29 Apr 2012

Post 346:Do I feel harrassed?

Sometimes, I genuinely think about what not making any effort might look like

and each time I decide that as sh*t as things are, it could be a load sh*tter – for example, if you know me or have been following this self indulgent stream of misery, you’ll know I spend a disproportionate amount of time internet dating or receiving not a lot in return for quite a significant investment in time and energy because lets face it, no reasonably attractive girl seems interested in lumbering herself with a disabled person. It seems that anyone unburdened by my physical shortfalls is in a better place than me unless they’re an incredible arsehole.
I’ve received one or two emails in the last few weeks that reading between the lines, I would have ‘inconvenienced’ their future plans too much. Crikey, the love of my life didn’t even say that, she just stopped visiting me and then married someone else.
Perhaps that is an uncharitable interpretation but there’s no escaping the harshness of this type of rejection. It is pretty bad. Even a completely healthy me would find that hard to recover from. No-one likes being told they’re not good enough, unless they’re the sort of masochistic weirdo that’s into humiliation. Anyway, I’m not.
So imagine my surprise at receiving this, without even having messaged her first:
Hey, I couldn't not message you after reading your profile. I do not drive, am allergic to cats and am completely absorbed by teaching (poor match eh?!) but it's not about that. I just want to say do not give up on the hope that love is out there. True, insane, completely inconvenient, the part of you thats missing kinda love. Its sh** that all of a sudden out of nowhere life can throw you the kind of curve ball that can change your life forever. Through what you have written I can see your strength, determination, straightforwardness and sense of humour. Xxx
I don’t know about you, but that made me feel rather better and from her photo she was a beauty – what a nice thing to have done. Made me feel less like 1 of ‘The Undateables’ a channel 4 documentary following a group of people trying to find love even though their disabilities make it hard for them.

Now. their disabilities appear to be more cognitive, spilling over sometimes to physically disable them. For example there is a guy with a considerable facial disfiguration caused by a nasty neurological condition. Now I am fortunate that what makes me look odd is just looking exhausted, and not having full control of my facial muscles and eyes so I can’t really ‘pose for the camera’ but I don’t have to suffer having tumours on my face which must be so hard for him. My only advice to this guy is to ditch the ‘Benny Hill’ theme as his mobile ringtone, it makes him appear to be a ‘dirty old man’... I actually couldn’t watch it as it was a bit too real – I don’t think it is the same for me at all, I still have most of my faculties (I think) and I’m not anywhere near the stage where support workers need to be around to check things ‘are ok’, the other key difference seems to be most of these people (bar one or two) have had their disability all their life and have no expectations, this is deeply tragic but it does mean that they aren’t encumbered by feelings of longing and loss as I sometimes am and dating sites seem to make you feel guilty for passing over the profiles of girls who even to the kindest souls are ‘faces only a mother could love’. It is without question that trying to date like that must be torture and this doesn’t include the added pressure of having a camera shoved in your face!
Anyway, I don’t anticipate making any less effort. So even though occasional harsh rejections perforate the wall of silence, I still believe I’ve got something to offer even if at this stage it manifests itself as nothing more than going to a lot of gigs, an agile mind (ish) and a desire to keep others happy and laughing oh yes, and the willingness to spend every penny I get from my pension on supporting them.
I know I often start paragraphs like this but an old friend, Mr Charlie Kane started visiting regularly a few months back and he mentioned he was a fan of American ventriloquist Jeff Dunham so I set to work getting tickets for his show at Wembley Arena.

It was fun apart from the traffic getting there and Wembley Arena is a good venue as long as your eyesight is fine.

In future I will definitely favour music events there. I’ve been to some good’uns there.

