How To… Dance to Another Tune

Going with the flow is terribly easy. You wouldn’t want anyone to think that you were remotely different to what has been arrived at as the general consensus of how humans are meant to behave now would you? Or maybe you don’t care about fitting in and you’re not remotely bothered if people brand you as just that little bit odd. Perhaps you’re some sort of highly strung type who’s already predetermined that they’re simply not going to have a good time no matter what.

Well, get over it. So what if you find yourself unexpectedly ostracised from society? I’m sure you’d be able to eke out a perfectly serviceable existence on the fringes of civilisation. You’ve almost definitely got just about enough practical experience in you to construct some sort of hut out of mud and assorted debris. It’ll totally be a bit like camping. A really long camping holiday you didn’t actually sign up for.

Perhaps you could end up starting your own society. Welcoming in the other outcasts with their unfortunate habits and varying degrees of unpleasant smell. If there were eventually enough of you it could get to the point where you’re ready to roll back into town and overthrow the normals who originally exiled you. It’ll be glorious, they’ll write poems about the resulting upheaval of life as we know it. Just consider who’ll they’ll get to portray you in the movie.

So let’s bring about the inciting incident in act one of your epic tale. The moment when it became all too clear that you didn’t belong within the constrains of the everyday. The seemingly unimportant instant of a fraction of a second when, at a supposedly innocent disco, you didn’t really feel you could get into the track they were playing. It wasn’t your genre. Which led you to bop along to the music in your own head.

Dance to another tune – First Aid Kit


How To… Try and See It My Way

As loathe as I am to admit it (and boy am I reluctant, I’m – admittedly metaphorically – driving pins into my fingers in an effort to egg myself on. I can’t help but feel I’d be ever so slightly more productive if I wasn’t for some strange reason intent on inhibiting the natural typing action of my digits. Or perhaps I ought to invest in some variety of dictation system. Which might backfire only slightly if I got frustrated with said program’s inability to perfectly understand every word that drops from my lips even when they’re crammed with food), people are allowed to have alternative opinions to mine.

It’s becoming abundantly clear and then some that vast swathes of my own countrymen disagree with me on some really rather important matters. I was in the minority when it comes to Brexit, changes in the voting system and choice in who we want to lead the country.

And so, I could try for a little tolerance. It could be incumbent on me to go on out and converse with the unwashed masses. This would help me to try and understand their various perspectives and precisely why they have such wildly difference stances to my own on certain issues. But that’s simply not going to happen. Who’s got the time to research their viewpoint and come up with considered arguments to support it?

Nope, let’s blindly force people to follow me and settle precisely into my exact thought patterns, no matter how indecipherable they might initially seem. So, imagine that you’re a privileged white girl in her mid twenties who’s had sufficient family support (including that of the financial kind) to feel guilty enough to want to share the wealth. Now mix in a little contempt for those who want to grab what I deem to be more than their fair share. And shout at them for not agreeing with everything you reckon to be true.

Try and see it my way – Bryan Adams

How To… Calm Thee Down

So, yesterday I got a bit tired and sad about this whole election debacle. It wasn’t that much of a surprise to learn that even with the most carefully orchestrated coordination of progressive voters wouldn’t be enough to keep the Tories out. If it wasn’t patently obvious from the moment she called the snap election that it was for nothing but self serving reasons it has become clear. If I hear ‘strong stable leadership’ or isn’t ‘Jeremy Corbyn the worst?’ once more rather than a sensible answer to a reasonable question I will scream.

But that’s not allowed is it? You can’t present yourself in this modern society as a hysterical woman and expect to be taken remotely seriously. We’re all simply going to have to calm down at least a very little bit. The process begins with heaving breaths in through the nose and out via the mouth, try to count to four with each action and marvel at how you are instantly transformed into a meditative paragon. Then bring on the steaming mugs of tea. It’s suddenly so much harder to feel angry isn’t it?

Having mentioned meditation, allowing yourself to take a moment or two to reflect on the innately immovable nature of your situation may help defuse your mood. Sure, it’s easy to spiral from that down into the depths of melancholia but you’re no longer incensed now are you? There will always be one or two small things you can attempt in order to make it better but in the grand scheme of affairs it’s not going to make all that much of an impact. So what’s the point in worrying your pretty little head and getting so wound up? Just calm thee down pet, sip your nice brew and consider the joys of frolicking in a grassy meadow with an excitable litter of puppies.

Calm thee down – Felix Hagen

How To… Let it Die

Oh it does sound cruel now doesn’t it? But definitely not half as harsh as it might have been. After all, you’re not the one taking the pickaxe to the back of your work rival’s head. It’s a simple case of not calling the authorities once the masked stranger has run away into the night. It’s still somewhat dark? How odd. Fine, it’s not like you’re actively wishing harm on anyone, you’re simply bringing about their demise through sheer apathy.

Let’s get the hell away from thinking about actual sentient life forms. I think the allusion to the police earlier has rung one or two alarm bells. I don’t want the surveillance agencies (after all, they’re the only ones reading this. I’m totally law abiding, I swear) to start worrying or adding me to any lists. Rather than fixating with an entirely unhealthy focus on any public or otherwise figures you’d prefer shuffled off the mortal coil (you should have heard the words I tried to shout at Boris Johnson through my car radio earlier) I assure you that there are all sorts of other things you can absolutely let die.

It’s perfectly possible that I’m still lamenting my lack of gardening capabilities. We had to unearth a poor shrivelled prunus from the back garden only last weekend (and it was supposed to do relatively well in our dodgy clay soil). What can I say? Some have positively luminous green thumbs and others struggle to keep cacti in the land of the living.

Plenty of other things will shrivel away and die from lack of attention or nourishment. Like old friendships that seemed so incredibly vital at the time, or feelings of faith when it comes to certain political figures or parties, or even trends in fashion or culture. So let me implore whoever it is in change of the current tendency to… how can I not think of a single trend I find appalling? I’ve let too many brain cells die. That’s it.

Let it die – Foo Fighters

How To… Fire With Fire

It might sound at first like a strikingly odd proposition but firing with fire is actually surprisingly difficult to do. It’s called a flamethrower after all and not a firefirer (and not just because that’s pretty tricky to say). The act of firing and the beautiful and entrancing partial ionisation of gases (we asked a physics teacher once way back when to explain what fire was and that’s what we told us so that’s not my definition, it’s definitely science’s) are very separate things. I’m just laying out how impressed everyone ought to be when we achieve the feat of firing with fire.

We definitely don’t have time to get to grips with your motivations here. Perhaps the notion of fighting fire with fire has been rattling round the back of your mind for some time now, melded with something else entirely and unexpectedly thrust itself to the forefront. Perhaps you liked the concept of the dancing flames but didn’t want to abandon your dearly held principle of pacifism.

Anyway, it seems to me (with no research and blind casting around within the confines of my own skull for the very first vaguely relevant snippet of commentary that comes to mind) that firing essentially depends on gathering together whatever it is you’ve selected as your ammunition and loading it into something capable of launching it. You know the sort of thing: rocks into catapult rather than being forced down the muzzle of a rifle (unless it’s, potentially, a very big rifle).

So you’ve chosen from the vast drop down menu of stuff to drop on people fire. That’s fine, it’s not know for its weightiness and has the capacity for spreading wide. However, I’m not sure how you’ve managed to land on fire as the launching mechanism. I just don’t think it’s going to work. Unless you kick start the whole thing with a hearty dose of hairspray. Happy pyromania everyone.

Fire with fire – Scissor Sisters


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