26 Feb 2012

Post 333: General Health is quite important

I'm really not up to very much at the moment as I've got the flu, not man-flu, I hope not bird flu,the real McCoy, proper, boring, snotty, shivering, achy, miserable flu but being ill is something I'm a bit of an expert at seeing as having a stroke puts a bit of a dent in your attendance record. I'm still making my usual mistake though, refusing to lie in bed. I see doing that as dull and pretty pathetic and as pathetic as I am, I'm going to avoid being even more pathetic. What it does mean is that any one on one chat is off so I've had to postpone having tea with someone this afternoon which is against every fibre of my being, but last night I had tickets for something.

I dunno what it is, I just couldn't bring myself to cry off sick: Is it the fact it's not likely to be something that'll happen again; the fact that it's cost money; that it's the first time the chap who's taking me has taken me to something? Bar a few extreme hangovers in my twenties that stopped me driving to golf (Legally, I probably couldn't drive), letting people down for whatever reason is so emotionally painful and downright inconvenient to others it's practically physical pain so to cut a long story short I bit the bullet and went to see Omid Djallili

at the Hammersmith Apollo last night (Friday) with my new mate Brian (I won't use the picture I took, he's not as camp as that), the technical wizard who has managed to knock up some amazing gadgets for my wheelchair

I have wanted to see Omid live for years because as racist as it sounds I really rather love the way he takes the piss out of Iran and Iranians which, if we're honest, is a pretty large target, and because he's Iranian, he can do it. He is a funny little Iranian fat man with the most middle class 'I live in Chiswick' accent in the world.
I would guess that 80% of last nights audience were probably middle eastern in origin demonstrating to me that culturally they don't take themselves too seriously and the place was full of what I'd call Persian princesses.
Now, having once gone out with what I can only describe as a Jewish Princess or JP for short I wished that my eyesight wasn't so f*cked. There are always a lot of (I think pretty) girls at comedy nights because girls love to laugh. Sh*t, I love to laugh, does that make me a girl? I don't think so. Even the layman could tell that at 100 paces! Anyway, the disabled platform lift was broken so they had taken some chairs out in the back row.

By way of apology one of the Apollo Staff gave us a couple of drinks vouchers. The lady even said 'are you Mr Pardey? As you're one of our best customers please take these as an apology'. This was kind of them and it's nice to be treated like a preferred customer, given how long I've spent on the phone to their damned ticket office. Honestly, there and Brixton Academy recognise my voice now!
Anyway, as ever, I'm glad I didn't cry off because Brian enjoyed it and Omid said some funny sh*t. I've said it before but stand up comedians are like modern Philosophers. A lot of them just talk sh*t, but very rarely are there not a few nuggets that are genius that you won't get anywhere else. That said he made the cardinal sin of making us wait. Now, I'm not the most patient bloke but stretching my legs isn't a possibility. Anyway I resisted the temptation to shout 'GET ON WITH IT', not something I've always done.
The bits I remember from last night are the thing about three types of intelligence, clever minds talk about ideas, average minds talk about events and simple minds talk about people. I think I cover all three of those bases with this little flight of fancy. But that tells me a lot about the level of most journalism (with apologies to my friends who are journalists, I'm hoping you realise that's a crack at your readers, not you) The other thing was the display of pragmatism. This is a quality I value in people above all others. It is about approaching life with a view to preservation, of both yourself and the people and things you care about, this was exemplified when he was talking about a guy who once shouted at him for selling out and doing those bloody adverts for,

his answer was 'stand-up comedy puts food on the table, advertising puts cars in the driveway'. Classic pragmatism – at least he's not working for Go Compare

– there are lines you don't cross! I also wanted to talk about a TV program I saw the other night that directly effects me. It was called 'dispatches -the great ticketing scandal'

but I've gone on too long so it'll have to wait till next week but it made me MAD, we're in 'writing a letter' territory here.

It's now Sunday and even though I should probably have stayed in bed because this flu business is still very much in evidence, I went to the Bear for lunch with my weekend housekeeper Bianca and my old mates Simon and Steve.

