Tag Archives: strange one

A Perception of Age

How old do you feel, how old do you think and how old do you look?  Each have their different perspective’s and differing answers I imagine.

Me well I feel different ages on different days depending on the circumstances, so today I feel about 60 give a take a few years either way; of course not being 60 and being a good decade away from that age I can’t know exactly how that feels (and for those of you that are around about this venerable age I welcome your thoughts on being 60 ish).  Basically I feel older than I am, a touch weary and my bones ache from the inside out.

My mind thinks I’m about 25 though sometimes I will admit to nearly 30; I’m conscious of being a little different, I’ve had nearly 30 years of existence and experience and that has to have some effect but my core self is still the same if a little jaded at the edges.

I think I look younger than I am (though when I grow a beard full of gingery white and grey bits I think I look way older!).  If I had to put an age to me I’d say late 30’s early 40’s but I could be fooling myself; if I look in the mirror after a particularly bad day I would amend that to match how I probably feel at that moment (matching the above).

I love to observe other people and I often wonder how old people are.  I am often surprised when I learn the real ages of people which usually tend to be younger than I originally imagined.  Sometimes it’s greying hair that does it which always adds a few years.  Other times it may well be a weathered face and many times the ravages of years of smoking can make a person age sooner.

I often, like many teenagers, worried about my acne but now I learn that this was actually a benefit, my skin having a touch more natural lubrication is now still soft (and still a pain to shave, it is very rare I scrape my face and don’t end up with little red  blotches of blood).  I suppose it’s the Ying and Yang of life, a natural balance.  But I can see the bags developing and I don’t think I’ll be able to claim a younger age for long, my really age is slowly dragging my imagined one up to it.

How old are you?

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It’s Only Rock’n’roll…

Some of you may be aware but I do a bit of singing and strumming of the old guitar.  I’m not brilliant but I think I have something, enough to make me pick the thing up every couple of years and spend some time practicing with the general aim of getting out there and playing some tunes live, a gig or two maybe to feel the adrenaline pumping…  Most of the time other things get in the way; real life mainly paying the bills, ids, wife, family, work, gardening, decorating, dog walking….

I suppose I do better than many who dream of rock’n’roll stardom but end up selling all their gear, sadly never to touch an e-string again.  I’ve never given up just lowered my ambitions; I keep up a small sliver of hope (it’s hung in the loft next to my amps, bass and spare guitar) and try to maintain my MySpace, YouTube and other sites (though most of them are geared towards my writing mainly these days which looks likely to be as successful a personal endeavour as my musical one…).  I did once have a lady comedian who’d actually appeared on TV (in an episode of Jonathan Creek none-the-less) pick one of my songs on MySpace for her song of the week!  Ah stardom!  You do hear of people being discovered, long-lost treasures hidden away but given the vast size of web these days as it groans under the weight of budding ‘stars’ I think I may have to wait a very long time to be discovered!

I decided the other day it was about time that I dipped back into my rock’n’roll days and get back in touch with Andy my sparring partner in my first band days round 1987 along with Will our guitarist.  We started off without a real drummer but did have a wonderful little drum machine!

We were the Candidates for a short while and I managed to blag us some good gigs at the local Bradford Queens Hall – I felt quite brave marching in to the guy’s office – I forget his name but he later left the role under a very big black cloud.  I still remember his thinning blond hair, white Miami Vice suit and thick glasses which magnified his eyes to an alarming size.  Anyway he gave us a gig and it could have been quite a good one to tell our children about!  We were down to support The Levellers who went on to score a few hits and quite a big following.  Instead they pulled out (couldn’t take the competition I think) and instead we supported Jester Turtle (a South African band of who I can now find no record of existing apart from in the dusty corners of my mind – I remember tight zebra trousers and permed mullets and a vaguely Africa meets Abba feel to their music).

Andy was in the last band I played live with (apart from a quickly rehearsed works bands I fronted for a 40th party bash for a fellow colleague when we played Love is All Around).  The Lost Patrol died in 1991 live on stage, thanks to the efforts of our drummer a thin mustachioed chap who decided he needed a pint or ten to play spot on.  He was quite wrong of course, it did hinder his timing a touch and as he got faster and faster me and Andy tried and failed to keep up.  We’d managed to fill the place, again the Bradford Queens Hall cellar bar, with 500 paying customers.  This was partly down to an excellent write-up (by yours truly) hailing us as Bradford’s next big thing and to our support band’s larger group of supporters!  We went on last of course and managed to clear the place in half an hour (it should have been at least an hour) which saved us having to sign any autographs afterwards and meant we could split the profits (a fiver each after costs – PA, security, rider etc – no we didn’t pay the drummer, in fact we never saw him again) and get home in time for a mug of cocoa and the 9 o’clock news!

