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25 Oct 2009

Post 163: Conclusive proof that the 80s should not be revived

Another week where the only words that spring to mind immediately are average and mediocre but these are not words I'd use to describe my trip to the dome on Thursday evening to see 80s group Spandau Ballet. I had not been a fan first time around, this photo says it alland now I know there's an even better reason to hate them other than those mullets. I had only bought the tickets when Adrienne (my erstwhile carer) had professed (or should that be confessed) to like them and because she thought that Martin Kemp was the 'ideal man' so I thought it would be nice for her and I plus my neighbour Tracey go and see their revival concert. Here was a corpse that should never have been resucitated. Their music was painful. Since Adrienne and I parted company a few months ago, Ian (my physio/torturer and Tracey's now other half) came along instead of Adrienne and even though he has been a determined concert-goer in the past, he said to me that Spandua Ballets music was 'a bit boring', this is being diplomatic, I would gladly have locked them up in Spandau and thrown away the key. Their music is a dull procession of cheesy balads that somehow imagined that the addittion of a saxophone solo made it bearable (in every bloody song, if anything it made them sound more dated) and Tony Hadley (the lead singer) despite having lost weight is a crooner from the land that fashion forgot, ie to him, big shiny blue suits with shoulder pads must still be in. Their only good songs ('to cut a long story short' and 'Gold') were played first and last respectively so you can imagine that inbetween it was like purgatory. I also must say that I despise Martin Kemp, mainly for his Eastenderish, wideboy gangsterishness and the fact that when he does his trademark sharkish wideboy smile you expect him to have a glinting diamond set into one of his teeth. That look just stirs the desire for me to want to snap his fingers (see elsewhere on this blog for more references to the finger-snappin' top 100, eg post 15)
Apart from feeling physically violated by the musical dross on Thursday this week was tinged with disappointment because despite my best efforts at the last minute I was unable to turn up a driver/carer/friend to take my 2nd ticket to go and see Tim Minchins
sold out Hammersmith Apollo show which I'd only bought because I'd been so impressed by his show in Reading. This has taught me a valuable lesson, I must never take other people for granted and I need to make big changes to the way I buy tickets for things. At the moment I still buy tickets for things like an able bodied person would. If there's something I want to see and it's not sold out I buy them assuming that finding one or two others to go to an event for free will be easy, not so, people understandably have better things to do. Assuming that there will be someone around is of course a ridiculous able bodied attitude that a disabled person cannot afford to have, I've only got a few more events where I have this problem. Like Chalk and Cheese or more like what I think sh*t and champagne, I think I made up for the Spandau Ballet travesty by going to the best classical concert I think I've ever been to last night. I took my parents to Carmina Burana at the Albert Hall. For the Carmina Burana think old spice advert music and frankly it was pretty magical seeing and hearing a professional choir of several hundred singing one of the most dramatic pieces of music ever written in the greatest venue on earth from my favourite seats, the viewing platform almost adjacent to the stage. I also think I'm beginning to appreciate classical music even more because I was moved and impressed by the music in the first half to – usually I can appreciate this sort of music but I couldn't honestly say that it stirred strong feelings but I found myself saying after the opening piece of Berlioz 'that was brilliant', I had already heard the 2nd piece back in the first prom that I had been to back in July (post 146) and was rather thrilled it was on tonight's billing because it involves a particularly jolting moment when the huge Albert Hall organ comes in at full volume. Last time around it had actually woken me up, I wasn't dozing this time!
On the health front I am still continuing my 6 sessions a week torturous physio regime and on the advice of a local friend (who used to suffer terrible fatigue with ME) I went to see her Chinese Herbalist because she told me that the herbal Tea she was prescribed gave her some energy back so I figured 'what the Hell?', so I have been having two cups of this stuff a day for a couple of days and know that it's too early to notice any change but what I do know it's the most vile thing I've ever drunk in my life! I'd describe it as opaque dark brown, rather like what you'd expect if you added hot water to mud and it tastes worse than it looks. I would say it tastes of burnt tires! Yet another cross to bear! In slightly better news I have had a couple of great visits this week, these really are the best thing: Firstly, my lovely friend Alex Jackson and her charming fiancee Steve
took me out for lunch at the Bear, damn that place makes good business out of me! Secondly, and yet to arrive (surprise surprise) are my dear friends Alice and Dom who I haven't seen for ages because Alice has selfishly been off having their first child, a boy named Freddy who I am getting to meet today for the first time. , I have just bade them farewell after we had a rather splendid roast lunch lunch at the Bear and Freddy is an angel, just need to post this now before heading off to see Dara O'Briian at the Palladium.

