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The Alternative Feminist / Madness

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 2 Sep 2022, 15:49

I read this book the other day, The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson. It's about madness or what is, or is not, madness and it raises as many questions as it answers. 

Going insane might be one of our worst fears along with serious illness, or something terrible happening to our children but after reading this I am now feeling highly reassured. I am never going to worry about going mad at all again because after reading this, I figure we're all a little bit crazy anyway, and some of us may even be a whole lot crazy but if we're not really harming anyone and managing to function in our lives, well, where's the problem?? Because what is normal anyway?? Does anybody even know?? 

Well you could say that it’s normal to get up and go to work every day. Ok then, think about this -  is it really normal to get up and go to work every day, the way we do? 

To slog your way through crowds and traffic, to sit in a building doing stuff for a company or corporation, to make money for them so they can pay you money to buy stuff, most of which you don’t really need, for a house, you didn’t really want, to begin with. 

Then you take on a mortgage to pay for the said house which will ensure you have to keep your nose to the grindstone for the next thirty years when you can finally look forward to retirement (which by this time you will be too worn out and too tired to do anything) to find that the company CEO has raided the pension fund and disappeared into the ether and you are destined to spend your old age in fear and poverty after spending most of your life working your bollocks off for someone else!!! 

AND, along the way, you missed out on most of your children’s growing up, your partner is now a complete stranger with a life of their own, that doesn’t include you, and all because you had to be at work, in order to pay your taxes to a government that basically doesn’t give a crap about you anyway!!! Yes, THAT'S normal!!

If that's normal, then I embrace my insanity with glee!!  Hee, hee!! Because inside all of us, there is a little streak of insanity. It may not manifest itself as a medically recognised psychosis (although if the American Psychiatric Association has it's way, it may very well soon be) but it might just be a little obsession about collecting stuff, or how we dress, or cleaning; something along those lines, because let's be honest, we all have our little obsessions, don't we?

And what harm are we doing?  Ok if your shoe buying habit is the reason you haven't paid your rent in six months well, maybe there’s a little bit of a problem there that you need to think about but still, you're not crazy are you??  And what about the girl up the street who goes out to work every day dressed up like Mary Poppins, or the old lady who walks around like the queen on LSD, are they really harming anyone?  Because the truth is, isn't it our little insanities that mark us out as individuals? Aren't these the hallmarks of our uniqueness in the world?? 

Because what I now realize is that THERE IS NO NORMAL. We’re all crazy in some way and some of the so-called most normal things are the craziest of them all!!!

What I see happening within the world of psychiatry is similar to what happened back in the 19th century, when the Victorian's did a study on sexual habits and labelled everything that wasn’t the Missionary position as sexually deviant. 

Basically the same thing is happening now with all human behaviour.  Anything that deviates from the norm (because we all know what normal is??!!) is now being diagnosed and labelled as mental illness and comes with its own line in pharmaceuticals. 

Roll up! Roll up!  Get you behaviour modifiers here, an emotionally-deadening pill for every little ill!!

‘WHAT YOU HAVE AN OVER-ACTIVE CHILD???’ (Fake shock and horror)

Here, don’t you know that a little Ritalin a day, will keep the pharmaceuticals in pay!!!’

If you think that’s a bit exaggerated, then I urge you to read this book, (if you haven’t already) because the really scary part of all this, is what is happening with children in America and, here too, so let’s not get complacent. Children are being diagnosed with all sorts of mental health problems. We’ve all heard of ADD and ADHD, ( I always had huge reservations about those two, even more so now!) but what about childhood bipolar disorder?? Now, there’s a happy little threesome, to label a child with!  Add to that, the huge rise in autism diagnoses and soon you will find that children everywhere are being medicated out of childhood. 

So, if you have an active child, don't take them to a doctor and definitely don't take them to a psychiatrist, take them to the park and let them run around, stop feeding them crap and let them dig that hole in the back garden and get mucky!! Who cares what the neighbours think!! Let them swing from trees, even better, join in and swing from the trees with them and, basically, go have some fun!!!! 

