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William Scott - Sunday Morning, Wales [1945] by Gandalf
Via Flickr:
William Scott (Greenock, February 15, 1913 - Coleford,December 28, 1989) was a British artist, known for still-life and abstract painting. He is the most internationally celebrated of 20th-century Ulster painters. William Scott was born in Greenock, Scotland, to Scots-Irish parents, in 1924 his family moved with his mother, Agnes to Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, to join his father in his native town. From 1946 until 1956 Scott was senior lecturer in painting at the Bath Academy of Art. In the summer of 1953 he visited the USA where he met Jackson Pollock, Elaine de Kooning, Franz Kline and Mark Rothko. Although his work had become predominantly abstract in 1952, after his meeting with the American Abstract Expressionists, he reverted to his roots in still life and European painting.

[Sotheby’s, London - Watercolour and gouache on paper, 35.5 x 46 cm]

Chatzy Update - A guide

Ok so Chatzy has updated in the last 24 hours and I know some people use Chatzy for chatting with other roleplayers or even do Chatzy paras in character. Here is a little tutorial on how you can stop certain things happening such as showing your location. Will also help you feel less freaked out about things…I hope.

Last updated: 22nd March 2015

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Years & Years lead singer Olly Alexander singing on Coleford Music Festival theme tune before he hit the big time as a major pop star.

Olly Alexander: ‘You start to think you’re alone and crazy but help is out there’
Years & Years singer speaks about facing mental ill health, reactions from fans and his anger at cuts in mental health services

Mental distress has been a regular intruder in Olly Alexander’s life. “I always had really, really bad nightmares, like night terrors or whatever they’re called,” he recalls. “I used to wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to move … I’d hallucinate and have really scary visions and dreams, so I wouldn’t want to sleep.”

Alexander is an award-winning actor and singer of chart-topping electronica band Years & Years, but fame aside, his experiences will be familiar to all too many young people. It’s estimated that one in 10 children and young people suffer from mental distress – such as depression and anxiety: and that most of them are not getting the help that they need.

It’s late on a Friday afternoon when I knock on Alexander’s basement flat in Hackney, but he’s still feeling ropey from the Brit awards nominations the night before: Years & Years, whose debut album went straight to No 1 last July, have been nominated for four awards, joint top with Adele and James Bay. Though 25 years old, dressed in his white hoody and tight jeans, and flashing a wide mischievous grin, Alexander could pass for a teenager. His garments are drying on a clothes horse in the kitchen – Alexander made GQ’s 50 best-dressed men in Britain list – and his manager sits tapping on a computer on a sofa, keeping a watchful eye over the interview. But there are few trappings of celebrity on display: hangover aside, Alexander has no pretensions and a disarming down-to-earth charm.

Born in Blackpool, Alexander grew up in the small Gloucestershire market town of Coleford, a place he shows little affection for. “I haven’t really been back to that area since I moved aged 18.” His childhood was difficult, but he is keen to deflect any sense of a sob story. “I feel like: who hasn’t had a messy childhood?” His parents had a “fraught” relationship and divorced when he was 13, leaving the family with little money: there was always food on the table, but he remembers little, but meaningful, things, like not being able to afford school trips. There is ample research suggesting a link between low income and heightened risk of mental distress. “It wasn’t until I moved to London when I was 18 that I realised what privilege is,” he explains. His father “was quite absent. He works a lot and wasn’t really there very much”.

The bullying began towards the end of primary school. “Kids can be so cruel at that age,” he says matter-of-factly. “I was obviously just visibly a weaker kid. I think kids are all focused on their hierarchy and status, and I was low status or something.” He was beaten up and he started skipping school: it landed him in trouble when his mother found out. The bullying carried on at high school. “School was like a hostile place,” he recalls. “I just hated being at school. I think some people really thrive in that environment. I was a good student, but I just didn’t enjoy school. I found it really tough … If you’re not good at team sports, you’re fucked, and I definitely was not good at team sports.”

In early adolescence, notions of being “a man” become ever more important: those who deviate from expectations risk being punished for it. “Being ‘a man’ is really important … Most of my close friends were girls and I didn’t feel like I identified in a way that you were supposed to as a guy.” He would wear eyeliner, dye his hair and wear choker necklaces, but by the time he was 15 he became less keen about attracting attention and felt more able to stand up for himself.

Did such experience leave permanent scars? “I think anything that happens to you between the ages of zero to 18, and probably further on, has a lasting impact on you,” he suggests. Is he angry? “I don’t think so … You’ve got to forgive kids.” There were bright spots: like excelling at drama, but that brought little kudos (quite the reverse).

