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)!


Juju Stevens said...

I think I love you; I am two years into stroke recovery and well, you know. It will take me an eternity to catch up a little on your blog, like longer than I am likely to live given my comprehension rate, but thank you so much. I found it by accident, looking for pictures of Keith Richard's hands (don't ask). It appeared almost magically, as I sat in my usual early morning tears, missing having a life but not remembering quite what one is.
thank you so much.

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Well, I'm happy to have helped

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