Features Overview

Press, social media, blog and general news below

 
 
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01 all aboard

Thank you for joining me on this journey which is just beginning. So the first bit of news that I want to share is the launch date for The Degenerate Opportunity - 1st May 2017, a special date for me for personal reasons and a date synonymous with people everywhere fighting back against ideologies handed down to them but they don't necessary agree with.

An excerpt from The Degenerate Opportunity:

"Today is my first day starting a new job, so I decided I would take the tube in to be on time and not arrive sweaty and needing a shower. Once I’ve established myself at the company I’ll run or cycle in. These alternative methods of traveling are preferable to me because it will form part of my exercise routine while saving time, but more importantly it means I’ll spare myself the displeasure of having to be squashed next to a bunch of degenerates."

 

 

02 The Revolution Is Already Happening — The People Are Rising Up

Brexit, Trump, the UK Hung Parliament shows the population is becoming disenfranchised with the way they are being governed. Wrong or right, they are voting against the current status quo and heralding in an era of unknown. They are rising up against the machine, wanting chaos where order once stood. This is exemplified in my debut novel, the recently released ‘The Degenerate Opportunity’. Told from the point-of-view of an anti-hero, Sebastian Bowman, who sees all governments, establishments and society as corrupt and is on his own mission. He wants to help people that need it but is going about it in a very unique way.

I wanted to write a book that breaks from the norm, like how society is currently changing, while exploring some of the darker elements of humanity, which I believe this book does. Throughout the book, as the main story unfolds, this complex character narrates on current twenty-first century life which Sebastian feels is dictated and controlled by the government; everything from commuting, working, the media, dating, immigration, reality television, Santa Claus to society itself. So he is trying to save people, why won’t they let him?

Sebastian, a mixture of Patrick Bateman and Hannibal Lecter, is gay but this is not erotica or a coming out story — like the majority of books in this genre seem to be. He has an opinion on everything and the book is satirical about pop culture: this contemporary fiction covering genres such as thrillers, horror, and romance has mass appeal to the changing face of the world and is not limited to any one audience.

 

03 Sexquation: the hard and fast rule to getting laid

The pertinent question of “how many dates should you wait to make a move?” has been discussed, debated, and dissected. In my head it would be best answered with some sort of ‘complex’ formula to act as the hard and fast rule. This way everyone can just plug information in to the equation and get a magic number. Firstly I need to clarify that in my head ‘make a move’ means initiating sleeping with, if your definition of make a move means a passionate kiss then by all means do that on the first date, hell like do it within the initial five minutes of meeting up.

Going back to the ‘sexquation’ it would be something like the below, encompassing various types of intimate factors:

n = {(10/L) x [(Y — H — p) x G]}/C — d

n = number of dates you should wait to make a move

L = your level of horniness (out of 10)

Y = your level of hotness (out of 10)

H = his level of hotness (out of 10)

p = 1, if he paid for the previous date/paying for the current date (total spend $50$249); 2, if he paid for the previous date/paying for the current date ($250+)

G = Gay constant (think Avogadro’s) of 0.25; unless Y > 8, then let G = 0.5

C = numbers of days since you last came

d = number of dates you have already been on

I actually jest, feel free to use the equation if you want to introduce a mathematical dimension to what is going on in your underwear (if you wear any) department, believe me some guys do. But in reality there are no rules, no right or wrong to the number of dates you should wait to make a move. If it feels right and it is safe to do so, then by all means make your move.

If the type of questions you are asking yourself are: but won’t this make me look easy, can we ever have a lasting relationship based on this? I know guys who have hooked up with someone after just meeting and have gone on to date, move in together and get married. As well as guys who went on three–four dates before the meeting of the downstairs minds took place, and they also went to date further, move in together and get married. So if two guys like each other and consent, when they decide to make merry doesn’t factor in to the equation of long-term happiness. Also, shock-horror our heterosexual counterparts have also be known to engage in carnal delights without obeying the sexquation law.

It should not be a case of following societal norms — meet, date, date some more, then have sex when an appropriate amount of time has passed. The real actual pertinent question you should be asking yourself is: how much do you fancy the person sat next/across from you. And how much do you need to know about them before you can be together without losing your integrity.

In the long and short of it, if you like a guy and feel that he likes you, then why not try your luck, make your move. Game playing is a turn-off, so don’t bother with it and do what feels right. And as far as hard and fast rules go, there aren’t any (well maybe just to stay hard) as everyone is an individual with their own needs and beliefs. So break the societal norm, don’t over think it, and make your move whenever you believe it is the right time; three minutes after first meeting the person, three dates together, or after three years. The choice is yours.

