PR resources

Public Relations training and resources

This post follows on from my previous post, useful to marketers, authors, artists and educators alike – for those who are not familiar with the term, public relations is your lofty voice to the world, stating your mission for the benefit for the public and spinning your errors so that they no longer look like errors.  a good grounding in public relations will save you money and benefit your efforts in SEO.  This post will also help you gain traffic at the cost of time rather than money:




Free ways of shamelessly self promoting

Public Relations

Please find below, free training and implementation resources to conduct your own public relations campaign and expand your audience.  There will be further posts in this series, designed to help new businesses, time poor individuals and famewhores alike on their way to glory:




Five free Online Social media PR courses




Our courses








PR web




PR Leap




Free news release




Free press release




I newswire




click 2 newsites








This list will be added to as time goes on, these links are mostly free.  You can find guidance from the courses on offer as to how to frame your press release.  I have tried at least one of these, and I got a very good result, but as I am in no hurry to grow at present, I thought it might be helpful to share.

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Free online courses, free and paid for

Online Education, free and paid for


Please find above, part 1 of this article.  Since last week, I have completed 6 courses, and signed up for about 30, with around 60 or so pending once I have completed my first targets.

So far, Udemy is the most genuine, with certificates issued as jpg files, which you can save to your computer for later collation into one document, or printing off as separate certificates. Quality of courses varies,  but I have been quite impressed by the overall quality so far., the other Irish site, also has a function allowing you to print off your Learner record, meaning that you have the option of paying for a certificate and helping to fund other learners, or simply printing off your record if you are not in a position to do that.

FutureLearn, a site offering free University courses from the UK, has many useful courses.  Again, they fund the site via purchase of certificates, but the really strong point is networking with other students, so if you like to socialise, this is a good way to do it.

Open2Learn, a site offering free University courses from Australia, has a few interesting options, and I look forward to evaluating this one as I have signed up for a few courses here too.

Udacity and Coursera lack a search function for free courses, and so I have not signed up for any current courses, although I will get to it as I get through the initial burst of enthusiasm. Udacity is particularly useful if you want a job in silicon valley as far as I can see.

EDX has quite a number of extremely worthwhile courses, although they are so interesting that I have gone a little off track with my sign ups on this one.  I am regarding these as self development courses, as they are not really relevant to my current course of study, but I figure the fact these are more challenging than most of the others makes it worthwhile.

I have also found several sites offering subject specific free courses, so it is well worthwhile to spend a bit of time searching for the topic that interests you. I do not like the idea that a degree is part time over one year, that seems to be creeping out from the USA.  There is nothing wrong with calling a one year course a certificate, two years a diploma, and three or more a degree, and at least everyone in the marketplace knows what you mean, as opposed to this idea that a few months of blagging your way through a multiple choice option course gives you the same qualification as someone who has undertaken gruelling study for three to five years.

Anyway, have a look over the options, the initial links are in part one of this article series, and you are of course, well capable of searching all by yourself.



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Online education

The world of online education has developed considerably since I last checked five to ten years ago, and, having had an unexpected windfall, I am currently exploiting it to the full.

This has meant that I have postponed a lot of the stuff I was working on, in order to develop the next strands of work.  Apologies if you were happy just with the old ones, but every so often I have to rampage off to learn something in order to develop the next chapter, so to speak.

I have managed to cobble together about 3000GBP worth of courses for around 200GBP, and look forward to using my new found skills during my next assault on the cold and stony heart of Mr Wolfe.

To avoid aging and becoming stale, I recommend that a personal review is done every five years or so, especially if you have ongoing creative work.  Here are a few options, often free, for online learning:


EDX – courses from the World’s best universities

Coursera – free online courses

Udacity – free online courses

Alison – free online courses

Udemy – free online courses

futurelearn – free online courses

open 2 study

Derby University

Free Master’s Degrees in the EU

I am sure you could find more, but these are the ones I am working on at the moment.  I will stop occasionally, but I need to get about 30 courses complete before the next stage of the project, and I have encouraged Twisty to do a few also, so I guesstimate that the first games will not be complete until June.

