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20 Dec 2015

Post 407: Another Story so far post.


Again people have been on my case(in the nicest possible way), people like my counsellor Cathy in the middle here trying to get me to start this again. Perhaps my protestations haven’t been loud enough? Apparently this is something I actually can do, so with my pisspoor ‘get on with it’ attitude here I am again. I wish I had more encouraging words for people with disabilities, all I can say is that most survivors I have met have not been as f*cked up by this, so that’s a good thing. I know I have been lucky to have a place to live thanks to my folks letting me live in this house and an income independent of them courtesy of my former employer giving me a disability pension. My friend and housemate Frenchy has also been the lynchpin that allows me to survive. I couldn’t afford a carer, so we appear to have created a system that works – he looks after the house, but has his own time and does my evening meal and family friend Gary does my morning routine (which Frenchy and I split the cost of, it doubles as value rent for Frenchy – I hope it’s a mutually beneficial arrangement), Frenchy interviews and trains a stream of overseas volunteers (workaways) who live in the house and help us on a short term basis – they get a decent home from home and some laughs, we hope. They are a breath of fresh air and stop us killing each other which I’m told is a housemate thing that happens the world over. This has given us an extended lease of life because, I can’t lie – since my stroke, I can’t think of a good reason people would want to be friends with me – I was always the fun friend before this, I can’t ever be again. This says something about my friends and family – they are the heroes in all this. My subsistence existence continues to be about doing physical training (physiotherapy) four times a week
which gets paid for by the kind donations of my friends and family to the Dom Pardey Trust, which I can’t touch. This was set up in 2006 by my college mates after they saw how f*cked I was, and they realised I would need help for the rest of my life. It’s a proper charitable trust administered by my old mates in their own time, and they make sure all the donations get spent on the right things. The trust bought my wheelchair in Late 2007 – my friend Isabel ran a triathlon to raise money for a treadmill a few years ago. The rest of my own money gets spent on survival, particularly on staying in touch with my friends and family and making them feel how grateful I am and getting us tickets for big London gigs.
It means I can do something with my friends and gets me out of the house. Planning the logistics is a fulltime job and is easily my #1 stressor.
I know I’ve said this all before but reading my blog to stop myself repeating myself isn’t going to happen. My eyesight and concentration span don’t get better.
I know I’m lucky to be able to do this much, I’ve heard it enough bloody times. I do what I can reasonably to survive and if I have any helpful words to anyone disabled it is not to alienate your friends and family, bend over backwards for them – these are the only people who will help you. Be prepared to spend all the little money you have and what little energy you have and more entertaining them when they visit, or taking them out to events and lunches. Sure, it is sometimes ok for them to be a shoulder to cry on, but they’ll get fed up pretty quickly, I’ve seen it happen. People don’t like depressed people even if mental health is a big deal these days, people get tired. They can say ‘I understand’ or ‘I can’t imagine’ till they’re blue in the face. Rather than go on, I wrote most of what I was about to write 5.5-ish years ago in this here post probably http://survivingastroke.blogspot.co.uk/2010/08/post-225-story-so-far-ish.html. Read it and w... (er, be indifferent).
If they could do my type of stroke to hardened criminals doing life, it’d save the country a fortune! Because this feels like being given a life sentence, and for no crime.
I wouldn’t recommend writing a blog to a lot of people. Maybe to people who can deal with being ignored and criticised? Otherwise, just manage facebook. Even then – be careful. Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can break hearts.
It would be remiss of me not to mention my drinks,
the fact that they’re called xmas drinks is purely coincidental. In fact I might call them ‘anti-xmas’ drinks next year. I won’t have any mad paraphernalia like mock-ups of Santa in an Orange jumpsuit about to get decapitated or crippled reindeer smashing the sleigh into a tree, I like the way Christmas is just an excuse for people to do things. I detest all the fake happiness, but our latest workawayer, the lovely and frankly amazing Colby from California
has forced me into watching a couple of American Christmas movies – you can probably guess how that went. She went back to California this morning, saying goodbye brought tears to our eyes. I suppose the good news is that she gets to go back to glorious California and Marge, who has been like a mother to Colby and I,
will be back tomorrow. Anyway – the December drinks – they were awesome. I probably shouldn’t organise them on the Thursday every office party seems to be on, but it is nice to be the excuse people use to get together. I am an excuse. Often a sh*t one but It’s my raison d’etre.

16 Sep 2015

Post 406: This is never going to be a popular topic? Complaining and loneliness and hating little ironies.


Best try and make this a short one, unlikely to happen. Not really, but it is pretty funny.
A number of people have said ‘You appear to be able to write’ but there’s always a ‘but’ from me. So my counsellor, Cathy, is coming round every week (no, not with a whip – that’s probably a lot more) to get me to write more. This week’s topic is ‘loneliness and complaining’. What a fun job she must have? I need to weave in depression, fatigue and self-loathing and I’ve got an unbeatable hand! That’s probably all the reasons I stopped blogging in the first place and people f*cked this off.
Most blogs seem to be about things in the news, things going wrong, ranting and complaining about life in general. I’m not averse to that (you may know) but I’m keen not to do that otherwise the writer and reader will f*ck right off again. I read somewhere today about extroverted introverts. They may sound like opposites but apparently, like everything, it’s on some sort of scale, 50 shades of Grey, if you will, but not like that! Extroverted introverts is everyone I know. Bloggers also talk about music, films and TV, usually complaining about them somewhere along the way and I’ll be honest, I’ve been guilty of that. They say that you shouldn’t live your life in the past – they say a lot don’t they? Plus, it’s another one of those stupid ironies – life is in the future but everything we know is in the past. People love nostalgia, and better still, sharing nostalgia. All you have to do is look at facebook, it’s why people love photos, and sharing photos. I’d go as far as to say, sharing photos seems to be the reason people have kids. Being this cynical doesn’t come as easy as it sounds. It is a ‘coping mechanism’ I suppose.
I once read, well sort of read, ‘treating your life as a ‘survival strategy’ is not a tremendous recipe for a happy life’ or words to that effect – it’s probably why I have had a few lousy carers and I’m this lonely. People, I thought, wanted to help but I was blind to the fact that I am all too easy to take the piss out of (except when Frenchy takes the piss, it involves actual piss, just one of the countless unpleasant jobs he heroically does around here), that and people in their thirties aren’t supposed to need help just surviving.
Perhaps one of the nicest things anyone ever said to me (sadly before my stroke) was ‘people are friends with you because ‘you make your natural bolshiness[sic] entertaining’ and that my friends seems to be the secret to life – this is a sh*t situation for everyone, make the best of it! It’s all a bit ‘Mr Gilbert’s speech to Sixth’ but with more nihilism, it’s Carl Sagan’s ‘Pale Blue Dot’ with swearing. I hope this doesn’t just inspire perspective, sympathy and a bit of ‘tutting’, because sympathy is a sh*t basis for anything (‘tutting’, the basis for British Culture), even if sympathy sometimes brings out the best in us. Another one of those little ironies. Hate them!
At this point it’s traditional to crowbar in some good news. Well, I have mentioned how brilliant the workaways have been before but without Frenchy or Gary being here to train them and to help them realize that it is pretty easy, it wouldn’t work. They are sadly only here for about a month on average but we take a bit of pride in being able to offer a decent situation, some help with improving their often excellent English, indeed Laura started off by cooking me ‘foot’ and showing me her photos of the Barcelona ‘Bitch’, her vowel sounds have improved markedly and this Austrian stylecrowd participation will amuse Katie at least She will be pleased I’m writing more, and Elli’s GENIUS cooking will hopefully contain more vegetables! As ever, the cat remains the best thing about this house and I’m slightly ashamed to say I allowed myself a little cry when each of them left.

