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Month: July, 2013

Picture yourself in a boat on a river

Well, we were once again told to expect thunder storms and yes it’s been overcast for some time but still no rain or thunder and still it remains hot. I, personally, hope it continues like this for the rest of the week. At night it can rain and storm as much as it likes, during the day it doesn’t have to be bright as long as it’s warm.

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Lightning and water, beauty in Nature, all around if we choose to see it.

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Boats, particularly steel or wooden boats, have been struck in the past but has anyone heard of any recently?

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Sunshine came softly through my window today

Which was unexpected as I could see flashes and hear thunder in the distance when I went to bed at 3:30. The forecast was for heavy rain with thunder storms for the rest of the week, I don’t think we’ll escape them altogether, probably get soaked tomorrow when I go to pay my bills.

If there is one thing I’ve learned in my 60 years here, it’s to expect and plan for the worst while hoping for the best. I’m normally easy going, some people have commented that I’m so laid back I’m horizontal. I rarely make plans for things to do and places to go as the weather normally lets me down and my health isn’t what it once was. If the sun does shine and my back isn’t too bad then I will go out, even if just to have a wander round the streets. I’ve never been put off by rain either, as John Lennon put it so succinctly in 1967 if the sun don’t shine you get a tan while standing in the English rain.

I used to think that I was just the same as a lot of my friends since we shared the same taste in clothes, hair styles, music and also in recreational use of the same drugs. Caffeine, alcohol, LSD and pot. I read the blog by Sam Branson recently, breaking the taboo, and his arguments are totally spot on. If the governments got together to decriminalise drug use, and view it as a medical problem instead of criminal, manufactured the drugs and sold them legally in certain shops/clubs they would cut out the dangers of heroin being mixed with toxic substances to make it go further. This would generate massive increases in revenues, with most countries going through extremely austere times this would alleviate some of the cuts.

The war on drugs which Tricky Dicky Nixon started 40 years ago isn’t working as the drug cartels are still poisoning our streets and getting very rich in the process. Why shouldn’t this wealth go to help fund hospices and rehab centres for those addicted? Just my point of view but if drugs were decriminalised and controlled wouldn’t the cartels go out of business pretty quickly?

A new day yesterday

We can dance if we want to, we can do whatever we want to. We can go wherever the mood takes us. Even without money, without travelling, we can escape the humdrum, even if only for a few minutes or hours. If there’s one thing we all possess it’s imagination. Some times we forget how to use it. It doesn’t leave, just takes some time to start if it’s been unused for a few years.

If you listen to children, they start with an idea and build on that with imagination. We should cherish our imagination and, when we spend time with our children, we should develop their imaginations as well as using our own. I’m not advocating spending time with children you don’t know as that could lead people to think you’re something you’re not (or shouldn’t be). If they’re your children or your children’s children, talk to them and encourage their imaginations. Don’t let them play games on consoles for hours at a time.

Those of us born in the 50’s knew more than those who taught us, we were open to new ideas and used our imaginations to dream things and watch those dreams become reality. If it wasn’t for the likes of Lewis Carroll showing us a glimpse behind the forbidden door would we have chased the rabbit down the hole? Would we have gone to the moon? Would we have developed different ways to communicate? Tech has come along way in the last 50 odd years. When Armstrong, Collins and Aldrin went to the moon, the computer was housed in its own building, had about half the processing capability of a modern pc and cost millions to make and use.

The Internet is a relatively new way of interacting with people from all walks of life and from all over the planet. The concept, however, has been around longer. Just as the mobile, or cell, phone came from the communicators on Star Trek from the mind of Gene Roddenberry and have developed further than mere voice or simple text messages they were originally capable of handling. What do all these gadgets and tech have in common? Someone imagined them, and then set about creating them. Such is the power of imagination.

Singing all day, singing ’bout nothing

Well, we are still here, dear reader, another day older, another day closer to death. Topic of the day is our mortality. Everyone born is going to die, fact of life, we procreate but death is always waiting in the wings. His sickle is always at the ready but he does have a dark (dare I say black?) sense of humour. I have met him a few times, so I do not fear death, if I ever did. I also don’t take risks like I used to, but as a child I contracted meningitis and, according to my mum, the doctors at Newcastle General told her to prepare for the worst as my chances of recovery were about 15%. However, I’m still here, almost 58 years down the line.

