Liz Bentley and David’s Soul

Liz and David Soul
 Liz and David Soul

Here is a picture of me with David Soul at the Happy Days festival in Enniskillen about ten years ago. I imagine in order to do a gig like this these days I’d have to do tests and be doubled vaccinated. Or is that just Southern Eire? I can’t keep up.

I haven’t written for a while because I have felt I have to sensor my thoughts. Why is that? I can’t be honest or funny anymore? I got told off (an attempt to shame) on Facebook for mentioning (not even advertising) a gig about my new character the Hand Job Maiden, apparently, I was being inappropriate to a friend’s friend whose friend had recently tested positive for covid. Thought policing what the friend’s friend would think, me thinks.

I bought a copy of the Big Issue from the seller outside the Cop-op. It’s £3 now, the seller told me he’s been selling it since it was 60p.

“Have you been homeless all that time?” I asked.

“Yes. I couch surf.”

The seller has a twinkle in his eye. I imagine he gets a couch and gives of his soul. I doubt he’ll need to test every night to access his couches.

One of the articles in the Big Issue is written by Eric Berkowitz entitled ‘Thought Policing’. I guess if my thoughts are being policed, I may as well write them down. Eric has written a book ‘Dangerous Ideas’…. “Censorship is the strongest drive in human nature: sex is a weak second”…. “The compulsion to silence others is as old as the urge to speak.” I might buy his book.

When programmes such as Little Britain and League of Gentlemen are banned I wonder about the first poetry book I self-published I think, wow, I wouldn’t get away with that anymore, neither would I write some of the things I wrote, but that’s because I am open and learning along the way but I can’t go woke mad. Last night as a family we watched the film ‘Grown Ups’. A comedy comfort from the past. As we laughed we acknowledged much of the humour now may could/would/should offend. But it is fucking funny with a film of guilt or not?

Before literacy we lived as apprentices, learning by experience and told stories from the experienced. Now it’s a battle of words and determined algorithm’s on social and main stream media with often the one voice that prevails. Whose voice is it? Doesn’t seem to matter. Each voice sounds authoritative, lacking authority.

Maybe that’s why I’m struggling to write. What’s the point? Am I better off going out there and speaking about my story? I am fortunate to see my clients face to face where I learn from their stories. I go into the college and observe and listen to their stories. What about mine? What about my experience and authority? Keep the soul going Liz. Meeting and getting pissed with David Soul and his wife was wonderful and fun. Even the mobility car driver at Gatwick had experienced his Soul and couldn’t stop talking about him. David was an alcoholic decades before, despite his therapy, I think he still was back then when we met. I wonder how and what he is doing now. At Happy Days he was reading poetry. Oh Happy Days.

Why is it not okay for me to advertise my gig where I sing a song about the suicidal farmer when in reality there were five suicide attempts in one week at the college? Empathy only for covid. Where has empathy gone? We can’t comment about our lives, unless it’s in the name of staying safe for Covid despite lives ruined and the mental health tsunami only just begun. We smile and say we’re fine, all in the name of Covid and the happy rainbow symbol of the NHS.

Since the great re-opening on 19th July, the message remains – be fearful and empathic to Covid. And only Covid. With a capital letter.

And don’t get me started on long Covid. This is where my authority and experience come in. Yet one ever asks me about my experience. No one ever asks, Liz, how do you manage?

Many of us studying MUS (Medically Unexplained Symptoms) post viral conditions and then PPS (Persistent Physical Symptoms) were pretty much ignored in the NHS in the early 2000’s, why? Because we weren’t drug pushers? Our research proved that listening and understanding was by a long shot the best remedy. I’ll explain simply. When someone you love dies you are bereaved. Most of us deal with the bereavement and carry on with our lives yet some of us get stuck somewhere in the grieving process. This can manifest in depression and/or physical symptoms. Therapy helps to work out why you are stuck in order to move on. The mind and body are one. There is a reason why someone gets long Covid, and that reason, like a complex bereavement, needs time and understanding.  There is always, ALWAYS a reason. But the NHS will push yet more drugs, possibly a booster vaccine, possible CBT (Cock and Ball Torture) to change your thinking as opposed to exploring creatively. Possibly prescriptions of anti-anxiety or anti-depressants (which research has recently proved, see previous blog for links, works the same as placebo but have side effects so what’s the point? Drug pushing more. The NHS got rid of all the primary care therapists in 2006. And the dieticians … stop Liz, you have no editor, try to remain on point).

