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27 Jun 2011

Post 295: Hard Rock Calling makes me write too much










This post is going to be a bit long, sorry.
It's going to be another one of those weeks where I do a lot of talking both on and offline about recovery but get no closer to working out what the future holds, well at least it's warm. At least on Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week (it's Thursday today) I'm planning to go to Hyde Park for Hard Rock Calling to see the Kings of Leon today, the Killers tomorrow and Bon Jovi on Saturday so something to look forward to which is a bit of a rarity although the weather better hold. I went to this last year and have to say it was pretty good I can't say I know much about the Kings of Leon apart from one of the rehab assistants in hospital (a guy called Leon) saying they were the best thing ever for no other reason that I could work out than they had the word Leon in their name, so I did a bit of digging and it turns out they're three brothers and a cousin from Tennessee, doesn't that just scream four inbred hicks? But it's a live concert in Hyde Park – there must be something to it? I also love the Killers since seeing them at the Albert Hall a couple of years ago
I may think the lead singer, Brandon Flowers, is a religious nutjob for his Mormonism and his weird lyrics when he went solo last year, he looks like he joined the army! But as a band they've got some tunes. It's small wonder that 'Mr Brightside' was voted tune of the decade on Xfm last year, although I prefer human for the way it makes crowds go mental. Observe. so lets hope this festival lives up to the hype. My neighbours, Ian and Tracy, are taking me today and tomorrow as the KoL and the Killers are Ian's favourite bands and it is my mission in life to take those who have to suffer me to things that they'll love. To me, the acceptable face of religion, my friend Richard Lloyd, the vicar of the neighbouring town, Claygate – took me out to lunch on Tuesday. Despite his vocation he doesn't talk religion at all to people like me, which shows that he understands people so well, he is also an hilarious raconteur and is full of amusing stories – they don't make 'em like Richard anymore – him and his lovely wife Vicky have just had their first, a boy called Barnabas. To quote that bumbling idiot Hugh Grant, 'I am in bewildered awe' of the way my friends have so unselfishly brought so much new life into the world, it was best summed up for me at Mern and Alisdairs wedding in September last year where they had perhaps by accident had baby Harry before they were married. Anyone who remotely has a problem with this is a boil on the arsehole of humanity. Alasdair said in his speech that 'without a doubt the best thing that had come of all this had been Harry', I think the whole room gulped as one when he said that. I must say that without exception I really can't think of one and much less would I say it here, I can't think of a single one of my friends kids that inspire dread in me although I did get told off by my mother for suggesting my sisters kids were anything less than angels. It's my fault apparently that my sister doesn't bring them over from America more often. B*llocks to that. I reckon she comes over here without them sometimes just to get a rest from the noise!
On the domestic front it makes such a difference to have reliable carers. I don't live in fear of being abandoned or of having a poisonous atmosphere to have to tolerate. To be fair I haven't had this problem for a while Well, since March. I now slowly feel like I'm getting some control back in my life, if not my health and normality! Two things that I still need to get off my chest
1.I refuse just to automatically be nice to people who I don't think are nice. Apparently, now that I'm disabled, I should just be nice to everyone no matter what I think of them! What is this – Childrens TV? Perhaps we should wrap everything in Candyfloss too? I'm sorry, that's not going to Happen – some people are just dicks – crikey, I'm probably one -I reserve the right to try and run my f*cked up life the way I like.
2.Despite being close to it I have never given up my quest to find the girl who makes this a happy home. It will have to be someone special who loves Red Wine, dining out but is able to drive me there and back, laughing at good comedy on TV and taking me to concerts, who doesn't mind that I might be slightly above average maintenance, who has a can-do attitude to things, and isn't precious about stupid little things. I want to look after someone and spoil them rotten – but they have to be prepared to look after me. Worst sales pitch ever: OVER.

