The Fire of Heritage.

I write this because I will spend the rest of my life subject to hatred

subject to scorn

subject to oppression

just because of the colour of my skin.

Just because of a biological difference between me and another human.

Just because of my weird sounding name.

Just because of those other brown people who killed people.

Just because others are oppressed and manipulated by political and economic systems which have been put in place by those more privileged.

Just because it’s easier to lay blame on others rather than acknowledge the problems and work to solve them.

Just because I am who I am.

Just because I am different.

Yet I am the same.

The same as every. single. other. human.

The same as you.

Ignorance is not bliss.

Do not lie to yourself.

It is the foundation of any form of extremism that we see today or have indeed ever seen.

How much longer?

How much more does it take for you to see that?

How many more of us have to die?

Sometimes I find myself doubting why I even try to voice my opinion.

Why do I even try to change anything

when it all seems so surreal to be happening in the first place.

History doesn’t seem to be teaching us anything.

Nothing seems to be working.

The horizon is always there but I don’t see it.

I’m working towards this dream

I’m striving towards it

I’m chasing the wind

I’m running over bullet casings and blood-soaked shards of glass

I’m running through smoke darker than the souls of those who murdered Trayvon

of those who murdered Sandra

of those who murdered Alton

of those who seem to live so free.

Who can act upon their own twisted beliefs with such ease.

I wonder when that day will ever come

where I don’t feel obligated to warn my future daughter of walking to the shop late at night

of warning my future son to not hold his ground when dealing with the law

wilfully perpetuating subjugation out of helplessness

because if I don’t I worry I would never see them again

just like the parents of the 1,134 young black men murdered in the U.S. in 2016 – and still counting.

What more do we have to show you?

We’ve shown you we can work as hard as you; slavery saw to that.

We’ve shown you we can die as willingly as you; both World Wars saw to that.

We’re showing you we bleed the same as you; they’re seeing to that right now.

I don’t like to be hopeless

It’s not a characteristic I would like to have to own

yet in this state of affairs

in this vile, twisted, deceiving world

it’s one of the few things I feel I am guaranteed to be.

But despite all of this

despite all the hatred

and the vengeance

and the rock-solid ignorance that perpetuates the subjugation of us

I move forward.

I carry on

because I know the history of my people.

Of my ancestors

who died for the right to even be here

for the right to be seen as equal

for the right to be seen as human.

I could never forsake them

so long as there is life in my helpless soul

I will carry on for them

because they saw the light rising over the horizon

because they were people full of strength

of love

of empathy.

They were people.

As am I.

As are we all.

Though the world may seem to be waiting for you to make a mistake, do not be wary.

Do not be afraid.

Walk forth with your head held high

because you are the child of lions

of free spirits

of humans whose souls had the power to show colour to the blind

whose passion burns within you

who look down on you now and will for the rest of your life

telling you ‘o, sweet, young, soul.

do not forsake us, we are here for you to have been there.

you are more than you know, you are greater.’

When the clouds roll over, masking the light

and the heavy thuds of ignorance begin to pound and echo through the air

look toward yourself

for the fire that burns within you is eternal

a fire that isn’t controlled by you

yet is you in every sense of the word.

The fire of your people.

The fire of heritage.

So long as you breath, it will breathe,

so long as you live, it will live

and it will always carry you forward

because we are of those people who knew no bounds,

of spirits who soared beyond the skies and to worlds unknown

and so will you.






What the fuck do we do now?