Do enjoy looking through the courses, and be aware if paying for a course, that if you would like more than one, they tend to send you special offers when you buy one, so be prudent!



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Cultural brain acid

In light of today’s sad news about David Bowie, I wondered whether to write this post today, but he clearly anticipated the outpourings of grief, real and invoked, and released an only slightly cynical death album to assuage people’s sentimentality. Good for him. He will be missed by many.


Today I am going to talk about things which actively rot your brain and reduce your functional capacity.


Reality television – this cheap form of entertainment is brainwashing. It exists to persuade you of a line of argument.  It tells you about acceptable and unacceptable opinions and the correct and incorrect social response. eg. Millionaire Matchmaker, which would have you believe that it is perfectly acceptable to prostitute yourself in order to be with a rich person, provided you can polish your appearance and appear pleasing.  Youth culture which would have you believe that agreeing with everyone else is more important than forming your own opinion.


Advertising – this exists to input transitory wants so that you focus on mundane wants instead of thinking about important things.  eg. Someone who is thinking of buying a cheesecake is not thinking about why the unemployed must suffer in order to kill people in another country.


Comedians – Comedians are used by media to provide a safety valve.  Any doubts you may have about the status quo are voiced and turned into a joke. It is a panacea to prevent you from worrying and taking action over things that matter. I use this myself, in my current project  eg.  Have I got news for you, in the UK, which employs satirists to state possible errant public opinion about current affairs and provide a comedic, rather than action-based response


The hour a day millions of people spend watching soap opera – Soap operas are used rather like sport for men.  The more involved you get for that hour, the less likely you are to use that hour in ways that might affect your fragile society.  eg. People often respond to activists, researchers and services alike by saying things like “I can’t talk to you right now, Coronation Street/Emmerdale/Empire is on”  This made it extremely difficult for me to subvert the course of property development in my local area, since people had been effectively tranquillized into assuming that civic action was a mere annoyance rather than being essential for the area’s preservation.


Relying on only one source of news – I used to be proud of the BBC, a supposedly independent source of news, at one time considered internationally important.  The reality is that no news provider is now providing honest news.  The only way of getting close to the truth, is to monitor several sources and compare the alternative realities.


Allowing yourself to be distracted by the envy, snobbery, and aspirations of other people – Keeping up with the Jones’s is a futile occupation, which prevents you from seeing a bigger picture. eg.  If you are concerned about replacing your shameful car, you are not concerned about your land being fracked or your country being destroyed by industrial and alternative corporate interests.


Being persuaded that being sociable means you have to conform to what other people enjoy – Nothing is more important than actioning matters of national concern, to protect your neighbours and your civil liberties.  Not even the party you got invited to, or the coffee your well-meaning friend invited you to.  Their opinion does not matter.  Yours does.


Not investigating topics before you form a transient opinion – in recent years, arguing online about topics you know nothing about has become a popular pastime.  Imagine if all the time you spent arguing was spent researching your topic.  How knowledgeable you would become.


Candy Crush Saga – in the last few weeks, Twisty has presented me with at least four starter drug games which lead to people playing this game.  There is nothing more frightening than a room full of people glued to their mobile phones, all playing this infernal game. IT IS NOT HARMLESS. You need to wean yourself off this and spend your time thinking how to improve your life and brain activity, not send it into dormancy.


I am sure there will be people reading this post who are laughing at these apparently harmless activities, and wondering if I am a kind of grim nun.  I am not saying that you should not enjoy yourself or relax.  I am saying all of the above are bad for your brain function and mental health and you should consider them a bit like junk food.  There are more important things for you to think about, and more important work to be done.  The news on TTIP, TISA and TTPP has been very quiet for a fortnight now, which means that they are attempting to quell potential activism and sneak it past you.  Wake up, before it is too late, and your opportunities and freedom are dictated by American corporations, with Europeans firmly in their wake.  Your liberty depends on it.


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Creative Funk and Blockages

Writer’s block means that you are either processing something, have yet to experience something necessary to your development, or simply have too much to worry about. It is not something that you should ever put yourself in the position of fearing. As someone who has many creative strands to my work, I usually deal with it by using one of the others, whether that is making cartoons, games, artwork or helping other people work through their stuff.

