I gave up my smartphone for a Nokia 3310 and radically changed my life.

Three weeks ago, I was sitting in the cinema with my girlfriend, waiting for the half-hour of advertorials to roll on. With the brightness on my screen turned down so as not to distract other cinemagoers from the beer commercial, I opened my WordPress account on my mobile phone to check if any of my readers had tried my new ‘moonshine mash’ recipe yet. The words “HAVE THE BITCH RAPED TO DEATH” screamed out at me from my screen. I turned it over so my other half didn’t see it, and quietly went to the bathroom. “FILTHY RETARDED NIGGER WHORE” “THE BITCH HAS AIDS” “KILL HER NOW”.

These comments were left on a recipe for mashed potato. That’s what I do, for a living, I write cheap recipes, mostly from tinned foods, and teach people on very low budgets how to cook well for themselves while living paycheck to paycheck, or if their benefits are delayed or messed up. I have devoted my working life to giving people the means to survive. I advocate for benefit claimants, campaign and petition for living wages and to end austerity, and similar. I get death threats, for writing about mashed potato. It would be laughable, if only it weren’t so regular. If only I didn’t have a custom stab vest under my stairs. If only I didn’t have such severe anxiety that I have panic attacks in crowds. If only it hadn’t cost me thousands of pounds in lost earnings with cancelled talks and events. The digital equivalent of green ink letters, and it just isn’t funny at all.

I came back from the bathroom, and half-watched the film. I needed out of this world of immediate rhetorical violence. I needed an escape. It seeped into my kids bedtime, into my every waking hour, a person can write the most vile, abhorrent, abusive words, and in a nanosecond they are in my face, chipping away at my self esteem, raising my hackles, pounding my heart, the sweat on the small of my back, the clench in my shoulders. I needed to take the power to control me, through fear and loathing, away from anonymous cowards cowering in their parents basements.

And so, a few days later, I walked into my local mobile phone shop, and bought a Nokia 3310. A sunny yellow colour, it looked like a toy, yet still a marked improvement on the original model I hid under my pillow in my errant youth. I nicknamed the Samsung S6 ‘twatphone’ and the yellow one ‘batphone’. I placed the smartphone on my desk, to use as a modem for my laptop, and tapped a dozen mobile numbers into the Nokia. Mum, Dad, my girlfriend, my son, his father, a couple of very close friends. No work colleagues. No press contacts. No media luvvies. Just the people I would want a paramedic to call if I’d been hit by a bus, I thought. And I sat on the beach with my boy, and played Snake, giggling with glee at the possibility of leaving the world behind.

Three weeks later seems long enough to start to review the profound – and I mean profound – impact that this tiny yellow phone has had on my life. An insomniac for years, I find myself getting 7 or 8 hours sleep a night now that I am not kept on high alert by artificial blue light, nor the temptation to keep on scrolling through news cycles and crap quizzes about when I’m going to get married based on what I have on my pizza, or who my soul mate is judged by my favourite Disney prince. The answers to those questions lie not in clickbait cartoon pop quizzes, but in lived experiences and honest conversations.

I had to learn to be in the world again. To be bored. To be alone with my thoughts. Off facebook, and only allowing myself 3 x 5 minute bursts on Twitter (spoiler – I am now generally on the loo when I tweet, so if you’re sending me abusive crap, I’m probably having a steaming great dump while I read it), I feared that my relationships with my friends would wane. I panicked, surely we need these social networks in order to keep up with one another? I know for some of my elderly friends, or housebound and disabled friends, social media is a lifeline, and I don’t outright decry it for that reason. But I am neither infirm nor housebound, and so I walked away. 

I found that the dozen numbers in my phone book became people I talked to daily – partly at first out of boredom, because there was nothing happening on that little yellow phone and so I had to start the conversations myself – but now out of habit. I check in with people. I ask how they are. I make phone calls. I make effort. I used to despair that I had no time to talk to my friends, but of course I did. I was just spending it doing Buzzfeed quizzes instead.

Part of my work is political commentary and analysis, and I am often called by journalists and television researchers to give a comment on a breaking news story. I clung to Twitter, using this as an excuse for endless scrolling, ‘I just have to keep on top of the news’. Tosh. I subscribed to the BBC Breaking News app, and the Sky one for balance, and kept Flipboard. On Twitter, I subscribed to four very different but very proactive and respected journalists tweets. I check these before breakfast, and after lunch and dinner, and get a roundup of news in 2 minutes flat each time. I’ve missed the odd celebrity titbit, but I don’t miss it.

I am more patient, less irritable, and feel better about myself. It may be a coincidence, but with my exodus from Facebook and turning my back on hundreds of negative jibes a week, I no longer plaster myself in 20 different makeup products just to leave the house. I wore my concealer, foundation, strobe cream, contouring as an armour, a brave face atop the gibbering, broken mess I felt inside.