Since I wrote all that I have been to see the Kings of Leon in Hyde Park and surprise, surprise it was an amazing show but I still can't put my finger on why they're so popular, apparently only in this country too. It's the type of music I could only ever enjoy live, Ian and Tracey loved it too which is one of the most important things but as Alex James (Blurs former bassist) observed the magic ingredient at live shows is pretty girls, I would go further, it is scantily clad pretty girls, and the real magic is when the music makes them dance, seeing as I just watched the brilliant 'Boat that rocked' – it is entirely consistent that making girls dance makes the world a better place, in fact being like Bill Nighy's character must have been awesome – the sort of posh old dude that asks everyone whether they've met them before because there was a 'lost decade' .Back on Track, The Kings of Leon are masters of this higher artform that is making girls dance. As a man who has been in love and fears it will never happen again seeing this is intoxicating and gives the atmosphere a charge that putting on a CD never could. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, anyway, despite the odd downpour which flew in to freeze everyone it stayed mercifully dry and only started getting a bit chilly in the twilight and rather than admiring the long tanned legs sported by a few girls we started saying 'ooooo, she must be cold', Musically, it was a good day, by 4pm when we got there the Zac Brown band was playing some country music which was tolerable, but they wrapped up by blasting out a brilliant cover of 'killing in the name of' by 'Rage against the machine', a song that made it to christmas No.1 a few years ago after an anti x-factor and Simon Cowell facebook campaign, I also remember the song made my niece cry accompanied by her bawling 'why's this no.1?' -well I thought this was hilarious, the irony of course being that I would be the one crying if Leona Lewis had been No. 1. Anyway, my point is that 'killing in the name of' is a great live song and it really woke the crowd up. Next were the awesome 'white lies' who on paper I should have seen twice – first when they were supporting U2 at Wembley and the traffic conspired to make us arrive after they'd finished and more recently turning up to see them play at the Shepherds Bush Empire wher they'd managed to lose my booking. Fools! Anyway, they were ace, reminiscent of the Editors and Joy Division. Next up was a man who's name we all knew but we knew less about his music, Paul Weller – giving a pretty polished performance – he's clearly comfortable playing on such a massive stage to such a huge crowd, I think rockstars are now realising that being in your 50s (like Weller) or even 60s (look at the Rolling Stones) is no obstacle to 'living the dream' speaking of which, the Kings of Leon are clearly right at home at such a massive gig, they mix things up, playing a bit of country rock, soulful sounding Nashville sawdust on the floor stuff as well as the traditional guitar driven rock song, each deriving it's energy from a relentless kickdrum but it's the singers voice that brings their sound to life, which was crystal clear on the huge Hyde Park soundsystem. The only slight irritation was that nature called just before they played signature tune 'Sex on fire' Being stuck in the lav when you can hear 50,000 people singing along is infuriating.
Since I wrote all that it is now Sunday and I saw the Killers on Friday and Bon Jovi last night and in a minute my parents are taking me to a classical concert at the Albert Hall. Because I plan so far in advance, I often forget how tired I'm going to be. I suspect I'll be absorbing the beautiful music of Smetana, Grieg and Orff through closed eyes. More on that next week! As it was, I went to see Bon Jovi in Hyde Park yesterday and it just goes to show how at an outdoor event the weather is easily the most important thing because on friday I'd been to see the Killers, who are arguably the best band in the world -it was raining when we got there at 4pm, and it didn't stop all day. It meant that it didn't matter to me how good the Killers were, it was all about staying dry and keeping warm and I cannot stress enough how hard this is in a wheelchair when you don't have the use of both arms and you can't jump up and down, I have Ian and Tracey to thank completely for doing so well
Despite the pisspoor weather we were treated to what must be the best line-up in festival history. From 4-5 it was James, who in my view are one of the finest live bands ever. I have been to see them twice since my stroke, I think of the two times, the time at the Albert Hall back in April 2010 was probably the best. In the 90s the lead singer had hair – he's now shaved it off and he's one of the few lucky people it suits, although I do think the beard he's now grown makes him look a bit evil, anyway the whole crowd seemed to enjoy their set despite the fact that the rain was really starting to set in, the second sort of surprise was on the running order as a late addition were the excellent Kaiser Chiefs, a band I've only seen once in Nov 2009 at a charity event at Brixton Academy where they had rocked. Since then, their cheeky chappy singer Ricky Wilson looks to have followed the Ian Astbury diet and moved next to a Greggs. Maybe it's part of getting older, maybe he's boshing less drugs and boshing more pies! Their biggest tune was predictably 'I predict a riot' which got the sodden fed-up crowd jumping and then it was time for the Killers and the messianic return of Brandon Flowers. I was doing my impression of the most exhausted, miserable person in the world,swearing not to come back the next day if they were forecasting a single drop of rain. Anyway, despite the Kaisers vacating the stage well on time, the Killers kept us waiting for 30 minutes. I don't get this at all. They owe their success to their fans so what's the point of keeping us waiting? Especially when we've been pissed on for four hours. I just think that's rude. Anticipation's one thing, freezing our arses off waiting is another.
When they finally appeared they were great in the circumstances and Ian proved to me what a Killers fan he is, by knowing all the words to even the more obscure songs. Religious nutjob or not, Brandon Flowers has a brilliant voice and their repertoire is difficult to better. Sadly it was more about struggling to stay warm than 'soaking' up the subdued atmosphere. I didn't even have to ask Ian and Tracey for help – they were always one step ahead with their ides for keeping the rain off so despite the struggle we did pretty well at appreciating what was going on onstage. After milking out the encores for a while we called it a day at~11pmish. I knew going to Bon Jovi was going to be an, ahem, challenge.
I had a slight change of personnel for saturday. For a start casual inspection of the forecast looked like it would be cloudy all day without rain so things were on. My consorts for the day were to be Karen and Toby who have taken me to things in the past. Sadly, unlike on the previous days we weren't able to Jazz things so I could get two carers up onto the disabled platform because it was so full, the sun being shining and it being Saturday, so Toby went and did some exploring of the huge event which we were informed might have had 80,000 attendees that day compared to a mere 50,000 when the Kings of Leon played on Thursday. Karen and Toby were very cool about only being able to get one of them on the platform. They got married a couple of weeks ago, and despite the party being in a couple of weeks I think not having to discuss wedmin made a nice change – reiterating my point about aging rockers first up at 5ish was former Kinks frontman Ray Davies who must be knocking on the door of 70 (he's 67 by my arithmetic), who warmed us up nicely with a few of his creations like 'summer afternoon' and 'girl, I want to be with you' -clearly a legend, when 'Jonathan Bon Jovi as Ray called him came on at about 7, it was the most perfect summer evening with barely a wisp of a cloud. JBJ, clearly used to these occasions looked great – the spitting image of iceman from Top Gun – he'd clearly done this somewhere before. I can see why he's such a hit with the ladies. He's quite good looking and the songs not about cowboys are the sort of thing girls love – crooning about how he'll be 'there for you'. I love the loud rock sound and the guitar sounds that being in such a huge outdoor arena generates plus the sight of 80,000 people on a sunny summer evening, it's almost worth the exhaustion but taking friends who enjoy it is where it's at. Right, a lie down is in order! Actually before I go I must mention Cherise, the lovely girl from Manchester who gave me the time of day after I'd guessed she was from Leeds. I'll see you for Arcade Fire on Thursday

