30 Before Thirty (Comics & Graphic Novels)

Congratulations Mr Trump (3).png

I’m going to be thirty in just over 2 years and at this moment in time I’m OK with that (how I feel about it in 10 minuets is up for debate) but one of the things that I realised is that there are a fair few things I still want to accomplish whilst the career and social goals are somewhat out of my control things like films I want to see, albums I want to listen to and books I want to read are very much in my control, especially as I have 25 months to accomplish it. Here is a list of the Comics and Graphic Novels that I would like to have read by the time I’m thirty.

Grant Morrison’s 18 Days


Camelot 3000


Miracle Man: A Dream Of Flying


All Star Superman 


Preacher: Gone To Texas


The Crow


Sandman Preludes and Nocturnes


Alan Moore’s: Saga of The Swamp Thing


Marvel 1602


Saga: Volume 1


 The Order: Die Mensch Machine

download (1).jpg

The Complete Scarlet Traces 

download (2).jpg

Button Man




Superman: Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow 


The Infinity Gauntlet 


Amazing Spider-man: Kravens Last Hunt


Promethea Book 1 


Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus 




Son Of Superman 


Hellblazer: Original Sins 


The Authority: Relentless 

download (3).jpg

Hellboy: Seed Of Destruction 


Doctor Who: Emperor Of The Daleks

download (4).jpg

Death: The High Cost Of Living  


JSA The Liberty Files 


Alice In Sunderland 


Daredevil Yellow


The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch


How many of these do you think I’ll get done before July 21st 2019?

30 Before I’m Thirty (Films)

Congratulations Mr Trump (2)

I’m going to be thirty in just over 2 years and at this moment in time I’m OK with that (how I feel about it in 10 minuets is up for debate) but one of the things that I realised is that there are a fair few things I still want to accomplish whilst the career and social goals are somewhat out of my control things like films I want to see, albums I want to listen to and books I want to read are very much in my control, especially as I have 25 months to accomplish it. Here is a list of the films that I would like to have read by the time I’m thirty.

How Green Was My Valley 


Gentleman’s Agreement


From Here to Eternity


Gone With The Wind


Cat On A Hot Tin Roof


West Side Story


Lawrence of Arabia


Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf


Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner


Funny Girl


Fiddler On The Roof


All The Presidents Men




Kramer Vs Kramer


Terms of Endearment 


The Cider House Rules


An Education


The Wolf Of Wall Street


Guardians of the Galaxy 2


Moonrise Kingdom


Saving Private Ryan


Going In Style 


Wall Street


King Ralph


Planes Trains and Automobiles


O Brother, Where Art Thou?


The Monuments Men


Good Will Hunting


Good Morning Vietnam 


This Is Spinal Tap


How many of these do you think I’ll get done before July 21st 2019?

Happy Birthday Marianna

Happy Birthday Marianna.png

Happy 2017 everyone. Today was my daughter, and shining star of my life, Marianna’s second birthday. lots of her relatives have come to visit and she was loving her place as the centre of attention. I however spent most of the day in the kitchen cooking a sumptuous buffet, then playing host, refreshing drinks, topping up glasses, that sort of thing. It was a lovely day and Marianna thoroughly enjoyed herself. She selected, without coaching, the toy that I brought for her as her favourite.

However this has not left me with as lot of time for writing a blog post for today. So here are some highlights from the party.


Marianna 1.jpg
Marianna in her Snow White outfit
My homemade prawn cocktail ring
Marianna 3.jpg
Marianna opening her gifts this morning.


Marianna and the buffet table.


The Lazy Ramblings Of A Lazy Man (On Babies)

The Man Down My Local (11).png

I was recently introduced to the Idle Thoughts Of An Idle Fellow by Jerome K Jerome. The book consists of 14 essays on 14 topics

  10. ON BABIES.
  14. ON MEMORY.

Jerome K Jerome is pretty much me down to a tee. He’s lazy and just writes whatever comes to mind. He doesn’t care who he offends, and I often felt that he may have been somewhat high when he picked up the pen. But Mr Jerome has inspired me, so I am going to be writing a series of posts on the topics that Mr Jerome turned his hand at. (I know I’m ripping the guy off, but quite frankly I don’t care).