Death came calling a few years later, I had fallen down some steps and, no broken bones, but I’d swallowed a lot of stagnant water from a puddle at the bottom of the stairs. This wasn’t indoors, it was an abandoned warehouse or factory which was due to be demolished. Since then I’ve had a few close calls, some at my own hand, but somebody up there likes me!

Not sure why, I feel like a total reject most of the time, mainly because it was drummed into me from an early age that I was neither use nor ornament. When this gets repeated daily to you then you do begin to believe it. Maybe that’s why I’ve suffered with manic depression (or bi-polar disorder as it’s now called) for so many years. Not so much anymore, am I having manic fits, mostly it’s depression I get. Now I’m not talking about feeling down, I’m talking about suicidal thoughts and actions. Sometimes I forget to take my Prozac and find myself tying a slip knot in a rope. One of these days I’m going to meet up with my old friend death, shake his hand just before he chops my head off to let the spirit free.

Please do not adjust your set

What a country of moaners we are today! I overheard some people talking while I was taking a breather complaining that its far too hot this summer! If it was still raining as it did for most of 2012 would they complain then? Of course they would, made me think about a time during my teenage years when it was really hot, temp back then was Fahrenheit not Celsius, this one day the temp was 82 in the shade, my friend and I decided there was a semi decent beach about 7 miles away so we walked there, had a few hours in the sun then headed back home armed with an ice lolly each and a bottle of irn bru between us (pint bottles we had back then).

To cut a long story short, we set off from home at 8:30 in the morning, had us an adventure, got burned, and arrived home at 6 in the afternoon. Both sets of parents were about to call out search parties when we arrived home so we were in trouble. That was common place back then, yes kids were going missing and turning up dead, but not as widespread as it seems now. The world had less yet we made do with what we had and used our imaginations into the bargain.

Nowadays, it seems there are so many gadgets around that all there is to do is complain. Roads are melting in the South, trains aren’t running (no surprise there, it’s either too wet, rain, wrong kind of snow, wrong kind of wind blowing wet leaves onto the tracks or else it’s too hot and the rails are buckling.

For my money, it is often too cold or wet in this country so lets enjoy summer when it gets here as it only seems to turn up once a decade these days.

What a summer

The sun is shining, temperatures climbing, birds singing, bees buzzing, only thing spoiling this wonderful weather we’re having? My feet have come up like balloons, legs are aching and I can hardly move. There’s something about the sunshine, however, that no matter how I feel physically my spirits are lifted and mental perspective improves.

If we could have at least two hours of warm sunshine every day my mental state would only improve. It doesn’t even have to be this hot, just warm enough to not be cold would do. How warm am I talking? Well in the winter a nice temperature is going to take the edge off the cold, about 45, or 46, degrees Fahrenheit would do, high single figures in Celsius maybe 7 or 8? Am I maybe asking too much? After all, if we are on the brink of destroying the Eco system of this planet won’t the planet have something to say? There isn’t anything freaky about the weather, the planet will take an imbalance and use adverse, abnormal or, so-called “freaky”, weather to correct whatever is wrong. If we permit too much to go wrong at the hands of our industrial companies (oil companies being a topical example) then the planet may, as has been hinted, use nature to shut down for centuries, or even millennia, in order to heal itself.

I firmly believe that, just as thunderstorms will correct an imbalance in the electron charge between earth and sky, nature has a vast arsenal to use before total meltdown occurs. Some believe that before the planet becomes uninhabitable then a God will come back to see what we’ve done with this planet. If there is indeed a God, call him what you will, then has he not already turned his back on us?

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Is there a reason why artists across the centuries have depicted God in the manner they have? From paintings by troglodytes to statues from Roman and Greek temples, to the pyramids of Egypt and South America, a man with a full head of hair and a beard? Romans and Greeks also worshipped Goddesses, with perfect figures and no blemishes. Are these all false images? Is it not possible that the Gods and Goddesses came from afar? A planet we know nothing about, one long since dead? No, I don’t think we are alone, this isn’t the only inhabited planet around, if life formed here and has been sustained here, then there must be life on other rocks out there. This may be the only planet in orbit around our star which has life, but how many other stars are there?

