ISSUE 1. Dec 2011
campaign against living miserably
www.thecalmzone.net Charity reg no. 1110621
the wombats - murph interview // am i normal? // dan le sac // obsessed // DAVE HARPER // the rant
MANifesto .................................................... 5. Hypochondriacs Unite ................................ 6. Boys Do Cry ................................................. 8. Fashion ........................................................ 10. Am I Normal? .............................................. 12. The Wombats’ Murph Interview ................ 14. Dave Harper ............................................... 19. Art Show: Tom The Pen .............................. 22. Frazzled Daddy .......................................... 26. Top 5: Dan Le Sac ........................................ 27. Obsessed .................................................... 30. The Rant ..................................................... 32. Dear Josh & Musa ..................................... 34.
Welcome to the brand spanking new CALMzine. You may remember us as RESET, but we at CALM towers thought it was time for a makeover so we threw away our old flea-bitten cords and got ourselves some spanking new crotch drop jeans to bring you a smarter and down-right sexier magazine. This issue brings you such textual delights as Wombats front man, Murph, talking about the highs and lows of living in his own head; musician, journo and fully paid up member of the Twitterati, Rhodri Marsden talks balls with his mates and Frankie & The Heartstrings drummer Dave Harper cooks us up a tasty dish in Food For Thought. Plus meet our über talented cover artist Tom The Pen. What this man can’t do with a biro isn’t worth doing. All of this alongside a bunch of other cool stuff that’s going to blow your socks off. Or at least give you something to read on the way home from work. And all this for FREE. We’re too good to you, we really are… Here comes the science bit: This issue also marks the launch of the London CALMzone helpline service, which goes live Nov 26th. This means that you can call our free, confidential helpline on 0808 802 5858 or text CALM1 to 07537 404717. Suicide is the biggest killer of young men in the UK, and CALM, the campaign against living miserably, is here to raise the issue and help sort this the hell out. Keep your eyes peeled for Scroobius Pip, Ashley Walters, Faith SFX and others, who will feature in the new CALM billboard campaign across the capital. CALMzine is the first port of call for all your MANspiration needs, so what do you want to talk about? We want to hear from you. Email us your ideas and views at email@example.com or if you want the hard stuff, go to the CALM website: www.calmzone.net or follow us on twitter
CREDITS Editor: Rachel Clare Creative Director: Philip Levine Original Design: Joey Graham Cover Art: Tom The Pen Original Concept: Jamie Scahill CALM Charity Director: Jane Powell CALM Co-ordinators: Simon Howes, Dan Taylor, Lindsey Bezzina, Jamie Scahill Contributors: Rhodri Marsden, Mary Chang, Tom The Pen, Dan Le Sac, Martin Cordiner, Philip Levine, Chris Owen, Will Conway, Matt Brown, Rachel Clare, Mark Blower, Josh Idehen, Musa Okwonga, Inua Ellams, Dan Prescott Thanks to Topman for their support Want to advertise with us? Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org You can download calmzine from our website.
campaign against living miserably
MANIFESTO We asked you for your own personal guide to living
1. Be excellent to everybody not to dwell on missed opportunities but to recognise they 2. Tryweren’t for me and focus on the future Damian
3. Love the life you live 4. Enjoy what you have, not what you need 5. Mutual respect is mandatory greatest minds have considered truth and happi6. History’s ness and still aren’t all that sure about it. You’re not alone Danni138 Will B
7. Live for the moment (I’ll work on this a bit more) 8. What would Ron Burgundy do? it to be the inalienable right of anybody to go 9. Igoholdto hell in his own way Desimon
the bravado and not taking it on the chin. 10. Dropping Speak up MCF
Feel inspired? Tell us your MANifesto at
men. I’d class myself as a lower-league hypochondriac who spends a significant proportion of his mental energy wondering if various pains will develop into full-blown beri-beri, gout or cancer. They never do, of course – but, given the understandably withering contempt I get from my GP (who has to deal with people far more ill than myself), it would be good to talk to other men about all this. And in a rare moment of confessional honesty between me and my friend Tom the other day, he said exactly the same. So we’ve started this thing. It’s called Health Club.