The two self-proclaimed bastions of democracy and western civilisation have so swiftly crumbled to the seemingly rapid rise of nationalism and fascism within their respective populations.
Yet we act surprised.
We act shocked.
We lie to ourselves and pretend as if we didn’t know that racism was so prevalent within society. But we did. We had always known.
The result of the EU Referendum in Britain and the rise of the “cheetos-faced shitgibbon” Trump in the US isn’t surprising. Conservative backlash has always ensued within America when social and economic policies are dominated by democrats and liberalism – within the UK, these racist attacks we see on immigrants and coloured people within our country are nothing new either. This has been happening before the Referendum and before the Leave campaign manipulated the concerns of the WC which arose due to economic policies enacted by the austerity measures of the Tory govt. – WHICH WE VOTED FOR.
The difference now, however, is not that “all Leave voters are racists” but that all racists now think that 17m+ people agree with them. All ultranationalist organisations and far-right supporters believe they are the majority and that is the most stark realisation that any of us can have in this moment in time because, alongside this, politics in Britain has gone to shit.
There is a power vacuum within Westminster as, in the prolific words of Peter Hitchens, “[both parties are] political corpses propping each other up with each other’s rigamortis”. We don’t need to look far back in history at all to know what can happen when there is a power vacuum and when the tensions of the public are at peak levels.
Yet, despite this, I am still hopeful.
Yes, the economy has been hit badly, the pound has severely depreciated, uncertainty has crippled businesses and markets across the board but we still have hope because an actual Brexit seems so far-fetched to occur in reality.
Cameron, in a rare moment of rationality, essentially check-mated the leaders of the Leave campaign by pushing the burden of triggering Article 50 onto them. They will now have to decide whether they have the balls to enact the necessary legislation whilst all the short-term effects have started to come into play; we haven’t even seen what the long-term implications are yet either.
That’s why Boris has, in true Churchillian style, U-turned on his position and now states he will: maintain the free movement of labour, claims to still want preferential access to the EU Single Market and, perhaps the cherry on top of this gigantic piece of shitcake, is the claim that Brexit never had a plan if we decided to leave – that was the govt’s job.
On top of that, Farage’s speech to the EU Parliament was full of passive aggressive insults and clear parallels to one of Hitler’s own speeches following the fucking Holocaust (- “isn’t it funny..”).
Yet, in that same speech, there are strangely desperate undertones which almost come across as if he’s pleading with the EU to be Britain’s “best friend”. Yep, nice one, Nigel – vote to leave, label them all corrupt bureaucrats who are ruining our country and say how none of them have ever had a real job or even created one and then beg and grovel for a deal that doesn’t screw us over – fucking simple, mate!
It’s not hard to see the parallels between Trump and Farage. They both have manipulated the tensions and genuine concerns of the lower half of society and, simultaneously, laid blame directly at the current ‘establishment’ – how all politicians are the same. It works.
But there are 16.5m of us who know they’re both nothing more than a pair or shit-spewing baboons.
Despite all of this, I do not lose hope. I do not feel like we have lost because we can still win.
We can protest, we can actively engage with the political system and voice our concerns.
Yes, it’s hard to try to not feel disillusioned with our current state of affairs but keep faith in democracy, if anything.
Keep faith in a future.
Work and strive to do your best to keep this country free from the influences of the manipulative, self-serving elites and borderline-psychotic individuals who couldn’t give any less of a fuck about any of us.
We do live in the most liberating time of human history, we do live in the most informative and technologically brilliant time of human history, we do live in the most encouraging time of human history because we all have access to so many opportunities.
But, do not make the mistake of shunning and ignoring the concerns of the WC. The concerns of genuine individuals who have been shafted by austerity measures, who have dropped out of a failing school system and thus are more prone to being manipulated by the bullshit that political campaigns advocate, the Leave campaign being the most appropriate example.
Listen to them, hear their frustration, highlight the causes and work to solve them because if we, the young, the future of our great country do not, then who will?
The shit-spewing baboons?
I think not.
I am proud to be British and I am proud to be a part of this country regardless – it’s because of that reason why I will always, always strive to keep us as liberated and great as we claim we are.
Because we can be.
And that’s a good enough reason for me.

stigma, depression and mental health.

There are countless articles, blog posts, theses etc. that all aim to provide a comprehensive view on what depression is and it’s impacts on an individual’s life.

The main cause of the stigma surrounding depression arises due to the inability to truly understand and empathise with the condition.

Depression isn’t just a few bad days. It’s not just being sad all the time.

It’s an active, parasitical illness which feeds off of any kind of positive energy within the psyche of an individual. It’s debilitating and is very much a physical burden as well as being extensively mentally draining.

There are a numerous causes of and varying degrees to which a person may be depressed: from acute to crippling depression where you can’t even leave your own bed because you’d just rather not experience the burden of everyday life which can be so menial. It actively saps away at a person’s energy, rendering them unable to live an ordinary day-to-day life that seems so simple to others.

Maybe you think that you can just take a few pills from your doctor, go to counselling for a while and you’re on your way to normality.

Except you’re wrong.

