Friday, 22 July 2016

"Attack Winter" A song for #Brexit

I wrote this furious song 4 years ago - forever ago, basically. Before I'd even released my light and bright album "Airfix Democracies" (October 2012), I'd written this bastard of a song, and I knew it was a bastard.

But 4 weeks after Brexit, it has a whole new meaning. (full lyrics below)

It was intended as a snarling, anthemic, guttersnipe opening track to my album "To The Greater Glory Of". And it still will be, whenever I get round to recording that album.

It's inspired not just by the Manic Street Preachers' album "The Holy Bible", but specifically the upbeat and melodic parts of that album: the chorus of "Die In The Summertime", the outro solo of "Archives Of Pain", the whole tracks of "Faster" and "P.C.P.".

And yet here we are, in a Britain drowning - more than ever before - in fear, hate crime, inequality and bastardry.

This scrappy anthem of incoherent rage seems like it was born to express what I've felt the past 4 weeks as our country has "taken back control".

Rage at the 52/48 "victory" being seen by anyone, ANYONE, as a "clear" result and message.
Rage at the "go home" racism and xenophobia which has refused to simply hide in plain sight and now roars in plain sight.
Rage at the political establishment and the media which incite fear and hatred of poor white people for their personal gain without any fear of consequence.

Above all, the strongest connection is the original message of the song - if there was one - "attack winter".

The original idea was that "winter" is the inertia, the depression, the failure, that creeps in from all sides - the black dogs waiting for us, creeping and prowling. In different ways, on different levels, we must all fight our own winter. "Only you can attack win-ta-ta-ta-ta-teeerrrrrr"

But here and now, with the flagrant "go-home" racism, suspicion and paranoia we are coming to expect, "winter" is the shambles and the chaos of a new Britain where austerity is justified in the bright lights to the people it crushes. "Winter" is the onslaught against human rights, and the legislation they rely on, and the burying of inclusive positive values we find it so easy to say and even easier to forget.

Winter has arrived, and only you can attack win-ta-ta-ta-taaaaaggggghhhhhhhhh


They call me Frankenstein, a monster dignified
But I'm no law for all, not even my own kind
Progress is crucified, a nation petrified
This country's motto carved in formaldehyde


Attack winter! Attack winter
Furious outbreak of the night, and watch my people fight
Attack winter! Attack winter
Moral failure of the right, and the left is out of sight

We never needed virgins anyway
With helicopters full of doctors for the rich who'll stitch you up and keep you pure
And all the time, the cold was closing in
And only you can attack win-ta-ta-ta-taaaaaaaaaa

They call it Lebensraum, another empty town
Horizon full of cranes and meaningless construction
Slaves with their plastic crowns, cowards on their way out
The only interesting part is the corruption


Attack winter! Attack winter
Furious outbreak of the night, and watch my people fight
Attack winter! Attack winter
Moral failure of the right, and the left is out of sight

We'll vote for whores and butchers any day
Keep the rank and file infighting, with fake scars of fake lashes on your back
And all the time, the cold was closing in
And only you can attack win-ta-ta-ta-taaaaaaaaaa

H - A - T - E
Turn up the hate, yeah
H - A - T - E
Turn up the hate, yeah
H - A - T - E
Turn up the hate, yeah
H - A - T - E
Turn up the hate, yeah


Attack winter! Attack winter
Furious outbreak of the night, and watch my people fight
Attack winter! Attack winter
Moral failure of the right, and the left is out of sight

Who gives a fuck about your yesterdays?/Deluded posers lost in yesterdays
Pathetic fake plastic nostalgic bullshit vintage vinyl retro cassette cunts
And all the time, that frost was bitching in
And only you, only you, ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK

Monday, 20 June 2016

Vote Remain, for a positive UK future

I'm going to give you a brief, clear and positive run-down of why it's important to get out on Thursday 23rd and vote Remain.

The biggest reason, the most fundamental reason, is the message. What do Vote Leave or Vote Remain results say to ourselves?

We need a strong Vote Remain result to show we are a positive, inclusive country that belongs in Europe and that we reject fear, hate and divison.

Neither official campaigns have been positive. But the Vote Leave campaign has been appalling.

As their arguments have failed on the economy, Vote Leave have relied more and more on their trump card: exploiting fear and hatred of foreigners, refugees and immigrants to justify leaving the EU.

A Vote Leave result would be a result for the foreigner-bashers and the hatemongers who lay all our problems at the door of immigrants, refugees and the EU. They do not represent us. We are better than that.

