Johanna

It would have been my friend Jo’s birthday today. She passed away too young, in 2007. This is more or less what I wrote after her funeral.

Bye Jo

My friend Johanna died recently. She wasn’t yet 40. Today, I attended her funeral service near Richmond.

i met Johanna at Dr. Valabhji’s (brilliant diabetologist, the man I credit with saving my life and extending it) clinic last year. I noticed her immediately, because she was having difficulty sitting down and she appeared to be unusually young for a person with absolutely zero eyesight.

I don’t usually start up conversations with people. You could say I go to some lengths to keep myself to myself. I keep a very small circle of friends, I prefer small groups and my favourite form of friendship is one-to-one.

For some reason, I felt drawn to talk to Jo. Sometimes I break all my own rules for no obvious reason and start conversations with people. It doesn’t happen often. It’s just this feeling. A voice (my voice, of course) telling me that this opportunity cannot be passed up. I struggled with the worry that I was going to start talking just because she was blind. Then I thought, “am I not talking to her just because she is?”

Somebody else was telling her about the electronic eye implant recently mentioned in the news. Such do-gooders make me feel uncomfortable. He was insensitive, perhaps tactless, and how was he to know that Jo didn’t have her own eyes in which to put such devices in anyway? No thanks to diabetes…

So I stopped the buffoon from talking any more crap by butting in at a convenient moment and letting her know where her stick was without touching her arm. People who have lost their sight don’t like to be led. Imagine being blindfolded and then kicked down the stairs, that’s how uncomfortable it is.

We talked about our diabetes. Hers had gone thanks to a combined kidney/pancreas transplant, but not before she had completely lost her eyes and a few toes to the ravages of this pernicious disease. Unfortunately, the kidney had failed and she was on dialysis.

We exchanged numbers. Her ‘phone spoke text messages and phone numbers to her. She hadn’t quite got used to it, but did her best and she never learned braille because she had very little sensation in her fingertips thanks again, to diabetes.

She was remarkably phlegmatic. I feel bad describing her as a list of ills. I do so only to point out that the person who was Johanna, the person that was my friend, was everything she was in spite of all of this and that is who I knew.

After we had spoken for a bit, I asked her what she missed and she mentioned not being able to read the papers. I offered to call her up from time to time to read to her. And so I did. Mostly the Daily Mail (which I despise, but that’s friendship. You are friends regardless of differences.) Rarely the Independent and on Sundays, the News of the World.

I didn’t call her as often as I would have liked, but it wasn’t just about reading her the paper, we talked about our lives and she always asked me if I’d managed to see my kids. She called me her favourite reader once and I can’t tell you how happy that made me. Then I had problems with the eye and my reading slowed down a great deal and I could not go on as long as before, but I read a few stories to her every few days or so, slowly. (Despite the damage to my eyesight, with full magnification on the monitor, my left eye could pick up words if I scanned many times before reading.)

I visited her in the hospital when she’d had some problems with autonomic neuropathy and read to her there. (It was the only time I’d met her mother, who ended up texting me this morning with the sad news.) Then more recently, I visited Jo during dialysis. Jo was asleep for most of it. I waited for almost a couple of hours, just watching her. Eventually, I had to leave. She apologised for sleeping and I felt terrible, on the verge of tears, that my friend who liked the Mail and who once asked me if I was one of those “vocal Muslims” should be worried about listening to me read the news to her while she was plugged into a machine that endlessly cleaned her blood before my working, witnessing eyes.

Every so often she’d tell me that she had fallen, or had suffered a setback with autonomic neuropathy (her blood pressure was very low too, sometimes causing her to pass out) and I would worry. Sometimes she would be too tired to listen and would say so.

I would get the odd text from her. It never ceased to amaze me that an unsighted person who didn’t do Braille could be so patient. She was always asking about my health. She was delighted when my eye recovered. She had been through operation after operation and yet she was so supportive of my (relatively) minor procedures. When reading got difficult for me, she would demand that I rest my eyes and her concern was always genuine and touching. Very few people are like that anymore.