Being able to grit my teeth and get on with getting out of the house is sometimes not as simple as it sounds but it's worth doing to spend some 'normal(ish)' time with people who are willing to make the effort with me. It also gave me a chance to treat Bianca to say thankyou for being such a solid weekend carer. She's moving into a flat in town next week with her best mate as Gary and Gwen are happy to do 7 days a week. Having them live here is such a huge weight off all our minds. Them living here has meant they can be near to their son and grandson who live ten minutes up the road in Epsom. And finally I have sent out invites (on facebook) for my 35th (gulp!) birthday with the following blurb: If you've seen it please RSVP - (I'm only panicking slightly)

Oh lordy, it's getting to the age where you don't really want to talk about how old we're getting, but sod it, I'll be bloody 35 on the 20th of March so I'm going to try and make something good of it! I know that a lot of people just ignore facebook invites because of the sheer volume of useless Spam BUT on XXXXXXXX I'm going to try and organise the annual toddlers creche that marks my 'honestly spring has started' birthday.
It will take place at 'the Bear' in Oxshott  where a buffet lunch of all sorts of good stuff will be served. Because the Pardey family (contrary to a few noisy misguided opinions) are not exactly loaded we will be asking you to bring £15 per adult head – all kids go free. I expect the overall atmosphere will be the afore-mentioned creche, like last year, the children seem to like it and it's like my mum is on Ecstasy. Everyone is most welcome to bring a partner or an ally if need be because being a random at this thing would be tough. Once again I have managed to secure the services of the unbelievable Chris Dugdale who wowed everyone last year with his amazing close up magic and in my opinion made the party, he's not one of the best close-up Magicians in the world for nothing. Do please come, it is a special occasion for me and my family -these are the pictures from last year (they're good)  and the blog (this is clearly not a great time of year)  What is particularly painful for me is this effectively marks three years since Averil's (my first housekeeper/Carer's) heart attack and tragic untimely death and it serves to remind me of our friends who have gone to Australia (Shaun and Renae, Steve and Naomi, Simon the Hat , Paul and Siobhan,Carlito and Lucy, I miss them so much. Before I cry too much THIS IS IMPORTANT, I remember RSVPing is always a nightmare. Make a point of doing it on facebook if you can and also email me whether you're coming and who you're bringing to Thanks for reading all of this. I couldn't survive without you! (if this sounds a bit familiar, I did borrow a bit from what I wrote last year.

19 Feb 2012

Post 332: Square pegs in round holes?