Hypochondriacs unite T
here are two well-worn clichés surrounding men and their health. The first is that they moan constantly, boring lovers, friends and relatives senseless with their perpetual malingering over minor niggles. Alternatively, they’re ludicrously stoic in the face of potentially life-threatening ailments, refusing to see a GP and saying things like “Oh, it’s only an eye, for god’s sake, it’ll probably grow back.” Most men, of course, sit in the chasm between those two extremes, with a reasonably sensible attitude to being ill – although, for some reason, we seem to worry much more than women do, and singularly fail to adopt their awesomely pragmatic attitudes. Those looking to make sweeping generalisations about blokes and health
By Rhodri Marsden
(like I am, right now) might point to the extraordinary success of Men’s Health magazine, which shifts a quarter of a million copies every month thanks to its inexhaustible angles on abdominal muscle development. But, you know, that’s not about health, really. Not in my book. That’s Extreme Health. To me, good health equates to not feeling totally lousy, not bleeding too much, and being reasonably free of contusions and tumours. To Men’s Health readers, good health means to have mastered the one-arm chin-up. I don’t want to be able to do a one-arm chin up, not least because I’ve got two arms – I mean, what’s the point? Having successfully failed to die young, I just don’t want to die in middle age. That’s all. So, men might worry, but traditionally we don’t talk about these things to other thecalmzone.net
Health Club isn’t, by any stretch of the imagination, a health club. It usually takes place in a pub, for one thing. But a group of male friends assemble, get drunk, and talk openly about their preposterous health concerns. “I’ve been having this pain round-about where I think my prostate is,” someone might say. “It comes and goes. Obviously I’m terrified.” Other members of Health Club will reassure him. “Oh god,”
they’ll say, “I had that for three months. Took antibiotics, they did nothing. Eventually it just went away by itself – don’t worry about it.” Obviously Health Club provides no professional diagnosis, and the subtext is that you should always go and see the doctor. But the mind often rules the body; even the most cynical scientists acknowledge the healing power of positive thinking, and hypochondriac men have a fantastic bedside manner. They know what each other are going through, and they’re keen to offer words of encouragement – because that’s what they want, too. Since the formation of Health Club, a group of a dozen of us now talk about our livers, stomachs, cocks and balls in a way that would have seemed preposterous a year ago. And that’s got to be a good thing. We haven’t yet started undressing and pointing at things, though. Some things should remain under wraps.
much of what constitutes sexism towards men is essentially based around us being useful
BOYS DO CRY By Chris Owen
et’s be upfront about this, it’s not really very easy being a man. Not only are we now having to adapt to a world where multitasking is now an assumed evolutionary trait; we’re also having to man-up to long held preconceptions about ‘chivalry’ and doing what men do best, i.e. be manly. Whatever that means. ‘Chivalry’ my foot, it’s sexism – face it. All of it: opening doors, giving your seat up on the tube, opening jars and cans, carrying heavy shit around, and of course ‘not crying’. Yes, it’s sometimes nice to hold a door open for a woman, especially if they have a nice bottom, but it’s downright rude and annoying when chivalry is assumed and a whacking great hippo-croc-a-pig barges through the door you’ve just opened whilst muttering something about ‘manners’ and how all men
are bastards. Yes, yes we are – bastards that open the door for you. Basically, things are less fun when you have to do them – doing something of your own accord is far more enjoyable and rewarding, and ‘chivalrous deeds’ fall well and truly into that category. In essence, the chivalry disappears and becomes sexist discrimination as soon as we are forced into door-opening duty… …and don’t get me started on the giving-upyour-seat-on-the-tube issue – Jesus, that’s a minefield every man would rather avoid. As I swerve deftly past the ‘is-she-pregnantor-just-a little portly?’ debate since that’s a whole different kettle of haddock, even the supposedly chivalrous act of letting a fair maiden sit down in your (albeit warm) seat is laced with danger and threat. thecalmzone.net
Try the first and you run the risk of being one of them ‘sexist’ men who think all women need to sit down and can’t stand up for long periods of time. Stay where you are and you’re a male chauvinist pig who will just sit around scratching their arse for eternity and never amount to anything. How do we win? Much of what constitutes sexism towards men is essentially based around us being useful – as if millennia of evolution has merely made us tools to make women’s lives easier, and come the day womenfolk invent a robot that not only opens cans but can get them pregnant, then the male species is genuinely doomed. Even the seemingly mundane act of carrying heavy stuff inherently backfires – we either sweat and thus become ‘horrid sweaty, smelly boys’ or we knacker our backs and have to spend a day on the sofa (see ‘male chauvinist pig’). All of which brings us, finally, to crying, of which Robert Smith famously sang that boys don’t do. Leaving aside the issue of whether to take any advice whatsoever from a man who gets his direction, albeit sartorially speaking, from Widow Twankey, this ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ diktat is one of the worst and most destructive forms of sexism in society, and one which I have no doubt leads a fair few men toward anxiety and its twin sister, depression. ‘Boys Can Cry’ would be far more apposite and realistic – come on, there’s a lot out there to be worried, upset or stressed about (see ‘mutitasking’), and if sometimes that means we need to shed a tear then this should be fine. Having to live up to a sexist macho image, projected onto us by the media and also each other, won’t help – if anything, being able to cry if needed and within reason (losing a teddybear doesn’t count), shows men can deal with emotion and not bottle it up; Christ, now there’s a bad thing to do. So, women, next time you see a man on the tube with a worried look on his face, spare him a thought and think ‘do I really need to sit down’, or can the chap concerned keep his seat please – after all, we got there first and if you want genuine sexual equality and an end to sexism, you’d have to open doors for us instead. Then things really would go tits up.