18 Oct 2009

Post 162: Some Magic and a magic wedding

Life never seems to get any easier, no matter how hard I try to distract myself it just doesn't. but it's time to get my act in gear! (sigh).
I don't have enough unbroken time between torture sessions to meaningfully start this creative writing course yet, so I have been listening piecemeal to Dan Browns follow up to the 'Da Vinci' code 'The lost symbol' and I really had to struggle to listen to all of it. Not because it is difficult subject matter because the more I listened to it the dirtier I felt (and not in a good way), rather like that grubby feeling you get when you've just watched an episode of Hollyoaks, you know, when you feel ashamed that you've sunk that low. I'll be honest, when I read the Da Vinci code five years ago, I found it to be a ripping holiday read and I genuinely thought/hoped it would do serious damage to the church, when I found out that most of the Da Vinci code was horsesh*t I felt annoyed for being misled by the haughty claims and the 'this is fact' tone of the book. I therefore should have known better when I downloaded the 'Lost Symbol'. Here is a book written by nothing more than a tinpot conspiracy theorist in it for the money and he dresses it up in such a way as to draw the reader into believing there is such a thing as no-etic science (the assertion that concentrated thought can have mass and can therefore be used to control things in the real world and that humans have a soul) or that the Masons guard a secret word of 'unfathomable power' rather than being an excuse to meet weekly, dress up in silly regalia and drink heavily. Are you starting to feel grubby yet? It was just one of those books that the more you listen to it, the angrier and angrier you get if you have a vaguely scientific, logical and empirical outlook on life as I think I have, that you're still listening to it and because its dressed up in the language of a thriller you can't just turn it off because you want to hear who lives and dies. Anyone thinking of reading it. Don't, and anyone who's started it, give up while you can before you drown in manure. That's a few hours of my life I'll never get back rather like sitting in a traffic jam that has been caused by a moron coning off two lanes that will stay empty of roadworks (this has happened to me about five years ago, so incensed was I that I thought about writing a letter, I never did obviously). The other thing I went to Friday night was an amazing magic show by a good friend of mine, Chris Dugdale. Some of you will remember him from my last birthday, where I will never forget my mums reaction to him producing her wristwatch (which had been on her wrist) out of thin air before her very eyes. Her reaction was priceless. Now, I go to a lot of shows to try and break up the tedium of fatigued convalescence, but this was a big change. Chris is quite a performer and did a mind bending array of card tricks and mind-reading which left the audience stunned. He clearly has amazing slight of hand, making cards seemingly jump into boxes, sealed envelopes, thin air, pockets or his mouth, an inexplicable skill that has had him 'excused' or 'thrown out' of most Vegas casinos, something I wish had happened to me when I went there, I might as well of tattooed 'mug' on my forehead. That's all in the past and in the words of bawdy Australian comedian Kevin 'bloody' Wilson who I saw last Sunday in Dorking on a sold out leg of his Dilligaf cafe world tour. I had wondered why 'Dilligaf'. It was soon explained through one of his many pretty funny country songs. Take the first letters of the phrase 'does it look like I give a f*ck', gosh, that sounds like a new Mantra. It doesn't vary wildly from the last one but I think it's more coherent. I am slightly loathe to so blithely adopt something from so bawdy a comedian and furthermore an Aussie who starts his act off with his 40ish daughter singing dirty and only vaguely humorous songs. Incidentally her stagename is 'Jenny Taylia' from Australia, at least I hope that's her stagename, you would have thought, no hoped that someone called Jenny would never marry a man called Mr Taylia or even Mr Taylor but with a 'rough as guts' accent like hers and such a fine upstanding father any thing's possible, but where was I? Dilligaf.
Oh yes, something I really do gaf about, yesterday was the wedding of a great friend of mine, the Reverend Richard Lloyd. Even though Ricardo was in the same year as me at college, he has always looked about ten years older. He is a unique individual and definitely one of the most amusing men I have ever met. Probably one of the best ranconteurs in history and a fine orator, which is why he is ideal for the job of senior chaplain of Charterhouse School. He is a great man and in Vicki he has found a perfect wife. I believe they might have even met in the church they are getting married in. Indeed, it is a welcome change going to his actual wedding rather than the marriage of a friend that he is ministering over (I have been to a couple). While we were at college Ricardo eschewed getting drunk and chasing girls like the rest of us idiots, and he has certainly showed us, a classic case of hare and Tortoise. In fact Richard appeared to have the Dilligaf attitude (with better language naturally)