I'm not too sure what to write today, as I feel a bit like a square peg in a round hole. I don't want to waste my time, or more importantly yours, on something that ends up with you thinking 'what a moaning c***' because that's not the core message I want to get across although I'm probably shutting the stable door after calling the kettle black (oh come on, it's been a while since I put in a good mixed metaphor).
I've written goodness knows how many posts on the subject of how always being positive is complete bullsh*t and totally unrepresentative of any reality I've ever experienced before or after my stroke. I only say this because I have to live most of my life vicariously through my computer these days, which is not to say I'm some online Warcraft or virtual world freakshow. Facebook and dare I say 'dating' websites is where I meet people these days, either existing friends or new ones and sadly it is the closest I can get to regularly sitting and chatting to people – it is obviously a disappointing second to actually chatting and laughing with real people but that's the way it goes. Before my stroke I used to post on a couple of websites and I think it's fair to say I got quite a thick skin and a certain 'don't mess with me' online style from them which is probably why I am more comfortable with swearing than most people, having re-read my thoughts on swearing from August 2010 I'm not sure my position has changed. Perhaps my position on offending people has changed a bit. If someone called me a spastic to my face and then ran off I'd be upset but not as much as if someone let me down, betrayed my trust, took advantage of me or told me they couldn't be bothered with me. This, to me, is totally different from being offended by the use of bad language. My attitude to this is 'it's fine to get offended by bad language that is directed at you but if it is impersonal, describes another person or group (even a group with which you vaguely associate) then f*cking grow up, I'm hardly Tony Montana.
As comedian Steve Hughes says 'nothing happens, it's not like you'll wake up the next day with Leprosy'. I only say this as someone who swears a lot and get's called a 'see you next Tuesday' quite a bit, but fundamentally I'm not a racist, homophobe or misogynist and I'm a fully paid-up member of the 'don't be a dick' school of ethics Usually things are pretty clear if we're just having a 'bit of banter', apparently it's the British way. If we need to be serious we can be. I guess my online conditioning has come from these pre-stroke websites. I cannot stand falseness or pretentiousness in people, it drives me mad and I just can't let it go. The reason I get wound up was I was once unfortunate enough to go to the Notting Hill Arts club in the early noughties. Loads of people wearing stupid Ironic Clothes, nodding their heads to some crossover Jazz/Funk rubbish and thinking 'aren't we avant-garde and cool' Since then I haven't been able to stop myself calling rubbish, rubbish or getting annoyed with people who pretend to like stuff they actually hate 'because it's cool', sorry, I probably am over stating this but that's how I see the world. I'm non judgemental till I see something that makes me mental. Er, no offence to anyone who loves the NHAC. Actually f*ck it -of course there is. OK, maybe dressed up in over-harsh language there but fundamentally I was being rude about pretentious dickheads – anyone who chooses to not like me based on that is over-reacting, girls (well it is mostly girls) seem to think I am being rude, I am a bit rude, but mostly I think I'm just being irreverent. There's this charge of 'negativity' that comes with any antipathy I get. If I'm a bit more negative than average it's because I go with the humour of the prevailing comedy I go and see or the satire I see on TV or read online. You also won't be surprised to hear that your whole life being ruined doesn't exactly make you the most positive person in the world! It is some small comfort that I am apparently more entertaining and positive than some people who have their health. I always find myself asking 'why?', seriously, just not having had a stroke is reason enough to be happy in my book. Of course, unsurprisingly, a book that not many people have read. It was as recently as the beginning of this month that I wrote a post that I had given the working title of false positives Probably because I was fuming at the 'happy-clappy' always be positive brigade, approximately the same people who say 'my mother always told me, if you haven't got anything nice to say, say nothing', brigade - f*ck off – that makes you boring and I'm bored enough not to be bored even more. To try and diminish this boredom I went to go and see Mezzo Soprano Katherine Jenkins at the Hammersmith Apollo on Thursday night
– 2 immediate reasons this is not pretentious, have you heard her sing and have you seen how gorgeous she is? The other reasons are of course that it got me out of the house and I got to see Rachel. It was originally going to be Rachel and her rather cool mum, but a last minute change meant that it was Rach and her lovely friend Josie.
Rach and I had seen Miss Jenkins at a sodden Hampton Court in the Summer and we had both thought KJ incredible
mainly from the perspective of 'that voice from that body', plus she just sounds so nice, sweet, unpretentious and lovely when she talks although apparently she can be a bit of a stroppy diva, compare her with Adele, ok, it's different music, and Adele's new image is an improvement.
Adele may have 'the voice of an angel' when she sings but she sounds like a London cabbie when she talks. Her Grammy acceptance speech is exhibit A , I know who I'd rather wake up next to.
My new housekeepers (Gary and Gwen) are moving in as I type,
hopefully a new beginning (certainly for the cats) but also for me. Just because it was a classic, on the way to seeing Katherine Jenkins on Thursday, Rach was telling me about her new job as Head of Physics at a catholic school which in my head sounds funny already. She's not remotely religious but she told me when she had first started on seeing the rings on one of the monks fingers by way of making polite conversation she said 'so have you got any children?'. Brilliant. Faith schools. Borderline child abuse in my opinion. I've also been lucky enough to be visited by a couple of old mates this which makes such a difference. First there was Charlie 'the kaner' Kane,
an old drinking buddy. The last time I'd seen him I was in hospital, and since then he's moved, it turns out down the road which is a pleasant coincidence, at least for me. The 2nd person to have made the effort was my former colleague and useful sounding board Will.
He reminded me of a few choice incidents from my time at John Lewis. Last but not least was the lovely Chey,
a new local mate. Not only is she lovely but I think that we're going to take in some local comedy soon. At least some people appreciate the effort I'm putting into life. I won't suck up to anyone though. F*ck that.

12 Feb 2012

Post 331: Oh, what a lovely time of year!

