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13 Jun 2013
It is with some trepidation,
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
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
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.