Jo spoke slowly, deliberately, with pauses to allow meaning to sink in, to allow space, a living, breathing conversation where nobody trampled on the other. Nobody else quite does that anymore. We just rush into the wide open space if we hear it. Jo and I didn’t do that. I will miss that.

I got the text this morning. I cried for a few seconds. I said “I’m sorry Jo”. I wish I could have read more to my friend. I had hoped she would be around for a while. I called my boss in a daze, he was understanding – I do so love all of my colleagues, they are all wonderful people. For some reason, I recalled The Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father, who art in heaven

Hallowed be Thy Name

Thy Kingdom come

Thy Will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven

Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive those who trespass against us

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil

For thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory For ever and ever Amen

I wondered wistfully how many Christians know the Qur’an’s Surat al-Fatiha – the Oft Repeated Verses that Muslims recite at least 17 times every single day.

In the name of Allah, All-Merciful, Most Merciful

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds

The All-Merciful, the Most Merciful

The King of the Day of Judgement

You alone we worship. You alone we ask for help

Guide us on the Straight Path

The Path of those You have blessed, not of those with anger on them, nor of the misguided.

I took the bus to Willesden Green, then a tube to West Hampstead and finally a Silverlink overground train to Kew Gardens. I can’t think of Kew Gardens without remembering the warden from the made-for-TV film “Scum” from the late 1970s that was so shocking at the time. For the benefit of younger readers, Scum heralded the start of illustrious careers for Ray Winstone and Phil Daniels.

The sun beat hard through my black trousers, the first time I have worn trousers in London all year. It was a longer walk than I expected. I arrived just after the service had started and though others were ushered in, I chose to wait inside so as not to disturb the proceedings.

They played “We Are The Champions” at her funeral service this (Tuesday) morning. Jo did go on fighting till the end. She did it in the manner that I think is the strongest, most noble quality the British ever cultivated…with stoicism. Jo’s mother, who had texted me this morning so kindly, met me and thanked me for coming. She too was the embodiment of stoicism. I felt like the 10-year old in the presence of my primary school teacher again.

I watched the water feature outside the chapel and I remembered our times together and her voice. Ever so slightly croaky (tracheotomy), but gentle.

I’m sorry I didn’t read more often to you Jo. And no Jo, I haven’t seen my kids for the whole of the summer holiday so far and have not spoken to them for over a week either, but don’t worry, there is still time.

And you and I will meet again. Insha’Allah.

For the last time, bye Jo. Take care.

When the Chips Are Down

 

That’s the thirty-second time tonight

That those kids have knocked and run again

I’d stand outside and fight

But there are a million of us: and fifty million of them

 

There’s a mob smashing down our door

So brave against three kids and their frightened mother

The police don’t come here anymore

We’re just Pakis, so why should they bother?

 

We tried so hard to reason

But it just pissed them off, that we spoke, just like them

We tried so hard to appease them

But we’re not the same, because we “didn’t die at Arnhem”

 

When the chips are down, my skin’s still brown

I’m just a Paki to you

When the chips are down, my skin’s still brown

I’m just a Paki to you

 

We wanted you to end your hatred

We didn’t even want respect

For hours behind that door we waited

Praying that you’d feel regret

 

And now you want us integrated

Because our background frightens you

But we’re happy differentiated

This way, we might enlighten you

 

We tried so hard to reason

But it just pissed them off, that we spoke, just like them

We tried so hard to appease them

But we’re not the same, because we “didn’t die at Arnhem”

 

When the chips are down, my skin’s still brown

I’m just a Paki to you

When the chips are down, my skin’s still brown

I’m just a Paki to you

When the chips are down, my skin’s still brown

I’m just a Paki to you

When the chips are down, my skin’s still brown

I’m just a Paki to you

 

I thought that we’d turned the corner

I thought that we’d climbed the hill

But we’re right back where we started

Disenfranchised, what a bitter pill

 

Copyright © 1999-2013 Shahid K. Ahmad

Vocals, programming, guitars, fretless bass: Shahid Ahmad

Solo: Rashid Ahmad

 

I Dream

Let me tell you about my dreams

I dream that we are one world in harmony. Not unison. Harmony. Different notes. Same song. Not monotony. Freedom. Improvisation. Joy.

