30 Aug 2012

Post 364: I think I should rename this sometimes...

...To the weekly wobble or wibble or ‘the weekly whinge’. For the record, whingeing is sh*t and I realised exactly how bad it is when I went to the Albert Hall the other day when the guy (incidentally an old guy in a wheelchair just didn’t stop complaining to his poor carer about how this ‘was such a bad vantage point’
I almost broke with convention (I’m so English and Oldschool) and was about to tell him to STFU (if you can’t work out what that’s an acronym for then God Help you – gosh that’ll help!
Back to renaming this, so long as it’s some sort of lazy alliteration we’ll all be fine although bands the Temper Trap and Passion Pit could have tried harder, they’re just pathetic!
I usually try and grab some major theme and write about that OR I try and write about things I’ve been doing but I really haven’t been doing much since I got out of hospital for my Gall Bladder operation (and that was a few weeks back on about 15th August.
I go on a lot about how training is really my job (I’m like the worst paralympic athlete ever) training is my ticket to semi-independence and a sub-standard life. I’ve recently found out how true that is. Since getting out of hospital I haven’t really trained because my operation wounds make using my trunk (I’m not an elephant) or my right arm a bit painful to do exercise or transfers. Imagine if you will, if you were a walker, it being too painful to get into bed, a chair or onto the loo. However in some cases you just have to grit your teeth. It’s a bit crap – and Jose’s girlfriend Bec was due on Friday last week so he’s a bit pre-occupied being a good expectant father. Poor Bec still hasn’t had the baby but I was rather forced to write this to him:

‘I know it's a tough one and Bec is the #1 priority but not exercising
is taking its toll on my mental and physical health. You probably
think I'm a selfish c*nt for even writing this but I fell on the floor
today after my left leg buckled trying to get into my armchair. All
I'm saying is don't hang around. + I've got to head into hospital in
mid september for more Gamma-Knife radio surgery. At least that means
no operation wounds but it will be a 6 hour general which will f*ck me
up. I'm terrified. Anyway good luck and be in touch. Just filling you
in. Seriously, not having a routine has screwed me up. Glad the
contractions have started. Sure Bec has mixed emotions. Good luck.
Sure you've been through girls names enough times to drive you mental!

This is how desperate I am to get back to my Thrice weekly torture – it’s mad isn’t it? As you can also see the prospect of another bout of Gamma-Knife radiobrainsurgery isn’t exactly filling me with joy. Last time I had it in 2006 it was the single most traumatic experience of my life so I’ve said to the consultant at the Cromwell Hospital that I’ll only do it under general anaesthetic, which I wouldn’t have been cacking myself about had my appendix anaesthetic in July 2011 not have almost killed me. I hate to make a fuss, but people who think they might die tend to get scared. I haven’t endured seven(ish) years of this to flounce now. Seeing we’re on such a joyous subject I want to make it absolutely clear that if I for whatever reason become more disabled (ie lose the ability to speak, think properly or use my right side, I don’t want to live, I don’t want to have my life saved, I don’t want to blink out a book. It’s been hard enough doing this with one finger. The word I’m looking for is ‘embattled’, and the thing is that’s how everyone feels these days so it’s no wonder I feel on my own a bit, everyone else is too busy, trying to survive their own lives.

27 Aug 2012

Post 363: Another marvellous wedding and a not so good Village Fete

The mixed emotion machine has been in full force over the last week. But Good vibrations were provided by going to Lizzie and Will’s lovely wedding on Saturday. It’s nice to be invited to an occasion like this because it usually means that the people involved have thought about my needs which is nice when worrying about anything other than ‘their big day’ must be hard when they have a million and one other more important things to think about – I mean, organising my birthday bash is more stress than I can healthily cope with, a wedding must be stress to the power n. The type of thing ladies like my mother live for! Well, that and grandchildren. Lizzie and Will looked just lovely. Lizzie is very pretty anyway

and Will, who I’d never met is tall, dark and handsome, so the stage was set.

Lizzie was one of my clubbing mates from about 10 years ago so this wedding was a chance to catch up with some of my clubbing mates, some of whom I see a lot and are brilliant and some who I’m pretty sure see me as a bit of a nuisance and a bore since my stroke which rather breaks my heart and makes me feel a bit let down and has probably dented my faith in humanity.

However, the silver lining has been meeting new friends who are prepared to make the effort, people like Isabel,

who agreed to do this at the last minute when my plans came apart and caused a panic. Isabel being the hero she is agreed to do it so long as she could bring her cute little daughter Lara.

Isabel had made both her and Lara’s dresses which is turning into a bit of a lost art. Unbelievably, Dress Fabrics were part of my area at John Lewis. It is sad that these seem to be skills that people don’t have anymore. The other silver lining was being put on a table with old friends Simon and Sharon

and Bex andJonnie Random and Jon and Megan.