16 Aug 2015

Post 405: Is ignorance bliss?


I was rewatching ‘Band of Brothers’, which might be the most harrowing and humbling series I’ve ever watched and I think one of the characters asks ‘is Ignorance bliss’? meaning if you don’t know about how awful something is, do you just not worry about it? By that token, I should shut up. I would however urge people to watch it, as long as you’re not squeamish. It’s not horror. I think we’re most afraid of terrible pain and dying or seeing/hearing our friends and family have to go through that. Band of Brothers does that in minute detail. There I was shocked at how people lived in 1960s America in Mad Men. That was nothing compared to the 2nd World War. It redefines bravery.
Changing the subject, a recent friend saw this video of my walking practice in 2010 and she said ‘you can walk’ – can no-one else see why doing this 3 times a week was killing me? And more importantly killing Ian! Ian probably still wants to kill me, and I probably still want to kill him but the hate has dissipated. I’ll give you a clue, this was after two years of living here – I was getting no improvements and several actual neurophysiotherapists had told me I’d never walk again. Is changing my physio routine to what it is now really ‘giving up’? IS IT FUCK. How many actually physically able people do not train 4 times a week? OK, I probably drink too much but I restrain myself from eating whatever I want!
Giving up would be not getting out of bed in the morning, and not spending most of my money on other people. People don’t understand the chronic fatigue that has gone with this brain injury. Even neuroscientists and other stroke survivors don’t seem to understand it, but these are the facts: I’m too tired to do anything but I still do them because that is what has to be done. People these days use tiredness or ‘potential tiredness’ as a reason to get out of anything. I have lost count of the number of gigs I couldn’t go to because people who I thought were taking me or would take me decided their tiredness and wellbeing was worth more than my tiredness and how much tickets might have cost me in both pounds and energy.
I believe in never letting anyone down. That has never changed for me. My loyalty to my friends and family has never changed. Life is hard enough when you have to try this hard, and people still think you can do more or worse, have ‘given up’.
OK, got that off my chest, better try and make this at least bearable to read. It’s full of f*cking complaints again.
Well, Phil, who I met a couple of years ago on a local writing course is coming round to drink wine, Shaun and Renae are over from Melbourne as are Stevie and Gnomes. They somehow fitted me in to their absurdly busy schedules and I’m off to the Proms with Ched and Terri in the evening. I haven’t been to many proms this year because logistics are difficult. Despite my parents loving it, it is a huge journey for them and I want them to continue looking like they’re in their mid 60s despite being well into their 70s. I may be ‘a retirement project’ for them now but this should be their opportunity to relax after a lifetime of working their arses off, even if the word ‘relax’ doesn’t seem to compute for them. In fact they’re in Maine right now – most people would consider that ‘relaxing’ but the emails I get from them make it sound like they’re doing more over there. That’s just their way!
Now I often talk about what I’ve been up to.
This is Proms season, and I love the Albert Hall and my friends Ched and Terri are taking me to see two Sibelius pieceshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKbavifujDI. Terri says the word Sibelius sounds like a sexually transmitted disease but that one of her Best memories of the Proms for her was last summer when we’d just seen Holst’s glorious ’Planets’, and just as the 2nd half was beginning, Terri says, ‘the 2nd half is three pieces of Shoenberg’ and I said slightly too loudly ‘I suspect these will be SHIT’, now sound carries in the Albert Hall and I had tried to whisper but it is difficult controlling the volume of my voice. Poor Ched and Terri – who was this rude oaf they’d come to the Proms with? I was right too, it was sh*t – I’ve said it before, you take the rough with the smooth at the Proms, and since then, as is the nature of British humour, we find what is sh*t funny, I have been trying to capture on my ‘slightly illegal Prom videos’ some of the comedy ‘modern pieces’. This was a similar sound to the Shoenberg, and was funnily enough in the first half to ‘the Planets’ a couple of weeks ago –I don’t know how the Orchestra even plays this – I christened this ‘Poulenc’s bag of spanners symphony in A flat horror’ , likewise this, Qigong Chens ‘drowning cat concerto in dead cat flat’ - just odd. It was all forgotten for the Pete Tong Ibiza Prom with a group of mates which was glorious
I dedicate the good parts of this post to my friends Chris and Alexis Dugdale. Chris is the brilliant magician who has sometimes performed at my birthday and Alexis is his amazing wife who has been diagnosed with MS, a brave lady, almost warzone bravery, more than ever , these guys will want the support and love of their friends and families. It’s how I have managed.

10 Aug 2015

Post 404: Really?!


