The truth about my marriage: Release, rage, raw grief…


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https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/release/

Too many women do what I did: stay in a relationship for years/decades out of fear or a sense of duty or the suspicion that telling the truth will cause more abuse from friends and family members, and a vicious backlash from the abuser. I know the feeling: I delayed for years.

This is my story.

I do not want sympathy or fluffy bunny words. I simply want to tell the truth and, in so-doing, encourage others to cut through the fog of gaslighting that is so prominent a part of most abuse and to see, with pitiless clarity, what they are being exposed to. If my post helps just one woman to get the hell out, all the better.

For years, I have been told, ‘It’s not abuse. It’s not bullying. It’s not intimidation. I am the Good Guy. The problem is you. You are imagining things…’

Not once did I get any acknowledgement that his behaviour was out of order and cruel and scary. The most I ever received was, ‘You provoked me…’ He doesn’t do ‘Sorry’ except in a glib, almost menacing, way.

I was blamed – for being silenced and wounded and isolated and excluded. I was told it was my fault.

I was punished for objecting to gaslighting and the Silent Treatment and endless punishments, of an emotional nature, often for something as trivial as buying things in a shop he disapproved of, or upsetting his plans.

I was punished by terror more often than I can say: Furious and fast driving; furious silences; getting at others in order to get his own back on me; threats; constant manipulation; being told, ‘I won’t say you’re clinically insane, but you are clearly not sane…’

I was told, ‘Well, would you mind if I had sex with other women, then?’ when I finally told him I didn’t like his fetishistic sexual habits as much as he did.

For years, I kept all of this hidden. But I cannot any longer. The fury and grief is climbing up the column of my throat. It needs to be released.

I was told I read crap books; that my taste in televisual material was appalling but that I was welcome to watch telly as long as we watched what he wanted. I was told that my instrumental ability was negligible and that I would humiliate and embarrass him if he had to watch me playing my recorder or violin.

I have been told that I am disloyal for mentioning his behaviour to others. I have been accused of lying. I have been threatened, during the divorce process, by a relative on his side. A so-called friend refused to believe my testimony.

I have been got at for finally releasing my fury and tears and deep sense of betrayal by opening up about the abuse I suffered for so many years. I have been told that there are two sides to every story; that I was misinterpreting perfectly innocent behaviour; that maybe I should see a shrink because I might well be delusional.

The grief and loss is too much. It is a pain like no other. Worse, because far less constructive, than childbirth. During those years of silent abuse behind closed doors, I felt so bloody powerless, too afraid to confide the whole thing to anyone on either side of the family, though a tiny circle of friends did eventually get told edited highlights. I often longed to pour it all out, to cry on someone’s shoulder. But my tears were seen as signs of either manipulation or, even worse, caused sexual arousal in him.

Now? I need release. Tears need to flow, having been stoppered for the better part of twenty years. I need to be released from the guilt and fear associated with sharing an honest testimony in a world where such things are often seen as highly disloyal and treacherous.

Disloyal? No. Why should I continue to protect, and feel loyalty towards, a man who has tried his hardest to break me and distort my sense of my own reality?

NOTHING I have written in this post deviates from the truth. God, I wish it were exaggeration or lying. I wish I knew nothing of such behaviour, such nastiness, such walking-on-eggshells-every-moment terror.

Those – and unbelievably there were one or two of them – who asked me if I wanted to divorce him because I had found another man were ludicrously way off base. I have not. I had not then. Three male friends were among the small group of trusted souls I confided in. But, to put it bluntly, my ex husband’s insidious abuse, and coercive techniques, in the bedroom put an end to any desire on my part early in 2014, and I have not re-opened that particular part of my life since then.

I am sick and tired of being portrayed, by some, as the bad guy, the mad guy, because I finally recognised that I was being emotionally (and the rest) abused and got the fuck out of a toxic relationship.

I am sick to death of my testimony being twisted and disbelieved by those who would rather not face the truth about my ex.

I was not, and am not, perfect. But no one deserves to be systematically abused the way I was, and so many other people are.

His behaviour and attitude was the problem, and not my divorcing him on the basis of it, or sharing the immense burden of grief with others. Until we as a society get this basic distinction clear in our minds, my story and worse, far worse, will continue to happen. Until those closed doors are flung open and the evils within released, millions of people like me will continue to live a life which consists of abuse and all surfaces littered with eggshells.