 

04 The changing face of dating

Tonight I just want to go out and have sex. In the past this would have meant having to go to a bar or club, have a few drinks and dance to show how great you are. But in this day and age, you can just use your phone and various applications to find a hook-up. I can even start this process towards the end of the working day, unlike when you had to use the internet on your computer and would be scared of all the urban legends about the IT department tracking what sites you visit.” – Sebastian Bowman, Psychopath, The Degenerate Opportunity

While Sebastian's statement is quite direct and is about looking for sex, the same principles can be applied to dating. The part about “in this day and age, you can just use your phone and various applications” showcases the changing face of dating. This change, not the actual date itself but the introduction, has been heralded in by the technology we surround ourselves in and can’t live without – namely the Internet and smartphones.

Historically meeting someone to date would have involved seeing someone you like in person and approaching them on the street/college/work/night out/social occasion or be facilitated through a friend/relative. But now for the majority this facilitation is done by “dating” apps and websites and the approach is not so in your face but more a clever prose in textspeak.

Where now you can see a catalogue of potential dates and have the ability to interact with them from the comfort “of your armchair”. The efficiency of this evolved introduction means that before you meet them in person you can usually; view multiple pictures, ascertaining a physical attraction: read a profile, seeing if they have attributes you find desirable: and ask them questions for as long as necessary, to determine if you would be a good match. By the time you do the actual first-date, it is more like a second- or third-date. In this day and age where time is short and we have evolved how we work, live and interact isn’t this dating change just the next progression.

For certain individuals and groups like someone who has just moved to a major city and is feeling lonely, those in the LGBT community, older adults, people with specific kinks this new way of dating can be a life line into actually getting a date. For example when you do not know if a stranger you see bats for your team or not, you are newly divorced and don’t want to be alone, or you have a leather fetish it can be hard to be introduced to someone that you want to date.

When I first came out to myself, the Internet was just kicking off and mobile phones could only handle the game Snake. I didn’t feel confident to go up to a random stranger and ask them out, at that time never had a support network of family/friends to help set me up, and as I wasn’t publicly out so wasn’t frequenting like-minded places. As a student I spent a lot of time online, and it seemed totally natural to use that resource: it was safe, it was secret, it was new and exciting. So I cruised the sites and was introduced to men, I started to date a few of them, building my confidence and network. One of them I actually dated for just over a year.

So while the way we date a coffee, drink, meal, movie, walk etc. might not have changed. The way we meet that actual date has changed, it has evolved with the times. Technology that is now our way of life has adapted itself to facilitate the primal desire of the majority the hunt for love: changing the face of dating.

 

05 The man behind the keyboard

Thursday started like any other day, I woke up, got ready for work and commuted in to the office of my relatively new job. I just came back from a morning meeting and sat at my desk. The human resources manager came up to me and asked to have a word. This is never good; it usually means someone has quit or there is some big company news. We walked off together, as we sat down I noticed her eyes were red like she had been crying. Then she told me the news, I was shocked and felt numb. I returned to my desk and sat there and watched as she asked to speak to my team; they all walked off together to the main meeting room. I knew what she was about to tell them and felt deeply gutted and sad for them. The news was that the day before an ex-colleague had committed suicide.

 

I didn't know the guy personally, as he had left the company before I started. But from what I heard he was a hardworking, creative guy who had made a wonderful impact on the team even though he was battling his own demons. I watched as the team returned, visibly distraught. As they left for the day, to process what they had heard, to reminisce about the guy, to cry or all of the above I was left to hold down the fort. But I also couldn't concentrate - the thought that a young man in his early thirties could be so down, feel so heavily burdened/traumatised, have unresolved mental health issues that he felt he had no other course of action but to take his own life - was playing on my mind.

 

The impact of mental health disorders are thought to be different for men and women due to men potentially not talking about their feelings, hiding their emotions, and turning to alcohol/drugs. [1] Young male adolescents questioning their sexuality are particularly prone to these issues by not necessarily talking about their feelings due to societal prejudices, and tending to hide their emotions until they can make sense of what is going on in their heads and urges from their bodies. It has been reported that gay men are believed to be a subgroup vulnerable to depression, with the prevalence being three times higher than that in the general population. With depression being a known risk factor for suicide, gay men are also reported to be at a higher risk for committing suicide. [2] The reasons for these higher rates include accepting one’s homosexuality, being subjected to homophobia and discrimination, problems with relationships, and alienation from the gay community. [2]

 

“Nearly one-third (29%) of lesbian, gay and bisexual youth had attempted suicide at least once in the prior year compared to 6% of heterosexual youth.” [3]

