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4 Jun 2012
Post 344: Testosterone and Oestrogen may be completely different, but they can both be brilliant.
I never quite get the balance right these days? Please bear with the length of this, it has been quite a week! Seeing as fatigue is my worst symptom... I often maintain that if I felt normal, or well, ever – I would be a happier, more interesting, basically better person able to cope with much more, more therapy, more visitors, more laughs, more motivation, more opportunities and probably (unfortunately) more blogging.
I tell people and doctors this but there’s nothing. Antideppresants don’t do anything except once causing me to fall out of my chair on the floor (or so my carer at the time thought). The bottom line is they don’t make me feel any different and frankly I think they’re a con, although for some people they make the difference. I listen to peoples ideas as long as it doesn’t involve fruitless hard work. It’s hard enough having to feel like this thankyou very much, so if someone comes up with a hypocritical idea –ie ‘You should do more exercise’, when they themselves don’t, they can sling their hook. I brutalise myself with the training I have to do just so I can get from my wheelchair into my bed or another chair or even sit on the loo. I cannot balance, the part of my brain that did that is gone and the accepted wisdom seems to be that this long after a stroke being able to walk unaided is unlikely to be possible again, ergo trying to walk independently isn’t going to happen. Hard to accept but necessary. If anyone tells me I’m ‘a quitter I’ll be bloody livid with them. If they ever find a solution to me feeling better I’ll start trying to walk again. I’m committing to trying to stay in shape by continuing with my training regimen with Jose and I’m even getting this treadmill
because stepping seems to be the best form of exercise. It keeps my legs strong, makes me sweat (therefore helps with my weight) and longer term it might payoff. Seriously though, twenty paces at 0.5kmh feels like running a marathon. That’s how pathetic this has made me.
Anyway, better news – due to the chaotic way I plan things, ie if I hear about something I want to see, I try and make sure I’m free on the day, that I can get a discounted or free carer ticket, there’s somewhere to park and the journey is manageable(sometimes a year in advance). It is this chaotic system that sometimes means I have nothing in a week or sometimes 4 things. In the words of legendarily reasonable Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary ‘no refunds means no refunds, which part don’t you understand?’ Doesn’t he sound like a nice man?
Anyway, last week was a week with nothing, this was a week where I only had Wednesday Evening off! I was quite scared. On Monday my driver/companion was ill so I made tentative alternative plans but called going to that off which kills me, not only because it constitutes a waste but because it ended up sold out. It was a small comedy show to see a few B-list comedians that I’ve seen on TV, Canadian dirty old man Mike Wilmot,
Welsh idiot Lloyd Langford
and a couple of others. Makes me feel quite sad missing it now. On Tuesday I went to see comedy android, half panel show, half comedian but nonetheless offensive lego-twat Jimmy Carr.
Now, his popularity is testament to the power of TV, most of his tour is sold out. It is a very slick and confident show, just to say that one of his Joke writers is legendarily nasty Scottish bstard Frankie Boyle – if you know who he is then you’ll understand that the material is pretty close to the bone. I think he even used the exact words ‘I’m an equal opportunities offender’ as he’s a professional comedian often on telly and I’m a professional nobody often in my front room, I think I must have nicked it off him. It’s a good job I don’t offend easily though because he said ‘we’d all cheer ourselves up if we spent more time pointing at disabled people and laughing’ He’s not always such a c*nt, and I’ve got respect for his sharpness and delivery, he’s probably a comedian not to heckle, not if you value the sanctity of your mum. He’s a real c*nt. Big thanks to my trainer and friend Jose
for taking me, I only want to kill him on Monday’s, Wednesday’s and Friday’s.
Luckily, I had Wednesday evening off to recover a bit before going to see one of the bands that had defined my youth, the mighty Guns and Roses at the Dome.
I’d last seen them at the Dome back in October 2010
If anything they’re even better. Axl’s voice is just as good and he no longer looks like someone has inserted a bicycle pump up his arse. He’s still an arse though, unapologetically leaving the crowd to wait over an hour after the brilliant support act ‘Thin Lizzy’
(they are straight out of the 70s but I saw them back in February at the Apollo ) They rocked the Dome till 10pm.I think the Dome management bods must have been seriously starting to Panic about having thousands of people stranded by now, a uniquely 1st world humanitarian crisis!
