barclaydave

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Month: March, 2013

Easter Sunday and still it snows

I’m convinced the times they are a-changing, to quote Bob Dylan. We used to have sunshine and showers through Spring but nowadays we only seem to have 2 seasons cold and wet, followed by freezing and wet. Can’t remember the last time we had a summer, wish I was rich and could move to the USA, living in an apartment on love street. I feel my time has passed when I was busy making other plans.

My friends and I were fascinated hearing and reading about the “savages” who needed to be civilised by the sophisticated Europeans. The Native Americans, Aborigines and the tribes in Africa all lived in harmony with nature, killing only what they needed to stay alive. Making clothes from the skins, feet covering from the hardest hide. What did the civilised Europeans do in America? Hunted native animals to the brink of extinction or beyond, once an animal is extinct it’s lost forever, and anything higher on the food chain becomes less likely to survive.

I know depression is no excuse but everything has been getting on top of me again. I know I should have everything under control but, as anyone who has ever had chronic depression or bi-polar, will tell you this is not always easy. I’ve found if I get out of bed and get dressed then half the battle is won. Sometimes it can take me hours to decide to get dressed, especially in this cold weather. I find on bad days (and there have been so many of these recently) that I start things and then leave them half finished.

This blog is a case in point. I started this Easter Sunday, two days ago, and am only finishing it off today. Once I feel I can’t write anymore this will be published as 2 days is the limit before I discard another post.

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5 to 1, baby, 1 in 5

No-one here gets out alive. Welcome dear reader to my latest blog, I really must bring myself up to date with these and force myself to come on here at least 3 times a week to add a blog, even if I’ve got nothing to say (like now for instance) I can blog about that.

I dug up another old album and have been listening to that on repeat play for the last couple of days, the album is Their Satanic Majesties Request, not every track is a gem but as an album they all seem to gel and add to the overall appeal of the entire album. It brings back memories to me of a summer full of fun and sunshine (not too much rain that I can recall in ’67). A time of reflection, with friends, listening to either this album or the other biggy of that year (Blonde on Blonde) or an album by some group or other called Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Oh yes, magical times, my dear reader. There was nothing we could not do, I knew about the “police action/conflict” that was happening in Vietnam, the student protests against the war. My friends and I were all paid up hippies and believed in peace, love, free speech (one each) and free love. The summer of ’67 became known as the summer of love due to the happenings in London, Paris and right across the rest of Western Europe as well as those happening in California and the North of the USA. I spoke to friends I had known for a long time and made new friends that summer. One of these new friends was an American who had just returned from his draft tour of duty in Vietnam and he was telling me of the atrocities of war based on his own experiences. I decided that if only half of what he was telling me was true then war was not something we should be doing (as a race, I mean). I had never thought of being a protest singer until that time, of course I was aware of Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez and Simon and Garfunkel. Folkies one and all who did do protest songs against war in general and in some cases Vietnam in particular. That summer I discovered Tom Paxton, Country Joe and the Fish, Lovin’ Spoonful, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. I also had my eyes opened to the wonders of the female form and the pleasure to be got from that exquisite piece of engineering.

When I enlisted in the Royal Navy in 1971 I requested a posting to the South China Sea to see for myself what was happening in the region of Vietnam, Cambodia and all points there. Not a request that was granted, 6 months after I joined up we were advised that no British ships would be heading anywhere near the war zones in Asia (I think this may have been down to the violent protests of the late 60’s and early 70’s.

Subsequently I used my last remaining option to leave Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, I was told I could apply to the US Marines if I really wanted to go to Asia and see for myself what was occurring over there. I passed, mainly because I was very anti-war but also because I didn’t want to be sent home in a box. I knew from a few friends that the forces radio in Vietnam had received a much needed shot in the arm due to several DJ’s turning up through the draft and being allowed free reign to play songs that were hits back home.

That’s all for now folks but this may indeed be continued and concluded at another time.

Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends

It’s been too long since my last blog, no excuses would be good enough so I’m not going to make any, all I can do, dear reader, is to apologize (once again) and hope that you can bear with me while I’m going through some hard times at the moment. Every day is a winding road, getting longer all the time. I used to get mad at my school, the teachers who taught me weren’t cool. But to paraphrase the words of one North East lad (Sting), I was born in the 50’s and we knew more than those trying to teach us.

I have found more and more people are talking about mental illness so I now count myself among the lucky few to be afflicted with a mental illness. I started having problems aged 13, which I put down to hormones running wild, friends and relatives would ask me how I was feeling before asking me to join them in games or going for walks. This was because I used to go from very black moods when I would talk about suicide and death, to periods where I was thought to have taken uppers as I was running everywhere and nothing was too much bother.

This also manifested itself in school work at the time, when set an essay topic I would sometimes struggle to write sensibly, however, when given a title and told that I could write about anything as long as it loosely related to the title I gave my imagination free reign. Some of my best short stories were written while I was “on a high”. The other thing which has baffled friends/wives/colleagues and other family members is how I can drink a double espresso and immediately after go to sleep? The only time I ever tried a decaf coffee (I don’t drink tea as I don’t like any that I have tried) I was running around for days and climbing the walls, couldn’t sleep as the brain was just too active. Most people who are affected by caffeine, have the opposite reactions to myself. Decaff means they can sleep after drinking and caffeine rich has them climbing the walls and running around like headless chickens.

To be continued….