The Dread

On Thursday I got ‘The Dread’.


9 minutes

I’ve spent all weekend at a friends wedding. Ceremony and reception yesterday, and then brunch etc today.

It was so nice to see everyone; old friends etc. Everyone was all dressed up and looking glamorous. The bride and groom sang some songs together, and their old band got back together and played some tunes at the reception too – which was ace.

The roof of the venue was decorated in 100’s of paper cranes. 😍

The Dread

The wedding has of course been in the diary for months. So from Monday I had scheduled and arranged my week to have it all my work done and dusted by Friday. No worries. But then on Thursday I got ‘The Dread’.

I wrote in January about how I shook off my anxiety during the course of last year and things have been rolling along since then. But every so often, a couple of times a year I have a day when I experience ‘The Dread’. I capitalise it’s name the same way as I speak about the Dream, the Doing, and the Done. The Dread is a feeling, a force, a thing.

It’s visit is usually presaged with a ‘got out the wrong side of bed‘ sort of feeling in the morning. That everything is not quite right with ‘the day’. It’s hard to pin down, but I’ll feel unsettled, unmoored and uninterested from my day to day activities. As the day progresses, The Dread will creep up on me. Maybe something won’t go quite to plan and it’ll spin me out – on Thursday it was related to an electrician not being able to install a new meter due to shoddy wiring out in the shared hallway – and after that i’ll feel like I’m caught in a slow motion landslide. Or like oversteer in a car skidding on black ice.

Then It’s all down hill till bedtime – which becomes the new thing I’m waiting for, waiting for the day to end. I be totally estranged from all the tasks I’m supposed be getting on with. My todolist etc. There’s a feeling in the pit of my stomach, and I just think that everything is a total waste of time. Climate’s fucked, Biosphere is collapsing, UK politics is awful, people are dying, and nothing I’m doing is worth investing energy in etc etc. I’ll just get fucking nothing done and the whole day is a total right off.

It happens a couple of times a year and has done randomly throughout my life – going right back to being a young adult. But this week was the first time in my life that its not happened on top of experiencing major depression or anxiety.

‘The Dread’ itself as a feeling however, has only recently been named. But now it does have a name I can recognise and admit that it had me. Rather than try and force myself to get on with shit, pounding at mental brick walls, or hauling myself though psychic mud, instead I just laid on the bed and read a book. So I did fucking nothing all day on Thursday.

In the past I would have tried to force my self through, or struggle from it’s grip. I would have beat myself up about being lazy, and not getting anything done. But this time I just went to bed and woke up the next day totally fine. Right as rain. No guilt.

It was really refreshing just to be able to recognised ‘The Dread’ and know I wasn’t going to get anything done – so I didn’t feel bad about not doing anything.

Besides. I got a bunch of shit done on Friday and then went on to have a lovely weekend.

In other news not related to the blips in ones mental health. I’ve just noticed that I there’s a new toggle in WordPress UX that says ‘send as newsletter’. Which means I can now post blog posts to without emailing 1000’s of people. THIS IS VERY EXCITING.

It means I can now use this blog ‘as a blog’ again. And post to it in a much more casual way rather than feeling like every post needs to put on a tie. People reading via RSS will get everything and email subscribes will notice no change at all.

Expect hot takes!

Permanently Moved

No one is waiting by their computer for me to drop 301, nor is anyone going to die if I don’t do it tonight – so 301 can wait till tomorrow.

Photo 365


The Ministry Of My Own Labour

A few weeks ago I was interviewed by the ABC in Australia about Solapunk.

I talked enthusiastically about washing lines..

Even using a clothesline to dry laundry β€” a radical idea for North Americans who tend to rely on clothes dryers year-round β€” can be considered solarpunk.

And Springett is particularly enthusiastic about the Hills Hoist. “Those things are awesome,” he says.

“It seems so silly to say a clothesline is a solarpunk technology, but that’s actually one of those examples.”

Terminal Access

Author C Y Ballard (who has never had much of an online presence) has finally started a newsletter. It’s called Cosmic Mystery Club. It’s set to be a series of ongoing essays examining the ‘Cosmic Mystery’ genre – in which a detective/investigation plot bumps up against the speculative or the weird/cosmic

Mysteries that are all about the possibility of something big moving around under the everyday world, occasionally breaching the surface.