I wrote my Master’s degree with research from my job in primary care. In those days Doctors and holistic therapists worked as a team inhouse. I have written before, about the education system as fucked like the NHS. If they mandate Covid vaccination what will the next thing be Ritalin? Why are kids now diagnosed ADHD as well as autism? There are no drugs for autism, there are for ADHD. Transhumanism (see file on the government website) perhaps preparation to further repress our kid’s creativity and uniqueness. Arts education cut, more preparation. We all drew and painted when we were little. Chalk on the pavement. Creativity and thinking cut in the system and the shadow side projected into the kid who screams ‘STOP’. I feel like I’m living in a schizophrenic world, like the child screaming. For fucks sake LISTEN. If you can’t question science, it’s not fucking science. I am human.

Education system, NHS system, totalitarian governments worldwide. Their menticide attempting to kill off my mind that jumps about like the waves of fear with periods of calm then more waves of fear with propaganda to promote confusion, and blatant lies. Fear overriding logic. Blah blah, we know all this. We all know about Pavlovs dogs, and the dangers of isolation. We all know about Aldous Huxley and George Orwell. I read on a tweet somewhere. ‘1984 was a warning, not a manual’. The way out offered by dictators involves us turning on ourselves. Divide and conquer. Not that complex. Surprise surprise, said Cilla. She brought people together. I love bringing people together.

“If you haven’t accepted you will die one day, you are a sitting duck for policies which claim to be for your safety.” Harsh words from Laura Dodsworth in ‘A State of Fear.’

“Adults who are racked with death anxiety are not odd birds who have contracted some exotic disease, but men and women whose family and culture have failed to knit the proper protective clothing for them to withstand the icy chill of mortality.” Less harsh and explanatory from Irvin Yalom ‘Staring at the Sun’.

I love staring at the sun and taking in vitamin D. Sun bathing is an art I’ve been practicing for over forty years. I am an authority but no one ever asks me. Practice makes perfect.

What do we really think about mandatory vaccines? Vaccine passports? Is the equivalent of the Berlin wall going up again? There is more than one path in life. What’s wrong with that? People who can’t or don’t want to have the vaccine are not lepers. Or are they now? We are at herd immunity, I heard re herd just today. Aren’t we?

I’ll continue to count suicides while governments act out the film Contagion, with Jude Law as the conspiracy theorist. I have met Jude Law twice. Once at his sister’s party (my husband did some cabinet making for them), and another time in Page Two pub in Nunhead in 2007 where we got pissed and had a lock in and he bought drinks and he was lovely, he was with Edward Woodward’s son, I think.

Here is a short story I wrote for an Instagram Curtis Brown competition. You had to begin with the words ‘The gathering was just as I imagined’. Oh, and I got shortlisted for a poem in the Creative Future competition but I doubt I’ll win because it’s about childhood sexual abuse and people don’t like to know about that sort of thing. Or do they? It’s rife. Prince Andrew is in the news again. The zeitgeist could work in my favour. If I don’t win, I’ll publish it here. The co-director wrote to me and said he thought it was an outstanding piece. How lovely. My thinking is he wrote that because he knows the judges won’t pick it. What a fantasy I have, if I win, I will eat my hat. Cilla would buy a hat, not for Surprise Surprise but for a Blind Date gone right.

The gathering was just as I had imagined. All wore masks and/or visors. All sat socially distanced. All had that ‘you are making me feel unsafe’ glare I have become accustomed to.

“Where is your mask?” the facilitator asks.

“I am exempt.”

“Why are you exempt?”

“Please first let me sit down. I will explain.”

I drag a chair into the circle. All shuffle in their seats hoping I won’t place my chair next to theirs.

“I have a five minutes explanation, a fifty minutes talk and a weekend retreat. For the latter I would need others to join me. This session is fifty minutes and the subject is wellbeing. Perhaps you would like to hear my story?”

“That’s okay.” The facilitator said. “Please just wear your lanyard.”

My childhood and ancestral trauma turn back into a lanyard. Who wants to look within? The gathering was just as I had imagined.

Liz Bentley as the Handjob Maiden Delivery Woman

#Boris #totalitarian

The Handjob Maiden
 Liz Performing the Handjob Maiden’s Tales

Among other things, I am writing the sequel to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. This book I am also converting into a screen play where I play the main character ‘Ofrupert’. The one and only Handjob Maiden left on the planet.

The Handjob Maiden’s Tale is set in a totalitarian society in what used to be part of Great Britain where all the original hand maids, Offred’s etc. are post-menopausal and the commanders all now sterile. The only thing that is left for the Handmaid’s to do is practice cats cradle and hand jobs for their commanders. Everything else is futile.

I won’t give anymore away; I imagine you’ve got the gist. At my last Perverse Verse event we enacted the scene published below so I know how well it works. Even I, as the main character was moved.