The mental health services within the UK are failing. Terribly.

We don’t even need to look that far back to see the detrimental impact that has been exerted onto our mental health services. Articles published by Community Care, a platform for news related to mental health services alongside numerous other relevant projects it runs, states how “NHS mental health trusts saw their budgets cut by 8% in real-terms over the last parliament” and that “Local authority spending on mental health fell by 13.2% in real-terms between 2010 and 2014.”. (1)

Alongside this, surveys show that the financial failings due to the Government’s actions have led to “rising suicides, long waiting lists and problems accessing beds for acutely unwell patients”. (1) – “The number of beds for mental-health patients has fallen by 8 per cent since 2011, according to a Care Quality Commission report” and in 2014, over 230 young people with mental-health issues “were placed in police cells because of a shortage of beds”. (4)

Just pause for a minute. There aren’t even enough beds to treat people. Imagine if you went into hospital for a physical injury that required admission into a ward and were delayed for hours just because there weren’t enough beds available?

The lack of beds also “raises concerns” over potential staff shortages and “significant gaps in support for new mothers with health conditions”. (1)

After all the physical toll and emotional trauma of pregnancy and labour, mothers with health conditions face another monumental hurdle of overcoming the shortages in care after birth. Another ‘side effect’ of poor funding and “chronic underinvestment” by numerous NHS Commissioners. (2)

This isn’t the fault of the doctors or the nurses or the psychiatrists who try their absolute hardest nor is it a reflection on their abilities as professionals. It’s all about the money and it isn’t going to the right places. It isn’t being used effectively and it isn’t being provided through competent administrative decisions either.

This isn’t just a systemic failure, it’s a social failure – “England’s mental health crisis care system is ‘unsafe’” and there patients who have reported problems with care “that would be unthinkable in physical health emergencies, a review by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has found”. (2) What this highlights is essentially the clear “lack of transparency” which has, in turn, “masked a growing inequality between spending on mental and physical health”. (1) It’s clear that we can no longer operate within this system of care, it isn’t working anymore. Reform needs to happen and it needs to be swift and effective. It’s our responsibility too, as active members of society we are also a part of this.

Furthermore, surveys of numerous crisis teams which were included within the review by the Care Quality Commission “found that over half (56%) failed to meet any of the criteria deemed to indicate effective alternatives to hospital admission”. (2)

The use of these crisis teams has become another talking point in the debate surrounding mental heath reform as they raise “serious questions” in regards to whether these teams “had processes in place to manage people at risk of suicide”. (2) Overall, “only 14% of people…felt that they got the crisis care they needed” and “almost half…were not confident” that they would receive a “timely or helpful response” should they experience a future crisis. (2) That is unacceptable. The use of these crisis teams is failing and they’ve simply become another drain on funds. Efficiency can be improved but it isn’t the only root cause of these systemic failures within the mental health system or, indeed, the health care system in general.

Alongside this, “investment in key community services to keep people out of hospital fell by 5%” which only worsens the strain on our health care services.

What this shows is how the current system is failing. The crippling lack of funding has resulted in widespread systemic failures which only exacerbate the underlying problems. The utilisation of ‘crisis teams’ is all well and good but they are clearly failing and things must change. At this moment in time, according to research carried out by the Mental Health Policy Group, “mental illness accounts for 23 per cent of the total impact of ill-health” yet receives “13 per cent of the NHS budget”. (4)

That’s simple maths. And we’re failing at it.

After researching and reading up on the chronic lack of funding, it’s no surprise that suicide rates have “more than doubled” for patients who have been treated by these crisis teams “in the last few years”. (4)

Though there is some cause for hope. The Government has announced “£1bn a year for mental health” which also includes “spending commitments outlined by Cameron” in January of 2016. (1)

He announced that there would be around “£290m for perinatal mental health care”, “£400m in 24/7 crisis services” and roughly “£250m for liaison psychiatry services” to be spent over “the next five years”. (1)

Whilst this all sounds well and good, it isn’t entirely accurate.