Guns and Roses finally materialised onstage at 11pm with the sellout crowd alternating booing and slow handclaps. Seeing as I’m the kind of bloke who thinks that leaving anyone waiting (even my closest friends) for even a minute is bloody rude, I just don’t understand the mentality of making over 10,000 people who’ve forked out over £20 each to see you boo you. It must be utterly mortifying, but hey, what do I know? I think GnR have generated so much goodwill with their fans down the years that they know they’ll be forgiven. It’s madness. Anyway, despite their contempt for their fans, us fickle lot loved them. Axl’s voice is as good as it always was, if not better, his high scream is as good as ever but his low growl sounds more menacing even if his facial hair
makes me think of Dr Zoidberg
or the Predator.
They have more good songs than you can shake a shitty stick at and the Dome is the best large venue I’ve ever been to. Everyone’s a winner. Axl on vocals, Izzy Stradling on Rhythm guitar
and Dizzy Reed on keyboards
are the only names I recognize from the 90s. They still sounded awesome and the new guys seem to have slotted right in –particularly a guy called Richard Fortus,
filling Slash’s massive shoes by being excellent and really looking and playing the part. Guns and Roses in their ‘use your illusion’ era were untouchable in my opinion. A mix of heavy Rock and Melody beloved by teenagers of both sexes. Blokes loved the attitude as well as their music, Girls were attracted to Axl’s looks and androgynous style
like they love Brian from Placebo,
Slash was my hero
in the same way Billy Duffy from The Cult
was a lot of peoples hero. I guess we just loved talented rebels and the idea of entertaining other people for a living, real work sounded worse than having to go to school.
A French guy at school (Donald Tournier or frog dougier as I rudely and racistly called him - I was a floppy haired stroppy teenager) Him and I used to noodle Guns and Roses songs on Donald’s shit electric guitar and dream about having a Les Paul
Anyway, I digress. GnR are not one of these annoying bands that insist on subjecting you to new material, although some of it eg ‘Chinese Democracy’ is tidy and ‘this I love’ is easily as good, if not better than ‘November rain (the keen eyed will note how it perfectly fits the ‘November Rain’ video) , I guess Axl thinks Stephanie Seymour is pretty special. She is certainly attractive but has that ‘femme fatale’ quality where oneday she might just murder you. Not a nice quality to exude.
They also played some ‘Appetite for Destruction’ classics
The real stars of the show were the people I went with though, this is always important as life is about shared experiences. My accomplice for the evening was a friend who has made a lot of my post-stroke concert-going possible, Oli
– I imagine that in the last four years we must be in the highish teens as to the number of events we’ve been too. This time, he couldn’t make the timings for driving me work because Ol’s high powered advertising job has got him under the cosh but as luck would have it my mate Isabel was taking her son Kevin along with friend Elaine
as she was determined that 13 year old Kev see the mighty Guns n Roses and a proper rock concert. They were able to drive me and we met Ol there. What a cool lady, my mum would think it a ‘frightful noise’. As luck would have it – they were allocated seats near us as Kev was deemed too young to go in the standing bit and Oli bumped into one of his good mates (Kieron) and Kieron’s lovely girlfriend Bec.
I think we all had a good time although finishing at 130am and getting home at 4am was the thin end of the wedge. I think everyone was thoroughly exhausted.
After Thursdays highly charged Testosterone driven event. I was grateful when Jose rung me to ask if it ‘had been a late one’ and ‘would having the Friday off training be advisable?’ What a good lad, because on Friday evening I was supposed to be going to the rather more estrogenically endowed Coldplay concert at Arsenal’s Emirates stadium.
Now if the worst thing in life is waiting, and the second worst thing is traffic. Waiting in traffic is the worst thing ever.
