdpleaser:

You start to see what I am talking about.

Now this can be a popular culture thing. It can be a way to identify if the people around you are into the same stuff as you, right? Like how long someone can draw out the word "anticipation" tells you that they have probably, at least once, also uttered the words Damn It Janet and meant them.

I mean, has anyone heard the words "Frankly My Dear" any time in the past twenty years and not known what the following line is? Has anyone not visualised a pair of San Dimas washouts playing air guitar when they hear the word Excellent? Are there, indeed, any spoons? I'm pretty sure everyone I know believes that there isn't, at least a little.

Is it ever game over, without it being Game Over?

Who can hear the word Witness, without...

It's not just movie and TV quotes though.

Song lyrics?

A brief round of experiments:

Tell Me Why.

Sweet Caroline.




Let's focus on that last one, shall we?

What song do you hear, when you think about the word, Stop?

  1. ____! Hammertime!
  2. ____! In the name of love! Before you break my heart!
  3. ____! Collaborate and LISTEN!
  4. ____, hey, what's that sound, everybody look what's going down!
  5. You'd better ____ before you go and break my heart!
  6. Don't ____ til you get enough!
  7. ____ pressuring me, makes me want to scream!

There's a few, right?

I think that if we can compile the things that do this in our heads - the things that we have to finish, the quotes that we have to complete - then we can build an interesting picture of who we are. And hell, it will certainly point out that some of our sense of humour is wacky and weird.

Stuff like this spreads, too. People repeat things that are stated as a short sharp quote, when the situation calls for it, then don't know what it came from. A bunch of people I know have heard me quote the Goon Show without ever knowing it exists - after hearing any kind of clash or weird noise, following it up with a smug, upper-class, "And why not?"

You know what all this is, right?

This is why we know stuff like the Crazy Frog, despite hating it. This is why we all have a favourite moment from Only Fools And Horses, despite not having watched a full episode in a decade. This is why some people start laughing when they hear something that has no real humorous context, because it is so inherently tied to something in their minds that does.

This is all Memetics, people. Cultural information transfer. The communication of a shared culture through goofy jokes, memorable quotes, slapstick humour and song lyrics.

Just thought I would dwell on something vaguely fun and interesting, while my government guts the democracy it claims to be protecting and swears to break the law if it doesn't get what it wants.

If you'd care to share my blog with your friends, I'd appreciate that! If you'd like to thank me in a fiscal form for entertaining you a little bit, I do have a Patreon right here, but please - no pressure. Thank you for reading, and check my social media to the right to keep in touch.

Sunday 1 September 2019

Gold Beneath The Ruins

I blogged, once upon a time, about how screwed up the infrastructure of my home town is, and why it doesn't necessarily get fixed. In doing so, I talked about how Beirut got rebuilt, and the fact that doing so was considered an investment by the company doing it.

A ruined city, torn apart by a civil war that nobody living in it really wanted, became an investment opportunity.

For a more recent example - if you somehow missed the fact that Halliburton, a company that the US vice-president of the time (Dick Cheney) headed for five years, was given the keys (and the cash) to rebuild Iraq following the 2003 invasion... here is a reminder

It's not just actual warfare or mass destruction that results in profits, either. No, there's other ways. Shorting shares, for example. If you don't know how that works, there's a good description here, but let me give an example:

You know the price of milk is going to tank (harhar) so you go to your mate Billy the Milkman and ask if you can have ten bottles. You promise you will give them back tomorrow, and maybe give him some money on top of that. So he gives you ten bottles of milk.

You then go and sell the milk for its current market price - and overnight, the price of milk crashes. You sold the milk for £1 a bottle, and now it only costs 50p a bottle in the shops. (I don't know what would cause this, just roll with it.)

So - you take the £10 you made from selling the milk that wasn't yours, you buy 10 bottles for Billy the Milkman for £5, you give the bottles back to him, and give him £1 for his trouble. £4 profit for you, for essentially doing very little indeed, with things that aren't even yours.

It's only the rather unique way the stock and share markets work that allow this to happen, obviously. The thing is, though - it also allows people who can directly make money from shorting, to be in the sphere of influence or friendship with the kind of people who can influence share prices.

Let's say you are mates with Sheila the Shop Owner. Have been for years, went to school together, you used to work for the shop once upon a time. So you have a means to, for a period, influence the price of milk. So you go to Billy the Milkman, and instead of borrowing ten bottles, you borrow ten thousand.