I drink a lot less than I have been. Sometimes the nastiness would strike me at my core, the capital letters screaming again and again and again at me as I lay in bed at night. I would wake up screaming. I would have a bottle of whisky beside my bed, swigging from it to get back to sleep. That bottle has been replaced by a pot of chamomile tea, now. I no longer feel the urge to get plastered just to forget about the micro-horrors of my day.

I am producing more work than I have done in the last two years. I take my laptop to my huge, beautiful local library, and disappear beneath piles of books on a Monday. On a Tuesday I travel to the big smoke and squeeze in all the meetings I need to. Wednesdays are admin days. Thursdays and Fridays are in the kitchen. Saturdays and Sundays are creative, and on Monday, I head to the library again to write it all up. My blog, which has been mostly redundant, has whirred back into life. My community is coming back together. My creative brain is a whirligig again, as though a dank and suffocating fog has cleared. I am writing poetry again. I woke up at 1am the other morning to jot down a song that had drifted into my head in a dream. My food photography is better than it ever has been. I have filled a Filofax of recipe ideas in under two weeks. I feel awake, alive, heel-kicking umbrella-swinging Broadway-musical good.

Now I know how this makes me sound. Another Guardian columnist espousing the very-middle-class pursuit of mindfulness, but it’s more than that. For a start, I’m proudly working class and always will be. I wasn’t allowed a mobile phone until I was 16 years old, and it was a 3310 back then too.

I won a landmark court case in March this year, after 18 months of bitter battling, against MailOnline columnist Katie Hopkins for libelling me on Twitter. It wasn’t just the two tweets that condemned her, however, it was the months of vile abuse and death threats from her minions and acolytes that followed. I have written before about how online abuse has driven me to the brink of suicide. I have stood on train platforms, rocking on my heels, daring myself to go over the edge. There is a bridge in my hometown that I cannot walk across any more, having spent many an evening clutching the handrail, desperately wishing myself to clamber up and off it. I cancelled a Glastonbury appearance after online threats, for Gods sake. I have lost some of the best days of my life, to a tiny little mind bashing out tiny little words on my tiny little screen, and for my own sanity, it had to stop.

There is a place, in this world, for connectivity and technology. It can be empowering, we can build communities, we can find common ground and causes. We can connect, discover, respond. We can raise one anothers voices, link arms across the world wide web, find kith and kin in a hashtag. But until Twitter, and internet service providers, commit to properly tackling violence and abuse on their platforms, we must treat them with caution, and moderation, and ourselves with self-care and the respect to know when to walk away. My relationship with social media is an inherently abusive one, and for now, I am seeking refuge from it.

Jack Monroe.

Advertisements

Categories: Blog

126 Comments »

    • I have just bought a new phone(think it is meant to be a smart one ) within 24hrs I wanted to get rid of it I DONT need people to know where I am etc I just needed a phone to make /receive calls and texts I have already on FB deleted many and just have family on there. I admire you for this action and I detest the trolls and their comments. I dont always agree with everything you say and do but you do not deserve these nasty comments esp when it is on a post about saving money and recipes

    • youre a lovely,sensitive,intelligent person,Jack,unfortunately,youre also in the firing line for sick,jealous individuals,because youre in the public eye,no matter that your reasons are above reproach,dont let the sad so and sos win,.i wish i could stop you feeling so bad.most people love you and what you stand for.i for one thank you. xxx

    • I am old enough to know that I managed to survive a long time without needing to be in constant contact with the world so have not succumbed to the smartphone and reading comments like yours hardens my resolve. You have thousands of people on your side and as Sara says don’t let the negativity get to you, you know you are better than they are just remember to believe it.

  1. I am so sorry that you’re still dealing with these ignorant and vile individuals. They clearly don’t see what you’re trying to do by sharing recipes that cost little but fill you up. The rest of us get it.
    I’m glad you’ve found a way to manage things so you avoid their shouting into the internet. I miss my 3310, tempted to buy another, even if just to play Snake.
    Wishing you all the best Jack.

  2. Well done. You have no idea how beautiful you are. Only one life, live it. Bounce up and down like tigger. And if you want help with allergy recipes contact me

  3. yey i think you are proper right I have no social media and even listening to music online is wrong I think I going back the cds and vinyl i want to be off the massive trackable directed .. maybe you might like this hub now 😦
    its just not healthy and very uncreative and we all need a bit of time out away from the beeping and blue lighting and dr google

  4. That was a very long one. I managed to read it though because I got interested. Before I publish an article, I hesitate sometimes because of the fear of criticisms but eventually do so. Since the post you upload didn’t really deserve the comment, have you thought of considering it as a mistake or something? Who knows, it could have been a little child or just a mistake.
    Also, in as much as we need the internet and a smart phone, a day without it makes you realize your who you really are and what you are really missing. Thanks for sharing though.

  5. I am so glad that you have found greater peace, happiness, productivity and creativity in your life by reducing your time on social media. I do not understand why people are so nasty to each other on social media. If you don’t like what someone says or does, you don’t have to read about it. Why the need for abuse and nastiness? I admire you Jack. I wish you all the very best in your life.