Chatting to a friend earlier this evening, we were discussing why he does not seem to want to promote his acclaimed work. It turns out that bad experiences from his past prevent him, on the grounds that he is somehow jinxed. This, coupled with having had successful projects hijacked, has led to a creative block that has been extremely frustrating for me as the viewer, and extremely limiting for him. Despite this, he has managed several small projects, but is suffocated by what I can only describe as a sense of despondence and fear of success.

In this case, it is film-maker’s and graphic novelist’s block, rather than writer’s block. He, in common with another film-maker I have had dealings with, limits himself by not effectively working around the blockage. This is an intermittent, rather than a constant, problem, and in the meantime I take the rather selfish approach of involving him in my stuff (he does all the photography for the store, and is creating the covers for this year’s crop of books.) I feel quite bad about this, however, as his time would be better spent generating more of his own work and starting new strands, in a holistic development. You often find, on your downtime from one area that you work in, that you unexpectedly grow in a new direction.

I have many authors on my friend’s lists, and barely a day goes by that someone does not complain of being blocked, or that they feel guilty that they have not written that day. In comparison, I frequently do not write for months at a time, and feel nothing at all about it. As I have previously mentioned, Agatha Christie said that she knew she was a professional writer because she wrote things she did not like, at times she did not want to write. I have no plans to be in this position. Deadlines are helpful, but you do not become better by hammering out pulp. I am lucky enough to be feeling quite vital at the moment, but should this change, I have a game to construct and some artwork to do.

It often does not look as if you are doing anything at all, when your work is creative, and then you look back on your day and you have written a press release, researched another couple of textures, absorbed some patterns and shapes, tidied your workspace, sorted some materials for another day. If you look on your writer’s block in a similar way, your brain does need time to store information, process it, and proceed to output mode. You can try scribbling tasklists and notes to yourself in the meantime, to try to speed up this process, but it will happen by itself eventually. Mindmapping was a useful technique I used at university, and it certainly helps a lot with business plans and presentations. Plotting the thought bubbles sometimes makes things a lot clearer.

Negative events often cause you to remain in this state of blockage or funk for several years, when you could just break it down into neat chunks. I was very aware throughout this particular creative period, of what was going on, because I had seen it all before. Years ago, I might have bothered to meet Wolfe, on the assumption that there was some magical source of the waterfall of emotion, but even two years of personal misery did not deter me from the creative outcome, thankfully.

Be aware, as a creative person, that the bad things that happen to you are probably even more useful to you than the nice things. Relentless positivity is for insecure, easily threatened people that are unwilling to develop in a realistic way. The bad years, you will find, provide a more stable footing for your growth in the good ones, if you teach yourself to look on it the right way. My friend can now make well regarded film with minimal money, due to the horrific things that have happened to him. If I can just get him past this unwillingness to shout about it – there is no reason why he cannot expand on this if he wants to. It has taken probably the whole fifteen years I have known him for me to understand why he strangles himself with the hostile form of self-doubt that prevents us finishing certain projects. Which brings me to my final point – unfinished projects should not be binned – it is possible that your brain awaits a future event to teach you what you need to know. Growth is not always a smooth process, but it gets a lot smoother when you learn to protect yourself from shock, and that no material is bad material when you are a creative flower.

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Fat frump

The advantages of being a fat frump are manifold and varied.  Having been a fat frump from the age of four, I can tell you that the first thing that my condition fosters is a very healthy disrespect for vanity.  People look the way they choose to look.  The way they choose to prioritise their lives is often highly amusing.  The most insulting ones are similar to the people who, whilst clearly starting to dement, criticise you for your slow, aged parent whilst mouthing that you must be an angel for putting up with it.


At first it was quite hard.  The sense of divorce from the anorexic and the fit drunk (sisters) was quite confusing as a child.  I tried very hard to fit in, between bouts of misery and sticking my head in a book or sewing, both of which, of course, meant that nobody could see me to criticise me any further.  This meant that I had an unusually advanced reading age, and was communicating far better with my teachers than my peers at a very early age.


