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2014 Pushcart Prize nominee. (more)


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2002 - Best 40 Songs


Chemical Brothers in 2002

I've always loved music and have made 'Best Of's' for 25 years. I continue to do them.

I still have CD compiles from most of them and decided to pull out a few to give them a run. 

This is great. Thought I should make a YouTube Playlist so others can appreciate just how good 2002 was.

So here they are, starting with the brilliant Aussie track by Sleepy Jackson, with that killer chorus.

2002 Top 40 Songs

Sleepy Jackson

A.J. Langford Books

Coldplay 2002

Disagreeable - Attention seeking



What is real diversity? Something superficial like skin colour or is it more complex than that? Or is it mere popularity seeking?

Watch HERE

A range of ideas and viewpoints is the real diversity and seemingly lacking without hysteria and judgement. It's long overdue that we began to accept the views of others. We don't have to agree. Neither do we need to hate. Or cancel.

I'm hoping to get my book Us & Them in Better Read than Dead Newtown this week. 
See what happens. Fingers crossed!

I'm also hoping to join a local market to sell my books. 
More on that when I know more.

A.J. Langford Books

Stay well. Peace.

Rejection and the angst of it all


How do you cope with rejection?

You might be able to relate to this in some other area of your life. 

Written back in 2012 when I was writing a lot of poetry and sending it off to various literary journals etc. 

Plus a special Coming Soon announcement.

Same time, next night


Another form rejection email

Like a razor blade in the dust

And I’m not supposed to let it bother me

But it does

They come like a stack of cards

One on top of the other

And I wonder why I subject myself to this.


I think about them

And other things

While I’m struggling with a stubborn back

Through the night

And I piss too much

Have to get up too early

And sort out who I will send to next.


I’m always tired

Always dissatisfied

And I know part of the reason

I feel this way

Is because of the drink

And the dark overcoat

Which some call the black dog

And I’m not supposed to mix the two

Until I get to that time of day

When a beer fixes anything

And I’ll take on those snobby publications

With their lifeless academic formulas

And pump out a couple of poems

That I believe in

With life and history

Of people and emotion

And at the very least

They shine with truth

Without giving a shit

If the university graduates

Get it or not

Until those same folks

Fire their cut and paste job

And keep me here at 3.54 am

Thinking I need a piss.



I know now I need to challenge my own depressive thought processes. They go back as far as I can remember. I have much to be grateful for and need to count my blessings daily. Still, depression hits at times for no reason at all.

I did get quite a few POEMS published. Dozens. Though it took up so much of my time. At least two hours a day. And I was parenting and working and many of them charge fees so I spent a bit as well. I did get many published over a few years and thought it would help me get published, which it didn't, or some new readers, which it didn't. I eventually stopped sending them out. 

Now they're for you. (The best ones are in my books). There's plenty as yet unpublished. And I'm still writing them but not to the same level as I once did. Some I will release here and in possible future books. Many will not see the light of day.

Many new and positive poems in my new book Us & Them plus many stories.

If you like anything I do, please share. It's still very difficult to reach people. I've tried advertising. It doesn't work. Word of mouth is still the most effective. You're it!

A.J. Langford Books

Coming soon,

My unproduced feature length screenplay, Travel Bug, based on some of my travels when I was young. 

More Poetry

End of life Milestones


Misplaced treasures


At 79

One tends to spend

More time looking back

Than forward

(perhaps a sign that I need a new hobby).


I reflect on key moments

Milestones if you will

And yes,

I did have many successes

In my chosen field

(Or perhaps it chose me)

Yet, there were a plethora

Of setbacks too


(And dare I admit it)



Still, it's the lost loves

I keep returning to

(Like my ex wife)

And oddly

The ones I never had


That I let slip by

If only I had done x...


It’s as though

The work

Which I allowed to consume me

Mattered not at all

And was only there to prop me up

While my real life played-out.


If only I’d been more aware of that.


The only milestone that really meant anything

Was the moment my only child was born

Without her

I think I’d be a very bitter

And regretful old man today.