On Babies

I have a child, she’s a baby, she’s cute as hell, but I tell you now, she has definitely put me off having more children, she’s loud and smelly, and given the amount that I find in her nappy, she seems to defy the laws of mass displacement.

Babies are hard work, they require constant attention, they require food, and clothing, before having a child if I wanted to wallow in my own filth without having a proper meal for a week, it wouldn’t matter (except maybe to those who had to smell me) but I can’t do that now, I have to make sure that a whole other person is fed and bathed and presented in a manner that doesn’t bring shame on my whole family.

Then there are other peoples babies, god I hate those little bastards, they’re loud, they smell, and you can’t give them a clip round the head, in fact come to think of it other peoples children are a really good argument for the extinction of the species as a whole. And then there’s the way that you have to coo over newborns whilst saying how much like one of their parents the thing looks like, when in fact they look like a slightly red faced pug, all squashed up from nine months with their face buried in a placenta. And lord help you if you can’t tell the gender, if you refer to a newborn as it, you will undoubtedly feel the wrath of both parents descend upon you like the locusts descended upon the upper kingdom. On top of all this people seem fascinated by new babies, in spite of the fact that they don’t really do anything.

The other thing I’ve noticed since having a child, is that there really are a large number of really ugly babies out there, a huge amount. I’m no oil painting (maybe the kind painted by Edvard Munch or Hieronymus Bosch), but seriously.

This is the tenth in a series of posts ripping off the work of Mr Jerome K Jerome and his seminal piece The Idle Thoughts Of An Idle Man.

Santa Express

A Christmas time tradition for my family, when I and my siblings were younger was going on a steam train to see Father Christmas. So today my parents were all too happy to revive that tradition so that Marianna could go and see Santa on the train.

Meeting santa early 1990's.jpg
Meeting Santa On The Train At Lydney (Early 1990’s)

So this morning my parents, my sister, Marianna, her mother, myself and some family friends made the drive from my home in Cwmbran all the way to the Dean Forest Railway in Lydney (Gloucester) for Mariana to experience the wonders of meeting Father Christmas, coupled with the joy that a lot of little children experience in riding on an old school steam train.

From my point of view the whole thing was wonderfully nostalgic, as we used to go every year its also nice to see that not much has changed in the intervening years, as the little rail museum and gift shop remains unchanged. However there was a new cafe and the toilets had been refurbished. From Marianna’s point of view however it was a cafe and some trains.

However Marianna had been looking forward to going all week and was excited to see the “noisy train” and was enjoying the comfort of her own seat and the rhythmic click clack of the train slowly puffing along. Then Santa Clause appeared shouting HO!HO!HO! And I’ve never seen anything so funny in all my life, my daughter screamed with fear (she’s never been that loud in her life), she began crying and tried to burrow into her seat and hide behind me simultaneously, bearing in mind I was sat down too. I know its cruel to think so, but it really was funny. Santa gave me a look that said shes not the first and wont be the last, handed me a present and carried on down the train being trailed by a couple of elves.

Off the train.jpg
My Parents, My Sister, Marianna, Rabbit and Myself on alighting the train at Parkend Station

After that Marianna was fine for most of the journey, except when Santa came back up the train at which point she hid under my coat, the grown ups were then given their presents (a miniature bottle of booze, rum in my case, and a mince pie) and that was the Santa Express. We had a look around the gift shop and then came home, although we did stop for dinner in the Two Rivers, In Chepstow, on the way home. Given the amount I had to eat whilst there I may slip into some sort of food induced coma soon, I ate half a chicken, a boat load of vegetables, some sweet potato chips, followed by a chocolate brownie sundae, washed down with two pints. So suffice to say today I will be having a very early night, probably not very long after I hit “publish” if I’m being completely honest.