  6. I did this too! Although not because of the idiots that you come accross – i did it because i felt that my smartphone was talking over my life, i checked it all the blooming time and i was constantly scrolling through newsfeeds, instagram, blogs etc etc. It was too much. I wasn’t being present with my kids and i was missing stuff. So i sold it and bought a Nokia too – it’s fab! My 6 year old loves the snake game too. Also – the battery lasts 4 days – i mean, come on!!! Well done x

  7. I’m glad for you that you have found a solution that gives you peace of mind. I can’t imagine a life with threats like that and feel horrified that anyone would have to live that way. Be safe, enjoy your bright new phone and your more peaceful and creative life. I am grateful for your recipes and always look forward to a new one.

  8. I am so sorry you’ve had to endure this. I feel so angry that it made you feel so bad about yourself as you are a beautiful, intelligent and capable woman. Never forget that. I had very bad experiences with people in my own family and it has taken me until now, at the age of 60, to stop hating myself. Don’t let that happen to you!

  9. I’m so glad that this has brought you some respite and relief from the online abusers. They are the dregs and their opinions really don’t matter one jot but I know how hard it can be to ignore them. By the way, the moonshine mash is fabulous, it’s my grandson’s favourite thing to eat at the moment. Thank you for all you do

  10. Good for you and well done for persevering with the Katie Hopkins thing. Enjoy your new phone – I have an ancient Samsung phone that should probably be in a museum (not even a camera). Everyone thinks I am bonkers (and at least one of my friends told me not very subtly that if I couldn’t afford a new iPhone, did I know that you can get reconditioned ones), but I think it’s the rest of them actually. Keep up the good work and we will all enjoy having you back blogging again.

  11. Sorry you have to deal with the idiots. Glad you have found a way to walk away from it. I love reading your recipes. Love from Australia!

  12. Don’t let the random outpourings of some nasty and disturbed individuals deter you from the great work you do. Keep speaking up for what you believe in. Yours in solidarity with my old Nokia! -)

  13. There are some disgusting people out there.
    Totally get the appeal of going old fashioned and having a non-smart phone. My wife uses an old phone that I gave her. She’s still not used a smart phone and has no urge to.
    I try to keep it switched off at home, but with all the automated cold calls now, we can’t answer our landline, so my mobile is the default phone for anyone trying to contact us.

  14. Dear Jack, I’ve never commented before on a blog post but your graphic description of the awful effects of abuse via social media made me want to write to you. I admire you greatly: you turned a challenging period in your own life into an opportunity to help yourself and others and that must have taken a huge amount of courage and creativity. You’re clever, funny and beautiful inside and out. You give a great deal of yourself through your work and the world is a better place for you being in it. For every stupid, narrow minded, pathetic troll there’s a huge number of people who admire you and love – maybe even depend upon – what you do. Please take good care of yourself and don’t stop doing what you do so well. Sending you a big virtual hug.

  15. thank you for all that you do for us all on low incomes, and with small children. please don’t give up. these people just don’t like themselves at all. and are in great pain and confusion. that’s not to excuse them. but they don’t like to see anyone doing anything constructive, creative and interesting as it shines a light on the greys and the blanks of their ‘life’. x

  16. I don’t really cook, I’m very nervous about unfamiliar food and to cap that I’ve developed food intolerances. So that’s not why I eagerly eye your posts. I don’t have much in common with you, I don’t know how to behave around or talk to anyone let alone somebody that’s fought for their own identity. I’m a very plain guy with little ability and I achieve very little, though I do feel some pride in what I have managed. I’m horrified by some of the things you been through. The way people have treated you, the way they continue to treat you. They aren’t normal people, they aren’t decent people, they aren’t people driven by strongly held views to react, they haven’t just gone a little wrong, they hide in plain sight, they are psychopaths, sociopaths and others that just make a habit of eyeing the vulnerabilities of others that they so easily perceive and eagerly pounce. Sometimes I’m astounded by the possibilities of what good they could do with their knowledge of people, how they could resolve issues that few do, but that is not what happens. You terrify me, I’m scared for you, the depths to which you are driven, and it only seems to come out fully in these positive posts. Thank you for putting these things in writing. I wish you well. You are a good person. Your thoughts are clear not reactionary. There is something very special about you, you are a very special person.
    Yours sincerely a guy who only in recent years was given ‘being on the autistic spectrum’ as an explanation for his most of his life.
    Mike

  17. It never ceases to amaze me how trolls can turn something mundane (albeit delicious) into fodder for vitriol. Sorry you had to go through that!
    I have an on-off relationship with my smart phone and all things Google. Last week, after listening to a radio program about how literally stupid-making our phones are, I removed all of my social media apps from my phone (although I did keep the library and Kindle apps because reading). I also started keeping my phone in the living room while I sleep, and yes, seven hours of sleep has not been a problem since then.
    I was a really, really late convert to smartphones and moved over in large part because “dumb phones” were harder to get a hold of. But I’ll look into that now.
    Question: what are you using for photos? I need pictures for (prescheduled, batched) social media and blog posts, but if I can find a way around my smartphone, I’m all for it!