As for Dunham, I’m a fan of comedy ventriloquism but you’re only as good as your characters (why do you think Keith Harris and Orville were so sh*t?)

as long as you’re not one of these c*nts that the joke is their lips are moving. Dunham is a proper ventriloquist but being a septic (tank –yank –catch up!) I thought his first half characters: Walter, a cantankerous American old-timer, and Bubba J, a redneck American don’t really translate to us mere Brits, but the sellout crowd (mostly American filling up a 12,000 seat venue) were chuckling away. In the 2nd half he pulled out his two best characters, Peanut and ‘Achmed the dead terrorist’

and the place erupted. The crowd loved Achmed’s catchprases ‘Silence’ and ‘I Kill You’. Peanut is probably less well known,

and his best bit was probably shamelessly racist (taking the piss out of the Chinese accent). To my mind this is absolutely fine, no-one gets hurt, most people laugh, just don’t be a dick about it – speaking of total dicks, my last carers

have taken to harassing me over the phone – ie they phone the house and swear at me. I hope those phonecalls from Bangladesh are costing a bit. The last one involved Hassan phoning up, saying ‘hello’, me recognising his voice and laughing while he said ‘you f*cking b*stard, get a job’ – gosh, how hurtful? Well Hassanul Banna Shagor, I should have just been the bigger man and ignored him but seeing as the written word is my best (and only) tool of reciprocity these days, I wrote a strongly worded email (laughable – I know!) to his wife (the only email address I had to hand) about ‘how proud she must be of her brave husband’ and ‘I hope she’s enjoying being treated like a slave’ and ‘is enjoying the idea of never being allowed back into Britain again’ – as you can no doubt tell it was all a bit playground. Imagine my surprise at getting a reply from what appears to be a direct email from Hassan, Agnesieka doesn’t appear to get a say – she must be thrilled at converting to Islam. Here’s an extract from Hassan’s reply – he’s an articulate fellow:

If you think think I should go to jail because
of the money I owe some bullshit companies then your whole fucking country should go to jail for
robbing us for 190 years and trust me the whole world knows it. I just made sure I bring some of it
back with me and use for better people. FUCK YOU AND FUCK ENGLAND.

I particularly like the bitterness at Victorian Empire policies. Nice. With smarts like that it’s only a matter of time before someone strikes up a ‘Hassan, the dead terrorist’ vignette It’s good to see how much people who willingly come to this country hate it. Makes me wonder why subcontinental people ever get mistrusted in this country, and if the whole world thinks we’re thieves no wonder the British are said to mistrust foreigners – we think that they must want to rob us and what do you know, some do?
Anyway, the real thing that gets me about this is that such an odious little loser has been able to make any impact on my life at all. Someone who when I interviewed him, I thought would never behave like this. If I had been an able bodied person this obviously never would have happened or if I’d known someone like him I would have personally made sure he got that richly deserved slap before he fled the country.
In life, we hate being told we’re pathetic – especially by a pathetic person. At least I have a good reason for being pathetic. In his case, there’s no cure for being a c*nt.
Oh, another couple of thankyous. Firstly to my university housemate Matt, now a Tory MP for dropping in with his youngest Ferdie

yesterday. He’s an amusing and articulate chap, and Matt’s learning on the job fast. No, it’s nice of him to make the time.
The main event of yesterday though was going to see 90s wunderband Placebo at IndigO2, the small arena at the Dome with my former carer, the awesome Bianca.

When I had booked the tickets months ago, she had been quick to volunteer as emo rock was clearly a big part of being a teenager for both of us without the self harming and suicidal tendencies. I also thought this presented an opportunity to eat first at my favourite restaurant in the world, the Dome Gaucho grill.

In my opinion you can’t beat a spiritually good rare fillet Steak with awesome red wine. The meal was lovely but you wouldn't have thought this country was in recession with how full the place was, and with people who sounded like complete chavs – my problem with Estuary English is for anovva day, this post is already too long! I’ll give it two years and I’ll be able to afford to go back to the Gaucho again! As for the gig, it was more a feast of sound. Indigo2 is nice

but they obviously haven’t taken into consideration what happens when people stand up.

