To whom it may concern,
We (Ygor Bedmitz, unlicensed legal services; contactable via the online reference above) are acting in all matters for our imaginary client, Peter Sharrock. For those of you who are looking for an explanation, we are posting Peter's regular reports on this page. His most recent post will always be the one immediately below this summary, in which our client writes:
In 2021 I had an oropharyngeal (throat) cancer for which I'm told I've been successfully treated.
Unsurprisingly I'm now mindful of the fact that we, all of us, have only these given years left to live the rest of our lives. So I've decided to embark upon this journey, through places of inspiring art and science, contemplation, silent meditation & prayer, to examine my mental health while completing this conceptual work of outsider art and allowing my imaginary lawyer (Ygor Bedmitz) to dispose of what still remains of our estate.
While on this journey, I'm maintaining five principal areas of concern: (1) for our physical, social and spiritual wellbeing; (2) for my so-called building of a cathedral; (3) for the abandoned writing of my novel; (4) for almost every procedure of the Witch Star project; and (5) for these disposals of our catalogue and all its contents.
Saturday, January 22nd, 2022
In this journey, I’m not sure whether or not it's a requirement that I should carry on visiting pubs. Bearing in mind, I’ve been drinking in pubs since I was fifteen-years-old - and I like pubs. For example, in the late-1970s, there was a time when I'd lived almost my entire waking life in one of them: from its opening time until its closing time; from its so-called ‘early doors’ until last orders - and often in convivial company on those sticky carpets and wooden stools in The Bath Hotel on Union Street, Oldham, Lancs. And for a couple of years before I would move down here (to the south of England, to begin my psychiatric nurse training at Merrydown Park Hospital) I was working behind that lovely great curve of a bar in The Grey Horse, which had been another one of our favourite pubs in Union Street. And then, throughout my years of training to become a nurse, I would be spending at least half of my free time in Merrydown Park’s staff social club. But these days I tend to drink so much less, and I’ll visit a pub maybe just once in a week unless we’re at the end of the month - when I might treat myself to an entire weekend of fun.
But then, of course, there’s bound to be quite a lot of 'mobilised insanity' in and around Brighton’s central pubs: For, after all, our city is and always has been a party town. And, subject to a civil servant’s inquiry, sometime before the end of next week, even our nation’s fun-loving but floundering Prime Minister might have come to better understand the meaning of party.
According to my notebook (this week, following our consultation with VHC’s quack psychologist, who had been helping me to consume half a dozen cans of beer) we appear to have a plan for the Witch Star project: to develop its latest script for a movie in three parts about a trans woman who had - in 1971 - fallen in love with David Bowie and then, fifty years later, taken LSD with two other old ladies in a nursing home.
Saturday, January 15th, 2022
But what else have I been writing in my handy little notebooks? I seem to have so many of them. Some are sizes A4, A5 or A6 - at my bedside or on a desktop. And sometimes I’ll be carrying an A5 size 'soft cover' Moleskine notebook in a shoulder bag. But always in a coat pocket I’ll have with me this handy little notepad, size A7. But, these days, I'm not keeping my notes like I once did: numbered and filed in a VHC storage box. These days, everything’s being shredded: For on this journey I need to travel only with a minimum of baggage. Even the most recent pages are torn out , then anything useful is typed up into a Google Document (either on my new MacBook Air, or on my old Acer Chromebook) cumulatively into one of VHC’s seven collections of current notes. And last year I took out a credit union loan to buy this £999 MacBook. I figured it’s not a luxury but a necessity. I earn £10 per hour as a healthcare assistant. So, I'd had to do the math, as they say.
Regarding my physical, social and spiritual wellbeing, this week I weighed 65.2kg. So, that’s a slight improvement on last week’s figure. As for my mental health, I availed myself of the Trust’s offer of a professional opinion [made to all of its staff] and they offered me six sessions online of CBT, cognitive behavioural therapy. However, that was an offer now on hold since their therapist is currently off sick. And that's unsurprising since an increasing number of hospitals all across the UK are declaring ‘critical incidents’ due to covid related staff shortages.