I dream we are able to express ourselves and that our spirits can soar to whatever level they desire, without arbitrary material restriction.

I dream that we are free to enjoy the fruits of one another’s expression and that it inspires us to express even more in resonant sympathy.

I dream that love overcomes indifference, that peace overcomes the oppression of unfettered capitalism and its brother, war, that we win.

I dream that work is done out of love, that the fruits of labour are revered, that the worker is paid before the sweat on their back dries.

I dream that life is a game. That when it’s game over, we enjoyed the game, we played the game, we loved the game, we lived the game.

I dream that you love my family as much as I love your family. That you love my land as much as I love yours, that an eye *sees* an eye.

I dream that life slows down until like a ray-traced still, we can imbibe the beauty of a crystallised moment in all its glory for ever.

I dream that you are happy and that I am happy and that your happiness increases my happiness and mine increases yours.

I dream that acceptance always overrides intolerance; that inclusion smothers exclusion; that giving overcomes receiving.

I dream that whosoever is the worst of my enemies can in an instant be completely forgiven and in an instant become my close friend.

I dream that if I were the cause of distress to you, that you accept my sincere apology and that we may be enemies no more.

I dream of heights that can be aspired to by all, and reached by some; with depths that can be tolerated by and descended to by none.

I dream of a human chorus so rousing and powerful, so majestic in rhythm, so profound, that it propels us into a new golden age of humanity.

And last, but not least, I dream that when I wake, God gives me the strength to start working on making these dreams real. Amen.

 

With my love to you all, whether you are a friend, or yet to become one; only love will overcome pain and rancour. You have mine.

 

(Thanks Paul Brimmer for compiling my tweets into a Storify)

Kraftwerk

Kraftwerk taught me how to count to acht in German. They also taught me how to count to four in Spanish, but I prefer their German accents. I was young. I had never really taken an interest in German before. In 1970s Britain, we were raised in a culture of gloating over victory in World War II, probably because we were still smarting from the recent football defeats inflicted on England by Franz “Der Kaiser” Beckenbauer and Gerd Müller. Suddenly as I started to explore identity in my my mid-teens, I found myself liking Germans, and I’ve liked them ever since. I feel an affinity towards the language, and long to be good at it. Those who find it harsh don’t hear its rhythm, its syncopation, its precision and probing. Like Kraftwerk in fact.

I loved Kraftwerk when it wasn’t particularly cool to love them. I loved them in the late 1970s and early 1980s. I played their meisterwerk continuously as I made Chimera. Looking back, there couldn’t have been a more appropriate album to write Chimera to.

We regret those things we do not do, and hopefully, not too many of the things we have done. I regret not having taken the opportunity to see Kraftwek at the Tate Modern. If you were one of those people who planned their life well enough to accommodate a live show that features one of the most prophetic “bands” in pop history, my hats off to you.

If you don’t ache listening to Computer Love (and you can tolerate the Coldplay desecration), then you probably don’t remember a time before Facebook, or a time before compact discs and mobile phones. Yes, there was such a time.

