Alfie Moon on the Therapist’s Couch

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By Yaz Headley

Editor’s note: The author is an accredited Integrative Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Psychotherapist in private practice in London, UK. Yaz is also studying for a Ph.D. in Mind-Body Medicine and Integrated Mental Health. She has followed EastEnders on and off over the years. You can reach her at yheadley@gmail.com and read more about her background at www.thecompletelife.com.

We are all a subject of our own history. Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you something or is invested in you continuing to live as you are. For some this is a good thing, for many this is not the way to go. Many would love the magic elixir that would get rid of every negative break with the past, but it is not possible to find it in a bottle, a happy thought or magic.

In looking at a psyche of a person, we would look at their history, their present life and their thoughts and behavior. We would look at the support system and resources they have in their lives, and we would look at what they do when they are stressed. In some therapies, such as the psychodynamic and the psychoanalytic, a great deal of time is spent on the patient’s past and in the unfurling of their history.

In the version of Integrative Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which is the approach I take, I spend some time there, but I also look at their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. These are key to helping an individual change. Modern-day research shows how we are not just a subject of history and genetics but are also affected by epigenetics.

Epigenetics is our environment, those whom we have around us, the food we eat and the activities we do.

Patient’s File Alfie Moon.

The song “Whats it all, Alfie” about comes to mind….. The thing is – does Alfie ever have an answer to this question? I think not. Alfie does not know from one day to the next as to what is really going on. Alfie has no real sense of self. Alfie is amorphous and adapts to whosoever he is with. He is a perfect host at any place he is in, because he can easily adapt to people and those around him. He absorbs what is around him and easily gives and reflects their energy.

Alfie’s parents were killed in a car crash when he was young. The loss of a parent when young has been found to be a significant factor for those who suffer from depression later on in life. It is often thought that we can manage and handle matters when we are young, but the loss of parents is a huge blow to anyone who is starting out in life. So much needs to be reset and changed.

No one is as important to us as our parents or those who may care for us. The value of our original carers is inestimable because our memories and imprints when young are scorched into our DNA. This is then carried within us for the rest of our life, and we need to rework it if we are to live better lives. Such important imprints are not easily replaced.

Alfie is no stranger to criminal activities either; identity theft, bigamy, and arson. He is always trying it on, trying to make things better. Trying to find a short-cut to happiness and wealth. In the end, the charming, sweet Alfie starts again and again from zero. A perfect host to others, but to himself, he is not true. Alfie promises the moon but barely gets past the cheddar cheese.

We all know an Alfie. They are sweet kind people but in the end, do so because they also hope you will also in the end really look after them. Alfie is very co-dependent, and his very own existence is determined by others. We all in some way are co-dependent, but Alfie has it perfected to an art-form.

Only a co-dependent like him would be able to live with someone so borderline or bipolar as Kat. Kat is unpredictable, and the very seeming predictable Alfie likes the ups and downs that Kat brings to their lives to avoid making his own decisions. He is so busy fire-fighting the entrails which Kat leaves in her wake that he does not have to do anything about his own life. You meet these people sometimes. Sweet helpful, always thinking about others. He can be hot and cold and committed and avoidant too.

Avoidance is very accepted today. We can avoid relationships, discussions, what counts by – by watching lots of TV, looking over and over at mobiles, playing online games, by lots of sex, food and alcohol; behaviors which seem so acceptable nowadays. All often accounted with a “I’m just having fun”. There is a tipping point, though, to avoidance. A point when it becomes unhealthy. Its fun to drink, eat and have sex. But there is a point when it really starts to have a negative effect on ourselves and those around us.

Alfie does it with his relationship with Kat. But at the end of it, they really need to stop avoiding. But the stopping of avoiding is unexpectedly harder to do then to continue with the avoiding. But hey, where would we be without the fun, unpredictability, and avoidance of Alfie and his hot and cold relationship with Kat. Life would be so boring if he were reasonable, organized and settled. He is such an important character that keeps the EastEnders storyline moving. ©2016 Yaz

‘Phil Mitchell Would Break My Legs’

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Edward Hopper’s painting Nighthawks reimagined by Doug Pledger

By Larry Jaffee

London artist Doug Pledger has found an unusual muse in Phil Mitchell, and his memes dedicated to the EastEnders hard man often go viral in social media, collected at www.utterphilth.com.

Pledger, whose other artwork is showcased at www.douggy.com, graciously shared insight into why he pays homage to someone who many fans consider to be an Albert Square menace.

Walford Gazette: What was the catalyst for using Phil Mitchell as a muse, and how old is the site? 