Recently, The Department of Health confirmed to the Health Service Journal that “Cameron’s announcement included no new money”. (1) It instead outlined “priority areas to spend previously announced funds”. (1)

The BBC also reported that “the £1bn is not “new”” as it comes from the “£8.4bn extra already awarded to NHS England for 2020/1 by Chancellor George Osborne”. (3)

There’s the catch. It’s fine to throw around big million-pound figures but they mean a starkly different thing when it’s coming out of funding that the NHS has already earned and deserves to receive. This means we will still experience huge strains on our health care services as the areas that are in critical need of this money are simply not receiving enough of it. The announcement for this new ‘injection’ of cash “will take ten years” to materialise into any kind of improvement of care. (3) The goal is to “have most of the implementation in place by 2020/1” but that’s frankly too little too late in the eyes of many report authors who admit that the “parity of esteem between mental and physical health will not have been achieved” by then. (3)

On top of this, the NHS is already required by the Government to deliver “£22bn of efficiency savings by 2020”. (1)

How can you honestly expect that to be achieved when we’re already experiencing critical failings across the board that aren’t solely because of inefficiency? Even local councilmen and government leaders have “predicted a widening funding gap for social care” in the subsequent coming years. (1)

The fact of the matter is that our physical and mental health care system is chronically failing and it’s due to inefficiency but also a chronic lack of funding. Inefficiency, for the most part, has worsened due to the lack of funding as incompetent administrative decisions are being made by NHS Commissioners and the Government alike which only exacerbate the underlying problems. The crisis teams are a clear example of these failings.

Things need to change and they need to change now.

There’s no time to wait around anymore.

There’s no time for anything besides reform.






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emotional expression.

It’s a very strange experience when people, males in particular, feel that they can’t express their emotions in their entirety out of fear of infringing on their own ‘image’; whatever they feel like the persona that they’ve created is.

Emotions are strange. They’re abstract. They’re unquantifiable.

Maybe it’s because these emotions are so deeply embedded within the individual that they become a source of insecurity. Yet they shouldn’t be.

Emotional naivety should never be underestimated. I know too many people who don’t actually know how to process their own emotions and this only causes further heartache.

It’s a touchy subject, by nature, but it should never be associated with embarrassment or any kind of view which intrinsically marries emotional transparency and social identity.

Be at one with your emotions. Experience them fully, let them take over you, let them make you feel.

Emotions are one of life’s greatest blessings, they influence everything and they can be a source for true happiness and content.

I went through too long a time of personal hate because I couldn’t deal with my own emotional volatility and it only worsened the more I tried to ignore it, the more I tried to uphold whatever image I felt like I should.

Live life fully, take everything as it comes, experience everything in its entirety. For if you don’t, you risk missing out on one of life’s greatest lessons: that of maturity.

Maturity doesn’t just develop through intellectual prowess or physical dominance. Nor is it influenced by aesthetic. Maturity requires self reflection but, more importantly, self criticism.

Learn your weaknesses, learn your strengths and learn the things you’re mediocre at. It’s only through this which allows for growth and personal advancement in regards to character and personality.

Just because you’re a guy doesn’t mean you should cower in the face of emotional distress.

Own it. Throw yourself into it. Be critical. Learn who you are.

Life is too short to spend allowing yourself to be influenced by societal expectations and the judgement of peers and/or family. They will always love you for who you are and, if they don’t after you learn to fully express yourself, then they never loved you to begin with.

Do not deceive yourself. Do not belittle yourself.

You are more than you think. You are better than you know.

Emotions are a part of life, they have the ability to be as destructive as the waves yet as soft as rose petals.

Let them happen. Let yourself live.

You’ll be all the better a man for it.

You’ll be all the better a person for it.




as i walk through the daffodils

amongst the daydreams

i feel colour

emotion and visions combine

everything feels so much more

it feels.

it is.

there’s so much more than me

there’s so much within me

i am endless

yet i am just me.

all i want to be

all i can ever be

i will be





You used to be the centre of my universe,

the world and you were one and the same

but somewhere along the way, things changed.

You became different,

you were no longer as bright as the stars I used to see in your eyes,

you lost the glow – that same glow that used to fill me with such sweet warmth as if it was touching my soul.

You became cold

and empty,

you lost the stars and the galaxies I used to think you were made of.

You were no longer stardust to me

but more the faint smell you notice that travels on the back of a weak, summer breeze

and reminds you of an old, lost memory

to which you suddenly snap out of and go back to living your life.

As if nothing had changed,

as if I was still the same.


The value of life.

“When you have killed your enemy, he is no longer an enemy.