Anyway that was all written on Saturday morning to try and get ahead of the game, I have now been to the wedding and have rather a lot (of good stuff) to say.
Despite everything working out in the end, things started badly. My housemates (who look after me) had taken my van (after asking me) to go and do the weekly shop. I had thought we had plenty of time so had said 'be back by 330'. While they were out my mother (my kind consort for this sojourn turned up and informed me that we had to leave by 3 to stand any chance of getting there,whoops, my mother, well known for her calm demeanor instantly flew into a panic, desperately trying to allocate and spread blame, something that Daily Mail readers have to do. Stage one was of course blaming me, I adopted my normal, 'shutup and lets try and think logically' position as I hate bluster and kerfuffle, stage 2 was naturally to go out in the street and tell everyone the problem as hysterically as possible followed by stage 3, use the phone to tell everyone whose number she could find about the predicament, net result – bucketloads of stress for all concerned and at least one of my friends with a hysterical, nonsensical voicemail. Brilliant start: Well, my housemates, normally the most reliable and punctual people in the world pitched up at 345 implying that I had probably not been insistent enough about the need for them to have the van back here at 330. So, we finally set out by 350 which I was irately informed by my foaming at the mouth matriarch was '50 minutes after she had (meticulously) planned to leave.
After nearly crashing several times, and cursing every red light we arrived at the Church only a few minutes late (after all that) and were ushered in a back door only to find we had the best seats in the house and Richard and Vicky were just about to be pronounced man and wife. Result! I don't think I'll ever turn up to another church wedding on time again! Because Richard was the reverend of an Evangelical church before he became senior Chaplain of the rather more traditional Charterhouse School, an eyelid was not batted at the fact that they appeared to have a rock band playing the music. Classic Richard. It made for an incredibly memorable and unique interpretation of usually stuffy church music. Indeed, during Their interpretation of 'Amazing Grace' I wished I had still been a smoker so I could have whipped out my lighter. The other thing that made the service unique was that the address was given by the Archbishop of Hydrabad. Since starting his Chaplaincy at Charterhouse Richard has been on several pilgrimages to visit a christian mission and has made some friends in High Places. Anyway, most church sermons are an excuse to catch up on sleep, but for once I stayed conscious, he explained that since meeting Richard they had been praying for Richard to find a perfect wife and that they felt Richard finding Vicky was an answer to that prayer. Although I am not a believer I was rather touched by this sentiment, it's quite sweet and I can't help feeling so pleased for both of them, this means everything to Richard and in him, Vicky has ended up with one of the nicest men in existence.
Sentimental claptrap aside we then naturally moved on to the reception at some place in Mayfair called the Savill club, think Wood Pannelling, smoking Jackets and Bertie Wooster. Sadly I'm not sure this place had ever seen a person in a wheelchair before somewhat given away by the temporary ramps to get up the steps into the club and the lack of disabled loo. To make matters even trickier Dinner was on the first floor and the lift was far too small to fit my wheelchair in. I was about to throw in the towel and go home when I decided that I wasn't going to let this beat me. Instead we (Tony, Vicky Denning and others) hatched a plan for me to get out of my wheelchair and with brave assistance from several burly guys, I got upstairs in the elevator sans wheelchair and staggered slowly with the help of two the 25 yards to where I was sitting and sat precariously in a normal chair for dinner. There is no way I could have done this a few months ago, I would have been too scared of exhaustion and ruining everyones evening, again I'm glad I made the effort, I seriously doubt I could have made it for anyone except Richard and if I didn't have such determined friends. I'm so glad I stayed! It was a special occasion.

