Wednesday, 25 January 2012


The many nightmares seem to have ended and by day
I am awaking from one long, hazy dream. I am going
backwards as the world thrusts forward, or so it seems;
but we are both wrong and only one of us is doing
anything to try and correct. On I go; or back.

...and it is here that I feel most truly alive,
back, back amongst the dead. For I was dead
once and yet to be, now living I am yet to be dead,
feeling so longing once more for life.

For even in the fields of the romances of both faint and flint-
hearted middle classes are their children growing
into desolation - nought to haven't, no food for
their minds, their souls withering.

Paul Maddocks
26 January 1969 - 19 April 2007

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Present, tense

Oh poor he
that imbibes
pills, whisky
and survives.
Awakes in
unknown place,
gleaming white,
not heaven
but hell; race
through all thoughts
not dispelled.
Attempt to
end them all,
die, has failed.
Nurse glowers,
doctor rails.
Present tense,
past gone, no
future nailed.

Paul Maddocks

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Nick Drake

Wikipedia is down, in protest against SOPA. Out of curiosity, I checked the app version on my phone, and it's still up. Their featured article of the day is about the tragic singer Nick Drake. Drake is one of those musical interests I picked up in my late teenage years, listened to obsessively and then dropped as I moved on to the next auditory addiction. So my interest was piqued.

I started reading about him and coincidence compelled me to read more. Drake killed himself aged 26. I am 26. Nothing in that really but just a chime. Drake killed himself with an overdose of amitriptyline - unknown to be accidental or otherwise. I dose myself with amitriptyline - though in my case, not for crippling depression but to prevent searing headaches and unbearable back pain.

But what struck me is the quote from Drake's sister about his death because it echoes so much what I feel about my brother's death, which was ruled an open verdict rather than suicide because the coroner could not determine if he intended to end his life or whether it was a horrible misjudgement:

"I'd rather he died because he wanted to end it than it to be the result of a tragic mistake. That would seem to be terrible..."

I'd rather Paul intended to die than had his life snatched away from him by a mistake. It just doesn't seem fair. But nothing is fair about what happened. I'll never know and that's something I have to live with.

Nick Drake's grave in Solihull, West Midlands. By Robpics69 on Wikipedia.

Monday, 2 January 2012

The Campaign Against Living Miserably

Suicide is the leading cause of death in men under 35 in recent years. Men are nearly three times more likely than women to take their own life. In men under 35, suicide is the second most common cause of death in England and Wales. In Scotland, more men between the ages of 15-35 kill themselves than die from any other cause.

I wish this wasn't the case. I wish that no one wanted to kill themselves. I wish my brother hadn't killed himself.

But life isn't like that. It's hard and it's unfair and some people are so stricken by mental health problems that death seems like the only possible way to cope. We must, together, look after these people and help them find a way out of the worst despair you can't imagine. We have to stop 4,500 people killing themselves (in just England and Wales) every year.

The Campaign Against Living Miserably, CALM, is a lifeline for people who desperately need this help. Originally set up to reduce the high suicide rate amongst young men, they run a free, confidential, anonymous helpline for anybody who needs advice or support. The helpline is open 5pm-midnight from Saturday to Tuesday. But it's not enough. CALM want to run the helpline every day of the week until 3am, but they can't. They are scraping together every penny to cover the existing monthly running costs of £6,400.

This is why Science Showoff, a gig I help to organise, is going to give CALM all its donations in January. The gig is on 12th January at the Wilmington Arms in Clerkenwell, London. Please come along and please, please give generously. We have to help stop the tragedy of suicide.