So, why did you kill him?”


I was watching a film entitled ‘Humans’ made by Yann-Arthus Bertrand and in the second volume (there are three volumes overall) a Russian male named Sergeuy tells his story about taking the life of another. He’s an ex-soldier and it was his duty but his words made me think. No matter how justified your decision may be to kill another, the fact remains that you have taken a life.

Life is so intrinsically blessed and pure. Rid of all assumptions and external influences – a person’s characteristics, their actions, their words etc. – life is so very holy. It surrounds us and is, in essence, a complete miracle. The probability of you being born were so minute it’s astonishing. Yet here you are.

Sergeuy’s words made me ponder how we all are so susceptible to making rash judgements about one another. How fickle our minds are that the most trivial of things, say the choice of scarf someone is wearing, can shape our view of them as an entity. We disregard any of their achievements, any of their characteristics, essentially anything that has made them who they are and yet we have formed an opinion on it.

Going back to the matter of taking a life, it’s all so very ambiguous. Or is it? The question of what makes it justifiable to take a life is seemingly intrinsically linked to the value of life. To be able to take something and use a reason to justify the means implies that you have already assumed a value for the object which has been taken and, as it turns out, it’s value is of less significance and importance as the reason/s for justification. Be it personal or otherwise.

Do the actions of an individual truly outweigh the significance and value of life?

If a man rapes a pregnant women, should he pay with his life?

If Hitler had been captured, should he have served the death penalty?

If a man commits murder, should he pay with his life?

Should Capital Punishment be an option that could be exercised by a court of law?

The debate in regards to capital punishment is essentially an evaluation of the religious teachings of “an eye for an eye” and “turn the other cheek”. Granted I have used Christian examples but my intention is for them to act as ecclesiastical examples because, in my opinion, most religions advocate the same principles in regards to morality and piety.

The answer to that debate seems to be influenced by social and psychological factors that have, in turn, led the individual to create their own moral compass through which they perceive life. Religion and nurture obviously have their fair share of control also. Yet the point remains that the same factors, by and large, affect the individual’s answer to the debate surrounding capital punishment, however, does that necessarily determine their opinion on the value of life?

Murdering a murderer seems illogical yet still makes practical sense. Being practical, in turn, doesn’t necessarily mean a person views the value of life to be lesser. However, it does say a lot about your opinion in regards to the value of life if you believe that the value of the murderer’s life has decreased due to his actions. Can such a miracle as life is ever truly be diminished by our actions, no matter how heinous they may be?

Sergeuy was a soldier. He had the most practical reasoning for justifying the killing of another – an’enemy’. Yet he still feels the emotional and psychological cost.

Should that not tell us enough about the value and significance of life?



It’s weird when I try and think about how I learnt how to love. Not loving others platonically but romantically. I think my parents’ relationship had a very strong impact on my perceptions. My dad has never been an emotional person, he doesn’t like to sing praises nor get too involved. He’s always kept himself at a distance but him and my Ma had an interesting relationship.

It wasn’t perfect. They had arguments and I witnessed a small few. The one thing I know I definitely inherited from him was how I intensely I love. I give everything. Once I’ve opened myself up to another there is nothing I will hide from them, there is nothing I will limit. Every emotion I experience I will express. My father had always enforced the importance of truth and honesty to me and that is something I hold dear to me, see it as gospel even. That intensity, the honesty of my love, has been my undoing. Whenever I fall for someone I immediately adopt a kind of tunnel vision in terms of the future of the relationship. I’ll never commit to something I don’t feel will last but, when I do, it can intimidate the other person and almost alienate them because they may feel it to be too forward or too much to handle.

It happened with my ex, it wasn’t the main cause of our breakup but it played a significant part. Yet, I’ll never lose it. It keeps me grounded, it keeps me focussed. That’s another thing I learnt from my Pa. Level-headedness and objectiveness, never make a decision based on emotion. In regards to life lessons, Pa was, and still is, an ocean of wisdom. But Ma, she really taught me how to truly love.