You sell the ten thousand bottles of milk for £1 each. The next day, the town wakes up and the Shop is selling milk for - let's be conservative - 80p a bottle. So you take the £10,000 you just made, and you spend £8,000 to buy back the ten thousand bottles. You give them back to Billy. You give Billy £200 for his trouble, you give Sheila £800 for her time, and you pocket a cool £1,000.

These two examples are grossly simplified, but I think they give an accurate depiction of how this whole thing works.

Of course, shorting and share-dealing isn't available to literally everyone. It's a level of brokerage that you require expertise to get into, expertise and money of your own - getting that expertise also requires money - it's a literal class barrier.

What is missing from the example above, however, is what it means to everyday people like you and me - and how that would be represented is simple:

To cover the shortfall from a 20% reduction in milk prices, Sheila the Shop Owner cuts staff wages and increases prices everywhere else.

So we have two kinds of people, here; the majority, who would suffer if share prices suddenly dropped because the costs of such losses would be pushed down the line to the average consumer - and the minority, who would stand to not only avoid suffering under such circumstances, but could also make a significant profit from everyone else's misery.

That's pretty gross. It's amoral, obviously. It's also a built-in function of the system as it stands.

Why is this relevant?

Well - there have been several reasons why a referendum on our membership with the European Union has been suggested in the past ten years, one of the first being that our then-Prime Minister David Cameron wished to garner the support of the eurosceptics within his party. Throughout Ed Milliband's tenure in charge of the Labour party, he was strongly opposed to a referendum on leaving, which of course made Cameron's position much more concrete. More anti-immigration rhetoric started to creep into the justifications around 2014. It wasn't until the years following that the movement really started to pick up steam, though.

It was formalised in late 2015 - and the very beginning of 2016 began the formal introduction of an EU directive that had been years in the making, a package of anti tax-avoidance measures. Just a coincidence, I'm sure. Definitely just an absolute coincidence, that the Economic and Financial Affairs Council reached agreement on the directive literally two days before the referendum was due to take place. Just... plain lucky, I suppose.

But is that enough? The government has been utterly baffled by how much this little exercise is going to cost us individually and as a nation, or at least, has made little effort to be transparent to the public about such costs. Going so far as to quash the release of internal reports detailing suggested emergency measures, for when we start running out of insulin and all of the ports are in gridlock. It should still be patently obvious that the cost is going to be significant. We're already suffering for it.

Meet Jacob Rees-Mogg.

I'm going to do my best to not make any jokes about this man. What I will stick to is how he is relevant to what I am talking about.

  1. Rees-Mogg is one of the hard-line Brexiteers within the Conservative party - he has gone on record as saying that the EU is a "threat to British democracy", which is a delicious irony given our current unelected PM just shut down Parliament because he wanted to.
  2. Up until July 2019, Rees-Mogg was an advisor in finance company Somerset Capital Management. He "stepped down" from his role when he was made Leader of the House of Commons. He still owns 15% of the company, mind. It took the protective measure of opening a branch in Dublin to fend off some of the damage the finance sector will suffer during Brexit, another irony.
  3. Rees-Mogg's father, William Rees-Mogg, was a Baron when he died in 2012. He'd worked for the Times, the BBC, and described Rupert Murdoch as a thoroughly nice chap. One of the books that Rees-Mogg Senior co-wrote with James Dale Davidson (ardent supporter of right-wing news company Newsmax TV) was all about how to make money in a crisis, and it was literally titled, Blood In The Streets. It was released in 1987. Here's the cover.

"The time to buy is when blood is running in the streets."

And that is why Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson will happily prorogue Parliament to push this through. That is why he will do literally anything he can to maintain the majority of one that he currently enjoys. That is why he will sidestep and countermand any check or balance that would allow Parliament from stopping us from leaving the European Union by any means necessary.

Because people like him, and people like Jacob Rees-Mogg, are part of that minority that will be just fine when it all crashes down. Because people like them already know how they are going to profit from the collapse. Because people like them have probably already optioned shares in the companies that will be brought in to fix the nightmare that will follow.

They have prorogued parliament, they will see Brexit through, they will call an election in November, and then let the chips fall where they may. All the better if they aren't the ones in government when the costs really start being counted and people really start hurting - when people start dying - when the blood is running in the streets.

Then you can watch them slink off, one at a time, resigning or retiring or taking some family time. To go back to their investment portfolios and their overseas homes, to avoid the fallout of their work.

They'll still be able to profit from the gold beneath the ruins.

But yeah, sure, project fear, we'll be fine.

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