So sadly we didn’t see much of the lead singer Brian who seems to get girls of a Lesbianic tendency excited!

The music and atmosphere were ace though.
Oh yes, that email is wouldn’t it be a terrible shame if it found it’s way onto some delightful lists. Happy Penis Enlargement Scams Hassan!

22 Apr 2012

Post 345 : Thank Goodness for Elitism.

I realize this isn’t a very fashionable viewpoint, but what do you expect from such a deeply unfashionable man?, as much of a slave to fashion as my last carers, here were slaves to morality (and cleanliness and thinking about it, fashion) – anyway, I’m not going to get into attacking those b*stards today, they should be in jail but they have run back to Bangladesh, Morons.
Anti-elitism has hit the headlines again after a total bell-end swam in front of the boatrace and basically was lucky not to get decapitated.

The fact that I’m even talking about it shows that sadly any sort of publicity stunt, no matter how stupid, does appear to work in the same way as the Go Compare adverts

are memorable in proportion to how awful they are. What can I say, apart from F*** F***ETY F***?

Awful things become awfully popular as long as they are publicised – The X factor, Olly Murrs, Big Brother, Chris Moyles,

Snow Patrol or f*cking Snow Patrol, actually the addition of f*cking to any one of those things is appropriate.
Before I get to my unfashionable subject, this week for me has mainly been about being in hospital again. Well, I think the procedure went as well as could be expected. They got the pictures of my brain they wanted and I lived, it’s the implications that scare me, whenever they work them out. I was expecting a general anaesthetic but they gave me a local so some pain, a bit more conscious indignity and less chance of slipping beneath the waves. Even though I was having this procedure done on my private medical insurance, one night in hospital is pathetically deleterious to my sh*tty energy and crushed spirit. Kipping on a floor in the past didn’t used to be a problem but now being away from home for one poxy night, it’s like being checked into the world’s worst hotel for the price, floor 15 (the top floor) of Charing Cross Hospital

where they have slightly nicer lino. I don’t know what it is but the atmosphere for a patient in a hospital is threatening, maybe I’m reading too much into it, but you feel helpless, at the mercy of everyone. Luckily, I was inducted by a kind nurse called Penny (if only ‘inducted’ was a euphemism) and then a friend came to see me. I’ve said it before but a visit from a friend when you are feeling supremely vulnerable is just the best thing so to my college mate Helen VJ thank you so much. I then proceeded to have a very poor night’s sleep in preparation for being got up at 7 for this thing that was scaring the sh*t out of me and I can’t even rant about the hospital food because I was ‘nil by mouth’. What an electrically happy combination of circumstances?
So the next day (Tuesday) I may have been woken up at 7 but was there any sign of this procedure happening? Was there f*ck. I eventually got taken to be prepped at midday where I found out I was to be conscious instead of knocked out. Mixed feelings to this news. You’re pretty sure you’re not going to die but you know it will hurt. On balance I think that’s good. I have no idea how long it lasted – too long but the staff were all very nice. The high point of this truly awful experience, and it was blighted by having to have my groin shaved in front of them (about 10 people). But before I move on to moan about something else (I hate to moan but that’s this weeks theme) I just want to say I can’t fault the manner of the Angiographer Bryn Jones and the Glaswegian bloke operating the space age machine.

