Good night sweetheart & my little rant about toothpaste

Anil Mistry has become a fairly regular contributor to this website, I’ve also met him on a photowalk, joined his Unusual Eyes photo group of his on Facebook, helped him sell some of his gear through the shop and chatted to him on a fair few occasions via social media. It’s fair to say I feel like I know the guy pretty well… which was probably an advantage to him given the message he recently sent me on Facebook – It’s not everyday you get asked to jot down a few misanthropic thoughts to be presented alongside a random photo of a discarded mattress.

Rather than explain all this myself, I think it’s best I just share with you Anil’s pitch to me and the other contributors to this little book.

“Goodnight Sweetheart-
A miscellany of morose middle aged misanthropic musings and mattresses”

Hello Hamish- I’m working on a new project. It’s a small book featuring photographs of dumped mattresses that I’ve found on my travels. I love a dumped mattress. Once buoyant and full of spring, it’s now tatty and waiting for the bin, musing on past glories…

…Just like us. Us men over 40.

Opposite each photograph of a mattress I want to publish your morose middle aged misanthropic musings…Maybe you have a melancholic mini poem on your mind, capturing your malaise as you reach the autumn of your life. Or a simple observation- or just a passage of ranting at the futility of it all. I want to see what’s on your mind and how you feel when the clouds draw in (you know the ones)

I am hoping to get about 20-30 individual pieces of writing- from a single sentence to a whole page- to put into the zine. It will be full colour, professionally printed and beautifully designed by me. The intention is to sell them and donate all the profits to a men’s mental health charity.

Before I get any further, let me just remind you all that I’m actually only 35. Anil did quickly follow up his message questioning my age, but seems I was to be a good fit, despite my comparatively youthful age. To be honest, I’m not entirely certain how I feel about being lumped in with a bunch of middle aged people, but I suppose now I have to select the ‘35-44’ option in the drop down age bracket selectors, I’d better at least start thinking about getting used to it…

Anyway, a few days later I sent Anil a slightly-too-long rant about my frustrations with choice when it comes to toothpaste. Apparently it was just the sort of thing he was hoping for, and even actually expecting from me… I’m not too sure what to make of that, but I do like a rant, so maybe it’s fine… Anyway, too long as it was, Anil picked out a paragraph that he felt summed up my rant. I won’t share it here, if you want to read it you’ll have to get yourself a copy the book…

…And as well you should. Firstly, it’s worth noting that profits from the sale of the book are going to the charity CALM. Campaign Against Living Miserably is a charity set up to combat the high rates of male suicide. It is in fact the largest cause of death in men under 45. It’s also how my grandfather went. So, a good cause! Secondly, Anil is a good guy and deserves the support for the time and effort he’s put into this. Finally, the completed book really is very enjoyable. As well as being morose, misanthropic, cynical and somewhat nihilistic, it’s also reflective, moving, hopeful and actually – all be it darkly – very funny.

In short, go here, and spend £14, you won’t regret it!


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7 thoughts on “Good night sweetheart & my little rant about toothpaste”

  1. Hamish,
    Full marks to Anil for his efforts (and your support) – great cause; thought provoking stuff. Indeed, there is plenty to be morose about (factually): if we don’t feel that way [now and then] there’s something palpably wrong with us. We don’t need to go to Yemen to see drama (or be over 40), we can see the old ladies in Iceland, making the big financial decisions of the day.

    I think you may have found a new Why (for your site & community). Why not decide on some themes (and matching charities) and ask for contributions – something really great could come out of that (and pay for your time and effort in the process) – a bit like a photographic Granta (Cambridge publication of short stories).

    Keep up the great work – Guy

  2. I second your thoughts Hamish. It is a thought provoking book and as you said, amusing. I described it as “Gestalt” (look it up it’s so descriptive). So many of the texts resonated with me but I am quintessentially a grumpy old man.
    Anyway, I thought it was so good I got a couple more copies to give as presents to my brother and a friend of mine who’s son (also a friend of mine) took his own life.
    Thank you Anil

  3. Mine arrived this week. Have only done a read through so far. Next pass will be for the photos. Great book though. When I first saw it online I figured I’d pass. A book with pics of discarded mattresses? I’m glad you recommended it. As stated in other comments, many of the passages resonated with me. Thanks again Hamish.

  4. I can only think of the classified advertisement I once saw: “For Sale, Queen size mattress. Like new. Slight odor of urine”.

  5. Castelli Daniel

    I like the random pop-ups that appear at the end of your articles. This article on the book should inspire more to swing their lenses to the ground and see possibilities. Back in the days of Polaroid, the company sent to photo educators a book on creative photography. It was great. I’ve lost my copy years ago. One of the assignments was to take an object and ask each student to photograph it. I had a class that found an overstuffed arm chair. Well, that chair was tossed out of a pick-up truck, sat on an ice-covered pond, and infamously (locally) by being dosed with gas and lit on fire. The fire shot was the final use of the chair. Boy, did I get read the riot act for that photo! In my defense, I didn’t know what each team had planned. Anil’s photos brought back this great memory from my teaching career! As a follow up, one student became a graphic artist, one is still involved in music production, and one drifted from job to job, now I think he’s working on a hemp farm.

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