19 Jun 2011

Post 294: Only inconveniencing people who say stupid things

Another difficult (difficult?! When's it not difficult?) subject today largely because I've got so many, too many. Firstly, a big thanks for coming round on Tuesday Evening to Rachel
to share in a great enthusiasm I've always had that has become more important since my stroke, red wine! I can't drink white anymore because my tastebuds have changed, so it tastes funny plus white wine makes me choke. I can no longer 'get the beers in' because needing the loo in a wheelchair does not lend itself to 'nipping out for a quick piss'. Plus, alcohol and brain injury AND fatigue don't mix – when you're as risk averse as I am now, beingy tipsy is not great plus being tipsy isn't fun anymore, it's dangerous! But there is just something about the shared appreciation of good wine whilst having a chat about nothing in particular that separates us from the animals. Dr Oz (as she is now styled) is a phD in Physics and sadly about to move to St Albans to become head of physics at some school or another but because her boyfriend lives in Seaford she'll be able to drop in although I can't help thinking our red wine appreciating days are numbered because she'll no longer just be up the road even if I do have 'the finest wines known to humanity' here. On Tuesday we were sampling the Neethlingshoff Malbec, noteworthy because it's amazing and I've actually been there a couple of times, first in 1999, and second in 2002 (I think). It is a beautiful place and despite any antipathy I might have for Stellenbosch based Afrikaans south Africans they make tidy wine.
Onto the bigger picture – I have pretty much decided after talking to who I regard as the experts, Dr Malik (a consultant neurologist) and Darren (an experienced Neurophysio that I can't afford for more than an assessment) that killing myself like I've been doing has no real point because the opportunity to reorganise my scrambled brain so I can be a normal human has been missed and there is no benefit to intensive practical therapy for me instead I am going to ramp up my personal training strength training which doesn't depress me so much if I can find somewhere to put one of these in my lounge – apparently it's called a power rack. All the exhausting and depressing work doing assisted walking and balancing has helped my general fitness and helped me keep my weight under control but my independent balance and independent walking and my overall wellbeing (something that has always been my main issue but which noone else seems to care a jot about) has not improved. Apparently this is my fault. Bullsh*t. I challenge anyone to do anything if they feel like this. Apparently it is my choice to feel like this. Bullsh*t, I hate saying this. Like the mushroom, I used to be a fun guy, although I wasn't so keen on dark, damp places (er at least some of the time, sorry), I know this'll probably sound hypocritical, but I hate people who complain, UNLESS THEY'VE GOT GOOD REASON and from where I'm sitting, able bodied people who have no problem walking or driving have no reason to complain. You can do what you want, go anywhere you want. I understand depression because I've been there,done that, hated the t-shirt, it discourages you (often strongly) from doing things – it is only physical disability that stops you doing things and fatigue is not just in the head. It is a physical problem. Some people may think I'm wrong and being harsh. I'm not a doctor, but I know what I see and feel. Enough ranting, in some better news I've found new housekeepers, Hassan and his partner Agnieska have been here since Sunday and everything about them being here has been brilliant so far – I have been trying to find a 2nd couple for the other double room but Hassan has recommended his cousin Abeer who is an assistant chef (always helpful). I hope they're all happy here as per the opening paragraph of the household manual that I've been working on this week(seemingly for hours)