11 Oct 2009

Post 161: Bolstering my mental health with a couple of gigs

Happy Monday morning, I'm afraid that the weekly mixed metaphor submission has become a bit of a web trawl which is probably a damning indictment on my ability to hold peoples attention but I'm allowing my apathy filter to deal with it, a lesson that other parts of my mental make-up would do well to take on board - and for that matter there are plenty of people who could benefit from taking themselves and life less seriously. This has actually been one of the roots of my problems throughout life, I've never known how seriously to take things. You can afford not to care much when every thing's fine, but that suddenly changes when your world falls apart.
I've realised now how much I give a damn about things, other people and myself. I try and bolster how seriously I take life by striking the right balance between others, myself and trying to do things. When you're constrained by energy, movement, feeling dreadful and loneliness it's hard to strike the right balance. First things first, and I feel slightly selfish putting this first, but feeling terrible and exhausted all the time is impossible for me to ignore and not to take the most seriously. I still find it hard to believe there's nothing medical science can do. I fail to believe there's nothing and it makes me bloody angry, you may have noticed, it makes me question the competence of every doctor I see, At the moment it's hard not to think they're a bunch of useless b*stards, because everything will change if I feel better,I'll be able to do more physio, be nicer to people, have a more positive outlook on life, improve my voice, improve confidence in myself (which at the moment is at rock bottom)
I've just re-read this rant and I'm wondering what sort of narrative device I can use to get out of this cul de sac,where was I? Ah yes, some sort of mixed metaphor, Oh God this is much fun as shooting monkeys in a barrel (sigh).
As I've said before I keep in touch with my friends and family because that is the most important thing for maintaining what little mental health I have left, secondly, I try and keep busy to create some sort of contrived sense of purpose, probably why I write this or organise going to events, just this week I have been to two rock concerts both at that venue where you don't expect rock – The Albert hall.
For as long as it remains the greatest Acoustical Auditorium on earth it doesn't matter what event it is, it'll always sound as good as it can there and as long as I'm alive I'll keep going there. In fact I've got tickets to go and see Russell Brand, Miserable Morrissey and the Carmina Burana (think Old Spice advert music) there in the next couple of months. On Friday following several recommendations I went to see modern poprock band Maximo Park. Now, I'm not ashamed to admit, I know squat about them, it isn't the first time I've been to a concert and couldn't even name one of their songs, it happened to me with some band called 'Coldplay' before my stroke and started me off going to see live music and these days I figure it's better to go if you can than to stay at home feeling sorry for myself. The only thing I did know about Maximo Park was that translated from Spanish it means maximum park (a Buzzcocks reference there) and that they were first on the main stage at Glastonbury so they weren't punters, they were propah!
The major shame was my mate who'd first suggested me the gig was unable to take me because he was called away to New York at the last minute but thankfully his shoes were gladly filled by my DJ mate Oli who was a massive Park fan and has taken me to several events. Now, I have a pathologic dislike of waste (which I think I've got from my parents) I had three tickets (therefore 1 spare) so I said to Oli – 'bring your girlfriend' She had initially said yes but couldn't come at the last minute so I said to Oli -'might anyone else be interested?', and because I can't organise anything quickly, Oli managed to dredge up his mate Chris, who as a bonus had never been to the Albert Hall or even a rock concert, I guess the point I'm trying to make is I'd rather take someone I don't know who'll probably end up enjoying themselves rather than waste a ticket. And it turned out to be a most enjoyable evening. Surprisingly, for a band of their stature the event was not a sellout and it was the first time I'd been to the hall and there was noticeable space. That didn't affect Maximo Park who were clearly chuffed to be playing in such a venue, and confirmed their status as ordinary lads done well when their lead singer shouted before they started 'The North shall rise again!'