Because that’s what’s wrong here, we take ourselves far too seriously and have forgotten what it is to HAVE SOME FUN!!!! So let rip and let a child be a child and remember that you were once one too!!! Life’s too short to let it drift by on prozac and Ritalin. ENJOY IT!!!! .LIVE IT TO ITS FULLEST!!!! Because in the words of Noddy Holder -  ‘MA MA, WE’RE ALL CRAZEE NOW!’

So stop worrying and embrace the insanity because we are all in this one together!!!!! YEAHHH!!!



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More poetry

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 2 Sep 2022, 15:31

A couple of short ones today, the first one is a little poem to my grandfather who died when I was eight and whom I still miss every day.  

The second one is about the word commence and is self explanatory.  If I had my way I would outlaw its use completely,   


I miss you on those occasions

That mark our path through life

The turning points and celebrations;

But mostly when the clouds part

And I look up into the blue.



I have an intense dislike

For the word commence.

It’s full of pretence

And delusions of intelligence,

And people who use it

Are just the same;

They can’t start or begin anything,

They may only commence!


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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 2 Sep 2022, 15:29

I’m back on the God question again today because these questions keep rattling around in my brain and the truth is no one really knows if God exists or not. Unless you’ve had a personal encounter with some awesome force beyond yourself, or you are taking on faith the teachings of whatever religion you subscribe to, you probably don't know any more than me 

I have read most of the Richard Dawkins book, The God Delusion, and while I can’t disagree with his conclusions about religion, I have to question why he thinks God, if he does exist, has anything to do with religion? I mean isn’t religion man-made? 

Seriously now, if you really think about it, or think about what God is supposed to be, do you really believe that all those dreary sermons and/or fanatical rantings, could have anything to do with what is supposed to be the most potent and awesome force in the entire universe and beyond? Let's really think about that!!



How could we even DARE to claim to know anything about it. We’re only a bunch of human beings, inhabiting (or trashing, depending on how you look at it), one small planet, in a fairly quiet corner of the universe. Maybe that’s why we are so far away from all the action, we haven’t learned how to behave ourselves yet, or take care of the beautiful planet we are privileged to live on.

Also, how could we possibly know anything about God, if God is supposed to be what we believe him/her/it to be?  Imagine an encounter with something like that, it would completely blow your mind!!!

So I’ll ask again, how could we have the AUDACITY, to claim to have knowledge of what God is, or to know how or what, he/she or it thinks?

Now, I can’t claim to have had an awesome encounter with a heavenly body (chance would be a fine thing!) beyond my understanding or not, but I have been on a bit of a spiritual journey for several years now.  I call it a spiritual journey because I have actively been seeking encounters or knowledge beyond what I see and hear in front of me. Things have happened that I can’t explain and I have questions to which I don’t, as yet, have any answer.   

For instance, I used to have a recurring dream, I won’t go into the full details of it here, but the important thing about it was this, in the dream I would wake up to find that I wasn’t really awake at all. As any good psychologist/psychiatrist/dream dictionary will tell you that is a message from your sub-conscious mind telling you to wake up to something that is going on in your life. So when I became conscious of it's meaning I didn't have the dream again, or at least until there was something else in my life, I needed to wake up to!

Now, what I don’t understand about it is this, how does my sub-conscious mind know something my conscious mind doesn’t? And another thing, how and why is the sub-conscious mind always right? Where does it get its information from? Not only that, but why do I have two minds anyway, why do I not just have one with all the information I need? 

And now, when I put that all together, I can only conclude that maybe, just maybe, (and I am only saying maybe because I don’t know either) the sub-conscious mind is God’s, or whoever, or whatever’s way of communicating with us. 

That out there in the universe and maybe it is the actual universe, or some other force that exists beyond us, that it can only communicate with us, through our sub-conscious mind because it’s complete and true reality would be...TOO AWESOME....TOO OVERWHELMING...TOO MIND BLOWINGLY SPECTACULAR to encounter in it’s fullness and would completely destroy us, mentally and physically. 

Think about it. And now that I do think about it, I probably shouldn't even mention he/she/or its name.  So read this very quietly, please, just in case.