A lot of the British working class and poor have been sold flat-out lies by people like Farage, Gove, Boris and Patel - far-right Conservatives who are committed to cutting the welfare state, not improving it. "We'll cut the NHS, but Vote Leave for us and we'll save it!" As if. They are opportunists and fear-mongers. We are better than that.

The EU isn't perfect, but it does a lot for us, and we do a lot for it.

The Vote Leave campaign has always been "What's in it for US?!" It is a negative, selfish view.

The Remain campaign has answered that question, showing the huge economic benefits of being in, versus the giant problems and risks of both leaving - and then being out.

But equally important is a better attitude. The EU is a community of countries, and Britain both contributes and benefits from being a member. That's how communities work.

Yes, we can and should be at the forefront of the EU. The EU needs constant pressure to reform so that it remains accountable. But there are other countries in the EU and they also benefit and contribute. They are not better or worse than us. That's what it means to be a community.

It's so important this week to remind ourselves and each other of who we think we are, and what we believe in.

That we're an inclusive country, not a divisive one.

That we want to engage with Europe and fix things co-operatively, instead of turning our back and walking away.

That we choose economic stability and reality, instead of nonsense sold by thieves and opportunists.

That we won't let fearmongers and the politics of hate decide our country's future.

Get out, vote, and vote Remain for a positive UK.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

6 months in London: Exams over, roll on summer

Every time I move to a new country, it takes me 6 months to get my head round it. During that time I'm excited but also very stressed - trying to process so many new things, from new phrases to new maps, new ways to get from A to B.

In New Zealand, it was all mixed up with a) the excitement of being in a new country, and b) the impotence and fury of job hunting and temping.

In Australia, it was freaking out on the dark, giant deserted streets of the "inner North", baffled at how spread out Melbourne is and how everyone is absolutely fine with that.

London has been no different. Despite being born here (6-year-old Jez: "Why does everyone in East Ham support West Ham?"), despite re/acquainting myself in the summer of 2013, it was madness when I moved into a new house + started a new job in the same weekend 6 months ago, and it's been madness since then.

But the madness has eased, a bit, and I'm feeling happier about what's going on. Despite the rent going up and a change of housemate, I'm feeling relatively secure in my house - I can be confident that I'll still be here in 6 months' time, hopefully more. My job at Bureaucracy K is still not secure, despite doing a key role and being extended twice, but I'm less anxious about it than I was.

And finally, the cold has fucked off.

I'm not even kidding. The whole of April I wore my winter coat. I know full well from before leaving the UK that spring isn't warm. March is always bitterly cold. April is usually crap. But it's not usually freezing cold right into May. Finally we've just had a week of warm summery weather, which I'm certainly happy about, but even more excited - I can physically relax - now that the cold of winter has finally fucked the fuck off.

This week I had my uni exams, which went about as well/badly as I'd expect for taking no time off work to revise. Lessons learned for next year hopefully. But I'm now free from what feels like second job, and very excited to have some time again to do creative things I've been putting off - new music, long overdue book edits, website updates, etc.

Also looking forward to things like dates, gigs, rum, parties, weddings, and all the nonsense of summer. Bring it.


Monday, 21 March 2016

The Library Suits are playing their last ever show and I'm not crying honest

This weekend my favourite local band, The Library Suits, are playing their last ever gig at the Bassment in Chelmsford, Saturday 26th March.

I'm massively happy to be supporting them, along with Alex Fox (lad can sing), and it's going to be a cracking night. But it's also very sad to see the end of a era.

Firstly, if you've not heard anything by them, you can hear all 3 of their albums on their Soundcloud profile. But I've embedded some players so you can stay here and carry on reading.

I've played with all 4 of the boys at some point - Paul and Rich in my first band, the amazingly named Liquid Idolator (1999-2002) and Matt and Jon in that band and F451 (2003-2007).

The Library Suits started in the end of F451. We crashed and burned at the end of 2007, feeling burnt out and like we'd failed, despite having achieved a lot.

But another factor was a simple sense of "no", and "can't". The dynamic was very much me telling Matt and Jon what we were going to do; they'd stopped asking if we could do X or play Y, because I'd just say no. Even I could tell they were frustrated, but I was such a dick and so lost, I didn't know how to get out.

So, when The Library Suits burst onto the scene with bright catchy rock songs and epic choruses, it was a breath of fresh air for me, and probably hugely liberating for them. The speed of the project was impressive - rehearsing, writing and recording mini-album "Because It's Somewhere To Be" in a matter of months - and I still remember being blown away at that gig at the Two Brewers in Chelmsford, October 2008.