Awful training for Monday. Done. Just got into a hideous row about politics on facec*nt that I really don’t want to be in, so better post this.
Really? Is a question I often find myself asking, particularly of myself. I promised myself (it’s all about me again, sigh), when I restarted this that it wouldn’t become some sh*tty review of what I happened to be watching but that’s bound to happen, in fact read on, it will! I also buy into the theory that saying nothing makes you the bigger man. Well big only refers to my height these days obviously. Being the bigger man and staying silent is another thing to add to my list of things (A long list). Until the day when I actually get a medication that does something (oh dear, that’s another complaint)
Someone has already told me how writing a post complaining about complaining, full of complaints doesn’t make any sense, difficult to argue with that, perhaps I should just f*ck this off?!
It then occurred to me that autobiographical writing is two things, it’s either fact reporting, which can often be interpreted as bragging, and a running commentary of everything else. That running commentary is often interpreted as a stream of complaints wishing things had been better. So without a story involving superheroes, spacemen, zombies, demons etc, it’s not hard to see why I called it a day on this after Post 402. You see, that’s another complaint.
I said before that I was more of a book person but when your eyesight and concentration are f*cked then TV series are what you’re left with. My imagination is now pretty sh*t. Obviously, I devoured the fifth season of ‘Game of C*nts’, where it’s true ‘everyone fights to sit on the world’s most uncomfortable chair’ or as my friend Ched said ‘f*cking dragons’ –despite that mixed appraisal, most workawayer’s manage to watch it all – with or without me. It is compelling stuff. Even more so because everyone is so unpleasant.
The Soprano’s is long gone, despite it’s brilliance as is the brutal horribleness of Boardwalk Empire or ‘just like Bugsy Malone except using real bullets instead of splurge guns’ [according to Frenchy]. I have now moved on to Mad Men which I have been pretty shocked by despite it not having subject-matter that would ordinarily be considered shocking. I am not the best politically correct feminist in the world but People in the 60s were f*cked. For most of the people reading this, surviving the 80s was a miracle, and that was mostly the haircuts, nevermind being bullied at school.
In today’s technology driven world, being bullied is about having your feelings hurt when someone disagrees with you online. We consider broadband going down a breach of our basic human rights, I know I do, but I then get this damnable sense of perspective.
I watch a lot of these HBO shows and the more I watch them I think that dramatising something awful is the formula that 90% of the time works everytime. The Soprano’s and Boardwalk Empire, who knew that organised Crime was so grim? Um, everyone!
Mad Men seems to be about alcohol addiction, sex addiction (without the ‘Bewbs’ HBO resorts to (effectively in my opinion)) and feeling in total control just as ‘talking therapy’ came along as the 60s way of attacking depression (in 30/40 something men, depression and fatigue were seen as weakness), that and the unbelievable lack of rights or any life afforded to women, minorities, poor people, fat people, ugly people, the disabled, the mentally ill etc. It is pretty wrong. I’m sure Ayn Rand would say it all made sense. Caveat – I used to believe Objectivism made sense
There seems to be one antidote to depression, love – yes that’s right, love. Romantic love, or the type a parent has for a child. Everything else is just a finger in the dyke.
The reason people watch Mad Men, is to be shocked by the next moral outrage, I know it’s a dramatisation but you can’t believe that it was actually like that! People in Mad Men are horrible sociopaths. Donald Draper may look like a Matinee Idol but he is an awful Human. The good bits are how The World reacts to pivotal events for humanity, the moon landing, the Cuban Missile Crisis, JFK’s assassination.
It is also an abject lesson about how badly people come across if they lie or pretend to care about stuff just to impress other people which seems to be a big feature of today’s social media driven world. If you tell anyone, I MEAN ANYONE that they’re arguing about something they don’t really believe in or can’t logically prove, watch them go mental, or better still accuse you of bullying.
Here’s a list someone posted about living in London that made me laugh along with a couple of stereotype maps. I hope to always find something like this because typing is a killer. The list was obviously compiled by a female hipster but it applies to a lot of people. At least being in a wheelchair doesn’t mean contending with a lot of this shit anymore ( I have bigger problems to be sarcastic about):
1. You’ll never get that excited about getting paid because you know that a couple of days later half of that’s gonna fly straight back out again and into your landlord’s bank account. Awesome.
2. Citymapper will become the most important app on your phone and when you visit cities that don’t have it you’ll be, like, HOW DO I GET AROUND I AM LOST HELP.
3. You’ll basically do anything to avoid changing at Bank. Sure, I *could* change at Bank and be there on time but yeah, nah, I’ll take the long way round ta.
4. Nothing is more soul-destroying than looking for a room to rent. NOTHING. Not even the sob-fest that is watching the Notebook comes close to how your heart feels when you’ve just gone to look at yet another hell-hole with a £800pcm price tag.
5. Blowing black snot out of your nose doesn’t mean you’re dying. It just means you’ve been breathing in pollution all day and, instead of travelling straight into your lungs, some of it got stuck in your nose! HURRAH.
6. Getting a black cab home after a night out only really happens in movies, or if you’re super rich which, as we’ve already discussed, you’re not. Night bus it is then.
7. The ONLY place on Brick Lane to get a bagel from is Beigel Bake. I *know* the queue’s shorter in the other bagel shop but THIS ONE IS THE BEST, ALRIGHT??
8. People will immediately judge you based on where you live in London. And you’ll start doing it too.
9. Dating in London is much, much harder than you thought it would be. I mean, there’s millions of people here, surely ONE of them wants to spend a couple of nights a week watching Netflix with me and take me out to brunch once in a while? No? Oh, OK cool.
10. Buses will terminate unexpectedly and at some point you’ll end up being dropped off in what feels like the middle of nowhere (but is probably just somewhere in South London LOL) and of course it will be raining and you’ll have left your brolly at home. FFS.
11. Your default mood will be tired but if anyone asks you how you are you’ll still be, like, ‘yeah fine how are you?’ #SoBritish
12. Going to the pub on a Monday night is totally acceptable. Urgh, you’ve had such a hard week already, best have a glass of wine to get over it.
13. In fact, going out on a weeknight is so much better than going out at the weekend. Saturday nights out are sooo 2008.
14. Your default walking speed will be fast and getting stuck behind someone strolling at a leisurely pace like they have all the time in the world will make your blood actually boil. GET OUT OF THE WAY I HAVE SOMEPLACE TO BE.
15. You’ll get used to going to sleep to the sound of sirens and drunk people shouting in the street. So much so that when you go visit your parents for the weekend you can’t get any shut-eye because it’s actually too damned quiet.
16. Your friends basically turn into your family and you’ll have no qualms about spending an hour on the tube to go have coffee with them.
17. That fantasy you had of being able to put a bit of your monthly salary into a savings account? Yeah, not gonna happen.
18. Your heels will gather dust in the corner of your room and probably just become a little playground for the mouse that comes to play in your flat at night.
19. You will go on holiday and when someone asks where you live you’ll feel a *little* bit smug when you say you live in London.
20. However long you live here, a train being delayed because of a person on the tracks will always make you feel a little bit sad, despite it probably making you late for something.
21. Your conversations will mostly revolve around how much rent you pay, where you live, who you live with, and which restaurant in Shoreditch does the best burger.
22. You’ll have all the best intentions when it comes to trying out that cool speakeasy bar or quirky pop-up restaurant you read about in Time Out but, 90% of the time, you’ll actually end up just going to the local pub.
23. You won’t actually buy anything at all the markets you go to but they sure do make good Instagram photos.
24. Sometimes the best way to appreciate London is to leave it for a weekend. City break in Amsterdam? Don’t mind if I do.
25. You’ll feel like you know the intimate life-details of the person who lives in the flat above you, despite the fact that you’ve never actually met. Errr, can you keep it down a bit, please?
26. You’ll get to the point when you don’t want to live in a flatshare anymore but also don’t wanna spend ALL your monthly pay cheque on your own place. Girl’s gotta eat, right?
27. City sunsets will give you a warm feeling in your belly and you’ll be all, like, awww London, you’re not so bad.
28. You’ll have such a strong love/hate relationship with it that sometimes you honestly don’t know whether you should pack your bag right now and leave or stay forever and ever.
29. Every now and then (usually after you’ve paid a visit to the pub) you’ll be walking home and the light will be just right and you’ll suddenly fall for London all over again and you’ll realise that, whatever happens, you did it. You moved to London and survived. And it feels pretty damned good.