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Midnight in Paris

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Thursday, 1 Sep 2022, 12:26

I missed Midnight in Paris first time around at the cinema so I was anxiously waiting for its release on DVD as it had received great reviews all round. So I got it out last weekend and after all the disappointment of War Horse which certainly did not live up to the hype, I have to say, this wonderful film certainly did.

This was one of those really lovely movies which you will enjoy more and more with each viewing. It was like a hot cup of chocolate, wrapped up in a warm blanket and, if you haven’t seen it already, then there could be no better way to chill out a Saturday night, curled up on the sofa with your other half, than watching this.  

I think everyone should have heard the basic story by now but, just in case, here is a very brief outline. Gil Pender (Owen Wilson), an American writer in Paris with his fiancée, gets transported back to the Paris of Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald (and if you don’t know who they are, join a library, and the sooner the better!). 

The basic premise revolves around the idea that we all revere a past golden age which we believe was better than the present, and just maybe, that idea might be wrong.

Owen Wilson is perfectly cast in this role and I’ve fallen in love with him all over again after watching this. So much so, that I pulled Zoolander out of the DVD collection for another viewing and, as I hadn’t watched it in a while, I have to say it, too, gets better with every viewing (sure sign of a comedy classic), plus it also features David Bowie whom I have loved forever.

So if you’re unhappy with your present life, then do something about it instead of wasting it harking back to another era. The past is over, the only place that you exist is in this present moment (and no, I’m not going to get into discussions about the possibility of parallel universes and all that, some other time) so get out there and live while you can. Sound advice!

Highly recommended!!

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Gortin Glen

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Thursday, 1 Sep 2022, 12:36

I wrote this poem last night. I was trying to get to sleep and I started to think about Gortin Glen where I like to go to ramble around and get away from the stresses of life.

I was trying to relax my mind and unwind my body, and then the first line came to me and so I got up again to write this.   

Gortin Glen 


In the quiet of the forest

Breathing in -

the silent scent of pine and fir


the hard edges of a life on edge.

Breathing out -

Tension and tightness unwinding

with each tentative step

on the needled floor,

as moisture laden mosses

drip gently into rivulets, running

to a strengthening stream,

gathering all the cares and

worries of the world away.


to dissipate in distant seas,

as I step softly across

the sweetened grass.

Gently now, slowly now,

My soul is restored.

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God vs Science

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Wednesday, 18 Aug 2021, 17:58

 I am very interested in everything, I think life is amazing and I become awestruck when I think of the amount of different life forms on this planet alone not to mention the possibilities that may exist out in the universe.

I have also been on a bit of a spiritual journey for a few years now and I have listened to the whole God vs Science debate with interest.  This is what I have concluded based on observation and my own experience.

Gravity is a force which cannot be seen or touched but you can see and feel it’s effects.  Magnetism is also a force which cannot be seen or touched but it is possible to see and feel it’s effects. 

 Throughout human history many people have recounted experiences of contact with an invisible force outside of themselves which they have not been able to explain, but for want of a better word or explanation, refer to as the Divine, or God.  It’s effects do not seem to be as regular or consistent as gravity or magnetism, but that does not mean that it does not exist, or that at some point in the future we may find an explanation for it.

 Man through his experience with it has turned it into a religion, rightly or wrongly, and tacked on a lot of his own rules and ideas to it, but that does not mean that within the universe there is not an invisible force at work that we don’t quite have a full understanding of yet. 

Personally I believe the closest anyone has come to really understanding or trying to explain it is Taoism which ties in with my own experience and as the Dalai Lama says ‘Anything that contradicts experience or logic should be abandoned’.








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The Alternative Feminist/ Robbie Williams and shopping

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Thursday, 1 Sep 2022, 11:55

In society there are guy things, and there are girl/woman things or rather these are supposed to be the girl/woman things like Robbie Williams and shopping.

For the record, I just don’t get the whole Robbie Williams thing, I am a woman, as red-blooded as any other but ROBBIE WILLIAMS??? I mean come on, ROBBIE WILLIAMS??? He has as much sex appeal as a bull terrier, come to think of it he even looks a bit like one and yet the female population seems to go brain dead at the mention of his name and lose all sense of well….anything. 