“The way I see it with live in housekeepers/carers is this is as much your home as mine – you're here to look after the house first, feed the cats second and look after me last. My aim is to be as 'little inconvenience' as possible” - The main thing is that I can't fend for myself anymore, so you must give me plenty of notice (>24hrs) if you're not going to be here”
I still aim to inconvenience idiots at every opportunity I get. For example, my pet bugbear at the moment is 'god botherers' -usually, I leave them well alone unless they say something really unbelievably stupid. I try and stick to what I think of as the 'Stephen Fry' rule, I don't wish to argue with anything that helps people find salvation', it's only when they make idiotic proclamations like 'Gods plans couldn't be wrong'. This has been inspired by a row I had the other day on the 'young stroke survivors group' on facebook -usually a very quiet, timid, consensual, helpful and understanding place. I'd been on it a few times, usually to share experiences, offer advice and learn. Despite it being a welcoming place, I couldn't help noticing that once in a while some fool would 'thank god' that their stroke had helped them 'find God'. Funnilly enough mine has helped me not so much shut, more slam the door on any possibility of his existence. What kicked off the row was someone asked the question 'has your stroke strengthened or weakened your faith?
With typical unabashed unconfrontational aplomb I wrote 'if anything this has made me a more radical atheist'! (This thread has now been deleted so it's hard to remember precise wordings) Then this lady waded in saying 'how sorry she felt for me and how empty my life must be, as if this didn't wind me up enough she then went on to say how she thanked god for making her a 'locked in quad' -a fate worse than death in my opinion where you can only blink, surely the thing to be grateful for is that she'd amazingly recovered enough to be having this row with me. The other thing that wound me up was someone seemingly saying that Strokes were 'something he could use', to me this clearly implied that I was being punished by god for something I'd done, now I've done some 'questionable' sh*t in my life but nothing that merited having my life ruined. Unfckingblvbl. Maybe I am too easily wound up but where I see idiocy and delusion I just can't help myself! This even continued into an offline row with one of my 'ultra positive' friends. She simply said 'I bet that 'locked in quad' lady would be more happy in that situation than you would have been' I'm sure that's true. Whereas she'd be blinking out 'praise the lord, I'd be blinking out 'Dignitas'. I'm not a quitter, but I don't believe we're built to endure that much misery for such an uncertain and bound to be below par payoff. I just believe in reality and what's realistic but being positive no matter what is saying is if make believe and delusion make us happy, let's all just be like that. Let's just legalise LSD now, no sod that – lets put it in the water supply! In better and more Realistic news, Ham (my favourite cat) is sleeping on my bed most nights which is a massive improvement to my quality of life – an actual human female seems like too much to hope for.
Well, the Hancocks have just left,Matt (my old housemate, now an MP) and Martha had decided for the sake of conversation to leave their kids, Hope and Ferdie, with a babysitter, obviously saying 'good shout' is not quite what I think because they're good kids and kids are welcome. I soon realised that this gesture was of shared benefit because they were nursing substantial hangovers from Chancellor George Osbournes 40th birthday bash last night! The excellent roast Beef at the Bear (up there with the Fish and Chips) soon saw those off, and my attempts to get any good gossip out of them served to remind me just how well behaved they are, not just for Tories, for anyone. Jog on hacks.