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stretched because I figure that there are plenty of others who could better use their time. I’m just not someone who goes to doctors. Here’s an example, I put off registering with a doctor for years until I got an infection which needed looking at. Every time they took my blood pressure it was worryingly high. After a handful of tries one doctor suggested it might be my nerves making the reading abnormally high, so I should take his letter to the hospital and get an ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) device fitted to take a steady reading throughout the day. I haven’t been back since. That was two years ago.
By Will Conway
m I normal? Most of the time I hope not. I’m no stranger to being the outsider; the weird one, throughout my young life I was always the exception to the rule. Even on simple things: I had two star signs, I went through school a year younger than my classmates, and that’s not to mention my desperate, attention-seeking ego joined with a fairly quick wit. I stood out like a hitchhiker’s thumb.
fluctuations, troughs of depression that seem to come from nowhere, nevertheless they are happy to grab anything available to bolster themselves. Like anyone in a tragedy, when something goes wrong I look around for the nearest vaguely plausible cause to blame, be it friends, job, love-life or wondering whether anything I do will ever make the blindest bit of difference to anything.
Now, as an adult, I am still the weird one. It’s interesting though, I wonder how much is boredom and a natural tendency to explore alternatives and how much is self-fulfilling prophesy. Am I just playing ‘outsider’ the role now?
The upside of this is that out of the blue, or based on something tiny or tenuous, I could suddenly be over the moon happy. I kid myself that it balances out.
We all want to be different sometimes, but that can be scary and lonely so at other times we want just want to fit in.
Apart from writing as cheap therapy and drunkenly boring my poor friends, I have never really talked to anyone about this. Traditionally men aren’t very good at asking for help, I’m told.
I have had emotional problems as long as I can remember - inexplicable mood
My pride prevents me from seeking aid from anyone about feeling so emotionally thecalmzone.net
We all want to be different sometimes, but that can be scary and lonely, so at other times we just want to fit in It reminds me of quantum mechanics. Cyclothymia (the mild form of bipolar disorder made sexy by Stephen Fry) is the diagnosis I have my bets on but until I go and get ‘tested’ I’m Shrödinger’s cat; neither mentally ill nor sound. Until I speak to a psychiatrist I am sane. Until I go to the doctor I am well. The professionals would just give me long words to cling onto, a title to bear. Maybe I keep it this way because potential is more exciting than experience. Learning is more exciting than knowledge. In the last couple of years I have gone from thinking I’m pretty darned smart to a couple of steps from the bottom of the brain pile. I have to
Surely im not the only person who asks for help and says they’re fine? say it feels better down here. More weight on you perhaps but, ironically, less pressure. I try not to base my happiness on external factors, but I also think it’s as naïve to say that happiness can only come from within. That’s a great start but a little assistance from outside can’t do any harm. I’m actually pretty happy right now, I have some beautiful people in my life and am in the envious position of being able to write absolutely anything so I am almost constantly inspired. It’s funny, after all I’ve said, once I start to confront my mental health, all of a sudden I’m a model recruit under my drill sergeant’s eye. Surely I’m not the only person who asks for help then says they’re fine. So this is for all those people not sure, the people who think they’re losing their minds until they start to think about what they have to do if they are, the people who will spend their lives papering over the cracks. You might be surprised how many there are out there. Your mental health is not a tick-box questionnaire. How boring would that be? On that note I return to the exam question they teach you in school; am I normal? The funny thing is I probably am.
calm: Lyrically you’ve never shied away from issues that you’ve had with anxiety and depression. Is writing music a cathartic process for you? MURPH: Yes I think so. I wouldn’t want to sit behind a piano or a guitar if I was truly happy. And besides, who would want to hear that?? C: So you find it easy to talk about your
C: Giving up anti-depressants was a brave
answers. I’m quite an honest individual. I’ve been to see psychotherapists and as soon as you go down that road you find it a lot easier to talk about these things, which is part of the process of dealing with it.