I mean, as a person, I don’t dislike him, I’ve seen him on chat shows, he seems like a nice enough bloke but that’s about as far as it goes, he’s just a bloke, nothing special.  I mean put him next to Hugh Jackman or Viggo Mortenson, (now we’re talking!) or even Ralph Fiennes (phew!), and well Robbie just doesn’t compare does he?  He just looks like an enthusiastic schoolboy - no big deal. 

And there’s another thing, his music is shit, I mean, ok Angels was alright, I’ll give you that, but seriously, Rock DJ??  Wasn’t that just about the crappiest song you ever wish you had never heard?  It was garbage,

‘I doo wanna rock DJ cos you’re BORING ME TO TEARS!! and  if I have to listen to that song one more time I’m gonna slit my freaking wrists!!!.’

It was just shit!

Anyway, here’s another thing, what is the shopping thing about?  Again, I just don’t get it, trailing around shops looking at stuff, trying stuff on, into another shop, the same thing, the music is too loud, I thought this was a shop not a freaking disco!  Your back starts to hurt, your temples start to throb, you can feel your brain disintegrating, you’re starting to lose the will to live, your life is passing you by, you start to forget that you had a life outside of the shopping centre, the walls are starting to close in, you might never get out of here again, 'Weren’t we in this shop already?'

They’re all starting to look the same, the all have the same stuff,

'Just buy the freaking jeans so’s I can get out of here!!'

…your chest starts to tighten….you can’t breathe….you’re trapped in hell…you thought it was a quick look to see what’s there and it’s turning into an episode of Eerie Indiana….you’re going to be trapped in the shopping centre for the rest of your life and you just have to keep shopping forever and ever!!!!!!  Ahhhhhhhh!!!!!!! 

 And then, just when you are on the verge of cracking you spy the book shop, you almost cry with relief, you’ve been saved, just in time!  You walk in and make straight for the classics section, nothing like a few Dickens or Bronte’s to restore your equilibrium. 

You remember, that’s right, I did have a life before this, I read books, yes books...like Great Expectations, Wuthering Heights, you glance around, you’re starting to feel better, your eyes fall on the TV/Film section….and there on the top shelf you see,

The Wonders of the Universe by Professor Brian Cox, ….YES!!!

You have been saved…you feel safe again, your breathing has steadied, you walk over and lift it off the shelf, you stroke it’s cover and console yourself with the thought that yes, there is intelligent life out there and one day in the future PEOPLE WILL THINK AGAIN!!!  And so just to nudge the world in that direction you take as many copies as you can and place them over Robbie Williams autobiography before you leave.

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The Alternative Feminist/ Men and football

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Thursday, 1 Sep 2022, 12:38

There are guy things like football and Nick Hornby novels and, you know, all those mass slaughter computer games where it takes three thousand rounds to kill one person. It positively encourages psychotic behaviour in the general population, as if they’re weren’t enough nut jobs running around already, and it seems to me, looking at what passes for men around here, that evolution seems to have stopped, not just stopped, if anything it seems to have gone into reverse and there’s another thing, it’s not just about football with guys is it?   

I mean what is that about, all that anally retentive stuff about who scored, who passed it to them, at what point in the game and from what position, what the weather was like and if the goalie was distracted by that slight touch of diarrhoea his cat had that morning, and what should the left back have ordered in the restaurant last weekend when his mother in law came to stay (steak not prawns, since you ask). You know all that kind of stuff that men seem get off on. Yes, I know women like football too, I do myself, but my interest runs to did they win or lose, it’s that simple. 

‘How did they do today?’ you ask someone.

‘They won two nil’

‘Great’ you think, ‘they won'. Nothing more to know, but no…men are never satisfied with just knowing the score, it’s all in depth analysis of the game, who did what, who didn’t do what, who should have done this, why wasn’t he taken off at half time, that free kick was a joke, that asshole couldn’t score in a whorehouse, that referee’s a prick…you know all that macho stuff. I mean, what are they trying to prove, what does it all mean, I’ll tell you what it means, it means nothing at all, just a load of empty vacuous claptrap that no-one really gives a damn about and, in the great scheme of things, has about as much significance as a pimple on an ant’s ass in sub-Saharan Africa on a wet Wednesday in April!!