10 Jun 2011

Post 293! Deadmau5 doesn't happen and more domestic drama

Most of the following is sadly irrelevant because Tanya and I decided against going to Deadmau5 after she got snarledin traffic in town on the way here. I feel her pain!
Therefore Today's post is likely to be mercifully shorter (I hope for everyones sakes) because of time constraints, I was supposed to be out all day Saturday in Victoria park in Hackney to see brilliant Canadian Techno DJ/Producer deadmau5 (pronounced deadmouse) I last went to Vicky Park in August 2009 to see Tiesto I've never seen deadmau5 but I like his music even if I think he's a bit of a clown for performing in that costume (strictly speaking a mouse) , the brainchild behind this is fellow 'getter on with it' Tanya – who first got me into going to concerts like this when she took me to Bon Jovi back in June 2008 . Little did we both realise how one concert by the permed soft rock overlords might give my post- stroke life some meaning. Since that gig I try and get tickets for EVERYTHING and my life is spent trying to piece together the ultra complicated logistics of going to these things. There is only one thing that could put a dampener (if you'll excuse the pun) on things, yup the weather forecast is for showers at Deadmau5 – expecting the British weather to not be a dick is too much to ask I think ( I was right too apparently) – it's not quite a wedding but it's quite important that it stayed dry to avoid a mudbath – I'm not even sure my chair works on mud. Now I must tell myself off for having such un-positive thoughts.
Bullsh*t, I call them realistic thoughts. If you're going to an outdoor event the word we use for people who are completely convinced it'll be Sunny are...... FOOLS. I know a few and I used to be a bit of a fool myself sometimes although not in the 'happy-clappy 'let's all hold hands, sit round the campfire and be positive singing kum-by-a my lord kum-by-a' more in the 'it started TWO hours ago' sense or my personal favourite – driving 3 hours (to a golf thing) to find it was actually on the week after, actually a uni friend of mine still calls me 'fool' after trying to take a souvenir at his 21st – I had managed to drag this gold plastic cherub half way to my car (which I couldn't have driven for a while when my friends father tapped me on the shoulder and said “what do you think you're doing? I flipped through my Rolodex of responses and came back with “what's it look like I'm doing?” It didn't take an evolutionary leap to get 'fool' from that. I could have got down about these things but decided to just 'roll with the punches'. Not being able to just 'rough it' is one of the things that gets me down now, likewise the reason that advertising frustrates me, if I do buy something because I've seen an advert, it has cost me money I hadn't planned on spending because even though I full well understand that money isn't the be all and end all of everything it often can be for the generation above us and as I see my parents a lot more than the average 34 year old, then a little bit of that attitude has rubbed off (just as well probably). I can probably claim I'm in an ok position (largely because of close management and Dad's ever watchful eye) I can't afford to save but I can manage the odd extravagance but I'll spend money on my friends and family and not think twice about it. I've seen people lose friends over the irrelevant matter of who pay's for dinner or who's round it is! If you're in doubt, it's yours and the reward you get is for defusing any tension. This is priceless. That said not if someone asks you for money in a sly way or by laying on a guilt-trip. Anyway the other reason I get so frustrated about advertising is nothing seems to be for me anymore. Adverts for holidays are particularly bad, but adverts for a whole host of things grind my gears and appear to be for carefree people – f*cking car insurance springs to mind.
At home – I feel the carer saga may be drawing to a close with an Indian guy and his Polish girlfriend moving in Today (Sunday). I still have a tear in the corner of my eye about losing the Mauritian couple to some rich Russians although their popping in to see me on Saturday evening is pretty comforting. I totally understand their decision to go because if you're a foreign couple making your way abroad you've gotta take the money, but my deeply held view is that if you're able bodied jolly well do things yourselves and don't poach people from those who genuinely need them. I'll stop there before the asterisks come out!
Finally, unfathomable gratitude is due to my mate Froniga without whose help I'd have noone. Of the 4 interviews she organised last Saturday, she uncovered the criminal record of the guy In the couple I'd chosen. Another bullet dodged methinks. Drama continues to follow me and I'm f*cking bored by it.
They say ignorance is bliss, Well maybe it is? I wish I was more ignorant in that case. One thing worse is being told to be more positive by a person who is clearly not ignorant after repeatedly telling them, it's not possible when you feel like this! I do try but nothing shifts it.
I'm sorry if anyone feels singled out by this.
And finally finally, a thanks in anticipation of the visit on Sunday morning by my pseudo-sister Vicky Denning
with her latest addition Amelia. Her husband PJ is almost certainly proud but I can imagine him thinking ' Where's my England opening batsman?' Anyway – enough stirring – their two daughters are gorgeous and they should be rightfully proud. OK, just said goodbye to them and have to report that Amelia (who they nickname Milly) is adorable (despite being pictured with a half asleep Ogre) I also can't believe how much Gemima has changed since I last saw her and Vicky. Vicky and PJ are on sparkling form and PJ's observation that I'm a 'good visit on a rainy day' gives me reason to hope it always rains on Sundays.
This post has gone on a bit! I thought it was going to be shorter

