How To… Stay Out

There are times when life becomes an endurance event. Well, even more so than usual. Or perhaps I don’t quite have the stamina that some people are so very happy to brag about. But surely I’m not alone in experiencing moments of supreme fatigue? Instances when you want nothing more but to give up, go home and snuggle up under a pile of blankety duvets. I definitely haven’t started fixating on that bundle of dozy joy, imagining myself crawling in with a book and hiding from the world for an indecent length of time.

Rather than giving up and returning to wherever it is you hang your hat we’ve set our sights on staying out. No matter how much your feet hurt, your eyelids are drooping and you feel like you cannot stand another moment of this particular slice of nonsense you’re not allowed to surrender. Don’t worry, I’ll be right here to help you get through. Unless I get bored or tired and don’t especially want to carry on.

So squirt an energy drink or seven down your neck, wash it down with some caffeine and a little sprinkling of pure sugar to keep your eyes so very wide open. Now that you’ve managed to endow yourself with a bit of extra vim and vigour you’ll need to inject a little bit of life into proceedings. Take to the dancefloor, construct a makeshift one if your venue doesn’t happen to be equipped with one and windmill your arms, strutting your hella fly dance moves.

No matter what the hour, call up any mates who for whatever reason aren’t already with you, and coerce, blackmail and generally convince them to come out with you. The company can make all the difference when it comes to re-inflating a limp night out. And make sure plenty of pictures are taken so that you’ll never forget the night you made the effort to stay out. You know, so you never need do so again.

Stay out – Nina Nesbitt

How To… Picture This

I haven’t exactly got a thousand words to play with as the old adage goes but do bear with me and let’s see if we can’t paint an interesting word picture. I wasn’t that observant the last time the left swung to power after time spent out in the cold (I was a book obsessed five year old. Not much has changed since) so I’ve only got Adrian Mole to go on when it comes to the mood of the nation during and after the 97 election. Anyway with the way things are panning out nowadays it won’t even be half as hopeful or reenergising.

Anyhow, picture this: tactical voting. There isn’t any substantial opposition in the country as of this particular moment in time so it’s up to the electorate to capitalise on Mrs May’s poll-based confidence. Rather than letting her have it her own way for another five years (somehow I think it’ll become a matter of the utmost importance to respect parliamentary process and remain in government for the full five years once she gets her greasy mitts on a sizeable majority.

But there are enough people out there to block her. Not to agree on a single opposing voice but to deny the Tories a win in their impromptu popularity contest. The voting majority may well decide to band together to reject the media’s insistences that May is a strong leader (really? The lady who repeatedly assured us that she wasn’t going to call a snap election and then did? Who also campaigned against Brexit and is now forcing through the harshest version possible?) and that Corbyn is a hopeless one (fine, less to say here. However, is it such a tragedy for us not to cobble together yet more nuclear weapons? Or to tax people who can afford to give away more than they do?).

Choose green, lib dem, SNP, whoever you have to in order to avoid the blue (and I like blue, it’s pretty. But I’m ardently against what it represents in politics). Guess what? I still don’t want Brexit to happen. So sue me.

Picture this – Blondie

How To… Drive By

So, I totally didn’t want to make a whole song and dance about this (apart from the literal happy dance I performed at the time. It felt right and I stand by it no matter how idiotic I looked. Sometimes dignity is overcome by the relief of the moment) but I can drive now. It totally didn’t take me absolutely ages to gain that particular skill. And I have a car that definitely absolutely hasn’t been given a name.

Once you’re in the literal driving seat on your own in the vehicle you’re leant a surprising level of power. There’s no one about to judge you (even if there are other automobiles in the vicinity it won’t be overly long before you can speed away and leave them in the dust) so you can get away with rather much more than you might have done when you had passengers. I’m not even talking about speeding.

If you happen to see someone standing at the side of the road with a pleading look in their eyes (it does depend somewhat on the speed limit of the road for you to have enough time to gauge this expression on someone’s face) you don’t have to do anything about it. Even if they’re missing a limb or their car is on fire you can drive on by barely giving them so much as a second thought.

Really, it’s not the driving by itself that’s the tricky portion of this action. You simply put the pedal to the metal, hope you’ve got enough fuel in the tank and get on out of there. However, how are you going to square it away in your mind? What if you were their only hope for survival? What if they were your destined other half and this was your romcom worthy meet-cute? Will you be able to bear the never knowing?

Drive by – Train

How To… Lust for Life

I know, it’s all getting a little bit much. We’re bombarded by important yet what feel like ultimately pointless decisions (the besiegement only being heightened by folk like me who seem incapable of not banging on about it in excruciating detail) and then there’s other stuff like impending nuclear war to worry about. If we didn’t want this to be an issue then some countries really ought to stop electing swaggering braggarts and dangerous nationalists to their highest offices.

So instead let’s switch our tracks of mind to the unerringly positive. There are plenty of reasons to be overwhelmingly happy just to be alive (and I am of course espousing that viewpoint from a firmly white and middle class perspective so do feel free to take my opinions with a hefty pinch of salt). For example, as I sit and type this it’s lovely and sunny outside (I, of course, am safely ensconced inside where the bugs and potential heatstroke can’t get to me).