      • Goodness–I didn’t see this til now! Thanks for your reply, and please keep us posted re your camera.

        I’ve ended up taking a different tack since: I’ve deleted my Tumblr, Instagram, and Pinterest accounts, and on Thursday I’m getting rid of my Facebook personal and professional accounta. I am so happy for all of the reasons everyone already knows.

        Very glad you’ll be blogging so I can keep up with your great posts and recipes.

  18. Dear Jack, I noticed the upsurge in your recipe postings and thought something in you life must have changed for the good. I’m glad.
    I do not understand the inclination to be vile and abusive, but then that’s a good thing- maybe understanding it means I’d be part of it. I’m not.
    When my daughter was unemployed, and then working for a charity on terrible wages, and caring for her own SB, I bought two copies of your book- one for her and one for me. Your recipes may cost little to make but they are sound. As a coeliac your soda bread recipe was a revelation.
    I have a friend in America who has stepped back from “WasteBook” because he felt he couldn’t put up with the emotional baggage it brought to him daily – hourly. I too don’t follow some of my friends there at the moment because their justified outrage at their current poitical situation brought someone into my home that I have banned (he comes on and the radio, TV or whatever goes off). And now I limit my Facebook exposure to a few minutes a day, having deleted the extraneous stuff that isn’t from my personal friends. I feel better for it. As you say, so much clickbait, so many ‘staged ’ animal videos, so many stunts circulating round and round like a washing machine. I’ve never tweeted. Who cares what I think???
    I check my meditation app in the morning to see what the meditation is for today. Then I do that when I can. The middle class mindfulness luvvies may well exist, but behind them there’s a lot of people all over the world who just do it and feel the clearheadedness as a massive benefit – even lifeline.
    Much of what we see in social media (actually everywhere) is aimed at selling us ‘stuff’. It’s stuff we mostly don’t need, or want- it’s the latest craze and will be on landfill in less than a year. I’m a hoarder and have enough stuff from 30+ years ago, I don’t need more. I don’t even have the urge to buy the plethora of mindfulness magazines. You can’t buy it!
    Jack, the fair minded, kind, normal people are the majority but we don’t scream “YOU’RE WONDERFUL!” or “YOUR RECIPES ARE GREAT!” or “YOU HELPED ME!” “I THINK YOU ROCK!” Maybe we should. Maybe if the lovers were as vociferous as the minority that are haters social media would be a safer place.
    I’m sorry I missed you at Festival No. 6. I wanted to hear you but, although I was there, the best laid plans……
    Sorry this is long. Thank you

  19. Hopefully, most of the people reading this will never have to endure the magnitude of abuse and viciousness that you’ve been subjected to Jack. I think a digital detox is good for all of us though and it’s not until you try it, that you realise how deep into the social media quicksand you have been drawn!

  20. Already shared this, it’s given me food for thought as well. I earn my living from the Net, but I do make myself less productive by attending to interruptions from FB, Twitter, etc. Mine are generally for good things as well, I’ve rarely had to deal with anything toxic personally. It’s no wonder you ground to a halt under all that bile descending on you,
    I’m so glad you are happier as a result,
    Going to make this the last non-work related interruption of my working day,

  21. Funnily enough, I have just last week been reading about the joys and benefits of ditching social media. One article (which I can’t find!) talks about mental health and this one (link copied and pasted) is about how many more books you’ll have time to read! https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/travel-leisure-14697685/this-is-how-many-books-you-could-read-in-5892747275?tb=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

  22. These people only attack you online because they know that you’re the better person. They wouldn’t dream of saying nasty things to your face because they are cowards. I thank you for your recipes because good food is the key to a good life. Even if you’re absolutely skint. Have a good day and remember your fans and supporters will be there to read and engage with you.

  23. You are amazingly brave and so inspirational – I love the idea and I’m so tempted to try and bring you suggestion in to my own life.
    I’m feeling drowned in email more and more each day and feel guilty every time I waste 5 minutes on facebook that magically turn into 35 (or more).
    If it wasn’t for the kindle app so I could always have a book close by for a sneaky read then I’d probably take up the challenge!

  24. I’m desperately sorry that you’ve received and had to live with the inevitable dire consequences of so much vile abuse, the more so when you’ve been so generous with the food blog – I’ve used the mash recipe myself and really enjoyed the end product – your advocacy for what seem to me to be exclusively very good causes and, perhaps most of all, your highly charged defences of other people under similarly sinister attack, eg Dianne Abbott.
    Though I don’t know you personally, I admire pretty much everything I know about you because you seem to be so determined to be exactly who you are and, in the process, confront directly so much injustice. Changing phones might have been the catalyst for your recovery to begin but it’s you and your determination that will see you complete that recovery.
    Welcome back from the edge.