Do you see a little why this is quite scary? Once it was over and I was rolled back to my room, I was pleasantly surprised by the arrival of one of my good Samaritans Anna who had driven up from Portsmouth

–what a nice thing to do! Seeing a friendly face after an experience like that is a big help.
I am still going to bang on about Elitism. Elitism has become a dirty word in the last few years. Now ‘snooty’ elitism which is about excluding someone from getting power, jobs, money or fair treatment on a narrow reading of their merits is utter nonsense, for example what the Sunni Muslims seem to think they have a right to do to the Shia majority in Bahrain and in other parts of the middle East makes me mad, but ‘hero of the left’ Billy Bragg

also made me mad this week. He was recently talking about how Politicians at the top across parties in this country didn’t have enough ‘life experience’ to be making decisions that affect people’s lives. Bollocks to you Billy Bragg, that’s like expecting my neurologist to have had a stroke before anything he says is valid – such a ridiculous point of view. He was going on about how people like David Cameron, George Osborne, Ed Balls and Ed Miliband doing PPE at Oxford doesn’t qualify them as people with enough life experience to understand how their decisions affect the ‘common man’. As someone who did PPE at Oxford let me confirm it qualifies you for f*ck all but let me also just say it makes me confident that the people making the decisions are at least smart enough to understand the mountain of things that go into making these decisions – I am glad such complicated decisions are in the hands of intellectual elites and not the common man, who is best left to watching football, fighting

and eating pies from Greggs

–if the working classes can make such sweeping generalisations about being posh (and they do) it can be given back. I wonder how that’ll be interpreted by the bleeding hearts and the more vociferous (usually people who enjoy the trappings of being middle class but fancy themselves as working class champions)
Anyway, I enjoy a good stereotype (who doesn’t and who takes themselves so seriously as to not see the truth in a lot of social generalisations?), any resulting arguments are likely to be lively, just as long as no bitterness, resentment or personal attacks result – I don’t shy away from arguments but I don’t have it in me to bat away personal attacks in quite the way I once could. It has also been particularly painful that my active pursuit of finding a partner is apparently deeply unattractive and I quote:
"there is nothing more unattractive than someone who's desperate for a partner”.
I don’t give a sh*t how true this is but it’s sometimes better to shut up, as one of Tim Minchin’s songs goes ‘sticks and stones may break my bones my bones, but words can break hearts’....’only a ginger, can call another ginger, ginger’

... etc...Oh well, going to see an American comedian described as ‘irreverent, brutally honest and opinionated’ tonight ought to level me out. I’m sure Doug Stanhope’s dulcet, soothing tones will be just the ticket. Gary,

my housekeeper is taking me. As a man who speaks his mind, this should be right up his street. if you want boring touchy feely beige whale song you’ve come to the wrong place.
Actually, while I’m here, I can report that Stanhope was superb. It must be pretty tough for a non-household name US comic to do a 40 day UK tour because how you pack out regional venues I don’t know, however in London obviously quite a lot of people know who he is and London is home to loads of Septics (Tanks –Yanks) so the Apollo was pretty full.

Anyway, like a lot of comics he wasn’t for the faint hearted, but I thought he was outstanding. He literally just stood there and RANTED.

But intelligently, not just purely angrily, like someone like Rhod Gilbert. For example, Stanhope’s de-construction and ridicule of the whole ‘occupy wall street’ movement was rib-cracking poetry, and he was not scared of being crude. His diatribe on the invitation American Football trousers give to those of a perverted persuasion

was one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard. FACT. Better still, my housekeeper Gary, who had been an inspired 11th hour replacement was howling with laughter (so much so I was concerned considering he’s a man who’s had bypass surgery before) –anyway, he and Gwen have made my morning by surprising me with eggs, bacon and beans which given how racy my diet has to be was Manna from heaven. Legends. Anyway, best get back to being deeply unattractive.

15 Apr 2012

Post 344: I haven’t had a go at religion for a while...

Difficult one today, it always seems to be a difficult one but I had one of those nights sleep where you don’t really sleep because you have a thought bouncing around your head. Probably inspired by seeing a bit of ‘game change’ a US drama about how the US Republican party (the scariest thing since the Nazis) chose Sarah Palin to be John McCains running mate for president.