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Edited by Aideen Devine, Thursday, 1 Sep 2022, 12:32

This is another one from the creative writing course. It came from memories of 1980/81 and contains some very personal references along with some of the political events of the time. It was the year I turned 18 and it was a pretty miserable year for me all round.


 10, Maggie’s Den.

Maggie, Maggie, Maggie!



10, happy birthday,

Eighteen now, no child here.

What do we want?


10 Men Dead,

Black flags and funerals.

Political Status!


10 Gold medals,

Games without false tears.

When do we want it?


10 years gone,

Wondering where you are,


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Edited by Aideen Devine, Thursday, 1 Sep 2022, 12:36

This is another poem I wrote which I use it to remind myself to challenge my own thinking. I have often found that very few people ever challenge their own thinking and when you question them on it, it often turns out that their beliefs are not their own but what they have been told, or brought up to believe.  I'm often told I think too much but I think we don't really think enough about everything.


Ask yourself a question;

What do I believe?

Think about it for a while,

Then ask yourself - Why?

Then write it all down.

Turn it into a poem

Or even a play,

Set it to music  

Make it a song and sing it out, 

loud and long.

Then ask yourself another question;

What if it’s all wrong?

Then think about that.

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War Horse - A review

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Thursday, 1 Sep 2022, 11:59

I went to see War Horse last week with high expectations of seeing a Spielberg classic and having read several reviews which all gave it high praise. 

Well, what a disappointment!  This film was so bad I wondered if maybe there were two versions of this movie out and I was watching the wrong one. This was overblown, mawkish, sentimental tripe. It was full of sad old stereotypes and clichés, bad dialogue and worse acting. 

After a very boring start, the story was galloped through, giving no time to build up interest in anything that was going on. 

The lead character Albert, while supposedly appearing young and naïve just came across as moronic. Taking nothing away from the horrors of WW1, I actually felt relieved when him and his friend were gassed, hoping it would put an end to the misery but, unfortunately, Albert survived. It got so bad in the trenches that I actually couldn't stop from laughing and half expected Dougal to appear and give us a verse or two from My Lovely Horse.

There are only two characters who come away with any credit from this film and that was the horse and Sherlock himself, Benedict Cumberbatch. 

I think Spielberg has been in Hollywood too long.  This is a film for children only.  Not recommended at all.

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A little bit of politics

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Friday, 13 Nov 2015, 13:34

I wrote this poem last year on my creative writing course but it was much shorter and didn't seem finished, so now I have finally finished it, I hope you enjoy it.  Comments are welcome


The stated precedent of the Condem Government is:

To implement cuts to pay off the deficit.

When greedy bankers and free market Capitalism

Dramatically failed, they were saved by Socialism

And still they demand no tighter regulation

To control their gambling and reckless speculation

Even when it leads to third-world starvation,

Because profit is their only consideration.

And their biggest worry is double-dip recession,

Which if it lasts longer, will be a depression.

‘There is no alternative’ says Thatcher’s next generation.

‘Someone has to pay for this economic devastation’

As they roll out the old policy of privatization,

(Which also demonstrates their complete lack of imagination),

To sell off to the few, what belongs to the nation

And the cost will be yours and your children’s education.

Along with your health and your old age pension

While blaming the poor for the whole situation

Not to mention that other old chestnut- immigration

Because every government failure needs a scapegoat to aim for

And tomorrow the finger might be pointed at your door.

So, the next time there is a general election

Think carefully before you make your selection

And vote in the best interests of the entire population

Not for Oxbridge boys and their corporate connections

Who deceive us with rhetoric and tabloid machinations

In their lust for power and without any consideration

For the debt, they’ve dumped on future generations.

Because this legacy of poverty has been laid down for posterity

But not for the millionaires who’ve Condemned us to austerity

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