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10 May 2009
Post 126: Am I doing too much?
I am in a bit of a quandry. In the old world work would take precedence because it paid the bills. Once, I even binned the chance to go to Glastonbury because my boss (before John Lewis) wouldn't let me go. In fairness we had a big project on and I couldn't have coherently presented to some fairly senior bods after a couple of sleepless nights and a headful of god knows what. Obviously, I was gutted because at the time I really felt this was my last and best ever chance to go to the 'king of all festivals'[Bill Bailey from one of my all-time favourite comedy DVDs 'Part Troll' or was it one of his others, blast, forgotten?] Anyway, before I fly off on that tangent my point was that work was that universal constant that made you get up in the morning and cancel stuff that might hinder your performance or made you rest so you didn't make a tit out of yourself and fall asleep in meetings (too often, ok)Well I am faced with this issue at the moment. Going to events, gigs etc is the thing I enjoy doing: It gets me out of the house; it allows me to see, take out and treat my friends;see some great shows but (there's always a but) despite usually getting one free ticket shows are a little expensive and given my chronic fatigue are exhausting. Maybe I should be spending my limited funds on more rehab rather than relying on the unbelievable kindness of the 'Dom Pardey Trust' and those who have raised and given funds that pay for my continued therapy? Basically I wouldn't be able to live or recover without this.
The reason I bring this up now is that for not the first time going to events has been impinging on my rehab (ie I get exhausted and sometimes events are on weekdays). My first reaction has been 'so what?' because even though I see my rehab as my job these days, it has got to be the worst job in the world!
It is unpaid; I always feel too ill/tired to do it; nothing ever seems to change; Even though I like my main therapist (Ian, who has undoubtedly changed my life), it doesn't stop me wanting to rip his head off sometimes when he suggests new exercises or he wants me to do one more circuit of the hall or when he tells me that the only way I'm going to get better is to 'work harder' when all I can think of is sleep. I'm really on the edge here and feel I'm working as hard as I can for nothing, or at least nothing I can appreciate. All I know is that everyone I know can get on with their lives and I can't. Events or seeing friends are the only real downtime I get from the daily nightmares of fatigue and therapy and to me events are the priority while the payback from my 'job' is so utterly intangible. This week has been dominated by music and culture (I say culture) but I would have had something to go to every evening if my lift on Tuesday hadn't quarantined himself with suspected 'Swine-flu'. Thankfully Shaun is fine, it turned out to be the far less virulent 'man-flu' but better be safe than sorry. Foul-Mouthed Aussie comedian and Australian cultural envoy Brendon Burns can wait for another day, his high-brow show 'an hour of bullsh*t with jokes and sh*t' is bound to keep. The start of the weeks culture came on Wednesday where I cancelled my physio so Jackie and Selwyn could take me to the Minerva theatre in Chichester to see an excellent play called 'taking sides'. Basically the plot centered on the interviews an American WW2 major was giving high ranking society Germans to find out if they had been in league with the Nazis. Throw into the mix the fact that the major is traumatised by seeing the horrors of Belsen In my opinion the concentration camp that yielded the most horrific images of the holocaust, where bulldozers pushed piles of emaciated bodies into mass graves when the Germans had just let the inmates starve to death. Truly some of the worst images of all time. With this in mind the American major seems determined to find anyone guilty. The major is currently interviewing the entire Berlin Philarmonic Orchestra who are all desperately trying to protect their conductor, Dr Wilhelm Furtwangler, their 'Maestro'. The play pans out with the major aggressively questioning Dr Furtwangler whilst the major takes statements from various other witnesses that were in a position to verify or shun Dr Furtwanglers solid denials.
I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. It was beautifully and passionately acted and you found yourself thinking how hard it must have been to prove anything about anyone in post-war germany. Even who you were or whether 'disappeared' people ever existed. I'm no theatre critic but I think I can judge good from bad and this definitely goes in the former box. So that was Wedensday. I had been the youngest person there by um, about 30 years and by no means the only person in a wheelchair. Chichester theatre matinees are clearly Mecca for OAP's, so I was hoping for something a little different on Wednesday. It couldn't have been more different because I went to see modern rockers Razorlight at the Dome.
I was so impressed, I've obviously heard of them but I wouldn't call myself a fan. I know very few of their songs but I have heard that their frontman Jonny Borrell has a reputation for being arrogant. But my has he got something to be arrogant about! He sings well, plays the guitar well and despite being a bit of an oompah-loompah is passably good looking, ie men hate him and women have a bit of a crush on him, being honest and from where I'm sitting I can see that. Concerts in the Dome are always good and our seats were excellent, just off to the side of the stage where the sound was crystal clear and deafening. Perfect. It made all chatting with my two accomplices for the evening impossible but luckily they'd taken me out for an amazing dinner at the Dome branch of the Gaucho Grill beforehand. Diet, who cares when you've got a rare fillet steak in front of you! My incredibly kind and competent accomplices for the evening were (Simon) Champ and Eleanor. I had got to know Eleanor back in 99 when we were both graduate trainees at HSBC Securities (We both wanted to be stockbrokers for our sins) Eleanor was much better at it than me, and Champ was her then boyfriend. Since then, they have both married other people and Champ has recently just become a dad. I have been on a few awesome holidays with them
and they are two of my most fun friends, so seeing them was a real treat. Aside from the amazing dinner, Razorlight were brilliant, good enough to search out and download a couple of their albums. How did we make do before the internet?
From the sublime to the even more sublime, on friday, by way of returning them taking me to the Albert Hall at the beginning of April(Post 119), I took Jackie and Selwyn to Filmharmonic on friday at the Royal Albert Hall,
it was basically to hear the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (the greatest orchestra in the world) play music from a number of films in the greatest venue for music in the world, what's not to like? I'm not going to go over the reasons why I love the Albert Hall because I've said them before although I might have noticed another one. It is the preponderance of pretty, polite, well-spoken brunette usherettes who all look so cute in their red Albert hall jackets. Apart from the great show they're reason enough to go to the Hall.
Apart from the lovely window dressing the performance was stunning and I left with one thought 'John Williams is a genius', The Music to Star Wars sent a shiver down my spine and the melancholy crying sound that the Violin makes in the theme to Schindlers List' practically made me weep.
Nice surprises were how enjoyable the themes to 'Dynasty' and 'Dallas' were. An honourable mention is due to Hans Zimmer for the magnificent music to Gladiator. It made me think how much music can add to films, Jaws without the music would just be a nature documentary about a big hungry plastic fish!
It doesn't end there! Last night I went to the Dome again with a legend from my Djing days, a chap called Paul Reeves and his lovely and incredibly sweet pregnant wife Yvonna to see 'Pub Landlord' Al Murray. When I've seen him on TV, he consistently makes me laugh. I'm clearly not alone because the event was 'sold out', which in a huge arena like the dome is impressive. I'm pretty open minded so it sometimes doesn't compute how Murray's jingoistic, xenophobic, misogynistic repertoire appeals to me, probably because deep down, lets face it, I'm a bit of a lad. Tonight, from right wing to left wing, two old workmates are taking me to see Mock the Weeks regular Andy Parsons in Epsom. Make your own mind up about whether I'm doing too much. Bear in mind that this is one of my only methods of enjoyment. Other suggestions always welcome!