Postnatal Depression In Men

Postnatal Depression In Men.png

Postnatal depression is something that affects as much as 10% of new mothers out there, however what they don’t tell you is that it doesn’t only effect women, it can effect men just as badly. It may be difficult to tell if you are suffering from Postnatal depression because some of the symptoms are just symptomatic of life, especially when you’ve just had a child. symptoms such as tiredness, trouble sleeping at night and feeling tired during the day seem like par for the course when a new baby comes along, and this would go hand in hand with problems concentrating, making decisions and a lack of energy and feeling all the time seems like it would again be part of the lack of sleep. The common symptoms of PND (postnatal depression) in men are:

  • a persistent feeling of sadness and low mood
  • lack of enjoyment and loss of interest in the wider world
  • lack of energy and feeling tired all the time
  • trouble sleeping at night and feeling sleepy during the day
  • difficulty bonding with your baby
  • withdrawing from contact with other people
  • problems concentrating and making decisions
  • frightening thoughts – for example, about hurting your baby

What causes postnatal depression in men is not entirely clear from a sociological and an anthropological standpoint factors could include

  • a history of mental health problems, particularly depression, earlier in life
  • having no close family or friends to support you
  • a poor relationship with your partner
  • recent stressful life events, such as a bereavement or job loss
  • financial difficulties

however from a biochemical standpoint however childbirth does some pretty crazy things to men’s heads studies in animals and people show that new fathers experience an increase in the hormones estrogen, oxytocin, prolactin and glucocorticoids, according to a recent review of studies by psychologist Elizabeth Gould and colleagues from Princeton University.

The research shows that contact with the mother and children seem to induce certain hormonal changes in fathers. In humans, fathers who show more affection toward their children also tend to have higher levels of oxytocin (the hormone responsible for bonding with children), the effects of this change in the chemical soup that makes up a human being could lead to hormonal imbalances that in turn could lead to depression.

If you do feel that you are suffering from postnatal depression as a dad there are many things you can do about it.

If you want someone to talk to anonymously you can call the Samaritans free on 0117 983 1000 from any UK mobile or landline.

Alternatively you can speak to your doctor who will recommend various forms of treatment for you such as antidepressants or counselling based on your needs. Most importantly you should talk to your partner, tell them what you are going through, they may be feeling the same and you can act as a little two person support group for each other, or by simply unburdening yourself to them they be able to help a little bit while you try to get your shit together. It is hard work and I speak from experience, I suffered through the sleepless nights and lethargic days (to the point where I had to have a sit down half way through washing the dishes), I suffered the mood swings, the obsessive behaviour and the constant tiredness. It got to the point where I barely recognised who I was as person anymore, and then finally it hit me, that moment of clarity, that I needed help, I went to my doctor and asked for a big pile of antidepressants, I started taking my daughter out more and more, seeing friends and just doing small things until now over the last few months (bearing in mind my daughter will be two next month) I have finally started to feel like myself again. I give a shit about how I look again, I care that my house is a mess, I do occasionally go out and have fun with my friends. And a big part of that is because I asked for help.

The mother of my child would joke that our roles were reversed after the pregnancy. I was the one who had the baby brain and the sleepless nights, I could drive a tractor through that bedroom and I wouldn’t have woken Jessica up, whereas Marianna farting in her bedroom will often wake me up to this day (even if I fall asleep on the sofa). But this made me think that if I were going through this sort of thing how many other men were out there, going through the exact same thing and not getting the help that they needed?  Men and mental health issues can be tricky minefield to navigate at the best of times, because by admitting that we need help, we are wired to believe that we fail as men, that we should be the strong silent type, but this sort of thing is not healthy, yes I know that there is a stigma around mental health, but there shouldn’t be, especially at a time when we as men really are at out most vulnerable. If you need help get it, if you had a broken leg, you wouldn’t leave it untreated (at least not for longer than it takes to sober up), if you had cancer you would get chemo, if you caught the clap you would take some penicillin, if you were stupid enough to mess around with power tools while under the influence, you would go to the emergency room. So why on earth wouldn’t you take the necessary treatments to combat depression and make your self well again? If not for your sake then for your child’s. They deserve a father, not just the shell of one.