That list twinged a few heart strings
I’m pretty sure hipsters actually don’t exist, at least how we imagine them, they’re just people with a keen sense of how ‘cool’ or ‘credible’ things are, particularly how much cooler they are than you. They will instantly judge how ‘cool’ almost anything is. Enough complaints. Every time I consider stopping this for good I see this face. FYI, it’s workawayer Katie looking like she’s losing patience.

5 Aug 2015

Post 403: Starting this again? STOP COMPLAINING

This blog is supposed to be a thankyou to all the people who have helped me over the years, it is not supposed to be a platform to rant, go on about things, bore, depress or alienate anyone but I will not sway from having opinions, I may have done a degree in politics and mentioned it once or twice and mentioned politics before, but let’s face it, it bores or worse, divides people, and our lives are hard enough! I used to like Russell Brand as a comedian but I can’t stand him now, his narcicissm, shameless self publicity and his high-horse naive self righteousness (amongst others)

I am writing another post because the latest workawayer Katie (who was an absolute treasure), I know I’ve said it before but I must reiterate how brilliant the workaway’s have been. From Juan last summer (our first) to Ellie now. In a way, they have all been my favourites, because they live here and seem to like it New people are like Oxygen to my housemate Marc, my carer, Gary and to me. Otherwise we’d all go mad. Marc has a talent for finding the best people. Our holiday to Spain in November 2013 changed our lives when we met Mike and Rachel, who were workawaying at Trixie’s House, the amazing and unique Casa de la Finestra. Katie said that I needed to do something I was passionate and good at.
I know – is this it?
Being passionate about anything doesn’t really work these days and as far as I’m concerned – passion usually means taking things a bit seriously – suicide bombers/serial killers/ god-squaders come to mind and I’m none of those. I’m sure this is quite ironic, but complaining is apparently the thing that makes people fed up (with me), oh, and politics and sadly the way my disability has worked out – most things I say seem to be interpreted that way (as complaints). I used to be the kind of person to avoid complaining about anything – trying my best to try and find the funny, the good, the meritworthy, the stupid, dare I say the positive, but I don’t think I was nauseating – now, things are probably a little different. Ability meant playing off 2, skiing, going to the gym, eating right, ‘A’s in my exams, Oxford University, an unimaginably awesome girlfriend who I was devoted to, a decent job, my own flat and mortgage in London, financial independence, friends, energy and always making the effort to do things for people. Disability means not having the ability and energy to do anything compared to this except luckily, financial independence and friends who make what time they can, the thing that gets me down the most is knowing I don’t have a chance with girls I find attractive anymore. I never used to even contemplate paying for it. It wouldn’t have been fair, right or necessary. Apparently, this is nauseating self –pity, you’re damn right it is, and I hate it coming out. People need as few reasons as possible to dislike everything about me. It seems to be a human tradition to hate people with more than you – it is more nuanced than that – we hate people who appear to have been given what they’ve got – now I can say with a straight face, that I worked hard for everything, even now, and anyone who feels I’m getting what I deserve (and I know they’re out there) can FUCK OFF!
What I have noticed about a lot of stroke survivors is a burning desire to get their stories out there, and I guess I’m no different. I guess stroke survivors find being ignored all the time the hardest thing, we always, ALWAYS, want to remind anyone that we were not as wretched once as we are now. Let me try and be clear. I am a do-er, have always been, not someone who can cope with just sitting around, but that is what I am forced to do. I exist because of the goodwill of my friends and family. Everything I do is about trying to please them. I know I have been luckier than most, to have a place to live and a pension from my old employer so I don’t rely on the state or on my parents – it feels like it’s the only thing I have. I try my hardest now to not lose touch with my old friends and meet new local ones but the type of people I know/encounter are all so busy. I take a lot of the responsibility because people want low maintenance friends and I’m not that. Even though I’ve been told I won’t be independent, I still do physiotherapy four times a week so I can maintain my transfers ( ie I can get to/from the loo and I can get myself to/from my bed) I have stopped snacking and eat one meal a day and have two protein smoothies. It is hideous. I spend most of my money on my friends and family. Gifts, going for meals and going to concerts. That feels pretty full-time, but apparently it is entertaining myself. I need to do something hard, something thankless apparently, so I say ‘just getting up in the morning is hard enough’ STOP COMPLAINING. I’m f*cked aren’t I?
Life is for other people, so that’s what I try and do.
Writing this is hard enough – I’m trying to squeeze as much of this writing out before I have my enforced ‘fatigue management’, basically an afternoon liedown so I’m not too f*cked for the evening. It means being out of touch with the world for two+ hours because sitting in my wheelchair is f*cking exhausting. What, ‘no need to swear’ BOLLOCKS, swearing was invented for precisely this eventuality. Now I have to post this and that will take hours. STOP COMPLAINING.