Any person, male or female, who tries to justify – or project upon the victim – abusive behaviour, rather than admitting, and apologising for, it deserves the titles of traitor, bully and liar. Such terms should NOT be thrown back at the abused person because the abuser lacks the balls, or the human decency, or the self-awareness, to reach deep inside and face the darkness within.

 

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Telephone Torment


A year ago, life was very grim indeed. The house in which I had lived for seventeen years had been snapped up almost immediately. Both my ex-husband and I had found new places to live and had had offers accepted. It should have been straight-forward.

It wasn’t. For reasons complicated and, in the grand scheme of things, now irrelevant, delay after delay caused the process to go on until five days before Christmas – and several times I feared I would lose the lovely house which is now my home.

But that was almost a minor inconvenience when set against living with a man I had just divorced, and far from amicably; a man, to put it bluntly, who was full of rage and resentment and had multiple axes to grind.

And grind them he did, mainly via delaying tactics and very loud telephone calls to members of his family.

I had been ‘discouraged’ from using the telephone some years previously and had, by this time, developed a real anxiety about being caught talking on it. The upstairs phone was in my ex-husband’s room.

I was, at this point, spending most of my time cowering in the back room I had turned into a study. I was barely eating because going downstairs, through the Living Room (where my ex sat watching television for hours on end), became really frightening and stressful. I tended to creep around the house, and only felt safe to go downstairs when the man I had married and then later divorced was out.

The phone would ring. I knew it would never be for me. The door would be wedged shut. I would then close my door. But I could hear the gist of the conversations anyway. And here I had a dilemma which many people will, no doubt, find ridiculous: I was too scared to walk down the stairs because I did not want the man to know that I had been listening; but, I desperately wanted to leave the house and get away from the harsh words I was hearing.

Sometimes, I did manage to tiptoe down to the front door – and, at such times, I would often make my way to the friends in the village who were so supportive and kind (and who were the only people ever to see me weep during, or after, the horrors of the divorce).

But most times, I was stuck. I had no source of music I could use to drown him out, and stuffing cotton wool in my ears – which I did do – was useless: Deaf, and wearing hearing aids, my ex tended to bellow at the best of times, and fury gave his voice extra decibels.

The conversation would start with Relative A or Friend B asking why I was divorcing him. He would claim he had no idea, and add, ‘I suspect she is going mad…’

Many people, I discovered afterwards, asked him this question, in one form or another – and, as I discovered from a neighbour later, his stock answer was either the mad one or a cruel alternative (taken, I suspect, from the fact that my mother has the disease) – that I was clearly showing signs of Alzheimer’s Disease.

For too long I have been silenced. For too long, I have allowed another to hog the metaphorical telephone and to assert dominance in this way. Out of respect for the rest of the family (people, on his side, I genuinely loved and who are now lost to me), I have never published, nor have I finished, the book I started in which I detailed our relationship in stark and terrifying detail.

Often I delete a whole swathe of blog posts – out of intense fear, fear that the impassioned anguish in my writing voice will be misconstrued as lunacy; but, above all, terror that my post will get back to my ex or one of his cronies.

Since coming to Glastonbury, I have tried so hard to be strong, to assert my boundaries, to ensure that this kind of metaphorical torment by telephone never comes my way again. It is terribly hard because I am trained to give way in the face of another’s anger or disapproval or stronger convictions. I am not used to fighting my corner successfully. I am all too accustomed to being accused of being insane if I fight back against a controlling individual.

For the first time, I am daring to put this out in public. Not fictionalised, or changed through fear; not guarded by privacy (as it has been for over two weeks) – but on Facebook and out in the world.

The Divorce Petition set out my reasons for divorcing this man in pitiless detail. He knows them full well. I told, as I tend to, the stark and unvarnished (and, therefore, in some quarters, unwelcome) truth about a toxic pact. Denying my truth, and calling it something else, does not alter the facts.

In all honesty, Torment by Telephone, in a very different guise, was a feature of our marriage for many years prior to the divorce. It was an integral part of the strategy of mind games used to control me. To this day, I struggle to talk on a land line and rarely even phone anyone on the mobile.

Today is the ten month anniversary of my arrival in Glastonbury. I feel very sad at present. But I will say this: My boundaries are strengthening all the time, and I am telling my truth. Slowly, painfully, with many a backward look over my shoulder, but telling it nonetheless.