Mike & the Mechanics


Every generation
Blames the one before
And all of their frustrations
Come beating on your door


I know that I’m a prisoner
To all my Father held so dear
I know that I’m a hostage
To all his hopes and fears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years


Crumpled bits of paper
Filled with imperfect thought
Stilted conversations
I’m afraid that’s all we’ve got


You say you just don’t see it
He says it’s perfect sense
You just can’t get agreement
In this present tense
We all talk a different language
Talking in defence


Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It’s too late when we die
To admit we don’t see eye to eye


So we open up a quarrel
Between the present and the past
We only sacrifice the future
It’s the bitterness that lasts


So don’t yield to the fortunes
You sometimes see as fate
It may have a new perspective
On a different day
And if you don’t give up, and don’t give in
You may just be OK.


Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It’s too late when we die
To admit we don’t see eye to eye


I wasn’t there that morning
When my Father passed away
I didn’t get to tell him
All the things I had to say


I think I caught his spirit
Later that same year
I’m sure I heard his echo
In my baby’s new born tears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years


Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It’s too late when we die
To admit we don’t see eye to eye

Shahid’s 2012

An awful lot happened in 2012 for me. Much of it I can’t talk about, because believe it or not, there are still parts of my life I like to keep private. (I know, I’m a reactionary Luddite!) Here’s what I can talk about. You can do an awful lot in a year if you put your mind to it.

There’s a lot more behind the scenes that I can probably talk about in 2013, the seeds of which were sown in 2012. It’s been a hell of a ride. So please join me in sharing some of my year’s highlights.

I saw the launch of the best handheld gaming console in history, universally adored by everyone who has one. The PlayStation Vita.

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I beat the top table tennis player in our company. Once. He’s simply unbeatable, but I managed it. (He has beaten me a hundred times since, but I don’t care, I have my victory.)

From being unfit, unhealthy and obese in 2011, I became healthy, fitter and half-decent at table tennis, eventually topping the company Table Tennis Ladder. Trust me, for a guy who was too fat to pick up a ball in 2011 to being the guy who beat the champion who picked up the balls for him because the fat guy was too fat and unfit to pick up the ball in 2012 was no mean feat. No mean feat at all. 

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In one memorable match in a semi-final, I came from two games to nothing down to win 3-2 and go on to win the department final.

I went to GDC in San Francisco for the first time in a decade.

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I spoke with lots of developers there and started to finalise my plan.

I was moved into Business Development and got to set up a team called “Strategic Content” that has dramatically helped to change the way that Sony deals with developers, having put together a pitch for a huge programme with my team that got the backing of executive management. This has been the toughest, most demanding, most rewarding job I’ve ever done. I have a great team, a great boss and a great management structure. I’m not just saying this, it’s a fact. The results speak for themselves. There’s no way you can do as much as I’ve done in a year if you’re not absolutely flying at your job. It doesn’t sap energy. It gives you energy. I’ve had fewer sick days this year than at any time in my 30 years in the games industry. 

If you want to know what I’m like to work with, don’t ask me, ask my colleagues and business partners, who have my respect and gratitude.

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I ate a whole lobster for the first time

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I ate a beef bacon buttie for the first time. (Halal of course)

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I bought a Raspberry Pi and left it in the cupboard all year as punishment.

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My daughters got great grades in their exams.

My eldest got into one of the top universities in the country.

My youngest got told that she’s Oxbridge material (insha’Allah) and one of the top 1% in the country for English.

My wife, Brent’s Artist of the Year since 2011, continued to create fantastic art work and had some successful events, especially The Other Art Fair.
 
We had two great Eid parties with close friends and family.
 
I finished the Chimera remake for Mac and for PC – in my own time. In C++. Old school.
 
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 (Image above from my Spectrum original courtesy of @sokurah)
 
Chimera got featured by indiegames.com (I cannot tell you how much of a buzz this gave me!)
 
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I got interviewed by Retro Gamer for issue 111, and also for the Ultimate special edition 109
 
After they found one of my pictures of my beloved Palomino Blackwing 602 pencil on Instagram, I got interviewed by pencils.com
 
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I got interviewed by Ant Sharwood for a Murdoch web site! (Ant’s a great guy and the interview was too kind)
 
I wrote some pretty good blog material, including the widely read piece One Nation Under Gold.
 