M: I guess so but it was a really worthwhile
C: The honesty
MATTHEW ‘MURPH’ MURPHY interview BY RACHEL CLARE Matthew ‘Murph’ Murphy, lead singer and main creative drive behind Liverpool four piece The Wombats has never hidden his struggle with depression and anxiety from his fans. Producing two albums packed full of lyrical pleas for salvation from loneliness and isolation wrapped in some of the catchiest tunes to grace the sticky dancefloors of indie discos over the past few years, Murph has his fair share of demons. CALMzine caught up with him on a sunny rooftop in West London to talk anti-depressants, the difficult second album and his personal CALM moment… 14
C: Was the second album harder to write because of that? M: It was a typically difficult second album anyway, but looking back I know it would have been a lot harder had I been on such high dosages of Citalopram.
M: I find it easy to be asked and easy to gives
THE CALMZINE INTERVIEW
process and how it made me feel.
in your lyrics is refreshing; particularly considering the stigma still attached to depression and mental health problems amongst young men. Was it a conscious decision to be so explicit about these issues in order to get it out in the open? M: I wouldn’t say it was a conscious decision. It was just something I felt I had to get out there. When I wrote ‘Anti-D’ [lead single from latest album This Modern Glitch] I had just stopped taking anti depressants. I had to go on Citalopram because I was extremely depressed and suffering from severe anxiety throughout the making of our first album, but they made me put on weight and I felt like I was living in a bubble - an enjoyable bubble, but a bubble nonetheless – so it had to stop for me to feel creative again. It made sense to write about my experiences so ‘Anti-D’ was about this
move on your part…
move as well. I started seeing a psychotherapist at that time and it has proved to be a lot more effective than drugs.
C: Was Anti-D the first
track you wrote for This Modern Glitch? M: It was one of the first, yes, although I didn’t think it would get picked for the album because it wasn’t ‘Lets Dance To Joy Division’, which is actually equally as dark as ‘Anti-D’, but a lot of people took it on face value since musically it sounded like a happy song.
C: There is a definite
juxtaposition on This Modern Glitch between dark sentiments and upbeat melodies. The first single, ‘Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves)’ in particular… M: I always like to make the best out of the worst things possible. ‘Tokyo’ was such a stressful moment in writing this album – it’s a middle finger to the music industry and the pressure there was surrounding the release of this record; pressure to produce another hit like ‘Let’s Dance To Joy Division’. When things get problematic like that it’s important for me to vent my frustrations in some
way, be that punching a wall, or whether it’s writing a song or doing some really aggressive swimming or something. I usually just write songs though…
C: There is a lot of escapism in your lyrics.
Is this still a big part of the way you cope with things? M: Running away is definitely part of my general existence. I don’t know if that is a good thing or not but I’m working on it.
C: Being the front man of a successful band
must be a huge emotional rollercoaster – with massive highs when you’re on stage and huge lows when you’re sat on a tour bus with nothing to do. How do you deal with the imbalance? M: When you’re on tour or doing promo, there are no real lows – you’re constantly busy. It’s when it all stops that you have the low. You want a week off, but when it comes you just want to get back out there again. When I go back home to Liverpool I can hang out with family and old school friends who aren’t connected to the industry – they’ve got their own lives going on and it can be fun to jump into their weird little bubbles for a while.
C: So tell us about your calm moment… M: If I had a specific CALM moment I
I always like to make the best out of the worst things possible
would say it was when I realised that the only reason I am good at my job, and am successful in what I do, is due to the baggage I have. Although it’s horrible at times, it’s not disruptive to my job, which it is for a lot of people, so I’m very lucky in that respect.
C: What would your advice be to men experiencing similar problems?
M: The worst thing for me to deal with when
you are at your lowest point, is the feeling of being completely alone and that no one understands you – you don’t feel that there’s a way to connect with people, even with your closest family and friends, so it’s good to think that there are other people feeling the same
way. That in itself connects you with others. It makes you realise that us miserable people aren’t alone, which is a positive thing. Of course it’s important to talk about it, and do exercise and stuff, but the main thing for me was to know that I wasn’t alone in all this and I don’t think I am anymore.
So the future looks bright for The Wombats…. M: I’m feeling really positive – I don’t like to think too far ahead as it gets a bit overwhelming, so all I focus on is the next few days so that I can handle it. Living one gig to the next. We’re going to start writing for the next album as soon as possible so that it doesn’t stop all of a sudden – I just need to keep on moving.
A preview of Ashley Walters in the new CALM billboard campaign, shot by photographer Josh Cole.