You see, I firmly believe that what we hide between closed doors can all too easily become the norm, our new and painful reality, a means of silencing us. But there is a huge difference between malicious rumour or gossip, and the release of sending truth which has damaged us out into the world.

It does not matter whether people reading this like me, or believe me, or think me crazy. I know that I have told the truth from the start, that my testimony has been completely consistent – and that the thick metaphorical tape used to close my mouth and keep me mute is being ripped off painful centimetre by painful centimetre.

I will not be quiet and biddable any longer.

Risky:The Road to Voicelessness


https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/risky/

Writing this is risky. Every day, another woman finds herself being silenced. Why? Because she has attracted the attentions of an emotional abuser.

They sat in the crowded auditorium, watching local children performing in ‘Oliver!’ Madeleine’s humour was poked and then unleashed by the brilliant acting skills of Paul, who was playing Fagin.

Laughter bubbled, erupted. Rare, it was, these days – and unease was felt because Jason, to her left, was po-faced, grim.

In a moment, his right thigh had crashed into her left, the red-velveteen-covered seats rocking and creaking from the force of the collision. A glare. A hissed, ‘Be quiet. You’re embarrassing me…’ and the bubbles of laughter had subsided into scared silence.

As she blinked back tears – ‘Mustn’t cry. Mustn’t cry…’ a drought in the eyes’ ready pools – Madeleine’s thoughts returned to Scotland, two years previously. Staying with musical relatives, who had encouraged her to bring her flute for jamming purposes, they had gone, with the rest of the family, into town, having heard of street musicians in the offing.

Maddy had prevaricated for ages: Should she? No, no. Not a good idea. Leave the flute case behind. That was safest and easiest. But a little worm of rebellion had whispered in her ear – and her beloved instrument sat in a shopping bag, concealed.

Morris dancers and folk musicians brightened the dull October air and sweetened the grey road with their ancient and spritely melodies. Maddy’s feet began to tap, her hands to clench in their fight between music and terror.

The notes sparkling invisible in the air won. Out came the case. Flute assembled in a trice, Maddy turned to Jason.

‘I’m just going to join that band over there, Jase. Won’t be long…’

The rage filled his face before she had finished.

‘If you play in public and embarrass me, I will NOT be staying,’ he spat at her. ‘The kids and I will go and wait in the car…’

‘But…’ she began.

‘No,’ he said, throwing a large stone upon her exuberant hopes. ‘You don’t get your own way on this. If you insist on playing, you do it alone…’

Mind back in the narrow seat, Fagin’s song a recent memory still resounding to claps and cheers, Madeleine recalled the wounding horror of the most recent musical skirmish, this mere days previously.

For, between Scotland and the musical show, she had found a little group of Irish music-playing musicians to join and, flute exchanged for tin whistle, had been having a wonderful time rehearsing for a Ceilidh to be held in nearby Boscastle.

Hesitantly, she had asked Jason if he wanted her to reserve a seat in the pub for him, so that he wouldn’t have to stand at the bar or lurk in the doorway. He had delayed his answer with a series of, ‘Not now, I’m busy…’ and ‘Ask me some other time,’ excuses.

The night of the gig arrived. Maddy felt she needed to walk the eggshell route one more time, lest Jason accuse her later of not including him.

He whirled upon her this time, anger clear in his clenched jaw and narrowed eyes.

‘No,’ he spat. ‘I will not be coming. You are not very good on the tin whistle, even worse on the flute, and it would humiliate and embarrass me to watch you…’

Sitting there, watching children she knew being applauded by their proud parents – and quite rightly so – she swallowed and swallowed and swallowed trying, in vain, to keep the tears at bay. But, this time, she could not force them back – and a silent deluge of salty water flooded down her face, drips landing on the dress she was wearing.

Silenced. Again. A long way down the road to voicelessness.

Passion and the Water Sprite: A fairy story


Burned by the forge of passion; overwhelmed by the palette of red, orange, yellow and gold used to paint that most elusive, and oft illusory, of emotions, the girl took the cloak of magic and, under a Moon as Full as her craving for love, transformed herself into a Water Fairy.

A new environment, she sought, and an answer to a question so often asked, in tears’ lonely paroxysms, when the transitory and surface shading of hearts-and-flowers-and chocolates gave way to bitter gall and back-turning and sizzling spite.