It was difficult not to like their music but I wouldn't say I remember it, it was energetic, uplifting, rhythmical and catchy. Oli and Chris loved it which is a sign that an evening has been a success. I got to get out and have a decent friday evening in good company. Result! In a way, I am living my life through the enjoyment of others. If that's the way it's got to be so be it. If Friday was about music I didn't know much about, I knew a little more about last night, but if I'm honest, not a great deal because last night I went to see the Cult, a mid 80s British pseudo glam rock band who had produced an awesome album called 'love' in the mid 80s. The great thing about this gig was it was called 'love – live', which was great news because it meant they weren't going to waste our time playing their new material, the Cult were under no illusions that the only stuff the sellout crowd were interested in hearing was their old 'good' stuff. So many bands live fall into this delusion that at live shows the audience might be interested in hearing material that wasn't a hit. It wasn't a hit for a reason. Speaking of non success, at this juncture I would like to award the support act, whose name escapes me a raspberry for 'worst support act of all time'. I'm not joking, white noise or static would have sounded better, people were genuinely leaving the auditorium to escape the din, this was when I noticed the 'cult uniform, usually someone in their 40s to mid 50s who had just escaped from being trapped in Camden Market for 20 years, ie black and leather jackets and those bloody awful black biker boots with 2 inch soles, I reminded myself why I'd come to this gig: Because it was at the Albert Hall and because I'd loved the album at school, not because I'd identified with the fashion. By this stage I was telling my consorts Karen (a good friend from Oxford, indeed my first girlfriend at uni) and her boyfriend Toby that when the Cult came on they would honestly be great, since my stroke Kaz and Toby have kindly taken me out several times and are always great company, we know a lot of the same people.
Thankfully the Cult were great. Rock and Roll at it's purestTwo guitars, a bass Guitar, a singer and a drummer. None of this synthesiser nonsense that seems to lead the modern Rock of the Killers or Kasabian (who I can't wait to see next month at Wembley Arena). I have to say I was blown away by the clarity and skill of the Cults lead guitarist, who would have even put the mighty Slash in the shade, whilst I couldn't help thinking that the lead singer might have visited Greggs the Bakers a few too many times since the 80s. People in glass houses eh?
Anyway, as an evening, despite its idiosyncracies, it was a good one, and I've got to hear the amazing 'she sells sanctuary' live twice! So much fun were the cult having that they stayed onstage for an hour after they were due to finish occasionally playing another 'love' classic topping Maximo Parks encore of when the keyboard player had had a go the evening before on the big Albert Hall Organ. Musicians on loud soundsystems behave like they've been given the keys to the Kingdom. I was exactly the same in my DJing days. After all this, you might have thought I'm due a rest, but I just wanted to shed some thoughts on a couple of things, last sunday I went to see Aussie comedian Tim Minchin at the Hexagon theatre in Reading. Since I went to see him I have bought his album and booked to go and see him in london at the end of the month so impressed was I. Firstly his stand up was very good, clever and poking fun at the same people and subjects I would, hippies,self righteous environmentalists, spiritualists, faith healers, science deniers, god-botherers but what impressed me were his skills on the piano. There is something of the rockstar about him. Instead of the laughter and applause you'd get with other stand ups his presence onstage is greeted by the sort of whoops and hollers you'd get at a concert. He was also one of the most accomplished pianists I have ever heard He is the australian bastard child of bill bailey and russell brand which is no bad thing in my book, I also share his appreciation for the opposite sex best expressed in his song confessions whose chorus goes 'f*ck, I love boobs though' .Very near the mark!Finally some very brief thoughts on the More4 Docudrama, 'when Boris met Dave'. I have always had a healthy dislike of both of them, thinking them both to be the sort of Toffs who stare down their nose at everyone. After watching this dramatisation I find myself softening my position on Cameron and feeling justified in always thinking Boris was always a tool , with my cynics hat on (it's rarely off these days) I find it hard to believe it wasn't made by Camerons people. After all these exertions you would have thought I'd be ready for some serious nothing, don't be silly, tonight Steve and Naomi (post 159) are taking me to see foulmouthed aussie comedian Kevin 'bloody' Wilson. This will be my goodbye to them before they emigrate to Australia, My sadness at their departure will be shared by a lot of people.