22 Apr 2015

Post 402: A one off


I don’t normally even mention politics.
BUT
When I stopped writing this near enough two years ago, I did it for a good bunch of reasons.
• Another parallelogram told me that it was ‘too f*cking depressing’
• I didn’t feel that anyone [enough people] read it – sorry Stevie
• I felt I made more impact just chatting to people on facebook, because life is about making a difference to other people
• another big one was my thoughts seemed to be annoying people, they were seen as too Jeremy Clarkson, and not enough Russell Brand. I think both are c*nts. Both have their own talents and I certainly don’t think they’re stupid. At least Clarkson drives OK. His views are probably quite horrible if you’re a PC thug, – probably like mine if you’re a PC thug, I was just not PC enough for the hoards of social media ‘shouters’. I am ‘institutionalised politeness’ I think [well at least I hope, with a smattering of swearwords].
Clarkson had the ‘best job in the world’ and was popular with the type of people who watched Top Gear. Bully for them.
Brand was a talented comedian, a verbose and amusing bloke who had a certain charm with the ladies. The Andrew Sachs ‘Manuelgate’ scandal did his career some short term damage, a few logistical hurdles, but his comedy career benefitted, it gave him something to talk about. then, when he got bored of that and had to workout a new direction to cling to fame, he started going on and on and on about idealistic left wing politics, theoretical socialism, theoretical communism – ‘it’s just sharing innit mate’ – now, revolution is everything I’m opposed to. Before you know, people who don’t deserve it are living their lives in fear, or worse, dying in fear and pain. But, that’s ok, because Russell Brand says so – at it’s most basic level, it sounded like the French Revolution. Far too basic, but illustrative. Now I don’t know any aristocrats and I think the Royals are a bunch of scroungers but I’m sure we’ve spent money on worse things, I bet the sums are out there and examples abound. I worked out without royalty in the world we’d have so much less decent architecture and virtually no classical music. Pampered shits they may be. They’re better than spending millions with Saatchi&Saatchi. And most of the great St Petersburg geniuses were sponsored by royalty
This is a good example of how a discussion of ANYTHING can lead ANYWHERE. One minute it’s Jeremy Clarkson, then that awful man Brand, then the royals. It’s at times like these [and I know I've mentioned it before] that’s it’s worth restating Godwins law
the theory that as an online discussion progresses, it becomes inevitable that someone or something will eventually be compared to Adolf Hitler or the Nazis, regardless of the original topic.
So, before it gets to that. Ever since I stopped being able to run, hide and fight I’ve been quite opposed to destabilizing influences. The London riots were a case in point – a mate of mine got car-jacked and beaten which couldn't be more unacceptable. I have been conservative with a small c for quite a while before my stroke and my lack of access to benefits thanks to means testing (which makes sure that people who pay most of the tax get none of the services) you would have thought this might make me more left wing but ironically it’s the social media PC brigade shouting about ‘Tory Scumbags’ and ‘stop cutting OUR NHS’ that have done so much to decide my vote
People like Russell Brand and numerous media and social media ‘shouters’ are just destabilizing influences – there is no need for all the disingenuous ‘shouting’- apparently it’s all taste anyway, rendering all argument pointless apparently. So, Nazis...
UKIP are a good example of a political party that have grabbed an issue, hyped it up despite it being patent bollocks and made perfectly intelligent people go from being casual racists to being out and out idiots saying that ‘uncontrolled immigration’ and the EU are responsible for the problems in Britain. People’re not about to join the BNP but they might seriously vote UKIP. Don’t.
Cyriza in Greece scare me. Capitalism is not perfect but people kill for money and Cyriza have stuck two fingers up at repaying it’s loans. But that’s ok because that bloody man Brand says ‘it’s exciting’
. A lot of capitalism works on trust. As soon as you break that trust, the Oxygen of capitalism – credit, and then liquidity (ie there being money to spend) dries up. Then no-one can spend anything – say what you like, but people who can’t spend money are pretty p*ssed off. That’s just the way it is.
In the UK, UKIP might be a scary ‘single-issue’ party but then again so were the Nazi’s when they started out, morphing the issue of the harshness of the Versailles treaty into blaming foreigners for Germany’s ills [I’ve just godwinned myself again, although I’ll be surprised if there’s anyone still reading]
We all want the world to be a better, fairer place.
But we don’t want to get there by people dying
• A lot of my ‘friends’ on social media, started implying that I was one of the ‘lucky elite’ and were telling me that I was the sort of person ‘ruining’ this country because of my privileged ‘posh’ background, they also seemed to agree with everything that bloody man Brand said. This made me mad so I thought ‘f*ck this for a game of soldiers’
• Despite going to a creative writing class. It really showed me I have nothing apart from this self-indulgent autobiographical knob-rot, I don’t have a fictional idea – I keep in vague touch with the teacher, and a bloke from the class, Phil, is one of my best mates now.
• Most importantly, typing this with one finger is just too exhausting
• Lastly, with an election on the horizon, I thought this was the one place I wouldn’t get shouted down by champagne socialists, disingenuous lefties and wannabee revolutionaries –in short, people who seem to hate everything I’ve ever stood for.
• I better declare the interest that one of my best mates is the ‘Energy Secretary’.
I trust him completely and all this nonsense about the Tories being the ‘Nasty’ Party is just bollocks. I love the fact that to ‘make a difference’ he has gone into politics and doesn’t just hide behind a computer screen getting angry. He hasn’t hijacked his platform like Russell Brand, Stewart Lee and even some Trade Unions (ie, they go on about ‘workers rights’ [a desirable thing] but actually it’s just a ruse for wielding political power, bloody liars)
On the face of it I may appear to be breaking the #1 rule of political discussion ‘Never take anything personally’ but that’s easy to do when you’re not in a wheelchair, have some confidence in yourself and the energy, eyesight and typing speed to argue back. I think that covers why I’m a Tory and a vote for anyone else is a vote for chaos, fear and idiots. Logic has got me to this conclusion but apparently my logic is only my logic because I am rightwing. Silly me, thinking political affiliation and logic were mutually exclusive. Certainly I think liberal free speech democracy within Capitalism is how things have to work. It’s not cool, it’s not edgy, it’s not perfect but jeez, some lefties might even call me names. I know that posting a blog like this about politics is ironic and hypocritical but I am horribly bored, not in a deviant way – crikey, I even smoke a bit now, and giving up in 2005 made me so proud. I might be the least cool smoker in the world and I’ve arrived a few years late for the f*cking beard trend largely because ‘The Giraffe’ said ‘beards are ok’ and that video on the internet. I’m not losing my hair [yet] though Despite that I’m still a pogonophobe and a hipster-loather
Well, what else is new?
Well, not a lot really – I’m still in the same place, Frenchy is still my housemate and my ‘I don’t carer’, I suppose the biggest difference has been the introduction of the ‘workaway’ programme at the house. Frenchy has a talent for being able to find the right people – we’ve had about seven of them now. It was inspired by mine and Frenchy’s trip to Spain in November 2013. It was my first real trip overseas since my stroke in December 2005. I’ve binned the prospect of airtravel because the risk of a fatal stroke is too high (caused by the reduced air pressure) and forget the logistics – people in powerchairs were never supposed to fly. Not unless they have unlimited cash, which is why I enter the lottery even if logic tells me ‘NO, it’s just a tax on people who don’t understand odds’
The ‘workaways’ are basically people who come and live here for a little while and in exchange for free board and lodging have to do 5 hours work a day. Ostensibly, those 5 hours are about helping me and keeping me company but realistically, it’s about Frenchy having someone else in the house he can talk to who isn’t me plus he’s often out of the house for his work and that comes first.
Other than that my routines are broadly similar. Gary comes in 5 days a week to do my morning routine [he makes such a difference], I do one session of land based physio with Jose and 2 sessions of aquaphysio a week.
I’ve been at pains to explain, this is maintenance therapy to keep my legs and right arm strong for my transfers. Me being able to walk again normally is never going to happen – this wheelchair is for life. Long suffering followers of this blog will see I gave it a good go, but when you get no results after trying so hard, it doesn’t make sense to keep putting yourself through hell.
My latest great hope is high pressure Oxygen therapy. I’ve always said that anything that may make a small improvement to my energy will make me a better person, will allow me to do more therapy and be less depressed, basically make me easier to be around.
A lot of my great hopes – well, all of them, have turned out to be red herrings or worse:
• First, there was my saeboflex splint which we thought might make my left arm work again, er no
• Second, the stimulant Ritalin might make my fatigue less bad – best summed up by my carer saying ‘I thought you’d had another stroke’
• Third, Keppra – an anti-seizure medication, that would maybe reduce my fatigue – it did nothing
• Fourth, Phampridine – a membrane stabilising new medication from the US, that would maybe reduce my fatigue – it did nothing.
• Numerous antidepressants have done nothing
Well, this has taken too much time and energy to write – Doubtless, some of you will be disappointed I even bothered. Paraphrasing Stewart Lee ‘I hate you, everything about you, it’s your politics especially’
Now, I try to put politics to one side when doing my best to have a laugh with my friends
Sunshine, alcohol, laughter, friends and the occasional cigarette is the most effective medicine plus sorting out and going to gigs is something I am grateful I can do. I have probably been to over 300 since Autumn 2012. It’s my thing these days.