Doug Pledger: About 10 to 15 years ago, I did a few jokey photoshopped images of Phil, in fake film posters and what not, just to send to mates, and over the years have done a few here and there. My friend osymyso had also dabbled in messing with EastEnders, having made a musical track ‘Pat and Peg’ which had done the rounds in the late 1990s. We thought we’d rub our brains together and do a few more bits and pieces and make a website – Utter Philth, which we started in March 2016. Osymyso does the music for the videos, and I do all the designs/cartoons/photoshop stuff along with the video editing. It caught on pretty quickly thanks to the Facebook page, and kind of took off overnight. We haven’t made a single penny from it, but it sure is a laugh.

WG: But why Phil?

DP: I think the fact that Steve McFadden is the only actor in EastEnders who doesn’t do that much in the way of interviews/chat shows gives an air of mystery about him, almost like he really is Phil. He’s great to plonk into different situations, as he has various traits that work really well for comedy/tragedy. He’s famously angry, confused and sad, never really that happy… unless he’s drunk or doing someone over. He’s certainly the best thing about the show, by a million country miles.

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WG: Have you received any recognition from the BBC of your Utter Philth efforts?

DP: The BBC certainly know about Utter Philth as I have worked freelance for the EastEnders social media department; this was before Philth took over. I did a bunch of non-Phil-related images and designs, which were used on their Facebook/Instagram/Twitter etc. They did post a few of the early Utter Philth images but due to some of the stuff being pretty backward and just plain odd, they haven’t embraced it that much. This has all taken off in a weird direction now anyway. We like the idea of creating an alternate Phil Mitchell. One who’s scared of Kermit and has a sick Rubik’s Cube addiction.
WG: How many Utter Philth memes have you created?

DP: The amount of ‘memes’, as you say, so far I think there are more than 100 photos and 23 videos. There are also probably about that many again that’ll never see the light of day as they’re either too awful or just too unholy.
WG: What is the thought process behind creating such a meme?

DP: There isn’t really a thought process on any of this. Things just pop into your head, mostly due to what clips and photos surface. It’s a lot easier getting ideas from watching and looking rather than having an idea, then spending all day looking for a photo where he’d look good on a skateboard, for example.

WG: Why do you do it?

DP: FUN. Nobody’s paying us to do any of this, so it’s more like a hobby. The fact that it’s being banded around the web is just icing on the cake. I’ve been doing stuff like this forever, for the love of making stuff.

WG: If you met Steve McFadden, and he realized Utter Philth was your creation, what would you say to him?

DP: If I met Phil, I mean Steve, I would go weak at the knees probably because he’d be breaking them. Has he even seen it? I have no idea. I’d have to say hello though, shake his hand and check out that thumb of his. You know what… up until recently I couldn’t stand the guy, not Steve, but Phil. It’s only been this year I think and that he’s gotten older, that I’ve realised how fucking brilliant he is. Always known he’s a great actor and admired his skill but never really took to him. Maybe because when he was younger he was just this “well ’ard thug,” but now, he’s kind of still that, but he’s more of a character. But maybe that’s always been there. As I said before, I don’t really watch the show so I’m not really the best person to judge. Would love to have a drink with him though.
WG: Have you received any acknowledgment from Steve?

DP: My fiancée Caroline went to school with his son and is friends with him on Facebook. She said one day, “Oh look! Matt’s liked one of your Phil videos” so we know his son’s seen it … that’s as close to the holy grail we’ve got.
WG: To what extent do you watch the show for ideas?

DP: I have a one-year-old daughter, so I don’t really get much time to watch TV outside of CBeebies, but I do try to skim through the EastEnders episodes on the BBC iPlayer to see if Phil’s been in it. To be honest, I don’t watch the show, I see bits and pieces here and there, but I really couldn’t tell you what three quarters of the characters are called or what they’ve been up to. I’m just about up to date with Phil, but haven’t seen any of this week. Osymyso is the same, but I think between us we manage to keep on top of things. I do get told from time to time by people… “Doug, did you see EE last night, Phil was on form.” It’s good to have these informants.
WG: How many social media followers does Utter Philth have?

DP: Facebook has 57,740 followers and the videos have millions of hits. Is that good? Sounds good … but then you might find a page dedicated to a snowman that has double that, I’m really not that clued up on all this. The fans on there are great though, the best, they’ve really taken to the nutty stuff.

New Gazette (No. 95) At Printer

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The new issue features our usual pot pourri of EastEnders analysis and insight into characters including Pat Butcher and Dot Cotton, current series developments, such as the imminent return of Lord Cashman whose Colin left the show in 1989, and of course, humour. To wit, check out the brilliant mind behind “Utter Philth” devoted to all things Phil Mitchell.

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Another article is about a woman who likes Pat Butcher so much she has a tattoo of her.

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To subscribe, click here on the site or order via credit card by calling 917-291-2488 (US mobile).

Walford Gazette Presidential Endorsement

By Larry Jaffee

Being a  working-class publication, the Walford Gazette’s preferred candidate for the U.S. president during the primary season had been Senator Bermie Sanders.