Sharon is married to my old mate Ian, a god among men, just for the amount he used to make me laugh and for his skills as a DJ –he was showing his versatility by being wedding DJ extraordinaire on the night, You probably don’t see what I’m talking about but there were strains of MC Hammer emanating from the Dancefloor as I called it a day. Simon is married to the darkest sense of humour I know which is a good thing in my book but keeps him perennially single (he’d probably make a joke about that sounding a bit like Perineum, which to be fair it does a bit)and Bex (sitting on my left, probably thinking ‘Great, I’m next to Dom, who’s no fun – anyway they were both great, Simon’s a good lad who makes me laugh and Bex may yet persuade him to go to her swing-dancing classes – there’s gold in them thar hills! Definitely a good thing to have gone to methinks. Amazing venue to – just down the road in Teddington.

Apparently used to be a cathedral.
To something not quite in the same league. There is something inherently shit about Village Fete’s

and Oxshott’s is exemplary! This will probably be met by a chorus of ‘don’t be so negative’s, however F*CK THAT, I’m not going to be positive about something with no redeeming features. It is clearly aimed at ripping off Children and their parents, not at exhausted wheelchair bound adults.

The reason I went was to keep Gary and Gwen company and because I figured I could use the air. The best part was the presence of a few classic cars.

I’m really not tight but from the moment they charged us £2 per person entry even after I couldn’t use the pavements on the way there as people in Oxshott won’t pay to park we should have known. The only fete worth going to is the Lambeth Country show where the collision of tractors, livestock,tower blocks, jerk chicken, scrumpy and Reggae has to be seen to prove I’m not making it up.

24 Aug 2012

Post 362: Avoid boredom and indifference and you probably won’t die!

Another week, another crisis of confidence. The revelation I had last week was, as soon as you stop caring or giving a sh*t about what others think about, you might as well stop being alive. I also laughed a bit at this.

This doesn’t mean to say I’m some sort of pathetic idiot racked with Paranoia – that would make life even more tedious than it already is. But, I freely admit, I seem to have become some sort of ‘needy’ person, always ‘looking for validation’ I am quite paranoid, but that comes with the territory of being physically dissatisfied with oneself and being bad at most things I spent a quarter of a century getting good at. Coming to terms with never having my independence ever again is also a tricky bugger. This is how I put it in an email the other day
‘I'm staring down the barrel of 40 years of this sh*t.’

I’ve lost count of the number of ‘high and mighty’ messages full of amateur psychology saying ‘no-one can love you until you learn to love yourself’ – what utter bullsh*t, there are so many stories out there of beautiful carers marrying disabled patients or lovely girls falling for disabled Guys, I feel like the worst of a bad bunch, My dating profile, feel free to ignore it like everybody else! Stephen Hawking has been married more than once and the girls who married him weren’t astrophysicists! I guess money talks, albeit in a robotic, synthesized way! I’m afraid the minute you can’t be independent is the minute this ‘high-falluting’ piece of pop psychology goes out of the window. I will always try to do the right thing these days, primarily for others, and secondarily for myself and I’m not just saying that. The last thing I am is some worthy do-gooding twat. I like friendly, contritious, humble people, but over-friendly people can f*ck off, they’re not interesting or remotely funny or engaging in my opinion. Like religious people or tree-huggers they’re often more desperate for friends than the disabled. Call them on it and they instantly accuse you of being negative, f*ck-knuckles! Instead, I just want people to give a sh*t, and that starts with reading this. I guess I just got a bit fed up with really good friends saying ‘so what have you been up to?’ What does reading this take? 5, 10 minutes tops? I know people are busy, but not reading this when people spend so long on Facebook makes me think this is a bore, am I really that dull? I’ve always been quite big on making sure that for any effort anyone makes there is some reward. So if people make the effort (me included), it is only fair that they are rewarded. I’m sure I’m preaching to the converted and I’ve said this umpteen times. We’re not fidiots! Well, I’m pretty sure I’m not – this assertion is the extent of any arrogance I have left. So unsure have I been that I have been considering packing in this blog because I’m never sure if it gets read or makes any impact, ‘thanks for coming’ etc. So like the drama-queen I am I announced I was thinking of quitting this blog
Well, I am persuaded to keep writing it.
Anyway, bollocks to all that. I still get out, and I am still insanely grateful to all the people that take me.
First up on Monday was the awesome Bianca who took me to Brixton academy to see perennial favourites Kasabian.

As the Academy is a 50s art deco building it didn’t have any aircon and was a proper sweatbox. Bianca must have been one of the only girls in the place as Kasabian attract a very laddy crowd. They are brilliant though. I’ve probably seen them 6 times in the last few years starting with their Wembley Arena gig in 2009. I still remember it being brilliant although Brixton does produce magic
Before going into the ‘Black Hole of Calcutta’ like conditions I’m celebrating eating normal food again so I took Bianca for a Nando’s over the road.