Regarding this cathedral: What’s the story? You may ask. And where is it? You may ask. And I might tell you that this cathedral is all around, like love is all around - as that famously wet wet wet song would have us all believe. But then, all around us in this city are those forces of a mobilised insanity - although I’m not saying that insanity is evil, only that evil takes advantage wherever and whenever it can - spawning anything from the heights of a nazi empire to the smallest paranoias of some crack addicted pest.
It’s now Saturday morning. And for this evening I have a plan to meet up with friends in a local pub. And I’ll be taking with me this handy little notebook to record what I see and what I might hear, and what I might be thinking, and what I should be planning to do next.
Saturday, January 8th, 2022
I was going to sit here and write a short review of the progress I’ve been making so far on those five areas of concern listed at the top of this page. But in Caffe Nero (here on the corner of Preston Street in Western Road, Brighton) I’ve been far too distracted. It’s been hard enough finding somewhere to sit in this place. Almost every table appears to be occupied, each by a single individual (and almost all of them look like students from one of this city’s numerous language schools) sitting there with their single cups of coffee - which they’d probably purchased more than an hour ago - and their wi-fi connected laptops. However, I’ve eventually found this comfy armchair in one corner next to a great big window. And, from here and at my leisure, I can peruse that engrossing view of those busy streets in motion.
Across that road, two young beggars are still negotiating over the tenancy of a pitch on the pavement immediately to the right of Sansbury’s doorway. Earlier, when I’d passed them on my way into that shop (to buy a Mars Bar, as is my habit - to enjoy with my coffee) I’d overheard one of them telling the other that she'd “urgently” need his pitch. And, it would seem, the young man had acquiesced to her request, just before going inside to exchange all his change for a twenty pound note. Then he'd turned around to me and asked if I wanted to take his freshly acquired but unused plastic shopping bag. I said that I didn’t. He offered it to me again - this time adding that it was “totally free”. He didn’t want me to pay for it. But, again, I insisted that I didn’t need it. So then (obviously offended) the young man had turned his offer on someone else. And they had accepted the bag. And then he [the young beggar] had said aloud to anyone there who might have been caring enough to listen, “Yeah. Well, thank you for that. But some people are never generous when you need them to be.”
In Caffe Nero, there’s an elderly couple at the next table bickering a little too long and loudly. Each is accusing the other of being the controlling personality in their relationship. At another table, a young man of Middle Eastern appearance is trying to focus through an expensive looking laptop onto its screen full of coding in multicoloured lines. He appears to be using a small, Bluetooth connected microphone. All I can imagine is that - if he’s trying to sell something, online to some distant persons someplace else in the world - his customers might just be asking what all this bickering in the background is about. Yes, I can imagine all of that, but what else should I be writing, here in my handy little notebook?
At the moment, regarding (1) my physical, social and spiritual wellbeing: I can imagine that [after I’ve finished drinking this cup of coffee, which must have gone cold more than twenty minutes ago] I’ll be crossing that road and shopping in Waitrose for some food that’s going to be putting a lot more fat on my increasingly pale skinned and bony body. This week, when I weighed myself, I weighed 64.5kg. So, for some unknown reason, I’m continuing to lose weight. And - as for my mental health - I’ve decided to ask the Trust (for whom I continue to work as a healthcare assistant) for their professional opinion. Afterall, it’s something that they’ve been offering to give us, for many months, and for free.
Regarding (2) my so-called building of a cathedral: I told God that I might not be able to do much more than write a story. To which he replied, “What’s the difference?” And regarding (3) the abandoned writing of my novel: From my inkjet printer at home, I’ve so far printed twelve copies and distributed several to friends & family for their comments and suggestions. And as for (4) the Witch Star project: I might solicit some assistance from that same Trust for whom I work. And as for (5) these disposals of VHC and all its contents: I might ask my old friend Terry Dalglish to describe its true nature for me in a poem.
It’s just a story,
Just a masquerade …
New Year's Day, 2022
Well, here’s to a Happy New Year, and I hope we can all enjoy better times. I’m guessing that we might now be seeing the last of the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic in this country. I can only imagine how hard it’s been for many of my friends & family.