Since then they recorded 2 more full albums, a Christmas single, several quality videos including the hilarious "You Don't Have To Be A Wizard", played endless gigs, and even appeared on TV (the Hollyoaks Music Show, playing "Jeremy Kyle's Inner Valkyrie").

Sadly I've only seen the full band play a couple of times. After that first gig, I left for New Zealand; by the time I got back for the summer of 2013, The Library Suits had wound down and weren't playing so often. But I remember sitting up with breakfast at home in bed in Wellington, NZ, to watch the album launch for "suffer:recover" on Barhouse venue's live video stream. (Interestingly enough, they were supported that night by Mark Burnside AKA The Lemoncurd Kid; Jon now drums in The Lemoncurd Kids full band, whose album is coming out very soon - check out preview track "Pieces".)

The epic album "Destroy:Discover" is my favourite album by an unsigned band. It's one of my favourite albums full stop. Yes, I'm biased, but I dare you to listen to it and find a fault. As a British indie-rock album, it is loud, melodic and unapologetic, intelligent and playful, furious and wistful, and genuinely, honestly uplifting. The quality of the songwriting and the songs themselves is better than a lot of albums by the big, signed, famous bands they've been influenced by.

Unofficial band members include Neak Menter, an old comrade from the Essex music scene and the producer who brought The Library Suits' recordings to life, and our photographer friend Matt Pawsey who's always been there for the band (even playing Harry Potter in the Wizard video), and who's just always been there for all of us as a friend.

Most bands have a life span. Like any relationship, if you can make something good, and get out alive and still be friends, that's a success in itself. The band has wound down, Matt has now moved up north, and to be honest, 8 years is a good innings.

So there's no grand drama about The Library Suits calling it a day, no gutting sense of loss. What there is, what I feel, is the sadness that a group who have produced excellent work, won't produce excellent work any more. They'll go on to join other groups and make other amazing work (did I mention The Lemoncurd Kids?), but it won't be them.

Even with all the other local bands we've seen and met through 16 years of playing music, it's hard to think who else could write and produce loud, catchy, pop-rock anthems about maths and mathematicians like "Cantor's Infinity" and "Everything For Sale", or emotional pop hits littered with historical references like "Ten Years", or about Russian revolutionary art like "October In The Theatre", or even just the darkly epic "Every Night It's You And I".

Who else will write songs like these?

The other reason I'm sad is for selfish reasons. The roots of The Library Suits were in the dark times of the end of F451; even bearing responsibility for the atmosphere in that band, I was tired and frustrated and burnt out too.

The Library Suits represented to me the optimism of a new project, of breaking out, of making something new and positive and bright and really really good, and just going for it and achieving it.

From that first mini-album, "Long Division" is about insecurity and emotions, yet it sounds bright and upbeat and uplifting. "Modern Life Is A Speeding Bullet" is still as fresh as the day it was made.

I've already made this too much about me. Obviously I can't give any perspective from inside the band. Jon, Paul, Rich or Matt could all write their own account, but it's not their style. I just wanted to write this to tell the internet, "here they were, and they were amazing".

If you can make it to Chelmsford this Saturday 26th March 2016 to watch an amazing band bow out in style, come to the Bassment and sing your heart out.

Optional fancy dress suggestions:
  • Time vampire
  • Philosopher
  • Wizard
  • Jeremy Kyle
  • Jeremy Kyle's inner valkyrie
  • Any character from Hollyoaks circa 2009
  • Russian artist (early 20th century)
  • Noel Fielding/Julian Barratt/both
  • Imelda Marcos
  • Baseball cap & stilettos
  • Hunter S Thompson
  • Reginald Perrin/Jasper Carrott/Julian Barratt (again)
All photos by Matt Pawsey, I think.
Go see a lot more here


...and 2016:

"Ten years from now, will you remember me?"
Yes, and a lot longer.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Trangender, non-binary, pansexual, and more: Quick explanations for people who want to know more

There's an explosion of expression around gender and sexuality, and there's a lot of new or newish words being used to describe things we didn't have words for before.

So, here's some quick definitions and explanations if you need helping out.

I'd call it a "cheat sheet", but cheating implies there's some kind of "test".
The only test is, are you willing to treat people like people? If yes, you've already passed.