The question which hovered between the known and the mysterious; which walked beyond the human relationship descriptors and attempted something new and strange and liberating; which looked to the West, to the Lady of the Lake, to water and emotions and depth; which understood, at a level quite apart from words, that the burning away process of the fiery furnace of lust allowed the tempered metal, dipped in cooling water and exposed to the healing gusts of air, to become something quite other.

Dressed in soft colours – gentle lilac, earthen green and cooling turquoise – the girl, in her fairy guise, slipped sweetly beneath the waves. The Moon’s gigantic sphere, distorted and wavering at this depth, gave comfort; the fronds of weed, viridescent as shining emeralds, caused a bubbling stream of child-like laughter, the natural response – away from the cardboard world of long-past-its-sell-by-date courtly gesture and speech destined to part body from clothes – of the trapped child’s spirit.

Tears fell, in this strange underwater world, as shells in shades unknown to man enchanted, and undulating creatures bared their barnacled and barbed undersides  – In warning? As a mating display? At this depth, no human could possibly tell! – and mer-people looked on in astonishment.

Feet wiggling in the sensuous liquid world, the fairy-girl fell ever more speedily through an element as familiar as gestation, yet as alien as the true heart of love. Her tears and little moans of recognition blended with the rhythmic oceanic whispering and whooshing to make a symphony of deep sound. She saw, with utter clarity, how easily she and her kind sloughed off the magical skin of childhood in order to grab the largely superficial and regimented garments of young adulthood’s love games. She saw the dullness and despair, the cramming of the spirit into the metaphorical tight-fitting glass slipper, and the worthlessness of so maiming the self in the pursuit of fool’s gold…

She saw, as the sea water caressed and calmed her, how the relentless chase after passion’s hart, through the forests of flattery and uneasy compromise and sacrifice to a god not worth worshipping, created a brittleness, a fold of hurt within, where the strong and vibrant heart of the child used to thump so wonderfully.

She saw, as seahorses lolloped past and shipwrecks creaked and wailed like the ghosts they undoubtedly held prisoner, that she had flamed and flashed and flurried in the becoming blushed redness of her age and nubility; how she had anointed her pretty mouth with the colours of intense arousal; how her every gesture had reminded the young men of the narrow passage of pleasure waiting to be wedged apart below.

The film of her younger self replayed its pitiless reels: The heat; the flaunting and flirting; the unease hidden behind the gasps of pleasure; the coolness after each fire; the ashes, so grey and sad, as phones failed to ring and texts kept their secrets.

Scorched once too often, she had fled. Told, like a dreadfully predictable mantra, that so-and-so was on fire for her, would be consumed if he could not have her, she sought solace in the cooler shades of the spectrum; looked for a bond, a connection, that went deeper than the flash-fires and their occasional collateral damage.

Fey for a time of her own choosing, her descent continued – until she saw, a little to her left, a tiny light. Beautiful, it was, a pale blue so relaxing and yet moving that the fairy-girl ached to touch it, to meld with it, to become one with its deep radiance. It was the connection without words. It was the reading of another’s skin; the tuning into a vibration unheard by anyone else; it was the intimacy which can happen without bodies touching at all; it was the passion which lies deeply hidden beneath the thrashing about and crying and slippery slap of bodies making love’s more obvious coupling.

She smiled. Reached out. Felt the blue stream of light tickling her palm and then, in a mysterious gliding motion, becoming one with her.

She realised, in that moment of close connection, that love encompasses all the colours of the spectrum (and more besides) and that humans were never bound by any law of nature which said they had to remain with the hot end of that rainbow curve. She realised that, for many people, deep love with its vibrating greens and blues and purples appeared frightening and cold, alien and mysterious…

Passion, she saw, is beautiful and greatly to be cherished; but, as with all things, it needs to be leavened by the contrasting colours of love; that all the elements play their part in this alchemy of love, and that people discard one or more in favour of the brightest and most obvious at their peril…

Smiling, she swam on, her heart expanding, its brittle shards snapping off and melting, like the icicles they had become, fathoms below her.

Loyal?The Silence of the Abused.


https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/loyal/

Why are we silent? Why are we so reluctant to share our tales in public? Why do we delete post after post if we are bloggers? Why do we only feel safe sharing the full story anonymously on other writers’ pages?

Too many of us keep quiet about abuse because we feel we would be disloyal to spill the beans. But being loyal can mean allowing bad behaviour to continue, and children to see abuse as normal…

These thoughts have been triggered by a shared status (which I have, unusually, put my name to) on Facebook: Basically, those who have been abused are starting their own brief (or long) piece, which begins, ‘Me too…’ Already, I have seen many of my friends’ names at the top of these heart-rending posts.