My Mo Farah tweet retweeted over 500 times and got RTd by Jonathan Freedland
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I signed over 30 titles for PSM in record time, including Super Crate Box, Rebel, Fuel Tiracas and many others and helped make the PSM launch a success. (It would have been impossible without my colleagues, particularly Lorenzo, the PSM Master!)
 
I started signing loads of PS Vita titles (I wish I could mention them, but that honour should go to the parties creating the games)
 
I learned to play an acoustic fretless bass, which I now do pretty well
 
I visited San Francisco, Barcelona, Madrid, Köln, Brighton and leafy Tunbridge Wells.
 
One of my tweets got favourited by my favourite San Franciscan, Tim Ferriss
 
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Flew a plane for the first time at the Goodwood off-site, where I also got to drop a bomb out of the window. Joked with the pilot that I was probably the worst Muslim bomber of all time. (It was a grapefruit, and it was very funny at the time)
 
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Gave a well received presentation at Shoreditch House for TIGA. (OK, it was a great presentation)
 
Challenged my gamer colleague at Super Crate Box and more than doubled his original score, getting 306
 
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Broke 2000 followers on Twitter (without really trying to get followers to be frank, but it’s a nice landmark all the same.)
 
Improved my relationship (and Sony’s) with the independent games community through being honest, frank, supportive and willing to move quickly and to change.
 
Bought s ScanSnap scanner and started to dematerialise my physical stuff, thousands of documents now digitised.
 
Got BT Infinity 2 broadband and now get a solid 70Mbps down and 15Mbps up

Got an iPad 3 Retina, bought with 2 mins of battery left on my iPad in a Starbucks outside GDC in San Francisco after hitting refresh for an hour.

Got an iPhone 5

Got an Accu-Chek Mobile (it’s a blood testing kit for my diabetes and it’s really cool)

Got a Samsung Laser Printer (it was cheap as chips, but so cool)

Read a shit-ton of books, I mean an absolute shit-ton. I’ve lost count. Amazon loves me.

In the year of Netflix:
Watched Dexter from the start
Watched Breaking Bad from the start 
 
I visited a Masonic Lodge to watch a Facebook event, and I wasn’t sure which of those two made me feel dirtier. (Just kidding)

I donated an enormous pile of books (over a hundred), recognising that most of my reading is now done on iPad and Kindle. I still have hundreds of physical books left, despite now getting rid of close to 500.
 
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Managed to stay at the flat we’re in for another year by offering a voluntary rent increase of 7% in addition to a £150 one-off write-off. That was a win. A major win. I’ll tell you why in 2013.
 
Had a guitar lesson on Skype from Maneli Jamal, one of the best guitarists in the world.
 
Exchanged emails with Gareth Pearson, another simply amazing guitarist and like Maneli, a lovely guy.
 
Read the War of Art and exchanged emails with its author Steven Pressfield, a lovely guy. (Notice a trend?)
 
Learned that you can reach out to people and they will respond as long as you’re not a douche.
 
I bought over a hundred games on Steam.
 
I bought over a hundred games on iOS.
 
I got dozens of PlayStation games.
 
I played very few of any of them.
 
I took some nice photos.
 
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Set up Beyond the Final Boss with Mike Bithell and Byron Atkinson-Jones, to show kids who are getting bullied that if we can win, then can too. We plan on making this count in 2013. The racist bullies and neighbours who with the protection of the police terrorised me and my family for years when I was a youngster and for so long made me dread every waking and sleeping moment, well, they failed. And how.
 
 
There are two words I’ll leave this Gregorian year with.

الحمد لله

and 

Beyond the Final Boss

I’ve exchanged a series of tweets tonight with fellow video games industry figures Mike Bithell and Byron Atkinson-Jones. To my amazement, if not surprise, both Mike and Byron were bullied as kids. It looks like they’ve had the last laugh.

