Monthly Archives: August 2017

Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana

As they say “Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana” and this summer seems to have gone very quickly.

Had a few folks around to view the flat, but it may take a while to shift as anybody with serious enough wedge is just as likely to be able to spend a bit more. It needs work to tart it up  which I can’t do myself  and I can’t afford to get it done, but it will a bargain for someone if they want to live in these here parts!  So I shall bide my time and not get too excited. As ever I have a few musical things on the boil. I would like to be busier but my body is not quite up to it and I have to be a bit careful not to strain myself. Its easy to over do it if you do a couple of gigs and get carried away. Violin in particular can be a real pain literally at times. It takes it out on the shoulders and the neck. Paradoxically it helps because the whole of your upper body have to move to play, where as Piano is mostly arms and hands depending on what your playing. Violin requires you to make quite considerable stretches and turns and it easy to come a cropper. I should have learnt the Cello as you sit down for that and all you have to do is keep it between your legs. 😉 Now, now behave yourselves.

At the time of writing armageddon has not quite arrived though there is sufficient turmoil in the world to give the hint that it may not be far away. As a kid I used to have nightmares about nuclear war (which I still have from time to time) as did many who are old enough to remember the Cuban missile crisis  in October 62. I was all of 5 years old but I knew it was something really bad though of course I could not really comprehend its significance.   So the North Korean situation is just a tad bowel loosening if you think too hard about it. Perhaps its best not to?

Last weekend was a slightly more knackering one than usually as one gig was as part of the Colne R&B Festival which is 240 miles from London, and we decided not to stay over as we had another gig down south. Driving can be a bit knackering. It took about 4 hours each way which is not to bad considering it was a bank holiday. It went down fairly well, and we are supposed to be doing it again next year. That means we will have five decent festivals for 2018. Not too shabby for a bunch of  geriatrics I guess.  And when people appreciate it its a nice little ego booster.  On the days when I don’t have gigs I am not such great company as I do tend to sink in to low moods fairly quickly so I have to keep myself occupied with positive stuff or the weight of the world starts to hang heavy on me.

Depression and its relatives in the mood disorder clan are quite exhausting. At a certain point you can push against it and that helps to a degree, but its at times difficult when people are over the moon about something and you try and make polite noises of enthusiasm and cheer on the  team members but you just feel meh.  I am what they call a functional depressive, so on casual acquaintance you would not be aware often. I am quite lively, I tell the odd joke on stage and quite often have been known to smile. Fellow travellers will recognise this phenomenon I am sure. The other thing that goes hand in hand is anxiety. I used to have dreadful anxiety attacks but these have lessened as I have aged and learnt to manage them better.  It has affected what I can do though and if I needed to work in a conventional job again it would be difficult. Deadlines of any sort seem to rob me of my cognitive abilities and reduce me to a jibbering idiot even if the task is well within my skill set.

I am still beavering away at trying to improve my severely limited French language skills but I feel it goes in one ear and straight out of the other. Never mind. I do spend about an hour on  it most days.

Things which make me very sad

  • Intolerance to different cultures

  • Blaming people less fortunate than ourselves for our own problems

  • Being uncharitable to those with illness or disability

  • Accusing those in poverty of bringing it on themselves

  • Not helping those who are struggling because we consider them undeserving

  • Racial hatred

  • Deliberate spreading and dissemination of lies and hate speech

  • Laughing at the misfortunes of others

  • Deliberately making life difficult for others

  • Ignoring facts which disagree with  your political or religious agenda

    This is not the world as I would have expected it to be in 2017, somethings gone very wrong don’t you think?

    How did we get here?

    One reason is that ignorance breeds fear.

    Odd at a time when for many people more information is available at your fingertips then ever before, people seem less well informed then ever.

It seems to be mostly bad news everywhere at the moment one way and another.  Strange days indeed. This LOTR quote seems appropriate somehow.

“The world is changed. I taste it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air . Much that once was is lost; for none now live who remember it.”

J. R. R. Tolkien


If you were wondering why the Tories have quietly dropped their dodgy ‘Bill of Rights’, it’s because they don’t need it any more – they can achieve the same aims, with far less fuss, in their so-called ‘Repeal Bill’.
The Bill will be the most dishonest piece of legislation to go through Parliament in decades – starting with its title. It will repeal nothing. The stated aim is to enshrine European laws that the UK observes (without having passed them as our own) into UK law, to ensure a smoother transition when Brexit happens.

Read the original here >

The ‘Repeal Bill’ will put profit over people in a double-whammy for the Tories

We know what the problem is but how do we solve it

” José ‘Pepe’ Mujica warns the public to stop wealthy politicians before it’s too late

The former President of Uruguay José ‘Pepe’ Mujica, also known as the World’s Poorest President, has issued a stark warning to the public:

“Remove the wealthy Elites from politics before it’s too late.”

In an emotional message to citizens worldwide, he has urged people to wake up to the financially motivated corruption that is rotting democracy from the core.

Mujica was the Uruguayan President between 2010 and 2015 and was a former urban guerrilla fighter with the Tupamaros who was imprisoned for 13 years during the military dictatorship in the 1970s and 1980s.

Often referred to as the “world’s most humble president”, he retired from office in 2015 with an approval rating of 70 percent and had touched people globally with his selfless messages.

He famously donated 90 percent of his salary to charity which offered a strong contrast to politics in the United States, where the average member of Congress is worth more than $1 million and corporations are free to donate to political campaigns with many of the same rights as individuals.”

I think I am getting past it

I think I am getting past it. Recently I feel like I am permanently recovering from flu, aching and tired. Maybe I need a change.

I seem to be OK when I am occupied sufficiently so maybe it’s a depression thing. I can lift myself out of this feeling and I do quite a good public face, but I feel like I am struggling a bit. I was on SSRI’s for quite a while,(10 to 15 years) but they don’t seem to fix the problem. Also they (antidepressants ) in my personal experience tend to disinhibit and this can lead to bad decision making, so whilst you start to feel better, you often find that you’re digging a big hole which eventually you tend to fall into. I have had quite a bit of therapy of various sorts over the years and I function just about but right now it’s hard work. I had a recent conversation as part of recording a podcast about performing, and the fact that I am essentially quite introvert though I can switch modes to perform, sing play but as soon as the switch goes off at the end of a gig I am very unsure. I suppose that could be interpreted as being anti-social or aloof, but I am actually not. Its just a massive lack of confidence and perhaps low self-esteem.

I also have a lot of anger about what I see going on around me and I despair about the sort of attitudes I see in many people. The world seems to be going backwards in many ways and that saddens me, though there are little islands of hope. The lack of charity (in the broadest sense) to those that are struggling for all sorts of reasons, health, unemployment or simply bad luck. Often I see this from people who say they have some sort of religious faith but behave in ways contrary to the tenants of that faith.

Perhaps, then my depression is a reasonable reaction to the world that I see.