Cisgender (cis): You're born in a male/female body, and you're brought up male/female, and you're totally happy being male/female. Generally, most people are cis.
It's not "normal", it's just more common.

Transgender: Generally, one or more things different to the above.

  • Maybe you were born with a female body but feel very sincerely, deep down, that you're a man, or vice versa.
  • Maybe you were born with a male or female body but don't feel 100% male OR female - your gender identity is somewhere inbetween, or neither.
Being transgender doesn't just mean binary, ie. male to female (MtF) or female to male (FtM).

You don't need surgery to be transgender. Gender is different to biological/physical sex. E.g. some trans women born with a penis might be happy having a penis. They are still a woman, because genitals do not define our gender.

Non-binary: Your gender identity is not truly male or female.
Most non-binary people are transgender, because most people are brought up male or female.

Agender: You feel like you have no gender. 

Androgynous: To express (e.g. dress or act) like you have gender. Not the same as agender, asexual or non-binary.
  • Not all agender, asexual or non-binary people dress or act androgynous
  • Not all androgynous people are non-binary, asexual or agender
Genderfluid: You have different genders for different times or situations.
So, maybe you are usually a cis male, but once a month you go out to a bar as a woman - not just dressed as a woman, but actually behaving & feeling you are a woman.

Or, maybe you are usually a woman, but sometimes go out as a non-binary person.

Being genderfluid just means having more than one gender identity. It's totally okay, and it's definitely not just "dressing up".

Genderqueer: Someone who simply identifies differently to the standard binary definition of gender. Often used to specify about gender identity, and not "queer" as a sexual word meaning gay/non-straight.

Bisexual: Being attracted to men and women.

Pansexual: Being attracted to all genders.

What's the difference between bisexual and pansexual?
Bisexual means just being attracted to 2 genders, usually male and female. People can be attracted to men in one way and women in a different way.
Pansexual means being attracted to someone of any gender, including non-binary people.

Asexual: Not feeling sexual attraction at all.

Greysexual: Someone who feels sexual attraction/desire sometimes, but often doesn't. It's a pun on "asexual" but it's still a real thing.

Aromantic: Not feeling romantic attraction/love at all.

Greyromantic: Yep you guessed it, sometimes feeling romantic attraction/love, but often not.

Demiromantic: Someone who rarely feels romantic love or attraction, unless they've built an emotional connection first. It sounds very specific but it's actually very common.

Demisexual: As above, but with sexual attraction/desire.

Intersex: You're born with a body that's not 100% male or female.
This is actually much more common than people think. Parents' first question is often "is it a boy or girl?" and the answer given is usually based on whether then baby has male or female features. So, there's huge pressure on doctors and parents to have a child which is 100% one or the other - often resulting in unnecessary surgery to babies to make them physically "fully" male or female.

Femme: Someone who acts or dresses femininely. This is often used by non-binary people to describe that they lean towards femininity, but can apply to anyone who presents themselves in a feminine way, even men.

Masc: As above but acting or dressing in a masculine way.

Really, the key thing to remember is this: that there aren't just 2 giant boxes marked "male" and "female", and everyone who says something different is just being pretentious and attention-seeking.

Sex and gender are separate things, and can be as varied as human beings are.

Also remember that people experiment and change their gender - maybe it takes some time to work it out, or maybe it changes gradually through their life.

All this is off the top of my head, so if I've got anything wrong or missed anything out, let me know nicely please!

Monday, 21 December 2015

Finally ... hello from London.

Greetings from London! Or more specifically, Frankfurt, ish.

I've been waiting a long time to write this post. I got back to the UK in May, and wanted to be settled in London - at least with a flat, if not a job - before writing it.

That took 6 months.

So it's doubly ironic that I've been 5 weeks into both a great job and a great house before finally finding the time to say hello: waiting in an airport, early for my flight. What can I say, it's becoming a habit.

This weekend has been 48hrs of Christmas markets with friends, including the marvellous @desdrata, who brought - all the way from Australia - a present of the fluff you get in the drier filter. I'll have to explain that one another time...

London is marvellous. It's busy, it's big, it'll eat you alive, etc. I feel like after 5 weeks of madness my life still hasn't calmed down; I guess I trade some kinds of madness for others.

Finding a job was frustratingly just as frustrating as finding one in a different country. Being away 7 years means you miss out on the little things, even having popped in to catch up on the big things.

I had my first Nandos in Bristol 12ish years ago; yet some time in the last 2 or 3, it has colonised the entire country.

People used to drink "bubbles"; now, UK offices are powered by the promise of Prosecco.