On the minus side, the snide comments, particularly as I was a very fast runner, from some teachers were not pleasant and came as a bit of a shock. When I was still ignoring this, I was considerably healthier than I ended up, taking up smoking in an effort to stop eating at 15.  Despite my efforts, I was still an enormous 140lb in my teenage years.  This would be quite acceptable now, but then it was considered outsize.


After a particularly brutal and violent relationship in my late teens, I swiftly lost a considerable amount of weight hill running, as I lived in the country at the time.  I then discovered the nature of envy, as my sisters still found fault with the idea that anyone would have seen my enormous rump ascending a hill on Seil Island, which is pretty remote in places.  I then learned that bitches are bitches no matter what you do, so you might as well enjoy your lunch.


In terms of boyfriends, I have never been at all short of male attention when I wanted it, big or small.  I am not the kind of person that you look at and immediately assess their weight.  During my raw period, I shed 150lb, and the people that I interviewed on a yearly basis did not notice, which delighted me no end.  There is nothing worse, when shedding your skin, than people telling you how crap you looked the last time they saw you. I was somewhat heartened by this idea that people see tits, eyes, hair and your general vibe long before they notice your giant thighs.  I guess I come from the right country.


Also, I am precluded from going out with sexist wankers who think they need to be seen with someone their friends will fancy.  This is good, because it attracts nice people who value your company.  Whilst many of my relationships have been disastrous, this has not been because of my size, and I note from many beautiful women that I probably have a lower cheat rate than they do, precisely because of this.


I do like clothing, and this is a problem.  Oprah once complained of the five sizes in her wardrobe, and I have to admit that this becomes oppressive.  When you have shed a person worth of weight over and over again, you become disinclined to give your clothes away every time you don’t fit them, because chances are you will have another blink of sunshine in the form of fitting them at some point.  So you become a kind of collector.


Yes it is tiring, but when you have to fell the odd tree, as I have to, the level of strength is quite helpful, and your general invisibility is a nice thing too, because you do not bore the pants off people taking hours to get ready. Personally, I find I am more outward looking than I am in my thinner moments, and the level of neurosis displayed by some of the readers that did not understand Kira makes me pat myself on the back.  Life is much easier when you don’t have to worry about your appearance because you look crap anyway.


All in all, apart from the obvious damage to your health, being a fat old frump is not too bad.  You get a lot of work done, and little interference from people who aren’t listening to you.  I once experimented with size whilst dealing with people in an academic setting, and it was as if I had lost 100lb worth of respect.  Suddenly sex entered their tiny minds, and it all got quite tiresome.


It does get uncomfortable eventually, and as I explained to Twisty recently, eating whatever you want becomes quite depressing when you know it is because your life is over.  Then the whole cycle starts again, until someone obliterates your hope, or some feather blows past in the wind, and you rediscover the joy of your cloak of fat.  Then you remove a host of emotional problems that nobody wanted to hear you talk about anyway, and you shut up.  Life is always easier when your romantic mouth is so full of food that you cannot speak.

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Testing Marketing theory

Since I published Best Scandal Ever in May 2013, I have been rather lazily testing marketing theories I learned in Second Life.  So far so good, I have learned a lot from doing very little, and now have a large variety of outlets for my little niche.  I have spent little, and done a lot.


A few months back a group of fashion graduates tweeted out that they required $25,000 to produce four handbags.  I asked why they would need this amount of money?  They replied that this was to produce four prototypes and market themselves.  I think I have already demonstrated that this is nonsense.  If your product is good, you do not need the ridiculous amount of capital suggested on the average course, and you do not need a half million a year to promote to the luxury market.


Now you could tell me that since I am still a fledgling author and artist at this point, that this is extremely presumptious of me, that time is money, and had I acquired $25,000 I would have a viable business, staff and be moderately famous as an author by now.  I would reply to you that this would lead to a shoddy product, many complaints and undue pressure to produce a product that would make me ultimately unhappy.