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Logical? Logic has NOTHING to do with it

I read a very sad story today about depression, resulting in the death of a young man who thought no-one cared. Very sad but depression is not logical, it is illogical but while in the throes you absolutely believe your perspective is true. I know I still go there all too often. People say depression is visible in the eyes, voice and speech, however, it is too easily hidden. The saddest people are very often those making you laugh, the life and soul of any gathering, because they don’t want sympathy and certainly don’t want others to feel, suffer, or even know the level of pain they feel each and every day.

How do I know this? From the age of, about, 13 I was the life and soul of every gathering, family get-together and social occasion, behind closed doors I spent a lot of time on my own or with a few close friends, close because we all talked about different ways to commit suicide. Our club discussed the ins and outs of suicide, this, believe it or not, was a kind of therapy. We had our own unique club, we all understood depression as we all suffered. We took strength from each other, now I find myself alone for most of the time and even getting out of bed is a struggle every day. Often I find the telephone ringing, but leave it for the voice mail. Doorbell rings but, if it’s important they’ll leave a note right? Then I find that my sickness benefit has been stopped because I didn’t answer the phone and they couldn’t be bothered to leave a message even though I’ve told them I will not answer the phone unless I know who’s calling, and even then only sometimes.

Logic has no bearing on this at all. I sit around for days without putting any clothes on, or I’ll go out in bare feet to put the bin out, occasionally I’ve even gone out naked to put the bin out or get it in. Not a pretty sight, no-one cares enough to call over, it takes 3 or 4 weeks to get an appointment to see the dr, and she appears to care only when I’m there, if I ring and ask to speak to her she is busy, yes I know but I would appreciate a call back at some point. That’s too much to ask, is it? If nobody cares about me why should I care? Yes, I know I’m overweight but I comfort eat, it makes me feel better at the time, for about 2 seconds, then I feel bad. Feeling bad is something I really excel at. I manage to hide my depression from everyone, that doesn’t mean I don’t suffer it just means I’m good at hiding what I feel.

Colleagues at work, most of them anyway, will never know how bad I feel. Occasionally talking to someone on the phone, my voice will crack and I’ll make an excuse to put them on hold while I get my mask in place again. No-one ever seemed to notice even when I was sitting at my desk wiping tears from my face. I finally broke down with one customer, she complained about my behaviour and I was suspended, taken back as my manager felt it was a one-off and out of character. Three months later I was sacked for failing to call the complaining customer back to apologise, even though most of the time I’d been told to take customer details and not to deal with anything myself as there was a call waiting time of 40 minutes plus.

Had I not changed from agency to permanent 3 weeks prior to the complaint after 5 years as a temp, then I could have brought a claim for unfair dismissal, had I proof the manager sacking me did so because of my sexual preferences or nationality, again I could have successfully appealed this decision. If the law gave equal rights to those temp staff as permanent employees I’d have been given my job back or copious amounts of money to stay away. None of this helped, the sacking caused a snowball effect in my life, I’d been buying my home with my wife of 7 years, this was repossessed, Social Services decided to take my son out of my care as he was beginning to care for me. My wife then left me when I was staying in bed all day for weeks at a time. Is it any wonder I wanted to end it all?

Every time I think I’m getting there, something else goes wrong and, bingo, back to square one with a vengeance. Does anyone care enough to help? Apparently not, which makes today a good day to die. Every day without fail, only my son stops me, but there will come a time, oh so soon it seems, when he’ll make excuses not to call over. That’s when my life will end!

Let’s sing this all together

Open our hearts and let the warmth in. Apologies to Keef and Mick for paraphrasing, but how often do we sing along and forget the words? Does this happen to the likes of Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger? Songs they’ve written, they are in the middle of singing and then… Whoops that wasn’t the line but did anyone notice? When the likes of Freddie Mercury, Ozzy Osbourne and the late John Lennon forgot the words they let the audience take over, and made a joke of it. (John Lennon even joked at Madison Square Garden New York, he wanted to get his spot over with so he could throw up).