13 Jun 2013

Post 401: Have I survived this stroke, you decide?


It is with some trepidation,
but perhaps not a massive amount of surprise that this is going to be my last post – I’m not sure the numbers are going in the right direction (said like a true analyst) and I think my activity on facebook (where I’m Dom Pardey) or on email dompardey (at) gmail.com makes more impact. It also doesn’t exhaust me in quite the same way.
I’ve been at this blogging business for over 5 years (since Jan 2008 to be precise and I had my stroke 7.5 years ago) and like a tree falling in the wood I’m pretty sure this isn’t an event of any significance. To those who did read it, I hope you don’t think too many evil notions about me and that I haven’t come across too badly. To the people who know me it was supposed to be a way of people hearing what I used to sound like (if only in their heads) and to keep them informed. Basically to answer the emails: ‘How’re you?’ and ‘what you been up to?’ I have tried to come to terms with the situation but I don’t do boredom (notwithstanding this) or putting in huge amounts of effort for no reward.
I hope it has demonstrated to both friends and strangers that I am someone who is always grateful, takes nothing (and no-one) for granted and can be trusted and is honest, that despite everything I will do whatever I can for my friends or people who deserve help. That said, I won’t take any sh*t and anyone or anything I feel is in the wrong I’ll try and find a way of getting my feelings felt. I think this might be a family thing.
Not so much lately, but this blog has often been a bit of a lonely heart. There are clearly a lot of lying dickheads out there – and I hope to show (even prove) that I’m not one of them. I know it’s going to take someone a bit unique, who just wants companionship, financial stability and doesn’t mind looking after someone a bit. My standards aren’t exacting – I just need someone who drives, isn’t lazy, likes concerts, sharing red wine, cats, isn’t precious (doesn’t get easily offended) and looks after themselves. Someone who appreciates my cheeky (some might sometimes say naughty) sense of humour. I have been persuaded that there are girls in the world like this that actually exist. I reserve everything else for my friends, family and housekeepers. I have been forced into a corner by this stroke and it’s got me by the tail.
A chap, a fountain of wisdom, who I have got to know online wrote this and it struck a chord:

I'm a pessimist, life is one pleasant surprise after another. God knows how optimists manage.

9 Jun 2013

Post bloody 400!


I’m loathe to say I’m giving up anything because it gives ammunition to the legion of people who might as well carve ‘never give up’ into their foreheads and they judge you a lesser person because you decide that the bruise on your own forehead actually quite hurts and there’s a bit of blood on the brick wall! I’m not mentioning any names but a certain cadre of stroke survivor does this. I do think it’s admirable but strokes are all different and as we all know a ‘one size fits all’ approach is one of reasons why the lemming isn’t top of the food chain!
So, I’ve decided to give up facing Friday night traffic and never to book another gig ANYWHERE (except very locally) on a Friday evening EVER again. It’s just not fair on the poor people who have volunteered to take me – They don’t need that sh*t – no-one needs that sh*t. Especially my LSPs (long suffering parents)or my LSFs (long suffering friends) who I already feel like I’m asking too much of having to suffer my company!
This all started a few months ago – even though the ‘Australian Pink Floyd’ incident where the M25 made a 1 hour journey into a 4 hour one was on a Monday, it made me aware how travelling to things is pretty high up on a crowded list of ‘most unpleasant things’. That’s the thing about having a stroke like this –almost everything that we used to tolerate through gritted teeth is basically intolerable now. People used to respect how much I just got on with things. They don’t anymore, they just think all I do is complain, to be clear I do an above average amount of that, and I hate that I do, which makes me a bit sad, both that I’m an above average complainer and that people’s patience with me appears to have run thin, but as a mate of mine once said to me ‘the disabled don’t have a monopoly on complaining’ – he’s so right – maybe it’s an English thing, maybe it’s a human thing, we all want to have something to complain about, and we all want someone to listen to us – why do you think that social media is so popular?
To my mind complaining is only ever justified in two ways:
1. If you complain but have a proposal for a solution.
2. You observe that something is sh*t, but you do it in an amusing way. If you’re not funny, you’re in trouble.