And in this same time, 2 changes happened:

- Everything became "digital". We live in Digital Britain now. So while I looked for jobs with "web content", agents asked me to make my CV "more digital". I'm now working in digital communications. I blame the Olympics.

- Everyone is a "manager". Not a manager of people. A manager of whatever your work is about. David Cameron's job title is probably now "British Affairs Manager". Your mum is probably a "Parenting Manager".

It's all fine, but moving back to your own country really is like moving to another country.

The irony of coming back to the UK thinking I wouldn't have to worry about  visas any more, is talking to agents on the phone who hear my accent and ask "What's your visa situation?"

I'm kind of pleased in a way, because I like my accent; I just correct people when they think it's Australian.

When you move to a new city, you have to make it work yourself. Even if you have friends there who can offer you a couch for a week or two. You need a job and a flat, preferably in that order.

But moving back to the UK, with my parents still living happily in our old semidetached family house in Essex, with my childhood books still on the bookshelf in the spare room (Animals Of Farthing Wood reprazent!)... They were happy to have me and I was happy to be there.

It just still felt strange when people would message me saying "How's London?" when I wasn't in London.

Just 50km away, after 7 years of saying "next year", I felt further from London than ever.

So, I was glad to have 3 months of straightforward web work at University Y. It was definitely what I needed at the time, if only so that employers would stop looking at my CV saying "Dis guy looks like an alien OR SUTIN".

But then finally, somehow, things went right; I got a great house with great people before I'd even started looking. It's the Isle of Dogs, which is already causing much amusement. I'm technically north of the river, despite being south of Greenwich. We have a garden and a lounge, which are both nearly extinct in London now (they've all been built on and turned into bedrooms respectively). And I can catch the boat most of the way to work - skipping the madness of the tube is my treat once a week.

And now I have a "proper" communications job in Public Sector Organisation H, which is interesting and engaging and important and even well-paid. (Well, it seems like a lot of money, but maybe I've just been brutalised by 7 years of temp & contract jobs down under.)

It's full of acronyms and legalistic language and needless bureaucracy and I feel very much at home.

There's plenty more I want to share with you, readers, the world, mainly because this blog is all about me and I have a crippling, debilitating need to be understood. But they can wait.

I've got a flight to catch.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

The "Paracetamol Challenge" Doesn't Exist And Everyone Is An Idiot

If the first you hear about a new "craze" is the backlash against it, it's probably not actually a "craze".

A few hours ago I saw a Facebook friend post an article about the terrifying "#ParacetamolChallenge", where children are apparently daring each other to overdose on paracetamol - which is, genuinely, extremely dangerous.

But looking for more information, all I could find was the same thing: news articles from major respected newspapers and media organisations saying "apparently" and "so-called" and "dangerous new craze".

There's very little actual information or examples of this "trend". Which is surprising, if it's a trend, right?

First here's the tweet from Coatbridge Police (it's in Scotland) which all the major stories have not just quoted but embedded:

Firstly you'll note it's from 5th May - 3 weeks ago. If this was a scary new trend, like the newspapers are reporting, how come we've heard nothing about it until the last 24hrs?

Secondly, this tweet only has 25 favourites and 79 retweets (at time of writing) - despite being 3 weeks old and embedded in stories by several major news organisations.

This is no surprise - moral panics and scare stories travel without any need for the original news they're based on.

If you hear phrases like "dangerous new craze", alarm bells should ring about the accuracy of whatever is being claimed.

Having written about the "New Trend In Portland" last year, this phrase and the topic bears a number of similarities in why this story has gone viral - regardless of whether it's true or not:
  • Drugs
  • Children and Youth
  • Health
  • "Trends", memes, and power of the internet

Usually stories like "New Trend In Portland" slowly creep up the food chain of smaller Facebook pages to bigger Facebook pages, as the owner of each bigger page works out they can gain new followers and attention from sharing whatever gross/funny/terrifying story that's going around.

But with this is powerful combination of factors, it's no surprise that #ParacetamolChallenge has rocketed up the media hierarchy to major news outlets.

What we've got here is an accidental case of Brass Eye's "Cake" drug story. While paracetamol is certainly not a "made-up drug" like Cake, the story is just as made-up as the story of "Cake", which even made it into the UK Parliament.

What information do we actually have on the so-called "so-called Paracetamol Challenge"?

As some links report, it "came to light" around March - so this story is 2 months old at least.