  25. Really sorry to hear about the ongoing hate fuelled nastiness being aimed at you for no reason whatsoever barring their own backward thinking and lack of empathy towards another human being . . .
    Keyboard warriors are a pathetic sign of our times . . .
    Very glad things are improving for you ‘Jack’ . . . 🙂

  26. I totally agree with this Jack. I am an avid follower of yours and I am constantly amazed at your recipes as well as your insight.
    My mobile phone is no longer just a phone, it’s a map, it’s social media, it’s a Walkman, it’s online shopping, it’s a dictionary and most heart breaking for me.. it’s a way to keep my 4 year old son quiet for a few minutes.
    I’m now thinking of burying my phone in the garden just so I can spend more time playing with my boy, more time talking to my husband, more time in the real world, because, before I know it, I would have missed out on years of human interaction just to catch up on some pointless celebrity gossip about somebody I’ve never heard of.
    Thank you, once again, for your insight

  27. Brilliant piece, Jack! You are absolutely right, there is so much violence out there, desperately seeking a target – any target. We don’t have to be that target for broken people to throw their bile at.
    Enjoy your new creativity and joi de vivre! I wish you every success.
    Max

  28. I am one of those middle class guardian people. LOL. I have never been on Twitter because it always seemed ugly and cruel. But I never cease to be appalled by random horrible remarks on you tube or on blogs about completely uncontroversial topics like cooking or gardening. Even where there is a heated debate about things that matter to people it horrifies me to see people say the kids of things to strangers that it simply wouldn’t occur to them to say to colleagues of even aquaintances they don’t like. I’ve loved seeing you post again. I also liked the mash.

  29. What a lovely searing article Jack , well done for battling through it and sharing it , have only just started following your recipes here, but long time admirer of your recipes and gutsy attitude from afar

  30. Well. Brought tears to my eyes. Really well put and inspirational to boot (no pun intended). Well done on simply being here. Thank you for being honest and sharing. x

  31. Well said Jack!
    Well done Jack!
    Quitting anything addictive requires so much of anyone, and that effort needs acknowledgement.
    The new technology brought you and your work to my awareness, and I ve been a vocal supporter and grateful recipient of your creativity. And, as an early responder to WordPress, have never even seen some of the vile stuff you get.
    I hope that the change you describe is a long term restorative for you as well as an inspiration to other

  32. I am absolutely astounded that someone, anyone, least of all a person who is contributing to life is subjected to these slurs. Any person who uses the anonymity of the internet in such a wounding, hurtful manner is least likely to be a person who should be the final arbiter on how anybody should live their life. What ugly lives these trolls must lead. Perhaps they are jealous of your happiness.
    Well done on your recent court case. Sensationalist, hyperbolic journalism of the type you were subjected to is a waste of ink and or pixels.

  33. I love your new phone, Jack. It’s almost the same as my old (and only ever) Siemens phone – it’s the one I got free from Avon about 14 years ago, still with the same SIM and battery, and still hardly ever turned on. That’s the next step to getting your me-time back – only have it turned on when you want to, or when someone dear asks you to, face to face before they go off somewhere. It is so liberating. So glad you’re getting back on track. Be happy!

  34. Well done, Jack…I have a Nokia too and guard the number closely; not for fear of threats, but too keep my life nice and peaceful! You are a lovely person and the people who believe this outnumber the trolls 10,000 to one, so hang onto that fact, stich with the camomile tea and keep up the mashed potato recipes, please!

  35. Wow I agree with you I was very late in getting asmobile phone and I never wanted a smart phone. My love is an Alcatel which is very basic very like the Nokia you have.It was ten pounds in the phone shop.I use a 2nd hand but brilliant Digital Camera a Nixon which takes brilliant pics! I do not like Selfies and have a tiny radio if I need one for journey`s.I cannot believe how awful some people can be! you are a star and amazing person I have followed you for ages.I like you look at Twitter for a few minutes a day.

  36. While I am truly sorry that you are subjected to the world of trolls. I love my iPhone because I can see my grandchildren in Florida while I am a thousand miles away in North Carolina…..and then I sound like the old (70) grumpy lady I am because a restaurant is full of people who have their heads bowed to an electronic god, people walk into me because they don’t have eyes on the tops of their heads, and genuine conversation loses priority when the damn things ring or vibrate. I am sad that there are haters out there who have nothing better to do than harass others….and am overjoyed that when you are away from your work, you are away from your work!

  37. Yaaaaay!
    😊😊😊
    To all the good things back in, and increased in your life.
    And , wherever it is possible, report the ‘people’ [ would rather use vitreous swear words, but, then I become one of them] that leave abusive comments and block them. Bully’s are one of the shittiest things in this life. It is really refreshing when u find a way to remove them from everyday and thereby reduce any affect their behaviour has on you (primary, intermediate and high school managed to be a target, years later dv too ).
    It’s been great getting more Recipies and updates from you in my gmails 😀
    Tea cup Cheers! to calm productive days, happy times and an ongoing heart .

