Posts Tagged ‘competition’

me peasant

my love-hate thing with
Hampstead intellectuals
— I was one of them
no doubt — in another life — 
this time round lucky escape

Don’t know what’s got into me lately, dashing off these poems in a couple of minutes. Only retained a fragment of last night’s dreams. I was with a teacher from school, talking about my two years in sixth form. In real life his name was Joel McInnes and he taught me A Level History at William Ellis School 1973-74. I had arrived from Wales at the beginning of 1973, and was totally unable to make friends or communicate. I suffered terribly, particularly in History classes, which were conducted in a very informal way, conversations dominated by a pair of friends Mike Waldman and William Eccleshare. Hampstead intellectuals. I felt utterly alienated and unused to the competitive edge and self-conscious wit. I really suffered a lot. In general, I do have a strained relationship (i.e. in my own head) still, with the whole Hampstead intellectual vibe. Can never quite work out if it’s my natural home or not.


social self

such a controlling
obligation rules — stronger
than love — love is the
bad guy in this universe
where we compete to be cool

Best I could do this morning. It’s a poem that just states stuff directly, but that’s OK I guess. I woke early without the alarm after only six hours sleep, and unable to remember my dreams properly, except they had been haunted by an anxiety from work. The anxiety seemed to be to do with issues of control. In the dream, this meant a feeling of uncertainty and anxiety who (or what) has control of the Hearing Voices movement. In reality, this is an issue, kind of. I don’t have a thorough grasp of the politics even now, despite having been working in the field for four years nearly. Anyhow my project here in this blog is to explore subjective issues. So the issue of control seemed a fruitful one at a symbolic level, as referring to how I felt inside myself last night, trying to socialise at an event which was part-work, part-pleasure. And how I feel this morning, still churned up from last night. I seem to understand less and less, the longer I deal with it, how to exist in that weird social space where personal thoughts and feelings have to be processed and packaged before they can be allowed through into the work environment. Or indeed before they reach the outside world at all. Even trying to write a half-decent poem is a form of packaging and ‘trying to be cool’.


murderous instincts
sublimated in a game
with rules — football, chess
or conversation — somehow
we cannot help competing

We are so deeply implicated in evil. But people don’t see it. The game in my dream last night was something like Oriental Go played with giant counters on the entire floor of a room. Chess sets like that have started popping up on the streets of London here and there, with pieces a few feet tall. I like that idea. But in the dream, I just wasn’t interested in the end goal of the game as being to win. It’s strange though — everyone understands the importance of ‘winning’ even while knowing deep down there are other things even more important. There’s a current advertising campaign, fundraising for Cancer Research UK, which talks in plainly stupid (i.e. warlike) terms about cancer as the enemy to be physically annihilated. E.g. Cancer we’re coming to get you and Kick cancer’s butt. I find that sad and profoundly disheartening. Objectionable on so many levels.


you’re just quite simply
not a team player — face it
— so much resentment

I was arguing with a whole team of people involved in trying to put up a tent or monument. I thought it should be sited on the crest of a hill, but someone else had other ideas. I was quite distressed. I had been thinking yesterday about the phrase ‘team player’. I hate the phrase so much, and I don’t really understand why. I recognise teams are good for getting stuff done. Yet ‘team player’ also connotes mindless enthusiasm. The sacrifice of individual responsibility. Sport. War. Competition.