Why, though, to go back to my original questions, do we not shout it out in the street? Name and shame our abusers?

Very simple. Part of the poisonous program of personalised abuse is an in-depth ‘seminar’ on mind control and silencing techniques. To put it bluntly, we have ‘This is not abuse. You are imagining it. You are the problem,’ engraved upon our shaky minds from the earliest moment. The training is cumulative and never lets up.

Undermining comments are rife. Punishment of the behaviour which stems from any kind of abuse is widespread and, by and large, accepted. Thus, when I got into trouble six months after being sexually attacked in the street, my then Headmaster made this comment: ‘I thought you were over all that. After all, it’s not as if you were raped.’

Surface impressions are taken as indications of depth of character, hence the many, ‘I have never seen this in him…’ or, ‘I don’t believe this. He is not like that…’ comments I received about my own main abuser. Because most abuse happens behind closed doors, and many abusers are charm personified in public, it is all too common for the abused to be blamed, ostracized and further tormented by those who choose to disbelieve every word he or she says about the abuse.

This all leads to terror and silence – and profound loneliness. This is especially harrowing and hurtful when friends and family members query the abused person’s testament, accuse him/her of lying or exaggerating or getting the wrong end of the stick -and, worse case scenario, take the abuser’s side.

This causes appalling psychic shock and such fear of a decaying mind that many abused people actually do go mad or have a nervous breakdown in the wake of months of disbelief. They start to question their own reality. I know I did. They start to think, ‘Am I the crazy one here? Am I suffering from some form of personality disorder that makes me say these things? Can I believe the evidence of my own mind and experience when no one else does?’

Silence is the end result in all too many cases. And, when statuses such as the one described earlier, show up on a social site, many of us go into immediate frozen terror, and think, ‘I cannot put my name to this. What if he sees it, or someone tells him it’s there, and he denies his involvement in public the way he always did in private?’

But the whole point is that abuse if rife, continuous, hugely damaging and ludicrously, frighteningly, easy to deny. When it is one person’s word against the other; when the abuser is not above using mind games including gaslighting; when important members of one’s potential support system have gone over to the enemy; when the media is full of doubt and denial and stories of women (very rare, this) who DO make up incidents of rape and abuse; when misogny hides beneath charm, good manners, excellent education and good looks; when not wanting to put one’s head above the parapet seems the more sensible choice, the effects of silencing become ever more toxic and wider in scope.

I want to make a very important point here. Every time I write a post of this nature, I am terrified, shaking, tempted to delete it (and often do); I am scared that someone who knows my abuser will read it and show him; I am scared that the whispers of denial, the accusations that I am after my pound of flesh, am mad, am making it up will start again.

If you replicate these emotions thousands, if not millions, of times, you will readily understand why silence is the option so many of us take. It is easier, less dangerous, less painful (on the surface at least), less confronting.

But every time we deny our own histories of abuse, it also means we are denying those of our fellow abused. Every time we read an article by a sufferer, and think, ‘Oh, yeah, bet he/she made that up to get money or revenge…’ we are denying a widespread and enormously serious problem. Every time we think, ‘I can’t tell my truth, but maybe some other brave soul will say the words for me…’ we are allowing abusers the world over to use fear and silencing techniques, to continue their campaign of mind control and intimidation.

I am a survivor of spousal abuse. Of emotional, mental, financial and sexual control. The fact that no mark was left on my body does not invalidate the previous statement. The fact that people I know have chosen to deny my words, to doubt me, and, in some cases, to side with my abuser, does not change the reality of what happened.

But, as I typed, with shaking fingers and teary eyes, upon Facebook this morning:

‘Me too…’

An absolute classic of its kind!


https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/fraud/

Words rarely fail me. This morning, however, they did! As you will know, if you’ve been reading my posts for a while, I have received some hilarious search terms over the years (‘Rampant Granny Shaggers’ and ‘Woden Horse Porn’ being two of the best!) – but today’s Spam comment (which, somehow, slipped under the net) made me laugh out loud.

Damning with faint praise, this individual gave me credit for being, as he put it, ‘…quite a good writer…’ of, as he then put it, somewhat bafflingly, ‘…a fastidious article of entropy…’but, added, ‘…you make too many spelling mistakes…’

WTF? (as the fashionable acronym goes)

Almost as riotously farcical as my other top ‘favourite’: The commentator whose critique starts, ‘I don’t read many articles on line…’ and whose supplementary dross makes it all too clear that he/she/it has not read mine either!