That’s incredibly powerful. Isn’t it?

Kids are still getting bullied today, and whilst racism (including Islamophobia and antisemitism) and homophobia were often triggers for bullying in the past, mostly, bullies pick targets and then carry on driving the dagger home, ruining lives. Even today, it seems that the lives of some children are destroyed by bullying. So whilst schools have been by and large much better at handling bullying in recent years, survivors of bullying know just how rough things can be regardless of any and all preventative measures.

What struck me about the conversation with Mike and Byron is that we all felt helpless and without wishing to speak for them, I know that for a long time I carried that pain with me. I’ve overcome it now, but am sensitive to the pain in others. Not everyone recovers. Not everyone survives. There is a silver lining to this cloud. Some of us don’t just survive, some of us become winners, leading amazing lives, charmed lives, blessed lives, way beyond the dark nightmares of our childhood when we didn’t see a way through the wall of hatred we’d have our lives smashed against by our fellow pupils on a daily basis; when there seemed to be no escape.

We made it through and we won and it’s our world now.

Yesterday, a guy in Selfridges was being aggressive towards me and wanted me out of the way. I stood up to him and raised my voice to match his, without becoming rude, or matching his aggression. I took the moral high ground, asserted myself and felt good about doing that. The younger me might not have been able to do that.

It’s possible to survive bullying, it’s possible to win despite it. We think that’s a powerful message to give to youngsters, so we’re going to get together to start talking about how to do this. We could do YouTube videos to begin with, and we could present to schools. I think we need to move past the idea that you can just “survive” bullying. To show vulnerable young people real, living examples of people who can thrive despite having endured bullying is a hugely empowering message and I think it’s one we need to get out. Video games are now the epitome of cool, as valid an art form as music and film. Those who are successful in this field can serve as very useful examples to the next generation.

If you’re interested in supporting our agenda, drop me a line (shahid@shhd.org) and I’ll add you to our mail list. Soon we will have a web site / Facebook page / YouTube channel and all that jazz.

I feel like video games, an industry in which I’ve had the privilege of serving for over 30 years now gave me a new lease of life beyond the pain I knew as a child.

Here’s some of Mike’s story:

I was bullied for most of my secondary school years. I was pretty much the lowest rung in my school, mainly because of nerdiness I think, but I was also a bit overweight, at least at the start. Mine wasn’t nearly as bad as many.. I remember constant verbal abuse and name calling, and getting beaten up by groups. I was also regularly locked in cupboards. My head of year’s response was to tell me to avoid populated areas of my school. Dickhead.

 

Two things shifted it.

 

The physical stuff was first, I hit six foot two at about 14, and gangs of bullies quickly learned that trying to hit me was a bad idea. I’m not violent, so I still got the verbal stuff, name calling, being told I was a loser. I never lashed out so was perceived as weak and targetted.

 

Year 11 was the big one. I remember it being over night, but it probably wasn’t. Male power ceased to be about strength or macho supremacy, it became about how often girls laughed at your jokes. Being the weird one who’d had to cultivate a sense of humour as a coping strategy suddenly made me OK. I was still a nerd, but from that point on those who didn’t like me just avoided me. Very preferable.

 

Now for Byron’s story. Some of you who went through some of what he went through will know the pain he felt when he was recounting these experiences in abbreviated form. Byron is a hero for me. I want other kids who are bullied today to know that they can get to where Byron is today, where Mike is today, where some of you who are reading this from the video games business are today and hold on by their fingernails to the hope that while the pain never completely goes away, hope and joy and camaraderie and self-respect and joy and mutual respect can eclipse it.

My Father was in the Army so every couple of years I would find myself at a new school (9 in total) and in each one of those schools there was a core group of bullies that made other kids lives hell, I realise that now but at the time it felt like they were singling me out. Each time the form of bullying would be different.