  38. It’s a coincidence but I took a huge step back from Facebook & Twitter, I’m quite political and was getting too wrapped up in trolls posts and their inherent nastiness, being disabled quite a lot of the rhetoric has been aimed at people like me, reading other peoples awful stories at the hands of the DWP it was dragging me down. I check in a couple of times a day just to keep up to date with family & friends. My main social media platform that I use now is Instagram for sharing my art and looking at other artists work, it’s quite a supportive environment & very rare anything ‘off’ is posted. Oh boy, do I feel better for it!

    Stick to it Jack, so pleased to see you teasing people (me lol)with scrummy food once again 😀

  39. You are amazing. Your work *really* helps people. You make a difference. Humans are wired to highlight the bad stuff, as a survival method. You’re right to step away from being open to all of it. Warm regards.

  40. I am truly lost for words. That’s sickening. Please don’t stop what you do as you totally get managing on a budget in a way that so many others don’t xx
    Sent from my iPhone
    >

  41. Wonderful article Jack, hooray for the Batphone 🙂 loving reading the new recipes , the spiced butter so simple but has become an indulgent staple on toast /pancakes/waffles
    Also gone back to your original book to help me get through cooking on a Mat Leave paycheck and can’t wait for your new one from kickstarter to come
    Thank you Jack for continuing to be an inspiration to all of us you go through so much and still come back fighting, we’re all behind you

  42. So sorry that the trolls have caused you so much pain (for such a long, long time!) and well done for getting away from them. We’re told we “need” social media but, even though I am older and disabled, I found that I had to leave Facebook and Twitter too. I’m not “famous” or even mildly notable, just a grandma of 6 who took advice from relatives to “keep in touch” with the outside world. What a mistake! It started off well enough, as things usually do, but it wasn’t long before the trolls started. They didn’t/don’t know me but that never stops them, does it? I too, like you, have mental health issues (anxiety, depression and OCD) and this made me feel exactly the same as you did. I made the decision to leave social media (I’m old enough to remember life long before it!!) and haven’t looked back. I still have my phone, I just don’t look at it unless I need to contact someone or take a call from one of my family. I still use my pc (like now), but I’m VERY selective in choosing what I do on it. Here’s hoping that anyone else who has become a victim of the haters gets away from it quickly!

  43. That highlights one of the numerous downsides to social media, it gives the cyber-cowards anonymity as they wouldn’t dare say the vile comments to your face. And for some reason they believe what they’re doing to be ‘free-speech’. Pathetic really.

  44. Jack

    I have always really enjoyed your thoughts, recipes and sharp insights on life. Whist we are poles apart politically I really like and respect all that you have done. I can’t believe the utterly vile bile you have had to put up with.

    Here’s in solidarity.

    Cliff

  45. Well done Jack. I got rid of my smartphone a year ago, and my Facebook account soon followed. My phone is an Samsung C35 with no internet at all.
    I’m an old internet hand and was full of joy when it started. I thought it would be a great refreshing stream of wonderful ideas and innovation. It was at first but it’s more like an open sewer now.

  46. Thank you for the great recipes that have been pinging into my inbox. You are very special to so many of us, I just hope that it helps a little to know that.

  47. Love your blog… love your dedication to helping those in need. It would be interesting to see how much these haters help others…. probably not at all!!!!! I am so glad that you are above all that and healing with those that love you. Keep up the fabulous job you are doing!!

  48. Do trolls dream of rainbows and clouds and sunshine ? I hope the law finally catches up to them soon and falls hard on them. I am sorry this happened to you.

  49. What everyone above has said.Plus: Jack, you are an inspiration to so many people, you have helped so many of us with your wonderful recipes ( just one example – your vegan banana bread is a staple in our house!) and you do not deserve such ignorant and despicable abuse from “people” who haven’t one iota of your talent and intelligence. Well done you for stepping out of that negative spiral and so glad it is working for you. Keep on being you, we love you.

  50. I couldn’t imagine a world without you in it.
    For the few small minded idiots they are totally outnumbered by those who love you for your work and for who you are.
    I love your posts warts an all.
    You are such an amazing person.

  51. Well, when I was ill for a few months at the start of the year, I hardly used any device at all; texts from my mother and an uncle was it. I read a lot, and discovered I didn’t care about social media at all. I have to work online, but mainly write, which is solitary, and communicate via email, no Facebook or anywhere else.
    It made me realise it’s too *noisy* for me, social media; and I’ve never been very social. And the hate and any comment section you care to mention just makes me annoyed with the world, when actually I do know there are a lot of lovely people around. I think these unspeakable people who troll you are just that – trolls, making a noise to prove their some-one, not pipsqueak losers at the shallow end of the gene pool. You’re a super person, a good person, lovely, clever, creative and courageous, and it’s real courage because you have lived in fear, but you still carry on.