As the crow flies the distance from my house to the Emirates is about 25 miles – The concert started at 645, the disabled carpark in the stadium shut at 545, we left at 4 and we got there during the 2nd support act, the lovely Marina and the Diamonds at about 7,
and luckily the Police took pity on us and let us in. Respect to my mate Graham for never abandoning hope, where many would have just turned the car around and given in. It was also the bumpiest journey of my life, no wonder the French take the piss out of our roads, they are a f*cking disgrace.
So, we’d managed to miss Ash, who are on my list to see, but Marina and the Diamonds were ok, if only for the gorgeousness of Marina
and her beautiful voice – I think her genre would be Electrowarbling. I’m always being told that being attractive is not enough to like someone so I thought of her as a fine canvas and I appreciated her patter to the crowd about ‘London being the city that had made her dreams come true’ I’m now appreciating the irony of it being the city that realised some of my worst nightmares.
That’s not a trap I’m going to fall into, this post has been too long and too full of nice things.
You can’t get more yin and yang than Guns and Roses and Coldplay. Guns and Roses are Testosterone to Coldplay’s Oestrogen. Sure, there were plenty of heel wearing sexy rock chicks at Guns and Roses but the entire crowd at Coldplay seemed to be Puffa Jacket Wearing middle class Thirtysomething posh girls and I know which group I more readily associate with, but I’m a pragmatist so I accept the best of both and as much as I just want to hit Chris Martin
in his boring, guilt about Africa holistic, Environmentally friendly, Bono-syndromed, smug, weedy, self-satisfied, detoxed face He can’t half sing and be the frontman of a band that has produced 5 albums, sold 55 million of the buggers and won 7 Brits, they’re not muppets. They are great live
Even the attempt by the usual British weather failed to spoil it, although you should never sit yourself too close to the point where the roof ends above you for the same reason you never pitch your tent under a tree. I am planning on going to a couple of outdoor events later in the year that will be made or broken by the weather. It did get me thinking, any outdoor British event, no matter how good, will never be judged on it’s merits if it rains, a Devon tractor pull can be better than the opening ceremony of the Olympic games if the weather for the latter is wretched (we’ll see).
Back to the gigs, I have heard of mobile phone Mexican waves at gigs but at this they had wristband lights that were centrally controlled. Not that I had one but I thought the results were excellent. Judge for yourself. Doing a gig without them seems mad now. I can see why hard rockers say that the song ‘Paradise’ is wet-lettuce insipid middle of the road crap but in the name of pragmatism, I like it. I don’t care if I get called unprincipled. The people that do call me that probably like ‘The Apprentice’ or ‘The X-Factor’. A shout out to the lads (James and Rob I think) who chatted to me in the post gig melee. I think by and large total strangers can’t believe a guy in my state bothers to go to gigs. I sometimes wonder. It’s hard and not cheap but what else would I do? I stay in touch with my friends and family and organising the things is meticulous, complicated and expensive so I can’t back out, I force myself to push through the inevitable pathetic exhaustion. I’m not in the habit of letting people down...
Speaking of which, it’s a four day weekend celebrating 60 years of an old lady who doesn’t ‘give a sh*t if you die tomorrow’[comedian Jon Richardson on 8 out of 10 cats], It’s just too mental to make up. As with any bank holiday the weather has reminded us to forget anything good about this country. At least Saturday was alright and I was able to go to my neighbours front garden and have tea and scones and chat to the amazing 90 year old lady
amongst the bunting who lives a couple of doors down. Seriously, Connie, for her age she has hardly any assistance, walks around, looks after her garden beautifully and tells anyone who’ll listen how it would be a mercy if she just went. Bollocks, she is a feature of this street and a real character, we’d all be much worse off without her. Speaking of care, my housekeepers, Gary and Gwen
have gone to Paris to celebrate their 39th (lace apparently) wedding anniversary (goodness, they deserve it) and it has really highlighted how I can’t cope on my own. Luckily, I have had my neighbour Tracey and my mate Isabel pop in to do my morning routine and meals. I couldn’t survive without them. Amazing People. Oh, and also special thanks to my mate Graham who took me to the Coldplay
concert – him saying ‘that was fantastic’ after they encored with ‘Clocks’ reminds me of why I go to concerts. God, I don't half go on. Sorry.-