Now, I didn’t watch it all because I am a little tired (I know I’ve mentioned that somewhere before) but the general point of the film was to dramatize how the US Republicans ( not a stupid lot – I didn’t say not insane) chose a borderline simpleton ‘better at memorizing and delivering lines than she is at understanding issues.’ Who is only good for a career at Fox news or soft pornography. At one point Palin says she ‘see’s the hand of god everywhere around her in this beautiful world’ –what a f*ckwit. I’m glad most of the world is starting to see sense. There is an argument that says organised religion is OK because it has fostered morality, kindness and salvation where there otherwise would be none. This is true but organised religion has given rise to some sh*te too. I have been called a ‘godless piece of meat’ by people so pious that they fasted during Ramadan but were quite happy to leave the country with over £10,000 of unpaid bills, if you’re going to be thieving immoral b*stards you might as well go the whole hog (pun not intended) and do it on a full stomach . These were people (scum really) who’s faith teaches peace and tolerance but who’s radical believers kill others for not sharing their beliefs and deny women rights because their men are scared that their utter laziness may oneday cost them their god-given superiority. F*ckwits! Radical Christians aren’t any better – at least they’re only intolerant feckless c*nts, who’ll burn a Koran at worst. This is what a bad night’s sleep does, it makes you write angry. I’ve woken up today intolerant of intolerance. Now, the Muslims reading this will probably say I’ve been frightfully unfair, let me assure you, I am an equal opportunities offender. No, believe me, I am as dismayed at all three of the Abrahamic religions in equal measure. Religious people. How can you believe in God creating man but in him forgetting to leave an instruction manual? Since man has existed one of our major pursuits has been trying to stop our bodies failing us, trying to fix them, trying to make them feel and look different and guess what? Most of these things are hideously expensive, too dangerous, illegal or all three. Ergo –god doesn’t exist or he’s a c*nt. Now, as a logical entity, I think the former is true, but being able to blame someone else makes us feel better and is something my mum has taught me from a young age but logic wins the day on this.
I’m sure there are religious people reading this hoping I die on Tuesday when I have this Angiobrainscan. My mate Paul, an anaesthetic practioner did his best to re-assure me, saying ‘they have done these before’ – he’s right of course.
I’ve consoled myself with a couple of visits from friends. First by my mate Anna who I think of as one of my good Samaritans (there are a few) who dropped in on Saturday morning.

The last time we’d seen each other I had been in intensive care. Ignoring the fact that I’d been in a hospital environment last time, she said ‘I was like a different person’, my speech and my posture are so much better. This is a good thing to hear when everyday feels the same, and finally, I’ve been out for Sunday Roast today with another good Samaritan, Isabel and her comedian of a 12 year old son Kevin.

They’re great people.
Finally before I go in to hospital tomorrow, I’ll be going out for lunch with my mate Richard (on the left here),

who is vicar of nearby Claygate, rest assured we’ll not be discussing any of this! Not that it would faze him!

13 Apr 2012

Post 343: Oldskool and trying hard but hopefully not an old-fashioned try hard

Another week where I’m not too sure what on earth to write about, it’s small wonder I’m not achieving ‘internet’ style growth in visitor numbers