I do have a record of my solo spot the night before – I’d not been able to get my band colleagues to agree to do a full gig so I did it alone (there was no money involved just a pint – I basically turned up, plugged in and played!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nYJkees9hs&feature=player_detailpage

The massive nerve induced headache subsided after about a week and I’ve only ever done solo spots since (apart from the one off gig mentioned above).  And of course another local band stole our thunder and became the best band from Bradford or thereabouts – to be fair Terrorvision were a little more together than us and their drummer could keep time.

Back to Andy.  He introduced me to a whole range of musical styles, a universe of artists I’d either only briefly heard of or not at all.  He was heavily into eclectic music collecting  and his tastes ranged from Stevie Nicks to Sonic Youth, Velvet Underground to the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  He was John Lennon to my Paul McCartney – I was the soft poppy guy he was the razors edge.  I loved the way he played bass.

I’m now back in touch with him and I can’t believe it’s 26 years since we practiced in his basement.  At least we tried and even though we didn’t make it we still have those memories of trying.

Anyway time to do some practice – and boy do I need it…

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The Right Signals

Today I shall be starting with a rant, something I rarely do in public and usually only when driven to it by my perception of something ridiculous, absurd or plain stupid.  This is usually when behind the wheel of a car but does sometimes happen when I’m a mere passenger (in a car or a bus it doesn’t really matter).

Now I have to admit I am not ranting out of a sense of my own perfection I am not perfect and like all humans (yes I am actually human though sometimes I do wonder, perhaps I’m an alien whose mind was wiped clean or a new species born from humanity but ever so slightly different – then I tell myself to cease the deranged day dreams and get back to driving) I make mistakes every now and then.

I have mixed my colours (reds, blues and whites) in a washing machine and ended up with a lovely pink shirt (very fashionable I’ve heard though not really to my taste).  I have started my car and somehow managed to lock the doors but still been firmly and securely stood at the side of the car, my mouth dropped open in amazement at my stupidity!  I have let my children draw on my face and forgotten completely as I rushed out of the door to go to work (I wondered why so many people seemed happy that day with most people greeting me with hesitant but vibrant smiles).  And I have on occasion forgotten to signal when either changing direction or at a junction – for this I apologise profusely and it makes me feel ever so guilty it really does.

I have noticed an increasing number of people who seem incapable of indicating.  I am not sure if it is a one-off occasion (as with me above and to you people I also apologise profusely and I do understand completely how each evening you now spend some time in tortured anguish over the guilt).

What I am certain of is that there are far too many people not doing it to tell me that most of them simply don’t want to, don’t care or have forgotten that not only is it helpful to other road users to know which direction you intend to go but also one of the things you get tested on when you pass your test.

Of course it could be that they’ve not passed their test which means they simply won’t know which I suppose I can excuse; if you’ve not studied the highway code taken lessons or taken a test then of course you’re not going to know what that little stick connected to the steering wheel is for are you?

The majority of people I’m sure must have passed their test at some point.  So why do they sit there at a junction as traffic drives steadily past, with a look of pained anxiety on their faces, desperate to pull out and wondering why nobody seems willing to oblige?  I have a little rule I usually use – if somebody is waiting to pull out and I can let them do so safely then I will, as long as they are indicating!

There has been a couple of occasions when a car has sat there indicating correctly and I’ve slowed down half a mile down the road, flashed my lights madly, waved my hands etc. only for the person to calmly sit there seemingly waiting for a much bigger gap!  But that type of person is a lot rarer.

I am trying not to let other people’s’ driving annoy me.  Put simply there is not a lot I can do about it, I don’t have a blue light I can pop on the roof, I don’t have a machine gun installed in my car grill and getting angry tends to make me sweat far too much (which then means I have to use the washing machine a little more and I get more pink shirts).

Safe driving everybody.

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Where Did the Time Go?

Firstly a profound apology – I once more find myself neglecting those who have supported me and followed me and helped me across the depths of cyberspace; I thought I’d post something up here only to notice that my last blog entry was November last year!  I did make a promise to be more proliferate (and I’d hoped the coffee would help get me back to that state of artistic enthusiasm I’d displayed before!).  But once again I let the real world – or at least the one that pays the bills and drives me to up the black coffee intake – push my artistic pursuits to one side.  And so I send you all my deepest apologies and I promise I will try.