  52. So glad you are getting through this and to see you posting often. I don’t suppose you can imagine how many people there are who haven’t posted, but are also full of admiration for you and what you do. There should be an app that amplifies positivity and drowns out the trolling bastards. I haven’t made the mash yet, but yesterday (not kidding) I was slow cooking and decided to wrap our supper in several towels and an insulated box…oh and I’d put extra red lentils in it. Such a fab energy saving idea thank you. My offspring said it tasted very good and were impressed that such a thing could be done. I was distinctly smug. Thanks for your wisdom, more power to your elbow and may many good things flow in your direction as you so richly deserve. Peace n hugs, Kathy

  53. Aww Jack. Sorry to hear that the abuse continues from small minded idiots with too much time and not enough brain to use it properly. Keep your chin up, and don’t let the …… grind you down.

  54. Jack you are doing a wonderful job. Ignore the haters. Everyone has an opinion about something. Keep up the great work as you are a blessing to many others.

  55. All the best to you Jack in everything you do, so glad for you that you are more at ease. plus you are part of the backlash against the whole social media thing that I have been hoping to see 🙂

  56. A raw and painful read although I did laugh out loud at the steaming dump! I commend your courage and wish you peace and light. Keep on keeping on Jack, love your work. Although you may not feel it, you are inspirational.

  57. Lovely piece. I keep an old Samsung “brick” in my pocket for day to day stuff and have a solid smart “brick” for internet at meetings etc. It’s too easy to get caught up in rubbish and you reminded us of that. Love what you do, don’t ever stop! You must know how much love there is for you!

  58. I’m with you – and have been for years. Although I do have an iPhone, I use it ONLY for making and receiving calls (to the chagrin of some of my text-happy friends). I refuse to text/tweet/post photos of my lunch to Instagram, etc., RARELY check in with FaceBook or LinkedIN. — NOT because of the exposure to trolls so much as the exposure to negativity, distractions and the resultant e-marking glut. Don’t need it, don’t want it. Shoot – I rarely even watch TV, because I haven’t owned one of those in decades now.
    As a result, I have more time for reading things I WANT to read and/or writing blog articles intended to make a difference – and couldn’t even tell you the positive benefits otherwise because it has been simply my reality for so long now.
    You GO girl!
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!

  59. Makes the nasty comments from my neighborhood seem trivial then the next day he smiles and says good morning while I am still trying to recover and asking myself why he was so nasty. Keep strong we WILL survive

  60. Thank you Jack. I love that you give us food for thought as well as for the tummy. I agree. But I hope that in blocking the communication channel from those sub-human trolls and Hopkins wannabes that you don’t stop hearing the voices of all the rest of us who just want to say “stay strong, stay well”. Xx

  61. I was so interested in this blog Jack. I am (considerably) older than you and find the current need to be “connected” all the time a bit strange. Is there no private life anymore? A while ago my god-daughter was visiting me and at night , when I said I was off to bed, she handed me my phone. It took me a few moments to understand: apparently you don’t go ANYWHERE without it, not even to bed –that most private and intimate of spaces. Of course I didn’t take it. I am going to take a leaf out of your book and swap this iphone for an ordinary–just phone calling–mobile. I don’t need to be connected, or to take continual photos or to use the internet on a phone. Thanks for making me think about this. M

  62. Wtf is wrong with people? They don’t like what you do, they should look the other way. Who are these cretins? It’s astonishing to me how some bitter little losers can spend so much energy trying to make someone feel bad. It gives them a reason to be, I guess. But what a reason, what a way to contribute to this world. Karma will get them good. You send out bad energy, that’s all you get in return.
    Jack, you’re super. Zillions of people love what you do. You are one of the most interesting people I follow. You keep doing you. Thank you 💖

  63. I did something similar after listening to the TED talk on bored I’m and creativity, it was about the same time,
    I went a step further and removed twitter and FB.
    Was a great thing to do! Recommend it
    You do well to not let them get to you too much, it’s ok to be human x

  64. Welll done, lovely girl. I am so glad you have found the peace your soul needed. Beautifully written and very thought provoking. I love your recipes, they are just brilliant.
    Fi

  65. You continue to write sensible, well constructed, thoughtful postings. The abuse you get makes me truly wonder whether there should be some kind of IT licence and intelligence test. I know it is not very liberal of me. How about vile trolls being reported to an online help website by forwarding their posts and then offering them some sort of counselling? They clearly have self image issues.
    Keep going Jack .
    Remember, when you have those dark thoughts, that there are hundreds of thousands who respect and love you.
    Dave

  66. Jack I am so sorry hat you have had to go through. I think you are doing the best thing for you. I thank god we never had Facbook or Twitter when I was young. So many of us have fragile egos. Love

  67. Brilliant read, sad that so many presumably Human beings would waste their lives sending you this hateful trash, they would never have the guts to have a decent debate or discussion with you. You have done the best thing I hope you go on to feel much stronger and less fearful. I have no real need to use your recipes as I am lucky enough to have a good education and training and well paid work and I also use up all our left overs in my own ideas (some left over meals are better than the first meal) but I always check your pages out just to fuel my ideas. Please please don’t ever let these mindless hote speakers push you into those dark places again.