 

These figures are truly disturbing, so as a community we have a duty of care to do something. If we saw someone about to jump off a bridge, we would try to intervene and talk them out of doing so. While the bridge situation is an extreme one that may never present itself, it is in our everyday interactions we can make a difference. You never know what someone else is going through, what they are thinking or how close to the edge they are. The least we can do is just be nice to one another. Without getting preachy the next time ‘a stranger’ messages us on any of the various apps or social media, a simple “sorry I'm a bit busy at the moment” rather than just ignoring them would be nicer. Maybe try not to alienate minorities by saying we don't like Asians, Fems, large guys etc. and judge individuals on a case by case basis. After talking to someone for a while and losing interest, let them know that we have changed our mind rather than leaving them hanging. When hooking up - be clear about our intentions and long-term goals.

 

We all need to think more about the person working the app/computer, and not just judge the picture(s) but think of the human being – the actual man behind the keyboard – with real emotions and feelings we are communicating with. A little bit of kindness, honesty and thoughtfulness can potentially go further than we will ever know, and might even be the difference between life and death.

 

[1] https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/men-and-mental-health/index.shtml

[2] http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1557988316685492

[3] https://www.cdc.gov/lgbthealth/youth.htm

 

06 The game of life

As we live and continue with our routine, even breaking from the normal from time to time; the question remains are we just pawns in the game of life? Without getting theological, our existence can be likened to a game. As in backgammon, chess, scrabble, any game really — understanding the rules and players gives one a competitive advantage. The rules of the game of life are constantly changing and evolving, so understanding some of the different types of players involved in the game will help to decipher it. No where is this more pertinent than when it comes to dating, especially on The Scene.

Meet the players

Bobby — the control freak
“I sit there taking in the admiration. I feel that familiar high — the rush I get from praise. My heart starts beating faster as the sense of control and power washes over my body; the sensation makes me feel truly awesome. I cannot stand the idea of losing control in front of work colleagues, or anyone in fact. When I’d heard that we won the contract and I would have to give the office presentation, I took a beta-blocker to calm my anxiety and to make sure I did not sweat profusely.”

Jason — the partier
“Not one to turn down a free score, I watch as he cuts up a couple of lines each. I wish he would do it quicker because once the offer is made, I am really craving it. My heart is beating in anticipation of the glorious accelerant when the he hands me a rolled-up twenty. I take one of the lines up my left nostril in a heartbeat. The near-instant rush is exhilarating. I hand the note back to him.”

Joseph — the effeminate one
“It usually ends up in me sending more pictures — my ass, as I am a bottom, and then my face. Which is where I tend to lose the interest of most guys. It annoys me that they can smell my effeminate nature from my face picture, but I do not want to go with a guy who only likes ‘straight-acting’ men or a ‘muscle bottom,’ the new ‘in thing’ on the scene. We would not be a good match, and it is better to get this out of the way early.”

Marco — the compulsive liar
“After a brief chat I sit down with my original ‘date.’ I look at his drink and ask what it is. [LIE 1: I hang out with enough gay males to know a vodka, orange, and cranberry when I see it.] I order myself a bottle of Italian beer, telling my date it is my favourite. [LIE 2: I am thinking I should just play to the stereotype.] I tell my date he looks nice and the guy-liner he is wearing makes him look hot. [LIE 3.]”

Nathan — the one in denial
“I got my first tattoo when I was nineteen, to camouflage the two centimetre-long scars on my right shoulder that I had given myself in my early teens. These self-inflicted souvenirs were from the darkest time in my life, that period when I was unable to deal with my sexuality. When the darkness had completely gone, I did not want anyone to see the scars so I had an Egyptian eye tattooed to hide them. After the first tattoo, I was hooked. I do not know why people said they hurt. I like the initial burning sensation, then numbness when I get inked.”

Taylor — the game player
“Game on. This is just the light-hearted diversion I need after seeing that patient. I know exactly what he means when he asks me a question, but I respond with the blankest expression I can muster. He does not rise to the bait because he is too stupid to know he is being baited. I decide it is best to change tack and make it all about the nurse. Talking about himself means he is likely to babble on and reveal something that I can use against him.”

Timothy — the gym bunny
“The guy picks up the metal effortlessly. He is bench-pressing the weight with such ease that I cannot help but stare. The pumped-up gym guy is wearing a tank top that shows off his upper body, athletic arms, brawny back, and chiselled chest. I appreciate the level of dedication the guy puts into his body. I share his devotedness. I have already been to the gym once today, but after the boyfriend said he would be home late due to after-work drinks, I thought I would go again.”