The campaign goes live 25th November
Food for thought
“Maybe pride isn’t the word, and maybe comfort is”
Frankie and the Heartstrings drummer Dave Harper reveals his gastronomic side to Mary Chang
Photo by Ian West
The perfect meal is so much more than just the sustenance of what you push down your gullet. It is circumstance, mood, smell, company and occasion.
underland rockers Frankie and the Heartstrings have been gaining a devoted fan base after the release of their debut album ‘Hunger’ in February. Crossing paths with their drummer, Dave Harper, might initially be cause for alarm: the Heartstrings’ sticks man is never without his trademark leather jacket and more recently, an imposing and well looked after moustache. So it might come as a surprise that Mr. Harper is, despite his otherwise tough guy image, an avid cook and self-confessed gourmet. CALM’s Mary Chang asked Dave for his thoughts about the juxtaposition of rock & roll and cookery and how his obsession for the culinary arts began. Do you find any parallels between drumming and cooking? There is certainly a yin and yang element to the whole debacle. The primal, almost homoerotic devilment of smashing plastic and wood for an hour every evening contrasting with the graceful way I traverse the kitchen. I can’t say I’ve ever really compared the two, but I always approach drumming with an air of aggression and something raw about the whole proceeding. With cooking, it’s much more perverse and tactile. When did you first start cooking? Were you one of those kids who watched your mother making the Sunday roast? I was born and raised in a mining community
in the northeast of England. The area has a unique quality. It’s a hard, unforgiving and often quite brutal area. But with that culture there’s always a flip side - a sense of community and camaraderie that can’t be emulated. Quite often these qualities are revealed around a table, in a kitchen, a garden or any other inroad to a meal. With the benefit of hindsight I think the comfort of the mealtime structure was something that I relied on quite heavily. Chefs often talk about the moment in their lives when they tasted something amazing or had a pivotal culinary experience that initially got them into the kitchen. What was yours? The perfect meal is so much more than just the sustenance of what you push down your gullet. It is circumstance, mood, smell, company and occasion. I adore Spain and I have been lucky to travel around Andalucia. Initially I wanted to go purely because of the John Cale song ‘Andalucia’, which is beautiful and incidentally was my first dance at my wedding. Seville will always have a special place in what is left of my heavily medicated mind. A seemingly unassuming tapas style bar overlooking a fairly run down play park in a residential area of Seville is where it happened. My wife and I arrived, wrote our name on a chalk board. I sipped Montilla (very dry home brewed white wine, a little like sherry) and Ruth drank Tinto Limon (red wine and Fanta lemon, weird but really good actually). Then we got to eyeing up what others were eating. I am and always will be a gastro voyeur. What is your specialty? Can we have the recipe? I think my past and where I am from has influenced the food I like to eat and prepare for others. I always go back to braises, roasts, casseroles and stews. They look after me and give them the respect they deserve. I’m never happier than handling raw meat in my kitchen. As for recipes...find them yourself. It’s the journey that makes the tasting relevant. thecalmzone.net
Do you feel a certain sense of pride / accomplishment when you’ve made something brilliant? Yeah I do. I get nervous when I serve something new to the wife. She’s an unflinching barometer when it comes to food. She likes to consume and I like to facilitate. I appreciate this has undertones of some terrible feeding perversion and on a (extremely) subtle level I suppose it is. Although I’d rather not have my wife transported by crane from our home if I can help it. The more I think of it, it is quite a draconian set up really, although traditionally the man would wait to be served upon. So maybe pride isn’t the word, and maybe comfort is. Being in a band, there must be long periods of time when you’re away from home and don’t have to cook for yourself. How do you deal with being on the road? I think McDonald’s and all of their fucking evil accomplices are vile. But, I’ve always said that I am a terrible hypocrite and I do dip into these hellholes from time to time. I have become an expert at service station dining throughout Europe and how unforgiving it can be. For the life of me, I don’t know why this standardised parade of deep fried salt has became the status quo. Make some decent soup and sell it at a low price like normal human beings should. You only have £100 left in your bank account. Do you buy drumming supplies? Or food? I’d be delighted I had £100 initially: that would make a pleasant change. Last time I checked drum skins didn’t really taste too good, they have a chewy quality. Get me a cab because I’m going straight to the closest cheese emporium. What advice would you give to other men who feel daunted by the prospect of cooking? Well, they would be none of my business. This is not the 19th century and last time I checked women had been given the vote and barriers had been ripped down. There is a masculine quality to cooking, just look at Anthony Bourdain. He’s the coolest mother fucker I can think of. He likes sharp knives, hard cooking and great music. A steel fist in a velvet glove. thecalmzone.net
TOM THE PEN Tom left his degree in Animation with a 2:2, which is fine. However, bereft of the facilities of college and armed only with what was at best a useless computer, Tom reached an epiphany some three years later. He realised that staring at a screen whilst waiting for technology to work its ever more protracted ‘magic’ was just too tedious, a bit like waiting for Chris Tarrant to reveal an answer on Millionaire. So Tom turned off his computer for the last time and, like many others before him, picked up the closest thing he could find to alleviate the boredom that opened up in front of him:
A Biro and a scrap of A4. And so an outpouring of visual diarrhoea was unleashed. As Tom himself puts it: “I remember in one CDT lesson at school drawing a small picture of a kettle in the corner of my exercise book with my Biro and it looked quite good.” Since then Tom has turned his hand to illustration. He has produced various pieces for the likes of Scroobius Pip, Marmaduke Dando, Jamie Woon, King John and published work by Lazy Gramophone Press. Tom produced the front cover for CALMzine to give it a distinctive voice that could only come from him. We hope he continues to champion the universal art of the doodle with his mighty ballpoint. www.tomthepen.com
A m ess age ; a hi s tory; a ques t: a passi n g ; a d e at h se n t e nce ; a c l ai m ; a s ac r i f i c e ; a con f essi on; a loss.