  68. Thanks so much for sharing this Jack. One day, we’ll go full-circle as many more discover the emptiness of living vicariously via technology, and the fullness of living life in the real!

  69. I think what you have done is the way forward for all of us. Sad to say, but I know young people (in their twenties) who are unable to function at all in everyday social situations and I believe it’s because they have been conditioned by the practice of texting instead of speaking directly to people on the phone or in the flesh. Instead of developing social antennae through interpersonal contact in “real life” they have severely limited their own exposure to more genuine emotional experiences.
    This is a downward spiral, making such people less and less prepared to go out and confront real-life situations, and even exhibiting fear when such events are mooted. The artificial feedback from social media is so powerful that their brains have become hard-wired to react primarily to the kind of stimuli they receive on Instagram or
    Facebook (e.g. gushing and exaggerated praise, or its flip side – abusive language).
    This also leaves them innured to the comfort to be had from real friends and relatives, who might otherwise have offered the antidote to online addictions – a kind word, a friendly hug, some heartfelt advice or support.
    I feel despair sometimes about this process, but your article gave me hope – thank you!

  70. Sorry about the abuse you get Jack ,its the same for black British women like me .I get so much abuse ,sometime I don’t want to blog or YouTube. But I think of the people who love me.Its nice to see someone who’s proud to being working class and the new phone cute.Dont let the haters get you down ,they hate women with an opinion

  71. So very sad to hear you have been a victim of these heartless trolls . However , at least you have found a way of nullifying their existence …you do a GREAT job that helps hundreds . Don’t let them win and keep on fighting the good fight , believe me you have more power to influence than the faceless , shameful haters .

  72. I don’t understand people. I try to think what would have to happen in their lives to make them so toxic to others but I can’t come up with a valid reason. Keep your chin up and keep what you are doing.

  73. What a sad reflection of the world we live in. Love your cookbook Jack it is on the kitchen side and used daily. You are an inspiration to many. Hope you can ignore those that don’t matter and be with those who love and care for you.

  74. It’s so refreshing to have you back again Jack. You are a true inspiration to us all. There is so much love in the world, and these cowardly, pathetic people will never get to experience it.

  75. At work I have the ability to make rules about ‘junk’ emails so they get sent straight to a junk folder. I use it to filter things I don’t need to see – I don’t get abusive emails at work. You’d think that social media would give us the same ability to screen out stuff that contains certain words so they are also sent directly to oblivion without having to read it first. Bit pathetic when you come to think of it.

  76. Wow Jack, this is the most positive and upbeat message I think I’ve seen on the web!! Good on you and more power to you! You ARE so much bigger and more fundamental to us than we can begin to tell you – that horrible vile minority just don’t bear thinking about. The best part is to hear that your creativity is returning, we’ve missed you. Keep strong, we’re all rooting for you!

  77. Hi Jack,
    I think your writing of your views, feelings, experiences AND your recipes are all f***ing brilliant. May the little yellow phone continue to give you the peace and pleasure you deserve .

  78. I’ve been disconnecting from social media a LOT over the last few weeks. I’ve been fortunate to not be on the receiving end of such vile-ness (I’m so sorry to hear that you have been!), but it was just a constant barrage of negativity and hate. I had to step back, also, for my peace of mind. And, like you, it has made vast improvements in my life — spurring me on to make other self-care changes. I am super pleased to hear that unplugging from social media has resulted in life improvements for you, and I wish you more in the future. Carry on, Jack! ❤

  79. What a great piece of writing, it left me stunned to think anyone could attack another human being in such an insidious way. So glad the clouds have cleared and the sun is shining through again… In my country we have scrapped 2G, so unfortunately those phones won’t operate 😦

  80. So sorry you have to go through this. Why are ‘people ‘ so horrible. It must be hell and thank you for your posts and lovely recipes. Is it possible to buy your cooking on a bootstrap book still. Would love to get it

  81. I’ve only just discovered you (ironically on a Facebook post I read on my phone! 🙈) but I really enjoyed reading this. I totally understand why you got yourself a basic phone. It’s sometimes nice to detach from the world and how it is now (social media etc) I’m sorry to hear you have issues with trolls 😦 must be awful. Xx

  82. How did I just find you? Vegan recipes on the cheap?! tick! social comment? Tick! Getting rid of the smartphone? Tick!
    Please ignore these awful silly people you sound like a smart brilliant woman and an amazing passionate mother.

  83. You are such an inspiration! I can’t even imagine what that must feel like to be on the receiving on of something so horrible. You also have a love hate relationship with my phone. I have started blogging and so I find I use my phone a lot more so I have self imposed limits.

    Keep strong and keep writing! x
    poppygoeswild.blogspot.com

  84. So outraged on your behalf that you have received this torrent of crap for having the temerity to use your voice and help other people cook and that it has had such an effect on you. Well done for taking back control. I think you are a tremendous role model, and you inspire millions. I really hope the abusive crap doesn’t interfere with your mental and physical health going forward. Go you! World needs more of you not less

Any thoughts? Comment below!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s