In those days

Parents didn't spend the sort of

Interactive hours

That people do now

And though I do disagree

On other facets of modern parenting

(Like discipline and structure)

I do regret those missing hours.


Those early years especially

Just flew by

I seemed to miss so much.


We have made up for it since

I'm a very doting grandparent

Yet, I can't shake off the notion

That the greatest milestones

Are the ones

I never had.





From Us & Them and the things in-between

Speaking of old men, I read this fascinating study about them. It mirrors my experiences while working in a nursing home. Elderly women coped much better with their situation than men. Worth noting too that suicide among men over 75 is the highest bracket of all ages and genders. Read HERE

Usually I write however I'm feeling in the moment but this was written with an eye to a submission. 
Ginninderra Press were doing a call out for poems on the theme of Milestone for a book. I wrote this one. Then decided to write another. It was called Milestoned. I submitted the latter and it was accepted. It was put up near the front, so I was very happy.

I still liked this one so decided to include it in Us and Them. 

There's a new review of the book at Goodreads HERE

Anti-depressants and why you don't need them. (Part 2/2 - Solutions)

 Drugs are over prescribed

If anti-depressants work, why do so many people still have depression? Why are there more people depressed now than ever? Particularly in an era when more people around the world are medicated than at any time in history.

Part One - The Problems Here

Part Two


In any regard, anti-depressants are really a simple bandaging of the problem. Sure some people with severe mental health problems need to be on medication. Schizophrenia for example. I'm talking about your everyday person. So many more people are on them now compared to even twenty years ago.

There are many things people can do to help themselves. 

Exercise. Even basic walking every day can help stimulate endorphins. It's also good to get out into the fresh air and away from the home. Sitting at home can stimulate depression and anxiety. Our bodies need to move. Do something daily, even if it's only stretching at home. I guarantee afterwards you will feel better, even if only 20%. It's better than where you were before.

Diet. I find sugar and coffee can increase mental health problems. Put Crap In, Get Crap Out. Doesn't mean you have to go all natural etc. on some horrendous diet. Just eat decently and avoid too much sugar. That includes drinking enough water too. Avoiding alcohol and drugs is an obvious one. They help short term, for a few hours, but kick your ass in the days afterwards.

SleepWithout good quality sleep, life is shit. Let's face it. Prioritize trying to get enough hours to sleep. Don't stay up all night. Whatever you need to do, aim for eight hours. Get a routine going. Get up at a certain time, even if you didn't get enough sleep. That night you will be extra tired and sleep much better. It's crucial for your mental well being.

Reduce stress. Again, whatever you need to do, walk away from stressful situations. Let go of things that you have no control of. Which is most things in life, for us all. Simplify your life. It definitely helped me. Stress on it's own is a killer. 

Tech/Social MediaGet off the tech. It's an obvious one but our obsession with our phones etc. is making us depressed. It gives us a quick fix perhaps but studies have proven that people become envious of others and their 'great lives' (a misrepresentation) and ultimately lowers our self-esteem. It's also cutting ourselves from real life connections in lieu of 'catching up' electronically. Many, if not most, spend more time with their phone than any one real person.

Meditation. This works for some. Even some deep breathing exercises, (there are many good ones on YouTube) can help. Try sitting for ten minutes once a day, if not several times, and just concentrate on your breathing. Let go of internal negative thoughts.

Counselling. It's often hard to pinpoint the problem. Or you know the problem but don't know how to fix it. Either way, talking with someone can help you get to the core of your issues. They can also provide good coping mechanisms to suit your particular needs.

Other people. Being with others can be difficult, though just one or two good friends can be of benefit. Being alone is often sought when depressed but having company can lift us. A sympathetic ear is often all we need. Not advice. 

Distractions. There are many techniques to get out of your own head. A good distraction can really help. Some do exercise. Binge watching TV isn't a great one as you're inactive, which can exacerbate the problem. Journaling can help you get feelings off your chest. Get outdoors. Do something. Start a craft. Something physical with the hands. Even doing household chores can help.

