This blog is dedicated to Agua Marina, a mermaid from Barcelona who floated mysteriously to Tyneside via the Russell Group current. The gods had given her a hole in the heart. It was incredible. She could have been an X Man. (But she decided to do medicine instead as although the unemployment rate for doctors in Spain is high, it is not as high as it is for X-Men)
My Father (Messidor 2011)
Twenty years ago, I was diagnosed as having paranoid schizophrenia. A series of experiences with a crystal pendulum had led me to conclude that beings from another star were in telepathic contact with me. I know what you’re thinking. Crystals. Don’t get me wrong. I hate all that wibbly-wobbly stuff myself. My favourite on this is Sir Patrick Moore, whose BBC TV programme for amateur astronomers “The Sky At Night”, has been going since 1957. With his ill-fitting suit, bushy eyebrows and unkempt hair, he is the archetypal eccentric boffin. He is also a fantastic materialist scientist of the old school. Whenever he mentions the word “astrology”, his lip quivers with a repressed contempt that is very satisfying for those of us who remember Linda Goodman’s “Sun Signs”. But the events that I experienced were logical and scientifically plausible. Put it this way: it works just as well with any weight on the end of a bit of string.
It was my father who introduced me to The Sky At Night, in the early nineteen-sixties. It was an optimistic era. Moore often used to point out that amateur astronomers were still contributing to original astronomical research. There was a tribute to this in my Open University Astronomy coursebook on variable stars. It is a page of the records of the Association of Amateur Variable Star Observers,showing the variation in luminosity of a variable star over a period of about a hundred years. (I know. They should have got out more.). The luminosity is constant for a period of weeks then there is sudden flare-up which persists for a similar period. Then there is a rapid decline in brightness back to the baseline level. It looks like a quantum function: the classic Dirac delta wave. (I know. I should get out more.)
But of course since the War, the professionals have taken over in astronomy like they have done in everything else. There’s some provincial resistance. I attended a lecture here at the Newcastle Astronomical Society a few years ago and they were still arguing about the existence of polarised light. That’s why I have to get to Paris. It’s so provincial here in Newcastle. It was a mistake to try and live here,
Incidentally, I’m not frightened of the aliens that are in telepathic contact with me. There’s a recent British science-fiction movie called “Attack The Block!” that follows the usual route of having aliens that appear to be somewhere between dogs and monkeys on the evolutionary scale and yet who have somehow perfected the art of interstellar travel. I think it’s probably reasonable to conclude that if they have achieved star travel, they will be morally more evolved too. Possibly even world government and global social security.
How does the crystal work? Well you CAN try it at home. Put any weight on any bit of string and ask it questions. It swings clockwise for yes, anti-clockwise for no. Eventually, you might,as I did, ask if you’re speaking to aliens. You may then, as I did, feel the aliens moving your arm that is moving your hand that is moving the crystal so that you realise they are acting through your brain. You may then hear, as I did, a chorus of voices, saying “Can you hear us, Mick?”. You may then ..er..are you still with me?
The contact is 24/7/365. At first I tried to convince everyone I was right. I told my friends, the medical authorities, my wife, the girl I was trying to get off with, everyone. As a result, I found myself living on incapacity benefit on a South London housing estate. Funnily enough, the aliens in “Attack The Block!” invade a South London housing estate. Indeed, when the aliens invaded, I was the only person in the cinema who cheered.
Anyway, 20 years later and I’m still not a George King Aetherius Society-style guru with millions of adoring female fans. At the time the aliens introduced themselves to me, I was a writer. I had specifically become a writer for the profound reason that it would be a good chat-up line for girls at parties To put it bluntly, telling them you’re a ufo contactee, doesn’t have the same effect. Not that I can even go out and look for a girl, here in Newcastle. It may be a party city for some but for me, within five minutes I’m being confronted by the Bigg Market Hairy Palms Brigade, on their night out in the “Toon”, looking like the Andrew Weatherall remix of “Deliverance”. Even on the rare occasions I thought I was in with a chance of pulling, I’m looking over my shoulder for the boyfriend. I’m now 59 and on my own. Well, la vie en couple. It’s a bit of a cliché anyway, isn’t it?
In Paris it’s different. I can be an exiled contactee there and who knows what might happen. I reckon that if Cheryl Cole can make it in the US, I can make it in Paris. True, I’m not young and beautiful like Cheryl Cole but I’m a bloke so that doesn’t matter. Admittedly, the recent arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn over allegations of a New York chambermaid set me back but he’s been released now.
But what’s all this quixotic talk about getting to Paris as if I was some sort of upmarket version of Pinter’s “The Caretaker”? I’ve been on incapacity benefit for twenty years and haven’t got two mung beans to rub together. Well, I’ve had a stroke of luck. My father has died. That sounds terrible and I did love my dad but I’ve inherited some money,
He died just before last Christmas. One of his favourite jokes was the one about the patient who goes to see the doctor and the doctor tells them they are fine but not to start reading any long novels. I wonder if the last time my dad saw his doctor, the doctor told him he was fine but not to buy any Christmas presents.
Alright. How much did I inherit? A million? A hundred million with which I can buy a yacht and hang out with Bono and Sting?
Messidor, Vesce, L’Appartement a Paris.
Funnily enough, one of my biggest enemies is a News International journalist. Pat Kane. Some time back in the early mid-nineties, in his Times or maybe it was Sunday Times TV review, he referred to what he called “the gentle but flaky world of the ufo contactee”. It wasn’t just that we were mistaken, we had practically committed a fashion error. Before he had been a TV columnist, Kane had been a vocalist in a pop band. Like Bono. Or Sting. It’s all about image you see? The image of the contactee is that of a community care patient. Indeed that is what I am. Because I honestly believe beings from another star are in telepathic contact with me, I get incapacity benefit. It’s not as if I had to hold up a bible and swear that I believed that extraterrestrials were in telepathic contact with me. That was simply the diagnosis of the psychiatrists at the Institute of Psychiatry in Camberwell. To back them up, they had a scan of my brain that showed the asymmetry in the basal ganglia of my brain which is characteristic of 99% of schizophrenics.
At the time the aliens made contact, I had a job as an Agency residential senior social worker and was a regular writer with cult BBC radio satire show, “Week Ending”. I had just written a sketch for Week Ending that had been used instead of one by Rob Newman and Dave Baddiel. Around that time, my American contactee counterpart “Simply Fred” had just won the “Boston All-Comers” comedy competition. Jim Carrey had been one of the other comics in the competition. Then one night, simply Fred had been driving along the freeway when he was, he claims, abducted by a spaceship. It ruined his career. No-one would book him as a comedian any more. I could claim millions in compensation. (As long as I don’t have to have Jim Carrey’s eyebrows.)