, well I’m not really trying to, the hope is to get a core readership who I hope are ‘my friends’, not the disturbing practice of genuinely believing that people you’ve never met before but have interacted with on the internet are your ‘actual friends’.
I hope that these people don’t get too bored of the dross I write here because I hope they’re genuinely a little bit interested in what I have to say and in how I’m doing. Any increase in visitor numbers either comes from people who either just happen across it, a bit like the way you step in dogsh*t, or more disturbingly there are people out there who actually look for dogsh*t, you know who you are!
Anyway, enough of the hilarious doggydoo metaphor. I just want to make it clear how hard you have to try when your brain has categorically and catastrophically let you down. This is the only way I’m ever going to see it I’m afraid –even though I’ve met people I wouldn’t have otherwise met, no-one is worth being disabled for life for, seriously, ask yourself that question – I’d sooner give my life for someone I really cared about (ie I’d die for them) than be like this, yep, I’m 100% positive about that. Things were fine and I had no reason to think this would or could happen. Next week, assuming I survive this procedure on Tuesday, although I assume nothing these days because you know what they say about assumption and f*ck-ups, blah, blah.
I think the week after, I’m going to have a go at a writing course again. This time rather than it being a banal internet writing course it is class based and seems to involve real people, and is possible because my Carer Gary can actually drive me to it when it’s on(it’s down the road in Esher). I figure that sitting in a classroom, surrounded by real people listening to a real person will focus the mind more than sitting in front of a computer screen and typing into a word document, ok, so it is somewhat ironic that maybe that’s the long term plan but right now I have neither the energy, inspiration or motivation which I’ll obviously be awash with after a couple of classes on this course! Oh me of too much faith! That’s not an expression I thought I’d ever use...
So I guess this blog should be about reacting to things that have happened in the last week either to me or in the world? Something you would have thought I’d know by now, I’ve only been writing this f*cking thing for four years. I draw your attention to my earlier comment about assumption and f*ck ups. I do try and keep profanity to a minimum but don’t always succeed.

Perhaps try is the wrong word. Perhaps I shouldn’t write this but the world treats me like a loser and this ties in with my last post on entitlement, even though I don’t feel like the world owes me anything, I FEEL ENTITLED NOT TO BE TREATED LIKE A LOSER. I believe passionately in reward for effort (one of the few things I believe in passionately, because people who say they’re passionate about things often turn out to be nutters), someone who’s definitely not a nutter and isn’t treating me like a loser hermit is my old college mate Sally, who popped in with her kids last week.

People who make time for me like this make me feel like a proper person, if people didn’t do this I’d feel worse than I already do. I hate to feel like I’m ‘guilting’ people out here but sick people have been doing this sh*t for years and I’m no exception!
Apart from refreshing honesty, I’m pretty mainstream these days because I have to be, ie the types of venues I have to go to for everything from lunch to the latest concerts to what I watch on TV –not that I was ever quirky. To be quirky takes energy, which I don’t have, and even when I had energy I didn’t believe in wasting it on things I didn’t really believe in plus Quirkyness is the first step to weirdness, and even though difference is a good thing, people who try to be different for the sake of being different are c*nts. I’ve often gone on about how I’ve no time for weirdness, which is ironic considering I’m a weird looking and sounding person now. I remember many years ago, for a bit of a laugh going to the torture garden

at a dreadful place in Brixton called Mass. A bizarre converted church,

It was frankly a scary experience – not once would I question people’s right to do that but after I saw a guy about my dad’s age walking around in a chainmail jockstrap and nothing else asking people to spank him I decided, there’s difference and there’s weirdness, one is ok, and I’m not into the other. As humans, we like things at the edge of our senses and abilities, it’s why we drink too much, stay up late, love being in love, love making love, laugh maniacally, like making people happy – it’s why I go to concerts, it’s why I organise get-togethers. This is my attempt at having some sort of life and refusing to ‘go quietly’, it’s why I loved going to see Orbital

on Tuesday at the Albert Hall which doesn’t really make sense. How a pioneering 80s electronic music outfit apparently named after the fact that the M25 was the London ‘Orbital’,

ie the road where all the original ‘raves in fields’ were, that these clowns should now be playing at possibly the most mainstream venue on the planet was strange in itself, but it was pretty full too, full of plenty of casualties from those raves, people whom the worst thing that has happened has been to lose some hair. It was verging on a spiritual experience, in this beautiful room with my mate Oli who has made a lot of my post stroke concert going possible (he took this video)), and my mate Dom, who I’ve known for 25 years.
Dom told me the best gag ' must be odd for them not playing a gig in a field that wasn't announced until 30 minutes before starting with two hours of power problems'. Genius! I’ve booked this morning to go to their Brixton Academy gig on the 14th December. I hope there are takers?