9 Oct 2009

Post 160: Todays Walking Video (Fri 9th Oct)

These seem to go down ok, I'll try and furnish you with some thoughts on Tim Minchin (who I saw last week) and Maxino Park and 80s rock legends 'The cult) both of whom I'm going to see at the Albert Hall over the next two evenings, I may even drop in my thoughts (not that anyone cares) about More4s Wednesday evening docudrama 'When Boris met Dave' which should have been called 'look, Boris has always been a c*ck'

4 Oct 2009

Post 159: Finding it hard to give 100%, some inspiring news and a fitting leaving bash

Not a great week but sadly it never seems to be these days. Things are changing here about as fast as in Barack Obama's America, too slowly to notice any difference, physically, I think I can safely say that the injection in the eye hasn't helped, what a fun follow up appointment that will be, to borrow a phrase from a friend of mine's young son 'more like a disappointment' I intend to burn that bridge when I come to it (Hear, Hear) – 'you've blinded
me in my right eye you b*stard' will be hard not to say to which he will probably reply 'exterminate!' – the other thing my damaged brain has been pondering is the fundamental philosophical and mathematical question if 100% times a small amount is a small amount why bother to give 100%?'. I only say this because my physio accused me this week of sometimes 'just going through the motions' and sometimes not giving 100%. You know what, he's right, because of that question earlier and because my ultimate incentive never seems to get any closer despite lengthy 'torture' or 'physio' as most people call it. Yesterday afternoon (Friday)(in my nth session of the week) I tried crawling and couldn't because of the uselessness of my left arm and leg, even babies can crawl FFS! At least I have a physio who is strong enough physically to try and help me and is mentally strong enough to put up with my obvious disappointment in myself. After 4 years I'm still in need of other people which is so against the instincts that are driven into you by the modern world. People are friends with each other because some people are energetic, funny, intelligent and positive. I used to score highly here but I'm now two of these at best. I was 6'3” and passably ok looking, Now Gordon Brown looks like George Clooney compared to me, I feel that I might have lost any positive outlook on life that I ever had, although I was slightly cheered up that misery can approach you to national treasure status if you look at Jack Dee. I was watching his latest comedy series 'Lead Balloon' yesterday which he wrote and starred in and, you can actually imagine him being as miserable and curmudgeonly as his famous comedian character 'Rick Spleen' in real life. It is funny as long as you find 'schadenfreunde' funny, which I'm ashamed to say I occasionally do. Ie if I found out you were from Gravesend I'd laugh – (it's the worlds most depressing town just because of the people and that doesn't even include the name, the architecture and location, proximity to France, Bluewater and the M25 are probably its best features). Offence intended.
Practically the only thing that has given me hope this week, and that great line from the Shawshank Redemption makes me feel guarded 'Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane. ... ' but the news was that Harry, my mid fifties stroke survivor counsellor has just recently got engaged and he's over the moon about it saying to me as I left our session on Wednesday like a 14 year old who just managed to buy a pack of 20 'she's a real beauty', she is too. adding that old chestnut 'you never know what's around the corner'. A good cliché, but a cliché nonetheless. But good work Harry and it has proved to me that nice guys can have a chance. Even if you've had a stroke.
I feel the need to offer an addendum which will be a horrendous non-sequitur but that's familiar ground!
I was fortunate enough to be able to go to Steve and Naomi's