However, as long as Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, she will receive my vote to prevent a fraudulent lunatic from taking office.

I am not happy about it, and look on her as the lesser of two evils. But it is not the right time to place a protest vote, as I have done several times in the past.

Ironically, I thank the official from the National Rifle Association (NRA) speaking at the Republican National Convention for telling me how to vote in this absurd election.

The NRA official noted that the last time the US Supreme Court had to decide a case dealing with gun ownership, it was decided 5–4, and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was the deciding swing vote favoring the NRA.

But the Second Amendment is among the many issues the High Court will decide in the next four years, and I am deeply concerned whom Donald Trump would install for the vacant seat, as well as anything else he would do or say as president, based on his continually outrageous statements about minority groups and hollow rhetoric short on facts or concrete strategy on how he would get anything done.

The second that Donald Trump on the GOP primary campaign trail made fun of a disabled person, I realized how unfit he is to hold the office. A decent human being doesn’t make fun of disabled people. Period. That Trump continues to refuse to release his tax returns is the behavior of a private citizen who has something to hide, not a public servant.

Does he think that being president is such a trivial job that he could continue to host his reality TV show The Apprentice, as he reportedly told NBC?

And for the record, if I had my druthers, Senator Sanders would lead a real third party that would teach both the Democrats and Republicans a lesson in civics and public service that puts citizens first, not special interests. We deserve better.

A Brief History of Walford’s Doctors

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Dr. Legg set the bar for Albert Square’s medical profession from Day One

By Nicholas Pascale

From his very first scene Dr Harold Legg (Leonard Felton) firmly planted himself in the community of Walford.

His first dramatic episode was the unforgettable “Who killed Reg Cox?”. From then on, we saw a doctor that lasted in our hearts from 1985 to 1997.

A Holocaust survivor, Dr Legg showed care, concern and compassion for all who inhabited

Albert Square. No doctor that followed him had the longevity of Dr Legg. He rented the two flats above his to Ethel Skinner and Mary with her baby Annie. In 1988 we were introduced to his sister’s son, Dr David Samuels (Christopher Reich), after his sister visited him and convinced him to bring her son into his practice. They came from Israel. The two doctors butted heads on many occasions.

Dr Samuels represented the new approach to medicine, whereas Legg was the old world. Dr Samuels has an argument with his uncle, Dr Legg, over failing to correctly diagnosis Vicki Fowler’s meningitis, which causes Dr Legg to retire and leave the practice to David. Since the character of David was not well received, the writers had his girlfriend Ruth talk him into going back to Israel with her!

For years after, Dr Legg was slowly written out, and we had a string of doctors to replace him. Of this string Dr Fred Fonseca (Jimi Mistry) became the next doctor to occupy the surgery. He was Asian as the producers felt they needed another Asian to replace the Kapoors.

He was not as compassionate as Legg, he would never listen to his patients’ complaints after hours and took a holistic approach to medicine. He was the writers’ way of introducing homophobia to Walford.

His receptionist Josie, who was a born-again Christian, would often chide him about being gay. When her daughter, Kim, who was confused about her sexual identity, consulted Fonseca, Josie accused him of trying to recruit her to the “gay cause”!

He stands out, a doctor that was trendy, handsome and struggling with being gay! He lasted from 1998 to 2000. He was followed by Dr Alex Harrison (Ian Shaw), Dr Daniel Rodford (Howard Saddler),

Dr Steven Khan (Hari Saijan) and Dr Anthony Trueman, played by Nicholas Bailey (son of one of main characters, Patrick Trueman). He lasted for three years, from 2000 to 2003, and provided us with many interesting story lines. One of which was

dating both mother and daughter, Kat Slater and her daughter Zoe. He came back for his father’s wedding to Yolande and his brother Paul’s funeral. He now lives in Cambodia.

And although he only lasted for one season, Dr Oliver Cousins could never be forgotten. From being locked out of his apartment wearing nothing but a bath towel that slipped off

to finally standing up for Little Mo and proposing to her once he got over being shy gave us our 2006 Walford doctor! All the doctors that worked in Albert Square lived above the surgery!

An interesting note: on a plaque outside the surgery a list of three doctors, whom we’ve never seen nor met, are listed: Dr Paige Luxton, Dr Sam Burnett and Dr Dale Lockey. And during 1985 to 2006 we’ve seen nurses as well.

Andy O’Brien who was tragically run over and died, and Sonia Jackson Fowler and her lover Naomi Julien. Now we have to wait to get to meet some interesting doctors that will arrive in the years following 2006: Dr May Wright whom the American audience will be meeting later this year and Dr Yusef Khan who arrives in 2011 in the UK. As you can see, none of the doctors that followed Dr Legg could ever hold a candle to the lovable Dr Legg!