Gratitude. There are good things in life, even if it's hard to see. Write down a few of them and repeat them over every day. You'll be surprised what's already right in front of you. You just have to get them through to your subconscious through repetition. Write them down every day, or at least, read them back every day. 

Purpose. We all need it. Without it, we stagnate. What's yours? Don't have one? Find one.

Journaling. Writing your feelings down can help you sort out where the problems are. It's a healing process in and of itself and incredibly beneficial. The act of using hands and contemplation alone is good. Practice that gratitude especially.

Don't forget this resource. Coping Techniques A to Z | The Withdrawal Project Even if not withdrawing it has many great techniques for mental health problems. 

Can you rewire your brain without drugs? Watch HERE

Getting out of the negative. Watch

There's a whole array of videos of course on this subject. Start exploring. The school of thought is changing. 


These suggestions are not enough on their own. It's a multi faceted approach. All of them working together will help with a large proportion of problems, if not more. Being out in nature alone is good for the mood. Even a park. We did not evolve living in concrete. Neither is a pill a magic solution. There are none. 

Some problems can be lifelong. Mine certainly have been. Over forty-five years. However, if I knew even some of those suggestions when I was young my life would have been much better. My mother took me to a doctor as a teenager. I was told I had Hypoglycemia and to avoid sugar. They were clueless. I ended up self medicating when I discovered alcohol from 16 onwards. After a few close calls, assaults, accidents, overdoses, it wasn't until my late 30's when I was prescribed anti-depressants. They helped. Briefly. A few years perhaps. When they stopped working, that's when I tried to come off. And the horror began.

I am not a health professional so seek your own advice, though be careful with doctors as they are the vessel with which drug companies pass. Seek counselling before a doctor. Unless of course, you're considering self harm and are in desperate straits, in which case a pill may help short term.  I'm merely saying there are alternatives that should be explored in addition to, or in place of medication.

Mental issues are bad enough but having to deal with horrendous, possibly permanent withdrawals/side effects from drugs can make your life a living nightmare, which some people never recover from.


Get in touch if you have questions etc.

A.J. Langford Books

The terrifying rise of anti-depressants and why you don't need them. (Part 1/2 The problems)


Drugs are not a magic solution, yet are being over prescribed

If anti-depressants work, why do so many people still have depression? Why are there more people depressed now than ever? Particularly in an era when more people around the world are medicated than at any time in history.

In America anti-depressant use rose from an average of 10.2% in 2009/10 to 13.2% in 2017/18.  (

In Australia, 17.7% of the adult population filled a mental health related medication in 2020/1. (

Alarmingly, the amount of children prescribed medication for ADHD in Australia, more than doubled from 2014 to 2020 and in some cases, tripled. (

Usage per country

(All sources are from official Government sites).

Are people suddenly far more depressed than they were just a few years ago? With technology obsession on the rise and more people isolating from others, possibly, (which tells you part of the problem) but it's clear that doctors are doling out drugs at a terrifying rate, rather than offering alternatives. Many receive kickbacks from pharmaceuticals for new 'subscribers.'

My horror journey

Anti-depressants ruined my life. You can read about it here. Basically I have to come off very slowly now and I suffer from some permanent side effects ever since I went cold turkey, not knowing what would happen. Permanent tinnitus in both ears. Dizziness. Increased anxiety (ironically). Heart palpitations and more.

I'm now three years into a four year taper. My only hope is that once I'm free of it, my body can begin to recover. But it may never. I'll have to wait and see.

Sure they're a short term fix for some but it's a bit like bandaging a leg that's broken and continuing to walk on it. If you're not addressing the cause of the depression or anxiety then it's only going to resurface. I learnt this the hard way.

Many people who find themselves suddenly depressed go to the doctor, often under pressure from others, rather than addressing what the problem is. A lot of depression is situational. Short term depression from problems is normal. 

Anti-depressants are ultimately harmful

The problem with anti-depressants is that they are very addictive and can lead to major, possibly life long or life ending problems when attempting to come off. Read my story here. They ruined my life. I just didn't know what I was in for. 