7 Jun 2011

Post 292: Thanks where it's due and Callcentres should be put in Room 101!



Tony and I giving Vicky Denning's (nee Smith) 21st speech back in about 1998 (I think) the stupid Orange wigs were because Alex Potts, THE 21st speechgiver at many other 21sts (he was brilliant) had ginger hair. God, we were cards! Today's sort of supplemental post is a big thankyou to my best mate Tony whom I did mention a bit in my last post. Like most people, Tony is a busy man so him making the effort to see me is very much appreciated – as it is from everyone. Tony is a problem solver and organiser of people as am I, he's just a million times better at it – which compared to him probably makes me a problem creator as most of my problem solving skills have been thrown on the bonfire that is/was my life. As soon as he got here yesterday he was looking for things to fix -most people seem content now to let me struggle (mentioning no names but sod struggling – that isn't how I'd ever let anyone I'm close to live. Within five minutes of being here, he'd identified that my broadband speed was pathetic and ruining my PC performance. It was a joke, 'Right, let's try and sort this out' knowing full well that that would involve talking to several call centres.
What transpired almost made me cry – first, we got hold of a guy from Sky(in Ireland obviously judging by the guys lilting brogue), he told Tony that according to his system the speed showing on the data portion of the line at my address was 0mbit/s which is almost right but clearly wrong as something is trickling through. The Sky bloke told him that this was a BT problem as BT own the equipment. Sky just resell the service (including telephony) so they can flog it with their TV product. This is everything to do with taking away BT's monopoly so a regulator could regulate the wholesale price and a plethora of companies from Tesco to Sky to the Carphone warehouse can try and flog you what is essentially a BT product and surprise surprise it's a crap one. In theory this was supposed to offer consumers a better deal whereas in practice the reseller(Sky) can blame the wholesaler (BT) for any responsibility for providing a decent service. I was listening to this playout over my sh*tty speakerphone knowing full well that we'd end up getting nowhere, so we phoned BT (surprise, surprise a call centre in India) where the chance of them being able to help us was remote, especially that as a retail customer for Sky we could not report a fault, only Sky can do that to BT apparently so the BT guy in India told us to phone the Sky bloke in Ireland which Tony had already done – at this point the phone hung up with no warning – so that's 45 minutes of our lives gone, it's what I used to feel like after I'd listened to Chris Moyles in the shower!
Well there are two points really. Tony was a hero for trying, my family and other friends have all but told me that they're never making calls like this on my behalf because 'I can do it myself' because of course, there's nothing wrong with me! I'm just putting this on you know! Anyone who thinks this and treats me as such has turned their back on me and is the one who has given up trying to understand what this is like. Those who haven't (like Tony) thankyou very much. I've a pretty good idea now of those who have and those who haven't. I'm not an idiot. Thankyou very much. Out of sight, is out of mind and this broadband thing has lit a fire under my ass. If anyone has the email address of the Telecoms Ombudsman, please forward it to me. The worst thing about this is Tony and I only got that far to get hung up upon because we're both reasonably in the know about this. I used to be a Telecoms analyst and Tony still is a management insultant, sorry consultant. Is anyone else as sick and tired of this? Where I worked afterwards was for a subsidiary of possibly the worst telecoms company ever; ntl (now Virgin Media), whose customers hated them so much they set up a website called nthellworld! I must have really hated my job in the city to go and join a company I knew was doomed. Desperate or stupid? Stupidly desperate I think you'll find.