... b ut al l ve ry tas t y.
N i n e s tor i es. som e sw e e t, som e r at he r un s avoury …
lazy gramophone press
TOM THE PEN
l a z y g r a mo p hone p r e s e nts
lazy gramophone press
W i l l C o n w ay Ta s t e s o f I n k
W i l l C o n w ay Ta s t e s o f I n k
You don’t think we’d let you read this free magazine without something else being given away for nowt, do ya?!
The wonderful people at Lazy Gramophone – the collective helping independent, up-and-coming artists, writers and musicians gain exposure and showcase their work – are offering 3 prizes from their shop. That is what we call a bargain: 1. Tom The Pen T-shirt
2. Tastes of Ink signed book by Will Conway
3. Four giclée cards by artist Milega
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All you have to do is answer this easy question (the answer is somewhere in the magazine): Dave Harper is the drummer in which band? a) Pete & The Pirates b) Frankie & The Heartstrings c) Cliff Richard & The Shadows If you know the answer and fancy getting your dirty mitts on our fantastic prizes, email your answer to email@example.com with the subject line as ‘Competition’. Please remember to include your postal address and a contact number on the email. Competition ends 31/12/2011 – Winners will be notified by email.
W i l l C o n w ay Ta s t e s o f I n k
A m ess ag e; a his tory; a ques t: a pass ing ; a de ath s entence; a cl aim ; a s acr if ice; a conf ess ion; a loss . Nine s tor ies . s om e sweet, s om e r ather uns avoury … ... but al l very tas t y.
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FRAZZLED DADDY News from the coalface of fatherhood By Matt Brown
No other event has changed my life, I mean completely changed my life, like becoming a father has. Not my parents’ divorcing when I was nine, not falling in love with the girl of my dreams, not even when Father Christmas came on to me in 1998. The combination of lack of sleep and spending most of my time with the under 5s has switched off the cynicism that pumped through my veins in my early twenties. The other day my son tasted a fizzy drink for the first time. It blew his brains out. I swear he had about a tenth of a can of lemonade in a cup but he made it last for hours. He would put it in his mouth, then do that thing that wine-tasters do and swirl it round, then he’d swallow it, piss himself laughing and start the whole process again. So, I did the same and guess what, it was 26
fizzy on my tongue and was awesome. I hadn’t felt like that since I was, well, about four. The downside of this is that you find yourself weeping at news stories, adverts and Disney movies but hey, it’s the twentyfirst cocking century. You can also get very creative with the time you spend with your kids. I have a long running project to turn my kids into Bond style super-villains. My first son was taught how to say, ‘ah daddy I’ve been expecting you’ when I came home and ‘I think you’ll find escape completely impossible’ when I wanted to leave. My second son is already showing enormous evil potential with his love of stroking cats. Now all I need to do is give them an unquenchable thirst for power and a penchant for women with preposterously smutty names.
...SONGS TO GET YOU OUT OF BED IN THE MORNING I’ve been asked to write a list of tracks that get me out of bed in the morning. Now, I could make this list obscure & credible just to make me look cool but sod that, let’s just be honest yeah?
Meatloaf - Bat out of Hell. Yes indeed, the chunky balladeer’s triumphant rock opera is something that gets me moving, and I am
Madness - Wings of a Dove
Lorraine Ellison - Stay with Me (Baby)
Again there’s nothing cool or credible about this next choice, it just works! From the gospel choir to the steel drums to the nonsensical lyrics, even if you fall out of bed it’ll get you off the floor.