I see too many thirty and forty somethings who have invested heavily in what they imagined was the perfect life, only to find they were unhappy and mediocre as a result.  I used to be a super fast achiever, not unlike the lightening fast Mr Wolfe, who is so speedy that I would challenge the paciest gamer online to outmove him at self promotion, but since the bereavements and enforced leisure period, my strategic streak has come to the fore and I am disinterested in putting out crap. If it isn’t meaningful, it isn’t worth doing. Ask the millionaire accountant who took up painting the fences at the Airds Hotel in Port Appin after a weekend away in the 1980s, and he will tell you much the same thing.


When starting from scratch, you have two options online, either you believe the hype and invest in vanity advertising in your chosen interest area, a majorly growing market that it would be wise to invest in as a shareholder, if not as an advertiser;  or you invest time.  After a little trial and error, my belief so far is that the latter is far more useful, and gives you time to sharpen your game.  If you are any good, the market will come to you.  There are obvious caveats to this, but generally speaking, this theory has been borne out by experience so far.  A personal approach is also very worthwhile.  It is insufficient to present the product as good, now you have to explain why and what it is for.


This year, I am taking a micromanagement approach to expanding my tiny niche, and there will be a few surprises in the form of writing, gaming, artwork.  I will report back on this date next year as to how well this has worked out, but I suspect that, as I have seen so far, Second Life is an excellent grounding in online marketing.  I may try some additional tweaks, but this is a ground up project, requiring a patient and steady approach.  If I am correct, I will have made significant progress by this date next year, and all it will have cost me is time and a minimal advertising budget.


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Make it happen

Let me tell you a story, today, about my sister.  Not the off-the-planet crazy one, but her sidekick, the drunk.  She is fifty five years old, and has nothing positive to contribute to the world.  If asked about any subject at all, she becomes aggressive and defensive, and will not lift a finger for anyone unless there is a self-serving reason for doing so.


Many years ago, when I was still a child, she told me to ‘get as much as I could’ because I wasn’t in the will, as it was made in 1964.  Little did she know, that neither was she.  My father took pains to tell me that his money had been amassed purely for my mother’s benefit, and that she was to have as much fun as possible.  The year that my sister told me this, my mother told me that I was ‘to look after her once they were gone, as she wouldn’t be able to cope.’  And so the world turns.  The selfless must care for the selfish.


Several years later, and this particular sister was telling me that I could not possibly understand her dilemmas on life, as ‘my life changes every day.’  This is true, if I want to change something, I do not tend to see obstacles in the way of my changing it.  It may take a long time, or, as in the case of Wolfe, be improbable, but nothing is out of reach as far as I am concerned, even now. (in case he drops in on one of his ina-binges, this aside does not relate to meeting him in person as I would regard this as a waste of my time)


My sister has been in a constant rut since she was fifteen years old.  She will do almost anything to avoid thinking for herself, and seems to believe that her rut is not only righteous, but a source of comfort.  She is one of the unhappiest people I have ever met, despite having amassed quite a bit of money by staying in stable but mind numbing jobs which require a plodding non-initiative based approach.  In short, the drunk is a screaming, poisonous bore.


This stability, and the effects of long term drinking, has led to her becoming a bitter, vindictive and malicious person who imposes her very narrow view of the world on anyone she perceives as weaker than herself.  In the company of the narcissist serial bully, she is extremely dangerous, since she believes whatever she hears from the stronger personality, and carries out her deranged instructions.  One of their many complaints about me began with ‘my elderly mother is extremely well looked after.’  This as they dumped my unwell mother back at our home and called in a complaint implying that my eldest sister’s inability to look after her was all my fault and that I should somehow be punished.


The lack of rationality aside, these women are both extremely unhappy, despite having comfortable and unrestricted lives.  When I compare them with my own extremely constricted situation and frequent hardships whilst looking after my mother, I wonder why their freedom seems to go with such intense unhappiness that they must spend quite so much of their time inventing fantasy complaints about the life of my mother and I.  Considering this liberty and affluence, I fear having nothing to strive for.  Would it turn me into a bitter, grasping and nasty waste of space, clawing at the air in a deranged search for meaning in my life?