To be clear, I don’t think I’m funny, but I’d hazard that we’re all quite good at spotting a pisspoor attempt at humour, I’d just observe that I might have once made people titter, which is the most I’d ever claim.
Point 2 is actually how commercial comedy seems to work.
If you think about it, that’s what anyone making a public proclamation is doing – they just want to be listened to and provoke some sort of reaction, which is probably what this blog is.
Well, it’s probably my way of saying thankyou specifically to the people that help me and generally to say that I’m grateful to the folks that keep me living and help me to do the interesting things that I take it upon myself to try and do.
So people who get fed up with the way I’m grateful to people for the things I do can look away now!
On Tuesday I went to see Jack Dee at a sold out Guildford G-Live. Seeing as I’ve already talked about how complaining about things is annoying it seems a tad oxymoronic that Jack Dee is so popular. I guess it’s back to my point 2 above, that you can only complain about things if you make them funny and it is quite funny that a successful mainstream comedian can be that miserable. Big thanks to my old schoolmate Owen for taking me.
At the other end of the comedy spectrum from Jack, was going to see Eddie Izzard last night at the Dome – whereas Jack is quite straightforward and is adept at pointing out what is sh*t about the world – Izzard is out there and is adept at pointing out what is strange about the world. Both (what is sh*t and what is strange) are seemingly inexhaustible reservoirs of material in my view which makes comedy one of the most environmentally friendly forms of energy the world over – I admit, it can’t be used to power a lightbulb but laughter is probably what keeps a c*nt like me being like Jack Dee without the funny stuff. I have Karen and Helen to thank for taking me last night. Helen (an old mate from college) was an excellent last minute sub after Karen’s husband Toby couldn’t make it. I have been trying to little avail to pay these two back since they took me to the Olympics, I think last time I saw them (in March) with typical aplomb with Kazza standing right there I said to Toby ‘knocked up Karen yet?’ –the answer then was ‘No’, but they’ve been getting busy and I’m happy to report that Karen is now expecting, not that you’d offer her your seat on the bus yet! Still, Izzard was good – I don’t think any of us get pissed enough anymore to truly appreciate his out there weirdness. He is definitely the kind of friend you could settle in for a serious laughter session with. Just his impression of Julius Caesar sounding like the Italian officer from ‘Allo ‘Allo is a pretty good start.
So, the Friday thing that has convinced me never to put anyone through Friday traffic again was Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ at the Albert Hall – a somewhat Ironic title in the circumstances. My poor LSPs are no longer spring chickens and none of us can stand the stress of a one hour journey taking almost three hours or the sheer anger that the repeated stories from the Daily HateMail that my mother is fond of telling an already on edge me and my Dad. Add to this mums perfect 20:20 Hindsight and the rest: ‘We should have left more time’; ‘we must remember to look at the traffic report online before we leave’;’have you heard about the bloody Romanians’; ‘how much benefit are these bloody muslims claiming?’. It’s as if Nigel Farage and Enoch Powell are having a frank exchange of views right there. If the Mail is to be believed Britain is under siege and it blatantly isn’t – what scares me is if two educated, middle-class, law-abiding, moderate citizens like my parents believe this, what hope for the rest of the country? ‘Rivers of Blood’ anyone? Good job the Beethoven was pretty special. I’m not a cliched psychotic movie character about it but Ode to Joy is basically Beethoven’s ‘Glorious 9th’ by another name and I remember the words of my friend and college music scholar Vicky when I went to see it with her ‘it was like Beethoven chucked the Kitchen Sink at this when he wrote it’.

On a seperate subject it's worth reading the comments on the last post. Quite important stuff

2 Jun 2013

Post 399: Despite planning stuff, isn’t it difficult staying interested?


I’m sure there are those who think this is just one joyless moan? Luckily, I don’t quite think everyone thinks it is. I do try and write about what joy I do manage, after all – we should all be trying to live life through joyful moments and do our best to try and share them. Life is all about sharing joy isn’t it? There is nothing better than bringing joy to someone else. Forget how cheesy that sounds – it really is as simple as that. It is the Tuesday after a bank holiday, it is 3 days till June and f*cking ten degrees. The old me might have uttered a cursory profanity and broken into a jog but there’s nothing cursory about the disappointment I’m feeling now. Granted, the sun did shine over the bank holiday weekend so I am pleased we got to share that (at the very least) but I can assure you I’d rather have a job, office, colleagues and a real life to go back to on this delightful Tuesday. I am seriously saying I miss working. I know it sounds mental but I have said before that one of the primary functions of work is that we’re sociable creatures but on our own terms – Offices, yes; shopping centres; are you mad?
It’s now Thursday and I’m trying to work out what to do with the rest of my life. It’s a slightly profound question. So before pondering eternity, I thought I’d try and get my house in order. More or less, my fulltime existence is planning my events calendar around my therapy and rest times. A sort of peripheral for a normal, healthy person, a fulltime job for a disabled one. What have I booked, who have I asked, who’s actually taking me, where are the tickets, where do we park, How do we get there? Now granted, a person with normal energy and normal eyesight might find this a bit of a wrestle but they’d just do it. The fact I find it verging on impossible is understating it comically! Especially as most venues seem to be chopping out costs left, right and centre whilst increasing their booking fees. 4 years ago you’d usually be sent paper tickets, which would give upcoming events a bit of tangibility, plus you could file the buggers. Now a few places email tickets for some things, expect you to pick them up or do actually send them in the post, or even less helpfully, a combination of all three and the onus is on you to know what’s going on. F*ck, I’m boring myself even writing this. I guess my point is even a professional administrator (I know they exist) would struggle. Now, this is big business, there’s clearly an enormous secondary market in these things –we’ve all been to events where a terrifying man will say ‘anyone need tickets, buy or sell?’, he’ll buy any spares for a fiver or sell you one for a ton – it is twilight robbery, and these guys don’t have necks!
Some venues send you a four page form to fill out and an email address to send scanned documents to prove you’re disabled. Doing this does me in. I can’t believe there are people out there pikey enough to stoop that low and pretend they’re disabled! Disability – Not having a neck and speaking in aggressive cockney is not a disability, at least not officially! Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that this isn’t a piece of piss – I can imagine there are a few people who don’t give a f*ck, or even hate me for mentioning it – well shame, bye then – don’t let the door hit you on your way out.
I’ve had a visit from my counsellor, Cathy, today, she helps me not be all over the place (which I usually am) and concentrate on the things I should be concentrating on, when you’re an energetic young turk, you can afford to be doing a million and one things – just doing that one thing can now be difficult and it is helpful to have someone on your side who can remind you what you said you thought you were supposed to be doing.
She has also counselled me into believing that there are people in this world who might be interested in helping, maybe even caring about and looking after someone like me. ’Counselled me into believing’ is a good effort but a long way from convincing me.
I suppose this week’s joy has been in the form of going to a couple of massive concerts, firstly, the glorious Muse, the 5th time I’ve seen them since 2008, another epic, sprawling, massive, production heavy event at Arsenal’s relatively new North London home, The Emirates Stadium. Obviously seeing a band do a stadium gig is a spectacle, which is probably my main reason for going and as usual Muse (3 lads from the West Country) were pretty awesome my only criticism (there’s always something!) was the choice of Dizzee Rascal as warm up act! I thought for the Olympic opening ceremony he was pretty good, the fact he was told not to swear, and his rendition of ‘Bonkerz’ was entertaining, at the least it fitted the mood, here’s what I wrote on youtube to go with this video of him trying to ‘warm up’ the crowd on Sunday