This song should come with a warning label. Even though it does inspire It is, without a doubt, the saddest song ever. But on those days when the weight of the world pulls your soul into your feet, it pays to remind yourself that other people feel pain just like you.
Recommend a song online
Photo by Rebecca Lewis
Big Krit feat Ludacris - Country Shit (REMIX) Yes yes, I’m sure you’re thinking “say what!!??”, But don’t judge me, just give it a listen – it’s a monster!
not ashamed to say it.
For more dispatches from the frontline of fatherhood visit www.frazzleddaddy.blogspot.com thecalmzone.net
Jack Penate – Tonight’s Today This track is not immediately chirpy, but once you’ve stuck it on it has a way of creeping up on you and getting your feet moving The dubbed out afrobeat groove will certainly drag you smoothly into the day.
If none of these tracks have you leaping out of bed ready to grab the world by the balls, don’t fret - I’m sure one of these will start a fire under your day... MOP - Ante Up, Misty’s Big Adventure - Fashion Parade, Chas & Dave - Sideboard Song, Camille Yarbrough - Take Yo’ Praise, or how about, if things are really bad, Beastie Boys - Sabotage! 27
In the next calmzine
the geek issue
We are celebrating all things uncool, from sneaker pimps to shameless statos to technosexuals. Leave your skinny jeans at the door, get your Pac-a-Mac on and unleash your inner nerd. Out Feb 2012.
Would you like to write for CALMzine? Do you have a photographic eye? We want great writers, interviewers, bloggers, tweeters, artists and photographers for CALMzine and the CALM website. What’s your obsession, you passion? Music, sports, arts, gadgets, fashion, comedy, gaming – or something further out of the box? Can you write about it, picture it, tweet it. Can you conduct a gripping interview?
we b Go to www.thecalmzone.net for features, opinion, forums and competitions to keep you busy until the next issue of CALMzine. Plus find out how you can get involved with the Campaign Against Living Miserably. 28
We’d love to hear from you, and in no time your work could be on our website and in these very pages.
Get in touch with Rachel at: firstname.lastname@example.org thecalmzone.net thecalmzone.net
By Martin Cordiner
TELL LAURA I LOVE HER
You don’t necessarily need to be a genius. Sure, if you can do something original, like invent the middle eight or discover a new note hidden under F sharp, then well done, but some people are just great for what they can do. They’re not brand new, they’re just great. I remember a time before Laura Marling, but it wasn’t as good as since she started committing herself to record. The now 21 year-old from Hampshire is currently on to her third album, but all jealousies about precocious ability are swept aside upon hearing her voice. Sure, she can span the octaves, and she has a complete confidence in assuming different roles, from angelic to cynical. But it’s her ability to tell a story in a single line that I love the most. It’s not strictly the lyrics themselves, interesting as they may be. I love lines like ‘Goodbye England’s’, ‘I wrote my name in your book, only God knows why’, but it’s the way that she brings it to life that is so special. The cheery resignation of the first phrase, followed by the slightly embarrassed regret of the second....that’s how you sing. There’s no room for such delicacy in the stop-start, chopped-up remains of songs that feature in TV talent shows, designed (supposedly) to find people who can sing. So far as I’m concerned we can stop looking. Like those stars of Saturday night, some of Laura Marling’s influences are obvious (with the Joni Mitchell-isms coming through strongly in parts of most recent album ‘A Creature I Don’t Know’), and her brilliant song writing is more textbook than off the wall. But I am spellbound whenever she opens her mouth. Thank God the Brits got their act together and recognised it this year with the Best Female Solo Artist Award.... I bet they’re rarely together in the same sentence but Laura Marling reminds me of Usain Bolt. You don’t criticise because it’s not new, you simply sit in awe of what you have until it’s gone. 30
By Philip Levine
Got something to get of your chest? Grab a pen and get ranting
Is there anyone out there who feels like me? Someone who can’t seem to express himself? You know that moment when you want to argue your point but it comes out of your mouth wrong? You’re talking to someone you fancy but when it comes to the crucial moment, instead of a seamless stream of mind-blowing rhetoric, words just tumble out of your mouth as illiterate nonsense? Yeah, THAT. The worse thing is that you’re sure they would fancy you if you could just get your shit together. Hell, I don’t even know what the correct grammar is while writing this article and wonder if the editor is reading this and thinking ‘what a load of utter dog turd’. (Ed. – jury’s still out on that one!) The words you so desperately want to express remain in your head, so you start to think ‘why bother?’. It eats away at you; a voice of doubt whispers ‘don’t bother, you’ll just get it wrong and look like a dick.’ My problem became evident to me for the first time in August when I finally identified the issue and started thinking about how I could overcome it. I am sure you have stumbled across TED talks on the internet. If so, give yourself a high five – if not, then I am ordering you to check it out right now. Just dabble. Find what interests you and have a look – you won’t regret it. I’d love to do a TED talk one day, but how am I going to do one when I can’t string words together for even a minute without it descending into a stream of incoherent babble? How do these TED dudes get their point across so perfectly in front of so many people? It’s a talent I envy. A talk I want to draw your attention to is John Berkavitch’s ‘The Power of Being Embarrassed’. Berkavitch is the reason I started writing this piece. I was sitting one day arsing about on Facebook (we all do it. Don’t judge me) and a gem of a post pops up linking to his TED video about how you shouldn’t let the fear of failure or embarrassment stop you from doing things. Your confidence will grow with practice. Even if you try again and again and fail again and again, eventually you will get better, gain confidence in yourself and through that, succeed. No one knocks a ‘trier’ (unless the ‘knocker’ is a complete arsehole, in which case, they’re the loser in that equation) because all you can do is improve. If you can’t get your point across first time then try again until you feel you are expressing yourself in the way you want to. Not in front of your computer but in front ‘real people’. Don’t be afraid of being knocked back or being laughed at, because eventually you will realise that there is nothing to get embarrassed about. Get up, dust yourself off and move onto the next person you fancy and simply say what you want to say in order to get their attention, because at some point you’ll know how to finally express yourself and your insecurities will be a distant memory.
Do you have something you want to rant about? Send 300 words to email@example.com 32
If you need professional advice, call the CALMzone helpline on 0808 802 5858. Free, confidential & anonymous. Or text CALM1 to 07537 404717. We don’t charge, though your network might. Open 5pm-midnight, Sat/Sun/Mon/Tues thecalmzone.net
DEAR JOSH & MUSA Our entirely unprofessional agony uncles offer their entirely unprofessional advice…
My girlfriend would rather spend her evenings watching The Only Way is Essex than have sexy time with me. What should I do? Bob, Middle Earth MUSA: Come home one night dressed as a TOWIE character with boozy breath, the haircut of a failed footballer and a crisp white shirt that bears the scent of Old Spice and another woman. That should do the trick. I am a man with a beard and a penchant for beer and women, but I hate football. I make all the right grunting noises down the pub when watching a match with my mates, all the while harbouring a growing disgust in myself. Any advice? SecretFootieHater, London M: Keep on as you are. The average man secretly feels exactly the same but is so far gone in macholand that there’s no turning back. If you want to liberate yourself, the solution’s simple. After your tenth pint, burst into tears with the pain of it all and your fellow sufferers will spontaneously follow suit. I have an itchy ball sack. I’m too scared to go to the doctor, because she is young and fairly attractive. Should i just ignore it? ...Worried, Lambeth JOSH: My friend, my mother said: “sometimes the banana in your hand has pretty skin, but inside is all rottimegemege. You might think the banana’s pretty, but if you keep eating it your mouth will fall off, and you will have to talk out of your ass”. That is all I have to say. I always thought of myself as a straight man, but recently I’ve noticed that I have started to appreciate the finer points of knitting, baking and poetry. Am I gay? MyNameIsNotSusan, Shepherds Bush
J: Sylvester Stallone knitted in demolition man. Arnold Swarzenegger baked when he was The Governator. Shakespeare, Cassanova, Tupac, Biggie all wrote poetry. Each of these men has slept with more women than you have even looked at. M: Yep, you’re definitely batting for our side. Welcome. Come over on Sat, we’re bitching about Rihanna’s new man.
I’m 25 and have never had sex. Women terrify me and I come out in a cold sweat anytime a sexy female comes any where near me. Am i destined to die a virgin? ...David, Hackney M: Nope. There are men who’ve been married ten years who still feel that way about their wives. I’d get some nookie soon, though. Today’s shy guy is tomorrow’s pervert.
Do you have a question for JOSH & MUSA Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org NOTE: Josh & Musa are not qualified experts. They’re just a couple of jokers. However if you do want to know some more about them, go to www.poejazzi.wordpress.com
If you need professional advice, call the CALMzone helpline on 0808 802 5858. Free, confidential & anonymous. Or text CALM1 to 07537 404717. We don’t charge, though your network might. Open 5pm-midnight, Sat/Sun/Mon/Tues
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