As I tried to answer two questionsβ€”Why do I like this? and Where can I find more of it?β€”I found I wasn’t the only person looking for more of whatever this was. From that sense of possibility and riffing off β€˜cosmic horror,’ I started to call this genre β€˜cosmic mystery.’

Dear Lord. You also all have to drop everything right now and read this collection of 9 essays on Adderall in contemporary American Culture!!!

America runs on Adderall. From Silicon Valley to Wall Street, through prep school and grad school, in ad agencies and magazines, many of our most powerful minds are flying on prescription-grade speed. And all these uppers do a lot more than increase productivity. They induce a particular set of behaviorsβ€”a passive-aggressive management style, a manic discourse, a sarcastic affectβ€”that can fuse into a culture when the number of users reaches critical mass.
The connection between amphetamines and digital behavioral loops is perhaps best illuminated by what psychiatrist Gosta Rylander first described as β€œpunding” in 1970. β€œThe patient becomes obsessed with an activity that, while harmless on its own terms, comes to consume their life,” he wrote. β€œThey become irritable whenever someone distracts them from their preferred behavioral loop.” Current clinical literature describes punding as β€œnon-goal oriented, repetitive activity such as manipulation of technical equipment, handling, examining or sorting through objects, grooming, or hoarding.”

Honestly go read it! It’s so good! Explains so much of the weirdness that comes out of extremely online American people. Pitchfork and Gawkers house writing style and so much more.

A personal anecdote: a few years ago I was teaching a bunch of Zoomer’s, and over a pint after the workshop with the course director who had invited me along, I mentioned the vibes in the room and the strange leaps in logic some of them made. “They’re all beaning on Adderall” he said with a shrug.

Dipping the Stacks

Folktales like philosophy startle us into rethinking our values | Aeon Essays

Folklore is an overlooked repository of philosophical thinking from voices outside the traditional canon. As such, it provides a model for new approaches that are directly responsive to the problems facing academic philosophy today. If, like Ibronka, we find ourselves tied to the devil, one way to disentangle ourselves may be to spin a tale.

‘It is important that it be fully detailed’: What the BBC makes of D&D down the ages

All of this I suppose reinforces, obliquely, what it is that makes D&D so successful, 50 years on. It defies easy summary; it is protean. No two groups play even the same edition of the game the same way, let alone its different variants, and this malleability (what Ron Edwards would have labelled its ‘incoherence’) is clearly its strongest selling point as a role playing game.

How Stupid Do They Think We Are – Aftermath

But these corporate ghouls aren’t unconcerned with alienating readers just because they think there’s an endless supply of suckers to trick into clicking their Content. They also just think that readers are very stupid, because they are very stupid.

Nervous Breakdowns Can Be Good

The nervous breakdown was not a medical condition, but a sociological one.

Generative AI Might Finally Bend Copyright Past the Breaking Point – The Atlantic

Contrary to popular belief, copyright does not exist for the benefit of creators. Its purpose, according to founding documents and recent interpretations, is to foster a culture that produces great works of science, art, literature, and music.


I’m still working my way though the mammoth tome that is Letter from America: The Essential Letters 1936 – 2004Β by Alistair Cooke. At the time of writing, Reagan has just survived his assassination attempt.


Manage My Mind EP – Matt Douglas

I recently came across woodwinds player and multi-instrumentalist Matt Douglas. Manage My Mind EP is full of rhythmic repetition and at times smoking hot saxophone lead lines. Its great.

The first track, Death Whistle opens with a mesmeric piano and then evolves alongside a thoughtful and explorative saxaphone line.

It’s very pretty.

Remember Kids:

Hope springs eternal in the human breast: Man never is, but always to be blest.

Alexander Pope

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One response to “The Dread”

  1. […] month ago, for the first time in my adult life, I bought a watch and I was wearing it at a wedding over the weekend. As the evening reception wore on, I found people peering over my shoulder to look at my watch and […]

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