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The Rebel-drive

She might not have eaten that food she was told not to. But she did. And she shared.

We might accept the ultimate heat-death of the universe. Instead, we keep lighting more fires

Some look at ‘how it’s always been’, thinking ‘It’ll be good for a while yet’. A few scream ‘Boring!’

He could go with the flow of the river. Or stand firm and, shuffle crab-wise, get to the other bank.

The seed should realise it can’t grow through tarmac. Instead, it grows a little more.

Thumbs might easily have followed the other four fingers. Instead, they opposed.

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The Reluctant Rebel

I was in primary school when we had a visit from the fireman. He told us all about the hazards around the home that could put your house up in flames if you weren’t careful. For weeks, I pestered my parents with evacuation drills, fire action plans, and smoke alarm tests. Eventually, my fears were allayed with the knowledge that I had never heard of anyone I knew having a house fire. I concluded it happens to barely anyone and they all live really far away.

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The Revolt of the Socks

One day, when my grandson was still just a baby and the Health Visitor had come to check he was OK, my daughter was just putting his socks on him when the Health Visitor said:

“Trying to cause gender confusion are we?”

And my daughter said “What?”

And looked at the socks, which happened to be pink.

Just then I dropped by, and she said to me “Hello dad!” and then to her baby

“Look, here’s your grandma”

And then to the Health Visitor

“This is my dad Jo. She’s my son’s grandma” and carried on as if nothing had happened.

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The Right To Read

“Do not do this. You won’t win. You’ll be financially liable, and it’ll cost you a lot of money.”

But we did it anyway. And won. We started as many, and then we were two. In the final hurdles we grew to eight, on the final lap to victory. Eight from a possible 6000 is no mean feat ... eight from just the two of us, often seemed impossible. 

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The School Concert

Every Friday, there was a collection in class for the ‘Black Babies’ charity. We had all been issued a card divided into thirty small squares. For each penny we contributed, one square would be ticked off. When thirty squares had been filled in, it was for each of us to choose a name to bestow on ‘our’ baby.

One day an announcement was made that a more exciting way of raising money for the Foreign Missions had been decided upon. This was to take the form of a concert in the local Miners’ Welfare Hall.

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The Soldiers of the Mind

When I first walked into the meeting of the Aberdeen Buddhist Group that blizzardy January evening, my twenty-two-year-old heart already felt weary from life. It was a humble, near-silent circle of disparate individuals that awaited me. Many eyes were lowered, and only the regulars murmured amongst themselves. Nonetheless, as the meeting opened with awkward introductions of self and story, I began to feel comfortable in spite of the tense quietude. These, I gathered, were people of my own calibre. From their lips came the same words that had drawn me forth from solitude.

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The Story of Ali's Anger...

Ali had been angry her whole life. The anger burned like a hot coal fire deep in her belly; it had been there a long time and now it threatened to erupt out of her mouth like a volcano and spew hot magma over every single family member. She had spent years smiling and agreeing, and being brow-beaten into submission, and the embers of her anger had smouldered away… until recently. Her back was against the wall now and something had to give.

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The Story of My Life

There was a time not long ago when I was young and free. Those were the days when your friends would come chap your door and ask you to come outside and explore the vast open world beneath your feet. But not all days were sunshine and roses. There were days when there was upset and distress. My very first friend was called Reece and my father always warned me of his bad influence, but I never listened. I never listened because my father treated me like I was young and dumb. He made me feel like he always knew best which made me continually rebel against his authority.

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The Story of My Life

I was one of those kids
who had to challenge the boundaries
and my parents said
“You will rue the day”
I just said
“Aye right, so I will’
trying to sound a bit cocky
I did it my way! 

I had my first son at seventeen
left on my own
nobody wanted to know
not even my parents
They said “hell mend you
we told you so”
But I still did it anyway
The more I did it
the more I got into
the wrong relationships 

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The Transaction

Warning: this piece contains strong language


The greatest act of rebellion of my life was to send, at some personal risk, twenty pounds of my own money to a total stranger.

I had been working in customer service at the call centre of a well-known telecoms provider, and to paraphrase Back to the Future, I'd already seen – or, rather, heard – some serious shit.

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