5 Jun 2011

Post 291: Detoxifying my 'thinking time'

I do a lot of my thinking in the shower in the morning these days and it has got somewhat easier now I've swapped from Radio 1 to XFM. It no longer means I have to listen to that fatuous halfwit Chris Moyles piss around with his team of fawning sycophants. It is such a damning indictment on this country that he is #1, although certain friends of mine put my dislike of him down to 'class hatred' – this is patent b*llocks. My theory was that radio 1 was the only station that worked without static interference, but this theory has been dashed because most people have DAB or RDS these days. So this country has no excuse! I used to listen because his show was quite good at playing the latest stuff but I got fed up with the latest X-factor muppet's latest warble and all the Hip-Hop, most irksome of all was Moyles himself sucking up to celebrities, letching over every girl ( I hope I do it a bit better?!) and trying to get Dominic Burn (the news/weather guy) to lie about the weather. A ploy to try and make us feel better although the inane banter had already beaten me into submission, and because of the way my radio works it was out of my reach and when there was a particularly awful bit there was nothing I could do. I'm sure closer inspection of the Geneva convention would reveal this to be a banned and heinous form of torture! I have gone through this for the best part of two years. It has made me think that a lot of my morning 'thinking time' has been devoted to ever more homicidal thoughts against Moyles!
After I'd been told for about the millionth time to just 'change station' I finally have. Having been recommended XFM, I briefly toyed with the idea of becoming the only listener on Halifax Radio – I've seen those bloody awful ads so being a Halifax customer I could join in the 'hilarity'. I ask you, that and Go Compare Man make me want to round up advertising people so they can just suffer each others company, the Geneva Convention doesn't forbid that! As it is I've gone for xfm which plays and replays the heydays of indie rock'n'roll, the last 20 years, the only thing that's slightly annoyed me is that Oasis have the most songs in the x list 500 and I try and stick to the principle of disliking music by people I can't stand
On the home front I'm interviewing several couples this weekend for the live in vacancy all of which has been organised by my friend Froniga who has used her expertise in domestic staffing to navigate me through the high seas that surround finding new housekeepers/carers. I have already had one narrow escape , but trying to do this without help just isn't possible, I have neither the typing speed, the eyesight or the energy. Having met four lots of people yesterday afternoon I actually feel that there are people out there, I am meeting some more couples later and I hope to be in a position to make an offer this evening. Sorting this out will make me feel so much more settled especially if you consider my ability to make a crisis out of a drama.
At least I've got a visit from my long-suffering best mate Tony. He has been working his butt off on a project for the last couple of months, that plus being unsurprisingly henpecked by the lovely Kate,(her and Tony in the middle) getting to see him is a bit of a special occasion, ok, so I get all wistful and melancholy about anyone who makes the effort to come and see me but that is just how I feel and the right way to do things.
Back to my thinking time, I'm sure I've said it before but memories are a 'nice to have', if they were the be all of everything noone would do anything, they'd just sit there in a daze remembering great moments in life – I may have been lucky to have had a few but sadly all I care about now is achieving quality of life. If anyone thinks this sounds selfish -achieving quality of life for yourself can be all about how you feel creating it for your family and friends. I make my Dad happy by not spending MY money, thanks to my pension I have enough to live on but because my Dad is my power of Attorney he gets to see what I spend every penny on! Believe me we have had some arguments! Imagine at age 34, having your 74 year old father essentially being in control of YOUR money. I love the old bugger and couldn't survive without his 'guidance' but there are times....
Finally a big thankyou goes to Karen and Toby for stepping in and taking me to 'Filmharmonic' at the Albert Hall on Thursday. This is one of many great evenings there I have in my 'entertainment for sanity' diary. Plan A had been for my LSP's (long-suffering parents) to take me but my piss-up, brewery skills of organisation found last week that they were in Spain. After my usual bout of panic emailing my old university mate Karen and her fiancé Toby stepped forward to save the day. I love Filmharmonic and the Albert Hall, if you think about it, where would a lot of films be without their music? Could you imagine Jaws without it? Could you imagine Psycho without the stabbing music? This list could probably go on but it's not going to because I do enough posing!
It was especially good to see Karen and Toby on the edge of their seats. Some further good news this morning has been that my lift has confirmed for their wedding in July, the logistics had looked in tatters after my mum had revealed she had to be at some Golden wedding anniversary or other but I have asked my friend Anna who ably took me to a wedding last year .A big hug to Caro for being one of the rare ones.

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