Many of these drugs haven't been around long enough for the proper assessment of the negative aspects. And where do people go if they are experiencing problems? Back to the doctor who gave them out in the first place, who often increase the dosage. There's just not enough research being done on the side effects, mostly because pharmaceuticals companies are suppressing the information and many general practitioners are literal sales reps for these drug dispensers. I've had doctors tell me it's all in my head while I've found a couple who knew about the problems. 

Fortunately, there is more talk about it now that there were just a few years ago. There's a great resource called The Withdrawal Project for those struggling to get off or even contemplating how to do it. 

Not all drugs are bad. I've been on several that were easy enough to come off. (They didn't do anything to help either). And not all people suffer from withdrawal but many do and it's horrific. And avoidable. 

I'm a member of a Facebook Group, Cymbalta Hurts Worse with 35,000 members, and that's just one of many groups regarding this particular drug, Cymbalta/Duloxetine. We all have the same problems (though to varying degrees). This drug is nasty, make no mistake. People have taken their own lives. Many give up, unable to ever come off. More details on my original post

This is Dose vs Occupancy rate. 
It shows how a 30mg dose is not half of a 60mg. As one example.
It's the same for tapering off. Once you get to a low amount it becomes increasingly harder and slower to get off completely. 

From a 2021 Medical Review;

Go to Part Two for Drug Alternatives that work


I am not a medical professional. Seek your own advice. However, get in touch if you have questions.

A.J. Langford Books

How will your life be when you're old? Sitting on a porch?

A Torch for the Porch


How do you picture retirement? 

I had a discussion with an old friend a couple of years ago. We were both single and we got talking about post retirement and then... well, it's all in the video.


A Torch for the Porch

Watch on YouTube HERE

Full text plus the real life sequel below.

A Torch for the Porch


For some reason

I imagine retirement

As being immersed

In books, films,


And a rocking chair

On a porch

With half a decent view

Of trees and a valley

With a shotgun

To ward off real estate

And insurance agents.


They smell the decaying flesh

Of the old

Better than a

Starving Hyena.


Them and the kids.


I don’t need a partner

Just an old friend

I can trust

And maybe a sex doll

As friends and fondling

Never ends well

And I can always

Toss the doll

Out of bed afterwards.




Ironically my friend, who had been single for 8 years after a very turbulent marriage and post drama, met someone later that year. He had never been on a dating app. I said it's mostly a waste of time, as I had met plenty of people over a few years, and far too much texting with others, but it's worth having a shot.

He joined on the Friday. Matched with a lady on the Saturday. Met her on the Sunday. Deleted the app on the Monday.

Now they're planning to get married. That just doesn't happen! He deserved it too after what he'd been through.

Stock image

Coming soon,

My unproduced feature length screenplay, Travel Bug, based on some of my travels when I was young. Not for the feint of heart!

Have a good week.

More Video Poetry

Novels, Short Films, Free Downloads and More HERE

Valentines Day - Falling in love and being vulnerable


Whether you're single or not, I think you can relate to this.

Valentine's Day post

Valentine's Day sucks! Love sucks!

At least, it does until...

A poem about romantic feelings and realising you're suddenly vulnerable.

Kamikaze Love Life

It began to dawn on me
After earlier
Not so gentle
Life experiences
That it wasn’t them
It was me.

I rushed headlong in
Where angels fear to tread
So, I ain’t one of them
I’m the fool
Who did it
To his own damn self.

Maybe it was love I sought
Or was it simply an outlet
In human form?

Pent up emotions
Nowhere to go
Until suddenly there was.

And Invest.

No wonder they had
Such power over me
I had given it
All away
Until I was empty
And wanting something in return
And defenceless.

I did it to myself
No wonder
I put up the wall.

I just hadn’t noticed
That I had wandered around it
Like that fool
Once more.

12.20 am

Written after I met someone and wondering what the hell I was doing.

Not having control in any situation can be scary. Yet that type of emotional fragility that is reliant on another person is daunting. At least, it is when you're young. Being older there is more control. 

Can you relate to any of that? Not being in control? Feeling exposed? Whether it's a new relationship or some other emotional situation.