For me, the latter half of 2021 was full of stuff such as that cancer, and then all those months of waiting to hear the results of all its treatment. And then, after six years of work as a healthcare assistant on M ward I have had to readjust to a new job (with lighter duties but with the same employer) in a different location. And then my dad died, and his funeral was in the week before Christmas. And now I’m wondering, in all those months, did I ever stop to say thank you to all my friends & family for all their love and help and support during those months of treatment & recovery? Well, if I didn’t then I’d like to say it now: Thank you for all those lifts to the hospital and for the walks in the park, the drives along the seafront and the supportive messages, the many little gifts and the recuperative trips to London and Devon. And I hope 2022 is going to be a better year for all of us and our families.
The plan for me now is to be fully committed to this life as a writer - even if all that’s ever published is only here, on these pages. However, I must say that, although I may never achieve excellence as a writer - since excellence is naturally quite a rare thing, and there are so many skills that I still don’t possess since I'd chosen not to learn them when I was a kid at school - I think my writing has improved with age and experience, and I’ve learned that there are some rules that do make sense while there are others that can be refashioned for my own purposes.
A couple of years ago, an old friend corrected my grammar after I’d described the older of my two daughters as my eldest. However: In her annual Queen’s Speech, on Christmas Day 2021, Queen Elizabeth described her grandson, The Duke of Cambridge - one of only two brothers - as the eldest son of Prince Charles. And so now, surely - officially or by precedent - that utterance makes any similar use of that particular superlative duly acceptable and in accordance with The Queen’s English.
From now on, I’m aiming to publish a new post on this page every Saturday.
Happy New Year xxx
Sunday, December 19th, 2021
As promised, here's another post regarding this new beginning for my journey.
During these last few days of increasing darkness before this year's winter solstice, there are promises of a greater light both literally and metaphorically coming into our world.
Yesterday I travelled from Manchester (and from my father’s funeral) on one train after another - via London - down to this south coast of England, and to my beloved home here on this edge of the parish of St Matthias in Brighton.
This is a time of year when resolutions are being made. Mine will be for me to live in accordance with my mission statement, to achieve everything that's needed for my journey.
As shown in VHC online's extract from a current vhc.2qb.ts01 catalogue, copies of my novelette (to quit banishette) have been distributed to a first set of readers - i.e. to my friends & family - and I’ll wait to hear their opinions (regarding that piece of writing) before asking someone where it could be taken next.
As for my cathedral and the Witch Star project -
“Oh, do shut up - and just get on with it.”
I’ll post my next report on New Year’s Day.
Friday, December 10th, 2021
Recently, I haven’t had much tangible progress to report. And I very much doubt anyone, at the moment, has any real interest in reading this ‘blog’. Unlike their interest in those posts regarding my treatment for cancer, not even my friends & family have an interest - at least not yet - in how this catalogue is being sold. And, in addition, since I haven’t posted anything new to this page since the beginning of November, people generally lose interest when blogs are not updated.
My father (Gordon Sharrock, 1930-2021; RIP) died and his funeral is next week.
At the end of next week, I’ll be ready to begin this journey through places of inspiring art and science, contemplation, silent meditation & prayer. And I’ll be regularly posting to this page from then onwards.
Monday, November 1st, 2021
I've just posted what I hope will be the last note in that series regarding my treatment for cancer. From now on I think we should be concentrating on everything else in this Vanishing House catalogue. Isn't that so, Ygor?
In the meanwhile, my old friend Terry Dalglish [not his real name] suggests poetry is what I should be writing. Well, I'm not too sure about that, but there could be something in it. So I've enrolled in an Open University introductory level literature course called What is poetry?
Then I told God that, after thirty or forty years, I still haven't managed to build any kind of cathedral other than this story, but he replied, "What's the difference?" So, obviously, my next step along this particular journey might be to convince Justin Welby, the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury, that he needs to be appointing a bishop in cyberspace as soon as possible.
"No, Mafter! People will think you're a mad-"
"Ygor! Shut up! I'm telling you, again: The God of the insane is the God of us all."
As for my novel - which, unfortunately, another old friend appears to be dismissing as merely a novelette: I've printed eight copies (and I might print another twelve) on some cheap A4 paper. I'll be circulating these copies to some people I know, and I'll be reporting their opinions in a future post.
And as for the Witch Star project: well, now that I've returned to my job as a healthcare assistant, working for the NHS in mental health ... Well - like I said ... the God of the insane is the God of us all.