I think our heroes are human, same as the rest of us, with flaws and imperfections just the same, no-one is perfect, no-one is innocent. But, being heroes to some of us their imperfections and flaws are ok. Why do we treat them differently to our peers? (I’m posing the question but have no answers, if you do please comment below).

When I met some of the biggest stars on the planet, did I lose the ability to talk? No. Did I mumble and ask for an autograph, if I had a pen and something to write on yes, otherwise no. Did I respect them absolutely, if they were in a conversation I’d make a passing comment and leave them be. If they were enjoying some time in a restaurant and I was going past I’d let them know I recognised them but not intrude too much. We all need some downtime, unfortunately, when I saw Woody at Heathrow he was at a different check in desk and my queue was longer so I didn’t get the opportunity to say hello.

George Michael, international superstar, said he was lost for words the first time he met his heroes, so it does affect stars the same. I try treating them as fellow travellers on this rock we call home, that way I can talk to them without stammering, it took me years to control the stammer anyway. I met a few unknowns along the way who have become big stars since we played the same venues, sadly not all are still alive so I thank whoever is watching over me that I didn’t leave before now, but I’m well passed my sell by date now. Today is feeling like a good day to die.

Have you seen her all in blue

The Rolling Stones 50 and counting finds them back at Hyde Park on Saturday 13 July, second time this year and it brings back to mind the free concert in 1969, just after Brian’s death, when Mick read a poem to celebrate Brian’s life. What a change when Keef couldn’t find anything nice to say about the man who named the group, lined up the first gigs and kick started their 50 year career.

If I could relive my life would I make the same mistakes again, or would I change anything at all? I have a few regrets, but mainly over opportunities not taken. One thing I do really regret is not getting in touch with my baby to let her know I was returning to the North East, before making the move. I put a letter through the door of her step-mum’s flat but found out that was a mistake. My baby girl never did get told. Now it’s too late and I won’t be the one forcing a split between her and my ex.

Have you seen her dressed in gold, like a queen in days of old, she’s a rainbow. I still have my memories but all the pictures of my time with my baby girl have vanished in the mists of time. I did get some pics from my dad on a USB pen, but that has vanished as well. I know I have two grandsons, but have never met them, or my son-in-law. My daughter has never, and probably will never, forgive me for not letting her know I was leaving for a second time.

If you see her won’t you tell her, I still remember the sun shining through her hair surrounding her face like a halo. I remember when her quick thinking saved my life, the laughs we shared and the tears we cried together. Taking her out to the pub for a few drinks. Going to sleep with her in my arms when we’d spent hours talking about life, troubles and had grown tired together. Funny how the brain works, isn’t it? I started thinking about Brian Jones and from there to the Stones, not a huge leap. Then I was thinking about things I miss, the biggest gap in my life is my daughter, just wish I could patch things up with her because I think about her every single day.

And I’m back home again

I’d like to say a warm and heartfelt thank you so much to The Bookybunhead for her warm wishes, not sure I’m worthy, but I am feeling pretty much in need of a rest. Hospitals never seem happy with the amount of blood they take, so every day they take some more, from me that’s not as easy as it should be. I feel like a pin cushion, more aches now than when I went in but they were supposed to cut the nerves so I wasn’t in pain anymore.

If there is one thing I’ve realised over the last 3 years and that is when you have nothing at all to lose, the Government want to take that away so it makes them appear to increase the wealth of the richest 5%. Fact, in the West 95% of the wealth is in the hands of 5% of the population. The remaining 95% of the people are struggling to make ends meet. Even though the Iron Lady is dead her party are still promoting greed to leave the poor poorer. However, they’ve developed a new tactic turn the workers against those who can’t get employment because they’re either too ill, too old, too young or have something else preventing them. In my case, I’m over qualified for any of the opportunities around, under qualified for the job I’d like, and too old for employers to consider employing me.

Anyway, going back to my stay in hospital, I’m so pleased that some of the treatments given to my mum are no longer practised today. If they were I think I’d still be in the cuckoos nest now. What is it about mental illness even now, in these liberated times where nothing is taboo, that people don’t want to talk about it? I’m keeping good company though, Adam Ant, and others have started talking about their mental illness. There have been documentaries and even a drama to show that people can function, perhaps abnormally, with mental illness.