leaving bash last night. On 25th October they will be moving to Melbourne. This was always the plan after their wedding because Naomi is an antip. I might have found myself uttering 'lucky b*stards' a few times at them last night. The prospect of having two summers I suspose stoked a little jealousy. Since I have known them they have always greeted me with Smiles even though Steve used to gently take the p&ss out of me for my 'poshness'.This is fair enough, I didn't exactly do myself any favours. Steve was a club promoter and one day I turned up to an event fresh from a hard days drinking at the cricket wearing a blazer. I couldn't help being a fool sometimes. For some reason he gave me the time of day and we had the same taste in music (which I have found really binds people together (and incidentally can cause some of the worst rows I've ever seen). I ended up DJing for his party 'Knowwherea few times and getting to know a whole host of party folk (who were out in force last night before Steve made it possible (in August 2004) to achieve my DJing ambition of playing in the main room of the club I'd first gone to in 1998 , 'the Fridge' in Brixton.
Now, viewed objectively, in the grand scheme of ambitions, this is hardly swimming with Dolphins but to me this was a big deal and Steve had made it possible which in my book was a pretty nice thing to do. Aside from this we had also shared some great party moments, be they in the soundshaft(another venue that Knowwhere had frequented), the Fridge, Sublogic
Ibiza or any number of Londons late-night, loud music establishments. It was perhaps fitting that so many friendly and familiar faces had turned up to wish Steve and Gnomes ( Naomi's nickname which I suspect will stick forever) au revoir, indeed PabloSteve's larger than life best man, Knowwhere co-promoter and DJ was soon sweating it out behind the decks reminding us all of the music that had brought us together, although I find it exhausting to navigate, see, hear and be heard these days it was nonetheless nice to catch up with quite a few familiar faces who take on the dual role of humouring me (craning to hear what I'm actually saying (in a voice that only Steven Hawking could be pleased with) and looking after me in equal measure. I'm glad I can go to events like these but my I do find them hard mainly because being exhausted and finding everything exhausting is awful but for occasions like this you make the effort, since my stroke allmost all of these people have gone out of their way for me (I think Steve and Gnomes even chose the venue with wheelchair access in mind. It was a fitting send off, Steve was in one his trademark loud shirts, Naomi as usual looked great, loads of my old friends like Shaun,Renae and Simon were there, I had a long chat to Jo and Gary, who appear now to have weathered the shellshock of the birth a few weeks ago of their first child, a girl called Sophia Rose, Jo is already back to her pre pregnancy loveliness it seems and her husband Gary said that in terms of sleep they're having 'good days and bad days' it's not just a baby that can cause that! Then there were the Grants (Tim and Alex) who have been so kind since my stroke as well as Gaelle and Michael who are always a joy to see. The big surprise was seeing megan and Jon
for the first time since their amazing wedding (Post 150) and looking radiant, and not forgetting Ben Green, the man who has stepped forward to take me to see Aussie Comedian Tim Minchin tonight (last night now and what a performance, the Australian bastard child of Bill Bailey and Russell Brand) at the last minute, what a hero! And a last gasp mention goes to the Whites (Adam and Emma Jayne who have got married since I last saw them, for that matter Mrs White used to be known as the slightly bonkers Minimoo, that's all changed apparently! Anyway, I'm slightly tired today but final thanks must go to mr & mrs Dawes (Simon and Yvonne for driving me last night. Without friends like them life can't continue.

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