I am performing the show again at The Lodge Space, a yoga studio in Surrey Quays this Friday. The owners were looking for some light comedy entertainment. I can’t wait. Even though I have insomnia and everything is difficult right now. I can’t wait to perform a whole live show, all on my own. I shall be singing old favourites like ‘The Suicidal Farmer’ and ‘Yogic Internal Cleansing’, only right and proper as performing in a yoga studio. There will be competitions with stunning prizes of some ‘Handmaid Fanny Soap’ and some ‘Who Gives a Crap’ loo roll along with some ‘Hand Job Sanitiser’. After my script below is the Boris Prayer I shall end the show with. Do come on down, you don’t even have to do yoga. Got to rush, rehearsing beckons.

Scene one: The Handjob Maiden’s Tale

Commander:  Joseph Fiennes lookalike preferably with beard

Hand job Maiden: Liz Bentley

(Commander is standing in his bedchamber)

C:               Hand job Maiden!  Hither to.  I’d like my daily handjob

M:              Praise be. You do not want to get near me

C:               Why oh handjob maiden?

M:              (she puts on her virus – a green virus looking top)

I have car owner virus

C:               Oh!  (jumps away, looking fearful)   I see

M:              And I have the long car owner mutant ninja variant

C:               (scratches his beard) Are you tricking me? I know you have a Masters degree in mind/body                                         psychotherapy. You can treat me.

M:              Praise be! If I give you psychotherapy does that mean no handjob for today from me?

C:               Yes. The virus has put me off my stif-fy


The Boris Prayer

Our father, who aren’t in heaven

Fallowed be thou brow

They face mask come

Brexit has been done

In Europe as it was in Britain

Give us our daily PCR test

And forgive those who lateral flow

As we fill our food banks

And refill those that refilled them

Two meters apart

And lead us not into our GP surgery

Deliver us from zoom

For pharma is the kingdom

The power and the glory

For the foreseeable future

For ever and ever, or until further notice

AMen (woman, trans, they, pan, poly, auto, demi, gay, queer, mono, bicurious , hetro, bi)

A mortal, A immortal, AI, ACDC, ABCDEFGHI and back again to …..A MEN

The Handjob Maiden reading from Solitary Pleasures
 The Handjob Maiden reading from Solitary Pleasures

Liz Bentley Delivery Woman – just keep on going

Two white women read from a book whilst smiling
 Rosie’s ‘The Breakup Monologues’

Rosie Wilby’s book launch ‘The Break-up Monologues’.

Quote: “Statistically speaking lesbians go through more break-ups in a lifetime than anyone else.” And Liz Bentley I’m only 2 per cent lesbian.

My blog ‘From Essex to London in 101 boyfriends’ reveals 101 break-ups. Maybe that’s why Rosie and I have gotten on so well. We have followed a similar path down the relationship roller-coaster and rabbit holes. Her and her partner Suzanne are soon to be married. I married my 101th boyfriend nearly five years ago. We’ve done alright in the end.

I met Rosie at a gig nearly twenty years ago. It was organised by a disability arts group I was involved with. The gig featured Mat Fraser, Rachel Pantechnicon and myself. While Rosie was getting her ticket she was asked if she had a disability i.e. was she entitled to a concessionary ticket?

“Don’t worry, depression counts.” Said the person on the door.

Rosie tells this story on stage. We have experienced many a gig together all over the UK. She got on board, literally, when I took over the Edinburgh Fringe’s only swimming pool venue. We rehearsed in Camberwell swimming pool and she became a dedicated member of my synchronized swimming team which included her investment in a Primark red and white polka dot bikini.

We have performed together questioning sex and relationships on all fronts. Her book ‘Is Monogamy Dead?’ sparked research where no stone was unturned on the sex front.

It was only right that I invited Rosie to perform and read from her new book at my first post lockdown Perverse Verse celebrating International Masturbation Day.

I call Rosie a ‘proper’ writer. I know how hard she works. She is an inspiration. Our lives are very different and whilst working as a psychotherapist it is hard to find the time for my writing.

Last October Rosie agreed to be my writing mentor. We have been working together bi-monthly on framing my blog/book ‘From Essex to London in 101 Boyfriends’ into something that is more ‘proper-like’. Rosie is helping me with grammar, structure and inspiring me to just keep going.

It is working. Slowly but surely. Since we have been working together I have been shortlisted for the Creative Future mentoring competition and long-listed (in the top 90 of over 1000 entries) for the Spread the Word memoir competition.

Always the bridesmaid heh? Perhaps like my 101 Boyfriends. I have to wait. I had to keep on keeping on to find the right man. It’s the same for my writing. Keep on keeping on. Sometimes it’s really hard and I get down about it.

Thanks to Rosie and all who help and read my blogs and comment and like etc. It keeps me going. Thanks also to everyone who supported Perverse Verse last week. What a night!