But a beautiful spring day hardly inspires lust now does it? It may well depend on what you might envision gambolling gaily through the fields (probably best you keep such fantasies to yourself). I suppose lust will often find itself hopelessly trussed up with just a little bit of coveting the various er… assets of your fellow man (and woman, ladies can have plenty of envy worthy qualities and property).

Therefore, to identify that which will ignite and inflame your lust for life you go on an almighty internet search (it’s pretty much my advice for everything but we won’t delve too deeply into that matter now, you’ve got some very important thinking to do). Uncover your goals, perhaps make yourself some variety of vision board. Then it’ll totally happen without you making any particular level of effort.

Lust for life – Iggy Pop

How To… Bang the Drum a Little Louder

Don’t worry, I’m not about to go off on one again. Well, I might manage to work myself up to it but the vitriol isn’t really flowing at the moment. Maybe I’ve just got a headache. However, there is one thing I definitely don’t intend on shutting up about in the near future with regards to politics. It’s a lot simpler than many might like to admit: just vote. I might have brought this up before but it’s absolutely the sort of thing that’s worth bearing out.

I say this secure in the knowledge that I could easily be encouraging people to involve themselves in the democratic process who have diametrically opposing views to mine. Even if it causes a surge in the Tory majority, it will be better than the current situation. Sure, I’ll be even more upset and disenfranchised like the dainty millennial snowflake that I am (even though apparently I’m a year too young for that particular generation but the one below doesn’t even have a name yet and I’ve always been mature for my age. Willies) but we’ll have a result that’s ever so slightly more representative.

The level of people that don’t vote is disturbing. They might have excellent reasons: crushing apathy, a general lack of understanding when it comes to what certain candidates stand for, truly believing that it won’t make the slightest bit of difference. But it’s like vaccinations, when people opt out (for blindingly moronic reasons for the most part. Not that I’m judging or anything) it makes the whole scheme that little bit less effective.

Plus, the very people who opt for the types you’d rather kept oh so very far away from power (the nut jobs. Sorry, UKIP and sorts like that who very much need to go away now they’ve achieved their supposed aim) are incredibly likely to turn out for the ballot every single time. They’re not going to give up and go away so the only way to dilute that influence is to cast your lot to cancel them out. GET OUT THERE AND BLEEDING WELL VOTE.

Bang the drum a little louder – Bryan Adams

How To… Know What You Know

How can you possibly know what to trust any more? we’re deluged with fake news from dubious sources and assertions presented with an almost gratuitous lack of fact checking. Armed as we are with our manifest prejudices and readiness to sign on to scraps of information that square with our well established confirmation bias, it can be difficult to shift any of us from our entrenched opinions.

This isn’t just with regards to politics and the difficult decisions we’re about to make but I won’t lie and say this isn’t at the very top of my mind. I was glad to learn that Tim Farron isn’t as homophobic as we might have leapt to assuming (this isn’t down to any carefully crafted statements, it’s his voting record on matters such as equal marriage that stands him in good stead on this issue). It doesn’t make him a good potential leader of the country but it’s a relief to realise that my leftist principles wouldn’t necessarily be compromised by a vote for his party.

The only way to know what you know is to root out the hard evidence from unbiased sources and to find other ways to ensure that what you know isn’t unduly influenced by what you hope is true. I hope in my heart of hearts that enough people in this country are forward thinking enough to want to find a way to mitigate the effects of a relentlessly hard Brexit but I know that’s almost definitely not enough to keep the Tories out of government.

I know that there’s a vicious media campaign out there against Jeremy Corbyn, I also know that he’s been doing a woeful job as leader of the opposition by rolling over and letting the government do almost anything they want (it’s a bit more complicated than that I do also know but that doesn’t make me any happier about it). I know that it can be a good thing for feminism to have a female leader but I also know that Theresa May’s voting record on a whole variety of issues affecting minorities and the poor reflects appallingly on her. I know it’s going to be a difficult thing to make my mind up.

Know what you know – Two Door Cinema Club

How To… Say Anything

So now we wait. The general election is coming with all the momentum of an exhausted steam train on the brink of being decommissioned. That means that all the various parties involved now need to scramble to edit any half scrawled manifestos and badly thought through promises to the point of being ready to present to the public.

We’re not getting the usual electioneering ramp up (which I think that a vote-fatigued public are resentfully grateful for) and a distinct lack of television debates so there will only be so many opportunities for potential members of parliament to trot out enticing carrots to convince people to cast their ballot for them. They’re going to say anything because they can. For all we know, we’ll be descending into World War Three long before anyone gets the slightest opportunity to enact any of their election pledges or yet another vote for something else we hadn’t been expecting will be sprung upon us.

I’ve taken to shouting at the radio (because no one can hear me and even if other drivers notice my incoherent rage they’ll assume it’s directed at the vehicle in front of me rather than the politician spewing out unverifiable platitudes and expecting us to simply go with the flow. Or people who just want the Brexit process over and done with, I still fail to understand why you voted the way you did and what precisely you’re expecting to happen) because shrieking into the social media void doesn’t seem to be getting the message across.

If you happen to be standing in this election (maybe you’re hoping to fill the imminently vacant shoes of George Osborne as that seems to lead to incredibly lucrative things) then just stand on your soapbox and spew forth anything you reckon the folk out there want to hear. No one will ever call you on it, honest.

Say anything – Tristan Prettyman