8 Apr 2012

Post 342: A sense of entitlement

Happy dead religious figurehead weekend, a line nicked from my good friend Steve Williams, a god among atheists, a man as religious as I am at heaping manure on the horsesh*t that some people spout.
A busy week, pretty topsy-turvey in terms of mood, ie on Tuesday I found myself sharing on facebook (gawd knows why but I’m no ******* psychologist)
“Um, today is not a good one, I am scared of death but I don't see the point to life”
Does sharing this make me some sort of attention whore? Probably does. The champagne socialists I know and smug satire sites written by bitter leftie students on the web bang on about ‘the ridiculous sense of entitlement’ that the middle classes have. It has irritated me somewhat in the last week and generally how we can be begrudged this. Since I was born all I know is that my parents have been scrupulously honest, perhaps almost to a fault. Always obeyed laws and always paid their bills and taxes, and on time. This is how I was brought up but I’m a bit more slapdash than they are. Now I’m a disabled middle class person, I feel entitled to freedom from crime, freedom of movement, public order(no f*cking looting), utilities that work and freedom from pain. This also applies to the people I care about. This includes all people I identify with as conscious creatures (this excludes some ignorant yobs(some premier league footballers), Chavs and pikeys but also some immoral bankers and fox-hunting enthusiasts). I’ve got plenty to thank my septuagenarian parents for. I have generally tried all my life to do the right thing although I’m sure there are some stories out there. I find myself probably in the worst situation a human could find themselves in that is not a matter for Amnesty and do you know what?, I feel entitled to a better life than this. Why? Not because I’m middle class. I don’t think the world owes me a damn thing, that said, flipping between a good life and one that is pure cack is not acceptable and I’m entitled to rant and rave about how sh*t it is but Guess what? You’re entitled to look at one of the other 9.8Billion internet pages out there (Off you go....) I think that being disabled makes you fundamentally more humble and respectful of people than you already were, especially to people who make the effort or give you their valuable time. By that, I don’t mean to sound like some schmaltzy Ed Sheeran

song where we should all just speak pathetically to each other and love one another because that’s not how the world works, oh yes, and the look that prevails is to have a ‘wispy’ beard

or so adverts seem to tell us. I should just ignore almost all advertising – it’s for able bodied, two handed people who can walk and feel normal, not for people like me.
[church notice] I will be going into hospital for my angio brainscan on Monday 16th April at 4pm, the procedure will be on the Tuesday morning. They should be booting me out on Tuesday afternoon if all goes well. If anyone feels compelled to come and see me, Monday Evening (before 8pm) or Tuesday lunchtime would be my best guesses. I’ll get my sh*tty stick ready. I’ll be in Charing Cross Hospital [church notice end]
I had an appointment on Wednesday at Kingston Hospital to do a post mortem (an unfortunate choice of words) on my July 2011 Intensive Care experience
It was helpful, seeing as I am really nervous about the anaesthetic for my angio brainscan they were able to tell me this was a much shorter procedure requiring much lighter sedation. I’m a little reassured.

We evolved over millions of years to realise that we want the best and we want it yesterday. I think before my stroke I had achieved a better than average life and was probably living it. This has taught me that we are entitled to f*ck all because everything that used to matter to me is gone. I am pissed off that I appear to be moaning because I believe in getting on with it. If we’re entitled to anything, it’s people not moaning and if there’s one thing that makes me madder than Bill Hicks,

it’s hypocrisy. My answer to the depression that haunts me after having a stroke is:

‘To me, it's all about breaking up your routine with seeing friends, going to events or organising stuff, otherwise it just feels like you're getting nowhere’