The Scotsman reported last week on the "craze". But scrape through the vague scaremongering and there is very little to be certain of:
  • that one person, probably a child, may have been hospitalised, "apparently" from being dared to overdose on paracetamol, and
  • that a lot of people were scared by it, with East Ayrshire schools sending out notices to parents and telling them to monitor their social media use (as if parents aren't constantly encouraged to do that already)
The article also embeds this tweet by from 7th May describing the challenge - but this is not evidence, and @Robbie_Demure could just be repeating what he saw or heard. It's still just "apparently".

So what we have is "apparently" a few kids in a small part of Scotland doing something stupid and dangerous - and that incident rapidly turning into a local scare story, which has now become a global scare story.

And all it needed was the word "Challenge" stuck on the end - probably by someone completely unrelated to the original incident - to mimic the name of 2014's Ice Bucket Challenge. Because there's nothing scarier than our children repeating a trend they saw on new technology in a new and dangerous way.

What would Marilyn Manson say?

There's also this article by the Mirror where a heartbroken mother who lost her daughter to a paracetamol overdose begs young people not to do it. But the crucial thing here, is that this girl died in 2011 - nothing to do with #ParacetamolChallenge. The story is justifiably tragic but tragedy is the only reason this article is popular, not accuracy or connection with this "dangerous new craze".

Here is a heartbroken woman begging children not to take part in a craze that does not exist.

On Twitter, the only results for #ParacetamolChallenge are people screaming how awful it is and how stupid kids are. I don't know how far back you'd have to go to find an actual example of, as the Mirror article claims, children "daring each other" to abuse paracetamol "on social media networks including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram".

A quick look at Instagram shows there is no hashtag for #ParacetamolChallenge.
Instagram may have removed it - they police and manage the available search terms - but even searching #paracetamol shows nothing about this "craze".
#ParacetamolOverdose is 8th on the list of available search terms, with 41 posts, the latest being 3 weeks ago.

And to be frank I'm not sure how anyone "dares" someone else on Instagram, seeing as it's a picture site. They allow short videos, sure - but it's clear the sheer mention of "social networks [hyperlinked] including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram" is specifically designed to press the right buttons, as described in the list above, of paranoid parents and judgmental readers, ready to react first and think later.

Talking of videos, what about Youtube? Considering the Ice Bucket Challenge spread specifically and directly through Youtube videos, you'd expect in a "craze" 3+ weeks old to find some kids daring other people to take the challenge, but no, nothing.

You'd also expect people to be shouting and raging about this dangerous new trend, but there seems to be just one video so far. 5 days old with 170,000 views, "The Newest Stupid Challenge That's F$%king Teens Up - SourceFed" claims "teens from all over the world are competing with each other to see who can take the most paracetamol". Really, guys?

They include a sample video of a kid spitting into a cup - it's even the thumbnail - as if this is an example video of the #ParacetamolChallenge, like some kind of proof it's really real. But we don't see him taking anything, there's no information about him, nothing - this is a kid from anywhere doing anything.

The male reporter with the toy giraffe on his head laughably says "campus cops are paying close attention to these trends", presumably unaware that British people hardly ever call high schools "campuses" and certainly don't have police in them! Which idiot at Sourcefed gave him this line?

The best irony is the presenters go on to describe other "trends" which are even more clearly made up, including taking drugs and alcohol anally "for a longer hit".

I should stop worrying about this - I've already spent an hour writing all this out, and my point is that kids are not actually dying, which is a good thing.

That's another point - if this was a real trend, we'd have heard about more than just 1 kid getting themselves into hospital, don't you think?

But what staggers me is how massively this story has been taken up, how literally and unquestionningly everyone takes it, and how seriously angry people are getting over something which is clearly not true. React first, think later.

Even international media have picked up the story - check the links below, and the hilarious Brass Eye video satirising fear of drugs way back in 1997.

The best past though? These scare stories and moral panics are poetically ironic.

This isn't even a lie or a conspiracy people are being fed - it's a lie people are only too happy to give themselves.

And it's a panic on social media about social media, when the only real event is the panic itself.

By the way, in case it's not clear - don't ever overdose on paracetamol, even if you do want to commit suicide. It's a horrifically painful and drawn out way to go.

Now I'm off to start the #MoralPanicChallenge. Anyone got any Clarky Cat?

P.S. By total coincidence the #CharlieCharlieChallenge is taking over Twitter at exactly the same time as the Paracetamol Challenge. Incredible. I wonder if it's a marketing gimmick for the Poltergeist remake?