In one school I went through my entire time there being called ‘Gay’ I didn’t know what it meant but they kept at it and any kind of names intended to hurt do so if said enough and all the other kids who didn’t want to be picked on would join in out of fear for themselves.
 
We moved back to the UK (Wales) and in the school there one of the bullies took great delight in physical harm. One time he and his friend pretended to be friendly, got me to climb a tree and then spent what felt like a lifetime throwing stones at me, I couldn’t get out or down from the tree and in all this time my house was in line of sight and I remember just wishing my mother would come out to rescue me. He would also sneak up on me at school and push me down stairs and kick me in the genitals. It got so bad that I eventually spoke to a teacher about it, they took me to the headmaster and he then threatened to cane me for telling stories.
 
In one school I was bullied by a teacher, this was in Germany in an Army run school. I was given special math lessons, just myself and him. If I got something wrong he would hit me hard on the head.
 
Part of living in NATO headquarters meant having to go to a weekly boarding school some distance from home. At home my best friend was Charles, the son of an American soldier and he was black. I’d never encountered racism before and it never even occurred to me that there was a difference. Only british kids were sent to the boarding school because the high-school was based on the American education system which was vastly different from the UK one which meant Charles didn’t come with me. My first week there a gang of older kids asked us younger ones if we knew any black people and me not knowing any different said yes, my best friend. They proceeded to beat me up until I renounced him and all black people – which I refused to do. Eventually even older kids who were my neighbours at home found us and stepped in to save me. This had a profound affect on me, I feel more comfortable around non-whites than I do whites, which I suppose makes me a little racist now? It was at this same boarding school that another kid held a knife to my throat and threatened to stab me.
 
Thing is I just wasn’t an aggressive kid, my parents realised I was being bullied and tried to do something about it. The schools were powerless and if the teachers said anything then the bullying go worse. The answer was to try and toughen me up and at that time it meant sending me to learn Martial arts and I did a lot. Did it toughen me up – not really but it did teach me how to get myself out of situations and a knowledge that if I needed to do some damage, I could. I just refused to lower myself to the level of the bullies, I refused to do to them what they did to me which to them seemed like I was afraid so they kept on. I think this introspection saved me but at the same time makes me want to stand up now and tell kids going through this how to deal with it.
 
I have more stories like this.. as I mentioned on Twitter, I was born in Hong Kong so that made me a Chink to some kids, being raised in Germany made me a Kraut to others and having Welsh parents made me a sheep shagger to all the rest.
 
I would be bloody hard for me but as I said, if you get something moving about this then I will stand up and tell my story.
 

Write to me at shahid@shhd.org if you want to:

  • Be kept up to date on our activities
  • Take part in meetings
  • Be prepared to discuss your experience in a YouTube video
  • Contribute your time or skills to help us get the message out
  • Talk to kids at school (I can help arrange this, starting in London)
  • Stand alongside the likes of Mike and Byron

We are determined to make a difference. I know that recounting the pain is difficult, so I don’t expect everyone to do it. It’s not where I think we should focus anyway. The focus should be on what lies beyond the pain and perhaps how our experiences helped make us what we are today. I know this is painful for many. You don’t need to jump in straight away, but let the group give you strength. You’re not alone.

 

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Mike Bithell 

Mike is a game designer. He’s worked in games development for 5 years. Mike’s designed games for console, PC and web. He’s also fiddled with mobile, but has yet to make anything of value. Probably best known for Thomas Was Alone, a pretentious indie platformer for Mac and PC. He spends far too much time on twitter.

Twitter: @mikebithell

Byron Atkinson-Jones

Byron has been making games on and off for 20 years, working for companies like Lionhead studios, EA and indie legends Introversion and PomPom. Byron now runs his own small company called Xiotex Studios where he continues to make games. You can find him on twitter as @xiotex where he mostly goes on about his obsession with Nando’s and game making.