Some people love Dizzee, I don't. As a general rule I dislike Hip-hop artists that just seem to shout over a snythesized backing beat, at least Chase and Status have an actual drummer. All Dizzee seems to do is tell the crowd to 'jump' and 'make some f*cking noise'. He is a moron with as little right to be warming up a Muse gig as JZ had warming up Coldplay when they played Wembley a few years ago
I still think he’s a moron, after telling Jeremy Paxman ‘that Hip-Hop had a lot to do with Obama getting elected’. I’m not a fan of Paxman’s belicose style but it’s the first time I’ve really seem him lost for words! My hero and compatriot for the evening was my mate Oli who loves Muse and says he enjoys taking me out, I do apologise for being a bit ‘lairy’ when Dizzee was on, so that’s what a hip-flask of Cherry brandy does. I guess that’s not really a surprise. That’s the end of that experiment! Anyway, that aside, it was a pretty decent evening even if the drive to the Emirates is speedbump hell and London roads are a disgrace. Sometimes it feels like you’re driving on a dirt road through the desert!
Thinking about it, the journey to anything is often one of my biggest considerations, and it’s getting to the stage where fear of the journey almost dissuades me from bothering going to an event. Yet another thing to file under ‘this is no bloody good’ –It’s a thick file.
Luckily it was a warm and pleasant bank holiday weekend which allowed my friend Isabel, her little daughter Lara and I to go to a Foodies Fair up the road across from Hampton Court. An event 100% reliant on decent weather. It was actually quite pleasant but I couldn’t help thinking ‘only because it’s a nice day . There’d be no-one here if it were cold and miserable’. Another challenging event with difficult terrain and lots of people that I’m glad I managed to do. Isabel is such a little terrier!
I need people like her to suggest things. Speaking of which an old mate of mine (I made the ‘old’ joke back then, I’m sure he’s still not laughing) legend Marc French, when he had helped out a few weeks ago, I’d suggested a comedy event, he’d countered with, ‘shall we go to the IMAX first?’ seeing as the comedy was in a tent on the South Bank. Now, I’d never been to an IMAX – which is basically a cinema on steroids in 3D, probably with similarly inflated prices, cheers for the ticket Frenchie! We had opted to see the new Star Trek movie, which takes the Star Trek formula, takes all the camp out of it, the crap uniforms, monsters made out of rubber and Styrofoam and basically gives it the Matrix special effects treatment, I mean, it almost looks like the same movie poster. Everything about the IMAX experience is just ‘BIGGER’. The Screen is about 5 storeys high and there are approximately 1 million speakers (probably). It was a pretty immersive experience. Despite wearing the 3D glasses, my eyesight is too screwed to see the 3D, interestingly though, the 3D glasses stop it being blurred, another question neurologists won’t be able to answer. The Villain was Benedict Cumberbatch or as I choose to call him Cumberdick Bendybatch. An interesting choice, I tend to think of him as ‘period drama’. I’ll bet when his acting career began, the thought of ever playing a genetically engineered Star Trek supervillian was a strange new world he hadn’t boldly even thought about.
Anyway, a superb idea from Frenchie – we decided that red wine, pipe and slippers is where we are now after our respective forays into playing electronic music all those years ago. He did it properly, I was just a muppet! Frenchie is a gent for helping me out, we certainly laughed our socks off seeing Irish Comedian Andrew Maxwell at the E4 Underbelly Comedy Festival afterwards. Maxwell’s observation ‘How could one man in the 70s eclipse the work of the entire Catholic church?’ was darkly hilarious.
This just doesn’t stop – it’s now Saturday 1st June and I’m off later to see 90s Punk Rockers Green Day at the Emirates, and no, I didn’t think like I do now that perhaps, just perhaps, I might be overdoing things a bit. It was pretty good and obviously reminded me of going to see them at Wembley 3 years ago and reminded me of the lovely Christina, a girl who pre-stroke would have probably been on the level but who soon realised how much better she could do, the story of post-stroke life really. Anyway, I’ll stop that and just say I thought they were better this time simply based on what they played. Stuff like this Whereas three years ago I think they’d fallen into the trap of playing ‘new material’ FAIL, nobody cares – we’re not chinscratching hipster c*nts! I was right about remembering how ghastly the journey was, these were my youtube thoughts:
Despite not having the greatest seats this was still quite a gig. Green day do punk without the nihilism which is a big hit in my book. Major chords, melodic tunes, energy and smiles. Billie- Joe Armstrong has a great voice and behaves like he's having the time of his life which is what inspires people. Not 100% convinced by the Emirates as a concert venue. I suppose a stadium is a stadium
Thanks to mate and regular concert-goer Graham for putting up with me not being the most talkative person when I’m exhausted.
Seeing as we’re on bands that had the audacity to play new material 3 years ago, I’d also been to see Depeche Mode on the Wednesday who looked like this
They were 100 times better tonight[29/5/13] than they had been in December 09, playing most of their old good stuff. It was like Gay Pride this time (always a positive for atmos) and they kept 'new' material to a minimum which they didn't do last time.
Big thanks to Christian and Terri ‘the Cheds’ for taking me and bonus points for the amusing facebook chat I had with Terri the next day: ‘I think my heart belongs to Dave Gahan[Depeche Mode lead singer]she said ‘I don’t think he likes girls in that way’ I said
Forget all that – what it’s all about is people coming to see me, firstly, there was Mr Firth, a veritable encyclopaedia on Rock Music which is a big help considering I go to all these gigs, I know f*ck-all.
And last but not least my best mate Tony who dropped in after golf. It must be golf season and the weather is good because golf gets Tony to make the trek from North London all the way out to the sticks where living in a wheelchair is just possible. Oh f*ck, I’ve gone on again.

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