This week, I suggested to her that she might be happier moving away from the rest of the family and getting a life of her own.  Her immediate reaction to this is likely to be that I am being manipulative.  How she could manage to find manipulation in my stating clearly that this is what she should do, to free herself of the influence of the very spoilt and vindictive eldest sister, with the worry and spite that goes with it, I do not know, but I am entirely confident that she will complain to anyone that will listen that I have suggested that she simply go and seek happiness elsewhere instead of interfering with our lives for the benefit of nobody.


The likely outcome is that nobody will challenge this stupidity, and she will remain a thorn in our side, stopping us from doing anything remotely pleasant, for my mother’s remaining years.  This is extremely tiresome.  Her rut is now gaping wide enough for us all to fall into it.


If you are unhappy, you affect everyone.  Make it happen.

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Followers likes and fans

Recently on Twitter, I have found more people who follow you, wait until you follow back and then quietly unfollow.  They usually do this in the first week, so clearly this is a policy they have adopted to grow their following.  Given that the vast majority are muted, since they are not interested in my product, and I am not particularly interested in theirs, you would think they would content themselves with sitting quietly on the list, but no, apparently this is not enough and they require a list of mute followers who they do not themselves follow.

When first on twitter, this was mainly 17 year olds, with a list of four word sentences about nothing in particular, who seemed to require validation in the form of 20,000 or so followers not listening to anything they say.  Recently I have noticed, however that more and more middle aged people are doing the same thing. When did we all become so vain and facile that we relied on fake followers and likes for an ego salve every day, whether interested or not?

Now in the case of someone trying to build a following or business empire such as that of David Wolfe, I can see why it would be beneficial to have a massive following of superficially disinterested people.  The more followers or likers of his page, the more important he appears to be, and the more feedback he gets from his many posts.  Whether this feedback actually does him any good long term is really up to him. I am sure that the numbers are considered to be useful indicators of popularity with the same types of interest groups as lost their money in the dot com boom of the late 90s – people who do not really understand how the internet functions.

My guess is that they are mostly floating fans of the pithy memes and few of them will actually turn out to be customers.  Experience so far tells me that engagement has no relationship at all with followers or likes.  I have around fifteen thousand readers, and a few thousand people who want to see artwork,  and you would never guess from my figures on social media or individual sites.  I am considered to be providing good blog posts, although people rarely comment.

When I examine my own behaviour, I can see why this would be the case.  If I am interested in something, I do not need to click like to be reminded that I am interested.  The only things I click like on are either things I wish to be seen to be interested in, or reciprocal likes with someone who has requested that I like their page. I would not dream of clicking like on ebay, for example, although I spend a great deal of time and money with ebay.  It is a kind of extension of tattoos or branded tee shirts as far as I am concerned, and not something I feel the need to identify with.

The internet generally was a lot more interesting and personal when we were still without the social media giants of facebook and twitter.  Social media has made it far easier to spread the word about things that are important to us, on one hand, and far easier to sink into a daily social whirl without actually finding any new and important interest streams, on the other.  Take the number of daily meat eaters who now spend their time ranting about animal cruelty when they see a picture of a dead giraffe or lion, for example.  Are they actually joining the dots in terms of the tasty steaks and cheese on the supermarket shelf?  I think not.  It is nice that people are less anthrocentric than they once were, but not so nice that they seem to be encouraged not to actually think for themselves.

Our reliance on celebrity culture for stimulus is also causing a kind of brain death which horrifies those of a generation who remember life before continuous light entertainment on demand.  More and more news items refer to products, and more recommendations from celebrities have replaced actual media content, examples beyond clothing and makeup including politics, social values, moral judgements and campaigns. Even the spellcheck on my own blog attempts to make me spell like a Yank, in a futile attempt to make us all adhere to Webster’s simplified English.  It will be a sad day indeed when everyone forgets how to spell programme properly. The road to idiocracy is paved with apathy and laziness.

Rather than rely on the number of likes, retweets and followers we get, perhaps we should worry more about the input, in order to improve the quality of our general output, at work, with friends, and in our daily lives.  Does it really matter if Brad went out without Angelina?  Does it matter at all if Miley takes her clothes off again?  No, of course not, but as long as you waste your time on that, you take your eye off the ball in terms of being aware of your own power and ability to shape your own futures.  This suits your political situation, whatever country you are in, perfectly.  The less time you spend actually thinking for yourself the better.