She’s such a caring soul, it’s as if it’s in her bones. She puts everything and everyone before herself and goes miles out of her way to keep everyone happy. She values the happiness of her family infinitely more than her own and I’ve been there when it takes it’s toll on her. I’ve been there when she’s broken down and the tears start to flow and she can barely even muster a word. Yet, despite this, she’s always taught me to give, to never hold back, to never bottle anything up inside. She taught me how to treat a woman and I learnt, not only from her words, but from her actions. Her as a woman herself. Whenever I look at her I simply marvel at her majesty. To me, there is no one greater. When it came to loving another she always taught me that caution and care went hand in hand. To never overstep my boundaries but to never shy from my feelings. To never cower and think that speaking about emotions made me lesser. My Pa also enforced that.

He has a rather liberal view on masculinity yet, in some ways, it’s still old and conservative but I guess that’s more due to his nurture and the societal constructs within which he was raised. Nonetheless, he never taught me to be emotionally repressive. Neither of my parents did.

They both always pushed me to be open. Yet, I’m not. Instead I’ve developed a rather peculiar characteristic. Despite years of encouragement, I’m a very guarded guy. I keep people at a distance but I feel, as I’ve grown older, I’ve matured. The breakup helped me too. It quite literally changed me because I was forced to change. I had made someone the pinnacle of my happiness and now they were no longer there. I had to put myself on that pedestal. It took time and a lot of fucking pain but I got there. Now, the view seems so very different. For years I was controlled by my insecurities and hate. They directly affected the way I behaved and the relationships I had with others. Despite all my parents’ teachings I didn’t act accordingly. But I feel I’m getting there. I’ve learnt that not everything warrants a reaction. I’ve learnt self love, self acceptance. I am still guarded but not to the point where it comes across as apathetic or even intimidating. Though it has affected my platonic relationships, it has never affected my romantic relationships. When I love I give everything. When I love someone, my parents’ teachings influence my every move. Maybe in life I hadn’t quite grasped it but in love I had.

My parents have always been the core of my life. Family is something I simply adore. There is nothing in my life more important or valuable to me than family. That love is something I could never fully describe. It’s something transcendent yet still tangible. When I think about someone abusing a sibling of mine I fucking feel it in my bones. When I see my little sister walk to the front of the crowd to accept her certificate it washes over me like pure ecstasy. Love is something so very dear to me. It’s my life.

H. A.

I was trying to describe you to someone.

It was a casual catch up conversation with an old and close friend of mine. The topic of conversation changed and we both started enquiring about each other’s love lives and if they even existed. This led to me trying to describe you to him.

I could’ve used the standard clichès of how you’re the most beautiful girl on the planet to me and how happy I feel just by talking to you but it’s so much more than that. I found myself using art to describe you. I started telling him about a painting I loved – Van Gogh’s Cherry Blossoms.

Whenever I look at that painting I always feel a warm glow inside me. I’ve never been able to define it yet I’ve always recognised the feeling. Be it intuition or some other innate subconscious thought but there was something in the way you could see each brush stroke. The roughness of the paint, the start and end of each flick of his brush, the merging of the colours. Not blended but still mixed, and when you took another step back you still saw beauty. Those harsh and short strokes, the lack of fluidity created harmony. It created a true happiness. It wasn’t some old Renaissance painting which was so typically perfect in every way. It was perfect because it felt real. It was perfect because somehow, whilst being rough, it was the most soothing thing to lay my eyes upon.

That’s how I’d describe you.

H. A.


I don’t think people ever truly change. Not in the sense where they become completely unrecognisable.

Instead I believe that people grow. Personalities become bigger. As life progresses and we experience a whole new range of aspects, we grow. We learn things about ourselves that we never knew before, that doesn’t make it new or different. It just means you uncovered a part of yourself you hadn’t touched before.

Your likes and dislikes change. Growth isn’t always an expanding state, it’s also a state which allows you to shrink. To cut off parts that you don’t want or need. It’s an abstract concept.

Personal growth is the development of your own feelings and emotions but they are already in you. It’s just you becoming conscious and aware of those things and, because they’re unknown beforehand, you feel like you’ve become a new person. When, in actuality, you’ve just grown into a bigger personality.

You’ve experienced things in life which have allowed you to know who you truly are. It acts as a key that allows you enter into new dimensions that seem so brilliantly energising because of their unfamiliarity but it’s always been a part of you. Your personality is infinite, life allows you to learn parts of you that, in turn, allow you to grow.

You’re still the person you’ve always been, just not the person you’ve always known.

H. A.