What a pearl of wisdom! To that end I probably ought to explain why I’ve been busy where the casual and insensitive observer might say ‘that lot’d be no problem’, I’ll start on Friday and work backwards. I went to see ‘Cast’, a band I remember well from my late teens and early 20s. The gig was at Shepherds Bush Empire,

a venue that really reminds me of the Fridge in Brixton because of it’s character, size and some of the dodgy b*stards who hang around outside it, not that the latter is ever a good thing. Most importantly, inside as a venue it generates a bit of an atmosphere,

probably best explained by this video I took of Cast’s Encore Sorry if the sound’s a bit sh*t. It’s big enough to be a proper venue but small enough to give it some ‘je ne sais quoi’? which probably makes no sense.
My compatriots for the evening were Champ and Oli,

mates from two very different chapters of my life who didn’t know each other but got on famously. Oli used to DJ with me years ago, and now is an advertising guru and music producer. He has been a real rock since my stroke and has made a lot of my concert-going possible. Champ is one of the few folk from my city days that has stuck by me. Probably the purveyor of some of the most entertaining chat as befitting a head of equity sales for one of the square miles independent brokers, the funny thing about Cast is they are touring on the back of an album that has been funded by a company Champ’s firm is advising.

Anyway, this apparently didn’t constitute a breach of the Chinese Wall and as a confirmed music fan he was well up for it. Before I knew it Champ had pledged to put Ol in touch with some useful music contacts after they had shared Glastonbury war stories. I think as gigs go it was a good one, on a much smaller scale than I’ve been used to. Since my stroke I have tended to favour the bigger spectacles at bigger venues when it comes to music but you get more in touch with humanity the closer you feel to the action, perhaps it’s an eyesight thing! Before all this (at lunchtime), I had been dropped in on by my great mates Vicky and PJ Denning.

In typical Pardey style I had this in the diary but had no idea about it (Happens all the time and yes, I do blame the Stroke) but it’s always great to see these two. Vicky and I reminisce about what a laugh we had as housemates more than a decade ago while PJ and I talk sh*t about our days as lackadaisical undergraduates amongst other things. Vicky is now someone very senior at Waitrose, part of John Lewis, the company who make my life possible, and she says she often finds herself citing the way that JL have looked after me as an example of why it is such a great company. It’s hard to feel like a good example of anything most days! Vicky and PJ were busy admiring the new floor that my brother has put down in the living room.

I no longer have to live in fear of spilling red wine or getting mud on my tires which was a much bigger source of stress than it should have been. On Wednesday I had been to see Irish comedian and host of Mock the Week Dara O’Briain

at a pretty good venue in Guildford called G Live with a mate from School, Owen.

Both Owen and Dara are amusing characters, Owen for his confidence in his sense of direction, despite this, we did make it and Dara’s observation that as unsavoury as it is, it cannot be denied that racism is a more accurate predictor of how people might behave compared to astrology, difficult to argue with. It was a good show, like most good comedy, it’s hard to remember much, particularly as Dara

talks faster than a city derivatives trader after a ‘fact-finding mission’ to Bolivia.
My weeks exploits had started the night before after I had been taken by Aussie Angel (not a contradiction in terms) Bianca

to see Florence and the Machine at the Albert Hall, a charity gig, in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust.

This is the third year I have been to these concerts, last year was the comedy styling’s of Kevin Bridges, John Bishop and James Corden and I was taken by Jose and (his now pregnant) partner Bec, the year before it had been Biffy Clyro with my friend Jo, who dropped in to say Hi last week too. I am privileged to have friends who make the time to see me or to take me out. Meeting people and organising things to do and the way to do them is what I have these days. Also, being the aesthete that I am, I couldn’t not post this picture of the beautiful girl who was half of Florence’s support act on Tuesday.

Florence’s voice may have been incredible and on balance it may have been a better gig than her show at Ally Pally in March, I still lament the demise of her Style – Now she is just a voice without the performance. It is an incredible voice though, and her music sounded great in the hall.

These concerts do illustrate to me that charity makes the world go round. Anyway, happy DRFW or PRH (Pointless Religious Holiday)!



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