Tag Archives: a softer world


One of the great problems of being an atrocious human being is that you kind of need to change your persona in order to not suck. As such, I tend to idolise people regularly, and have taken inspiration from loads of people in my time…

Obviously, my Dad was a hero. He worked a lot, but I lived with my mum and 2 half sisters for years, my only grandparent was a Gran, I had reams of female cousins and 2/4 of my best friends were girls. And when you’re a kid, all women are harpies. This is just fact, nobody disputes it, on a boy’s 12th birthday, his mind is reset and he’s no longer secretly suspicious of vaginas, and suddenly you have twice as many friends in the world and life becomes really easy, right? But until then, women are harlots, and it’s bros before hoes, and Dad was basically the only guy who had my back. 2 of my closest friends, George and Liam, were boys, but I couldn’t trust them. They lived with their mums and sisters! They were too far gone. Dad just existed forever, and other than looking increasingly less like John Lennon as he ages, he is eternal and unchanging. He was wise beyond my years, to this day I basically haven’t left little boy mode of always going to him with a dilemma. He taught me how to read people, he taught me one of the most important life hacks I know (which I can’t reveal on here), and most importantly, he’s proven that you can actually be cool with a neckbeard, so if I can’t be bothered to shave for a month as with now, there may be hope for me anyways. He has also, of course, been constantly there (emotionally, as he is a taxi driver, he is phyiscally always absent).

And then of course there’s the growing up nonsense. As great as Dad was, being a taxi driver was hardly practical. I progressed through various learning institutions, and of course an asylum is a great place to meet the most mental and bizzarre people you’ve ever met. And there among them stood their leader, the balding hatter himself. Philius Nicholls. Anyone who was taught by him will still be able to recite his classroom’s specific anthem, a warbling chant delivered at rapid fire speed to bamboozle us into watching and listening to his every move. It seemed like he was singing, but he was tricking us into being educated! I had little interest in the British Takeover but I was so well versed in facts about it back then, and it’s all because of Philius, with his hair styled to match his idol Beethoven (and it was out of fashion then) and his ancient Greek name. He even led the school choir with military precision, which I was shamefully in. I remember the first time he took us on stage. We goose-stepped out there and delivered an operatic version of ‘Somewhere Only we Know’ by Keane, which went down… well, I still sometimes get teased for it. But here’s my point; I realised at this point that some of the most influential people in our lives are the ones that stand out, and so of course there’s nothing wrong with being star-craving mad, so long as you’re going somewhere with it. He made madness an art which I loved, and yet, managed to keep that musical mysteria separate from his maths teaching, which was coldly precise. In terms of just crunching numbers, I still haven’t seen anyone quicker. On top of this, he’s also a classically trained pianist, furthering my theory that he’s either related to or has also taught Lady Gaga. And then there are my current teachers, Mr Witney and Mr Pelley, who teach me philosophy and ethics respectively. In stark contrast to Mr Nicholls, they taught me that you don’t NEED to be mad to work here, only that it helps. Which I’ve since lost the rights to as a phrase. They’re both very down to Earth people, very funny, very amusing, very helpful in any aspect of life I’ve ever approached them with and have pretty good tastes in comedy, while just happening to be teaching me. They make no effort to be out of this world unless ironically, and I love the total relaxation and contentment they seem to have for themselves.

I have of course, saved probably the most important for last. I’ve omitted many I’d like to speak about, such as existential serial killer Sylar from ‘Heroes’, or my primary school teachers who put me on a decent foundation or the Tillington Hobo. But ultimately, the person who’s inspired me more than anyone is a sexually ambiguous canadian writer who can make you laugh, cry, cry laughing and laugh crying, and then feel a sick sense of primal guilt for all 4 within 3 frames. This man is Joey Comeau. I refer to how I first knew him, through www.asofterworld.com (doesn’t have nearly a big enough fanbase). I have since gone on to read his short stories, his writing for ‘Overqualified’, 4 genuinely meaningful interviews he conducted and have read ‘Lockpick Pornography’, a novella of his. Somewhen in the summer, I will commit myself to reading ‘One Bloody thing after Another’ because it will thrill me. That’s the plugging done. What Joey does fantastically is take individual insecurities that we never tell anyone about (you all have one), and analyse them from a viewpoint you’d not normally see (e.g an outsiders one, as you never tell people these sorts of things) and then lets you all see them as well. Another reviewer described Joey as building up lovely and charming characters just in time to make you watch him do horrible unspeakable things to them, which is also true and intriguing. His writing has helped me through many a bad episode, has changed my outlook on a huge number of things and it wouldn’t be an overreaction to say I would be a hugely different person without him. He’s what started me writing not just to communicate but for meaning, as I thought it’d be a good life goal to try, through my life, to write something about a third as well as he writes not just his stories and comics, but also his life. He also sells one of my favourite shirts ever, “Many problems, one solution: BLOW UP THE MOON”

Loads of people can inspire you in different ways, and to be blunt, if you’re not finding one small shimmer of inspiration a day, it’s because either you’re not doing enough, or you’re too ego-centric to realise you can do better. Having said that, for God sake don’t dwell on it or you’ll realise quickly that unless you’re Usain Bolt (in which case, why am I bothering to address anyone else?), you’re probably not the best at what you do. The only person you’re ever really competing with is yourself, everyone else is just background noise. Inspiration’s a wonderful thing, but I try not to lose sight of doing things my way, because at the end of the day, it won’t be a mature Canadian’s voice in my ears, it’ll be mine. And my audience, as with anyone else’s, is very hard to impress.

If you are Rhys, this is God.