So, now, for the delectation of the masses, and as an ironic counterpoint to the above comments, I shall turn paragraph one into the kind of mistake-ridden prose I so often had to correct as a teacher:

Word’s (please note the superfluous apostrophes throughout!) rairly fail me, (and crap use of punctuation generally!) this morning however they did, as you will now if youve bin reading my post’s for a wile/wyal/wiel/ for ever i ave recieved some hiral/hylar/funny serch term’s over the year’s (ram pant grany* shager’s and wodes horse’s spawn being to off the best), but todays spam coment (witch somhow sliped under the net) made me laff/larf/lol out loud.

*not to mention insecurity around the doubling of consonants rule!

Need I say more?!

Other than this (to my erstwhile literary critic): ‘Once you can actually express yourself coherently in one of the world’s many languages, then you are more than welcome to point the finger at my grammar, punctuation and spelling. Until then, Oh egregious toss-pot, I strongly suggest that you go and drain the main vein off!’

NB: My ambiguous use of the phrase ‘drain the main vein’ is quite deliberate suggesting, as it does, two very different uses for the same bodily part – but one absolutely clear instruction to my latest Tame Troll!

Literary critic, my arse! Literary fraud, more like!

Ghost Weed: A sudden surge in hits on here!


Ghost Weed and Bill Kirchen, Spring 2014

This sudden surge tickles me pink and makes me happy for the lads! So, brief back-story (for new readers): Back in 2013, I joined a recently set up local band called Ghost Weed. My friends, Mark and Neil, were already in it, playing flute and guitar respectively – and, then, the ragged and lively membership included Wrington-based musicians Tom, Will and Gill, Lucy and, briefly, Jerry – though not, I am sorry to say, Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney, Peter Davy, Dan’l Whiddon, Harry Hawk, Old Uncle Tom Cobley and the rest of those sepulchral blighters…

Long story short, I became the band’s fiddle-player and occasional singer for the next two and a bit years – and, by the time I left, Ghost Weed comprised Mark (lead vocalist, flute, saxophone), Neil (guitar, vocalist), Matt (drums), Michael (bass) and me (fiddle).

I have always supported them when I can, even though I now live twenty miles away from two of them, thirty from one and more like forty from the fourth! I still occasionally go to the Redhill Open Mic (where we first performed in public) and, more recently, went back to Wrington to see them in action at the Tug-of-War festival held there in late April.

So – why the sudden flood of hits? My phenomenal (hem, hem!) writing skills? The band attracting the wide notice they surely deserve?

I’d love to think so in both cases – but the cynical little worm forever burrowing into my heart is increasingly convinced that the word ‘weed’ is causing hippies ancient and modern to zoom in upon my oeuvre – assuming, wrongly, that this post is rife with vaping, smoking or eating the various by-products of the cannabis plant!

Who knows? There may well be some weed-inundated dolts out there who read a kind of supply and demand secret into my title – and think that, if, à la Dan Brown, they break the code, they will find themselves heading up some track not on any geographical map, and finding the pot of gold that is, in their minds (if not mine), the epitome of the cannabis-user’s most fervent hope and lurid dream.

What makes me think thusly, eh? Oh, a few little clues: Readers who suddenly  ‘like’ this piece tend, as a general rule, to have blog-site names such as, ‘Oh, Wow, Man, Far Out!’ or, ‘Free Weed From Capitalist Pigs!’ or, from those who attempt a play on words, ‘Hemp Can Be Used For More Than Hanging, Ya Know!’

And, of course, the biggest ‘tell’ of all: Since I now live in Glastonbury, obviously I must be privy to the whereabouts of the finest stash – and, probably wrote the above whilst bombed off my gourd on a pipe full of finest Nempnett Thrubwell Green!

The story of how Ghost Weed came to get its name is not mine to share. I say this because I have great faith in, and deep fondness for, this, my first ever band – and the Saga of Ghost and Weed has become part of their repertoire. No spoilers here, thank you very much!

Do not, however, immediately seek out your best vape, water-pipe, packet of weed or Rizla-and-resin combo. It ain’t that kind of gig!

Still, if such lamentable misunderstandings give my pals greater publicity, I’m all for it!