There was another complication, too. Like a lot of gay teenagers, the creeping realisation that he wasn’t straight in what remains a homophobic society became a source of panic. He fell for his straight best friend, but kept telling himself he was really straight, or maybe bisexual. “I was like, ‘Please let me not be gay! … I’ve got enough to deal with!’” Back in 2012, LGBT charity Stonewall warned that more than one in five gay and bisexual men suffered “moderate to severe levels of depression”.

Alexander’s attendance at school, he recalls, was about 60%: evidence of how much damage mental distress can inflict on a child’s education. He remembers the signs, like not being able to eat and self-harm. He was sent to see a school counsellor. “I didn’t find her that helpful,” he says. But the fact she was there at all made a difference: he suddenly became aware that people existed who would at least try to help.

Eventually, he was referred to the NHS for therapy and was given an anxiety drug and a “cocktail of medication”. He began with counselling – but was given just six or so sessions on the NHS. “They were really difficult to get. Really hard to get hold of. They took a really long time and because I was not very proactive in getting them – because the initial stage was phone conversations, and I would not pick up the phone, I didn’t really want to go, and I didn’t know if I really wanted to talk to someone about it.” He was referred to several different doctors who would each start from scratch.

It can only have got worse since. Under the last coalition government, mental health was finally given parity of esteem with physical health. But in reality cuts have disproportionately hit mental health services: at the end of the last year, the King’s Fund warned cuts had led to “widespread evidence of poor quality care”, and just 14% of patients were given the care they needed. In March last year, mental health charity Mind highlighted cuts of 8% to mental health services since David Cameron became prime minister, leading to bed shortages and even longer waits for treatment.

With the lack of readily available NHS provision, Alexander went private and was given cognitive behavioural therapy when he was 19. “CBT is really helpful if you have a panic disorder or anxiety, which I was definitely experiencing at one stage,” he says. “CBT does really help you try and relearn ways in which you can deal with those moments of panic or crisis.” He’s all too aware of the stigma attached to mental distress. He suggests a scenario: if you’re invited to a party and your mental state leaves you feeling unable to turn up, you might not feel comfortable saying you’re sick in the way you would if, say, you had a cold. “I think it’s like any other part of your body, your mental health, it gets sick and it needs treatment.”

Yet there is no question that a celebrity speaking out about his own experiences makes an impact. Have his fans responded? “Oh yeah, a lot of them have. Oh my gosh! They write me letters a lot of the time and give them to me at shows, or they’ll tweet it at me or write on Instagram. So many of them deal with mental issues, mental distress and it’s really so overwhelming … but it’s mostly positive. It just feels like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is a lot to have shared with me!’ Because I just don’t know – what’s the appropriate response to them?” The lyrics of many of his songs deal with mental distress (“or, you know, awful sexual encounters I’ve had!”)

But with a lack of adequate mental health services – even before the cuts – Alexander clearly feels frustrated. “I care about mental health a lot. It’s affected me and my family a lot, and it annoys me there’s not enough provided and stuff has been cut where my family are from.” He complains that, back home, to see a specialist can involve a trip to Cambridge, approximately 170 miles away. “And when I started trying to get a counsellor on the NHS about 10 years ago, there was a six-week waiting list. And now, I’m told, it’s like three months – it can be – or longer.” And, as he notes, “it feels like mental health is the first thing to get cut”.

There could hardly be more intimate topics to discuss, but Alexander is readily forthcoming, only stopping occasionally to ask if he’s saying the right things. It can’t be easy, though, to open up about such a crucial element of our health but one so stigmatised. The hope must surely be that the sharing of experiences will encourage others to seek help – and pile pressure on our politicians to commit to giving the NHS’s mental health services the resources they so desperately need.

It’s not just popstars who suffer, after all: the wellbeing of so many young people is at stake. But the last thing Alexander wants those struggling with mental distress to do is despair. “The first thing you start to think is you’re alone and you’re crazy,” he says firmly. “There is a support network out there … make use of it”.

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Jurassic Coast meteor shower

As if this beach were not stunning enough, meteors brightening the sky against the backdrop of the Milky Way took it to a whole new level of beauty. When it was announced last week that we would be treated to a meteor shower, there was only one place bricklayer Jack Sargent from Coleford, England, was heading. Sargent, 22, made the trip down to the Jurassic Coast in southern England on Aug. 11, where he captured the meteors soaring past. (Caters News Agency)

Photography by Jack Sargent/Caters News

See more photos of Jurassic showers and our other slideshows on Yahoo News.