I used not to worry about getting to or from things, sadly an unhelpful attitude that seems to have carried over which is totally the wrong thing to do when getting anywhere is a supreme challenge. There have been two things this week I haven't been able to get to and it just eats me up. These things happen, one of the friends has got a hideous sounding dose of the flu and the other couldn't swing getting out of his shift at his job, that these people even considered taking me in the first place is so kind, this doesn't detract from the fact sitting at home alone on a Friday and Saturday is not great, Having caught the last episode of 'Birdsong' the other night it feels like sitting alone in a shellhole in no mans land,
obviously nothing like that but a similar sort of emotion. I'm probably accentuating the melodrama there. It's a profound feeling of loneliness, the type that makes you want to see anyone who you can laugh with. That's what people do isn't it? Well that was what I was used to. That's why I make all the effort I can with my existing friends and I try ever so hard to meet new people, people who's first and subsequent reaction to my written words isn't ambivalence, suspicion or hostility and believe me, there's plenty of that out there. Gary and Gwen (my new housekeepers) have just popped in and I can't wait till they move in when I won't have to worry about silly little things, like the house staying clean, the cats being fed, being stolen from, basically not being taken advantage of. Not having to worry about this is a return to dignity, well at least some dignity. I don't want this to turn into a f*cking moan. If I moan, it has to be about 'real' things that actually affect me rather than waste time getting hot and bothered by ideological, theoretical or esoteric arguments, I'm no academic or campaigner, I'm just a verbose, opinionated 34 year old that is only unkind to ignorance, stupidity or to people who are dicks. I like to think I am fair, many probably beg to differ and think it is me who is the dick and there have been (obviously rare) occasions when this is true (yup, must be true). I don't like to see anyone upset or in pain unless they deserve it, which sadly can't be said to apply to everyone. Humans are lonely when they're on their own – I think this is a fact – and the numerous people who've ever said 'I'm perfectly happy alone' are lying which brings me neatly on to my annual grimace at the impending arrival of Valentines day, or that damn Valentines day and that's me putting it mildly. The annual disappointment is set for Tuesday and I'm bracing myself against the cold actually. Very little actually reminds me of how different life is now compared to how it used to be. All the gorgeous girls I loved are now happily married – some have had children and most probably don't give me a second thought (and rightly so). I may be the same guy mentally but where it seems to matter is physically and I can't just chalk this down to 'getting old'. This is like aging 100 years in a matter of seconds but without any of the 'gravitas' you get with age. I'm not some wizened old fart whose eccentricities are quite entertaining who like comic Greg Davies'
dad 'just doesn't give a sh*t anymore', au contraire I give much more of a sh*t' because I need people to be moved enough to help me, the dream from here on in is to meet someone who sees the good in me, who causes me to smile, who makes life worth living, who makes me believe it's worth getting out of bed in the morning, who isn't repulsed by me, who I'm attracted to. Is that too much? I don't want to pretend it'll be easy. After my usual rant about how chod life is, at least some folk still make the trip to come and see me. This week it was University mates Tristan and Sara,
who from memory saw their Chemistry degrees through (I only managed a year before changing to Politics, Philosophy and economics), we really are unmistakeably Chemists.

2 Feb 2012

Post 329: It's official, I'm a bastard magnet

I'm afraid it's difficult to point to anything much and say 'that's good'! A friend of mine once described me as ' you were always such a happy, positive, energetic person' All I can say is 'I wish that were true today'. The best I seem to be able to offer today is 'realism' and the avoidance of anything that is patently bollocks. Maybe it is my like of mainstream comedy but I often get told off for being 'too negative'. I am a sarcastic bastard, this is true and I do get wound up a bit easier than I'd like. That said, I am pretty laid back because getting wound up takes energy, but I'm hardly louche or laissez-faire, it's only because I know that a vast majority of bad things in my life have been the result of bone idleness by other people. I am really into efficiency these days, ie when energy is at a premium, it makes sense to utilise your resources in as efficient a manner as you can, I can understand there being a few eyes glazing over at this but I can assure you I'm not a crushing bore, I can't think of anything worse to be. The other day someone I knew absolutely accurately described someone as 'the man that charisma forgot' which to me is a beautiful putdown of this guy. The bloke is a f*ckknuckle. This illustrates an important point, I detest the notion that we should 'all just love one another' No we bloody shouldn't, that's as ridiculous as saying 'always be positive'. Above being kind, we should approach one another as not being stupid, ignorant, lazy or false. Speaking of which my position of intense vulnerability has (as you can probably tell) been exposed again showing me that it's so difficult to trust anyone when you're in my shoes, and what worries me is that my condition wears down even the kindest people to the point they just can't help themselves but screw me over. Obviously this isn't true of everyone but it's happened a worrying number of times since my stroke and life is hard enough. This is happening because I need people more than they need me it seems. Just yesterday my old housekeeper left a particularly nasty message on this very blog that I have deleted because it was full of swearing, grammatical inaccuracies and several unpleasant references to hurting my mother. Here was a guy I trusted and I thought wouldn't say boo to a goose. He was here for eight months and he turned out to be a nasty little liar. First it turns out his cousin who did my weekends wasn't a cousin, this washed him of any responsibility for this guy's behaviour. A funny one but a breach of trust all the same. When I had complained said cousin had been living here in secret and even smoked upstairs. His message simply said 'Abeer is not my cousin. I just helped him get a part time job. and even if he was it's his business if he steals money from you. it's none of my business. and thank god he was just smoking. he should have burnt the house down.' I ask this – is this my character flaw or his? I am pretty positive it's his. However seeing as this keeps happening I'm worried it's mine. Luckily this nasty oxygen thief has run back to the third world where he can make his wife cry with even more impunity. I'm sure this is a stereotypical prejudice but it makes me so angry when I hear about it. All I want to do is live the rest of my life as free from difficulty and hardship or being screwed over. I aim to make the people who I care about happy. I only have energy for good things! What an unpleasant chapter -thankfully now over. Still, I feel dirty and think I have shown considerable restraint. Future housekeepers, people, anyone -this is not at all what this blog is about – this should be an inspiring story about the better parts of my post stroke experience. It's that time of year though.



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