Stay unhappy, and you keep shopping.  Stay entertained, and you stop thinking.  Carry on relying on others to provide you with a minute to minute mood changer from your gadget or phone, and you forgo your own development.  All of those things are desperately important if you happen to want to steal the future from the masses.  Sleep on, and you win the destiny of losing everything to the very companies you continue to feed with the holy money.

As long as you are worrying about how many fake followers, likes you have, you are not doing anything about the things that really matter in your life.  It is too easy to pick the soft option.

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You will spend your money on….

This is the time of year when you have just slightly overspent on your family and friends, and socialising in the event that you have employment and suitable friends/colleagues.  You will now be considering diet products, as you will seek to lose weight for your forthcoming holidays, which are traditionally planned at this time of year.  In the event that you have the time and inclination, you will also be considering a New Year’s resolution, which may also cost you money.  After the debauchery season, comes the austerity season.

Your spending is highly regulated by media influence throughout the year.  This is much the same whatever your income bracket.  It is a skillfully managed machine that has become finely tuned over the last three centuries or so, since the rise of the department store and initial increase in marketing budgets that led us to where we are today.

It is alarming, when you are unused to it or know how the system of manipulation works, how smoothly you are induced to slip into a state where you are easily induced to spend with the herd.  Your diet is as relevant to this as any other part of it.  Take out the traditional food, socialising, willingness to conform and you quickly realise how often, and how fully you are lied to in the course of the year.

I used to wonder why people would want a holiday every year, because I loved work so much.  Now that I am ‘on duty’ 24 hours a day, 7 days a week I actually need a holiday once or twice a year, in line with those who chose to have children or who have been trapped in a particularly tedious job and lifestyle by circumstance.  Most things that people in the west want are actually social constructs to make someone else a living.

Once you accept this, and try swimming against the tide somewhat, you will discover just how fast the streaming goes.  In my lifetime we have gone from 20 year spending phases of life to 5 or less.  It used to be that you had the childhood phase, the disposable income phase, the young family phase, the mature family phase, the post family phase.  Now we have more individualistic phases to extract the cash from a wider range of people. Computers and gadgets have caused a proportion of the population to genuinely believe that they need the latest phone/social media/computer/game/movie, and they need it now.  To fund this, they need a ready supply of fairly meaningless and unfulfilling work, and during the course of this they need to lie, agree to say nothing about things they don’t agree with, or pretend to like someone who really is not at all admirable.  The age of the role model, and the age of integrity have gone in favour of the great Capitalist con.

The irony is that our national economies performed much better when we favoured honesty and were shown examples of heroic rebellion.  Saying yes to people we have no respect for, on the grounds that they have a nicer suit or car, is what led to the economic crash.  Banks and supersized companies alike, favour the cheating robot over the honest and devoted employee.  This is not healthy.  The Western economies fully deserve the downfall they will suffer in the next century or so as a result.  Sooner or later, command capitalism or simply a well educated, well motivated developing nation who admire progress will eat us all alive, unless we learn how to look back and learn.

As individuals, we need to learn to swim against the tide.  Every time a stupid acquaintance remarks on our old car or clothes we should learn to righteously sneer at their frivolity and congratulate ourselves at avoiding the great capitalist con that keeps them in debt.  There is no actual joy to be gained from being endlessly available or engaged in pursuits that are simply designed to drain our finances into someone else’s pocket.

It is important to remember that the multiplier effect only goes so far.  We in the West dropped the idea of real money some years ago, in favour of virtual money that moves as a number without any currency to back it up.

Be ahead of the game, rather than sorry at the end of it. Any economic growth they report now is directly at the expense of another nation, students or sectors of society that you are told to hate, for a variety of increasingly spurious reasons.  Hate the fat, hate the elderly, hate the disabled in relation to the welfare bill or the NHS.  Hate the Muslims whilst we destroy their countries for yet more gain.  Hate whoever they tell you to hate, but do not be deceived that it has anything to do with anything apart from the money.

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