Time does seem to slip like silky sand through my fingers, especially if I don’t keep an eye on things and all I wanted to achieve is left in a messy pile on the carpet (and it takes an age to vacuum it all up again).  So now I’m trying some positive thought to get me out of this ditch I fell into.  The sides looked far too steep to climb and for a while I was getting myself resigned to a life lived with the annoying pain of unfilled dreams.  The sides of the ditch seemed to be getting steeper and muddier and no matter how hard I tried to climb it just made my clothes damp and dirty and made me feel ever so tired and weary.

I’m not a religious person and I don’t believe in God (whichever God – and I know some of you do which is fine – I used to work for a Church based organisation of which there were several flavours of Christianity that some of my colleagues believed in so therefore in general religion was not discussed and therefore harmony was achieved).  I do believe in the power of people – it is within each of us a power for good and bad, an ability to create or destroy and that includes ourselves.  And so I started to try to believe in myself.

Now I’m not getting carried away, I’m not going to start thinking I’m the ‘new’ anything or any better than a million other people who write, sing, compose paint etc. but I am going to start believing that I have some talent, enough to continue and above all feel happy in it what I do.  Yes I’d love to have recognition which is where you wonderful people come in, a little bit of kindness and kind words go a long way.

In short I am trying to concentrate on the good things I have, to push those bad things to the back and not let their negative nagging get the better of me.  Well let’s see how it goes.

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Coffee!

You will have to excuse me as I seem to be suffering or is that experiencing a little bit if a legal high!  I have been a fairly conservative drinker of different beverages for all my life with the usual liking for regular coffee (with milk), strongish tea (with milk) plain drinking chocolate and the odd flavoured variety of instant chocolates.  I have had periods of abstention from caffeine based liquids (especially when in my teens when I was particularly taken by the a lovely young lady whose religion enforced a rule that meant, meant, refraining from taking any drugs including coffee and tea – my bubble was well and truly burst when I saw her in the pub with a pint glass in one hand and a large unfiltered cigarette in the other!).

Recently I have started to experiment a little with drinks as part of my diet, trying to find a drink that is both interesting and tasty and at the same time keeps my wondering mind away from calorific food!  Yes that does mean I end up spending more time in the little room (or very little room in my house – it’s so small we call it the ‘porta-loo’) but at least I’m not piling on the pounds by munching on cake and biscuits etc.).

Anyway I have just discovered espresso coffee!  I did try it a long time ago and it tasted like thick bitter tar so I kept to the mild stuff.  But I thought to myself why not give it another go so I bought some instant espresso whilst out shopping and quite simply I love and want more!  The jar doesn’t give any clues as to the dose needed so I’m gradually increasing the number of spoons full needed (I’m on three heaped ones so far).

I don’t think it’s effected me too much and I don’t seem to be babbling too much and I do feel VERY awake.  I think now I’ve tried the instant stuff I may be able to take the full strength ‘real’ stuff they provide in  cafes and I may actually start to take special trips to try it…

Now I want to explore more, I need to find just the right taste, just the right flavour, just the right hit!  I was saving for Christmas (sorry I used the ‘C’ word but I find I can’t resist it as the TV is now full of adverts which will soak us all in the spirit of good will and cheer and give us all a painted on smile by December 1st) but think I may have to use that money to buy more very strong coffee!  Can you help any advice as to which is best?

Just one other question I need you fine friends to answer; is it possible to get a place in rehab if I try to dry out?

Anyway I need another cup I’ve not had one in the last ten minutes and I think my fingers are quivering just a touch and I need a hit to steady my tattered nerves!  See you soon! 🙂

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Writer’s Block or Cowardice?

I’ve not managed to do any writing for a while but I’m not sure why.  I’m thinking it could be one of two things; either my fear of writing something turgid and banal or becoming too involved in the process that time dissolves and I have to break off at some point and come back down to the real world!

It’s the same with a few other things I ‘do’ like music: I love to compose my songs and time flies when I practice (and no I’m avoiding picking up my guitar too I’m afraid.

Once more the days grow shorter, the sun looses it’s strength and the season of ‘good will’ creeps towards us like a grinning fool full of mirth and promise.  I’ve not had the best of years and some of the negative things have left me feeling less than inspired so I can blame that for some of my ‘block’ but I will have to take the plunge at some point.  What do you think?

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Unrequited

With a voice like ice on fire, melted to the virtual skin of a blood soaked threat
With a wit to sear the tone of deliverance and chill the bones of men
With a pain that breaks the heart and fills my eyes with tears
With a love that never wants  what you just can’t have

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