Great chicken with a great Chick!
Well despite the sweltering concert we survived, Kasabian are great live. Perhaps some of their older stuff is better –‘West Ryder, Pauper, Lunatic Asylum’ is a masterpiece of an album and some of their even older tracks like LSF, Clubfoot and Empire are outstanding. Their new stuff is great live and on a big soundsystem, the big synthesized bass is unreal and really moves the air. This probably doesn’t explain it, apologies for the unsteady videos, only being able to use one hand’ll do that From one lot of great live music to another. It is Proms season and I love going. So, I took Gary and Gwen on Wednesday to see Prokofiev’s Cinderella at the Albert Hall. It obviously was just an Orchestra playing the music and not the full ballet. As classical music goes it is an amazing piece of music with so much going on made all the better by being on G platform right by the percussion (the guy who plays all the weird stuff like the triangle, the castanets, the wood block and the Tambourines.

I thought to myself – this guy must be under so much pressure – not only looking Like Lembit Opik but he has to be perfectly in time. I bet the violinists look down their noses at him, but in a piece like this his is a huge job.
The point of this post is just to say that making things happen is the only way to get through life. Irvine Welsh says at the beginning of his book ‘Ecstasy’ –applying gritty Scottish grimness to the party drug: ‘they say death is what kills you, when actually it is boredom and indifference. Say what you like about how disturbed he must be, but he seems to be onto something, not that I condone the way most of his characters are on something.
Finally, even though I'm a Tory this made me laugh
Nicked from Lizzie Catt's pictures. I'm deeply honoured to be going to her wedding reception tomorrow.

These Girls fall like Dominos. A lovely lady marrying a tall dark handsome Guy. Thanks in advance to my friend Isabel for stepping in to take me after my plans fell apart

19 Aug 2012

Post 361: Things will improve

As things go, this has probably been one of the harder weeks of the year (translation – harder weeks of my life). Last week, I talked about going into hospital to get my Gall Bladder removed. Well, for once it went to plan (It’s just I have a legacy of bitter experiences when it comes to ‘routine’ procedures so I was pretty nervous) (getting MRSA during an angiogram in 2006, traumatic Gamma-Knife radiobrainsurgery in late 2006, spending a week in intensive care after failing to come round properly after having my appendix removed in July last year). Yeah, right, so you can perhaps understand why I hate these f*cking things.
Well for once, I think it might have gone to plan, although they did insist on keeping me in until Thursday afternoon, which was grim. I am grateful for my private medical cover, which John Lewis had given me all those years ago. We keep up the payments on it as (rightly or wrongly) it guarantees some choice about the timing and location of a procedure. It’s slightly immoral that ‘slipping the doorman a ‘tenner’’ means that you can jump the queue but that is the way of the world we live in. Am I supposed to feel guilty? I am sure there are loads of people who will tell me I should but I don’t need another reason to feel lousy. David Cameron may think I’m morally bankrupt but does anyone seriously give a shit what he thinks? I am scared for my health- I can afford legally to get better treatment, do I
a. Use my private medical insurance
b. Decide that I’m not being fair, so stick with the ‘Jolly old NHS’’?
Fuck it, what would you do?
At this stage, it is right to point out that in no way have any of the funds raised by the trust gone towards any medical care, this is purely private medical insurance that is paid for by me out of my John Lewis disability pension. I think the NHS is great for saving your life if something happens – i.e, you have an accident, a stroke or appendicitis but if you need your Gall Bladder removed waiting 16 weeks and being given little choice over the time you have it removed is ridiculous *breathe*. Blah, that’s enough complaining about the faults of the system, an overhaul of which would doubtless be called a ‘dangerous cut’. The reason I’m probably so combative today are the grim after-effects of the General Anaesthetic. I already have enough trouble seeing the world through positive eyes because every bleeding day my soul feels crushed even before breakfast, but right now it feels like every awful impulse in my body is turned up to 11 – it’s hard to put this into words, but I have to assume it’ll wear off. Well, it better had. Equally as hard to put into words was the profound feeling of helplessness and Isolation you get from being in hospital especially when you can’t walk and get plonked in a hospital bed in a private room and your wheelchair taken away. It is scary – especially given how lonely I’ve been for the last 7 years.
In these circumstances I am lucky to have had parents like mine who will stop at nothing to make sure you always feel like you have someone on your side (to the extent I sometimes have to say ‘I’m going to sleep now guys, you can go home’)
The way I describe private hospitals is ‘like 5* Hotels but with none of the joy. It is always nicer to have your own room in hospital if you do get visitors because it just feels more humane although it does mess up your chances of meeting an ally. I’ve had a couple in the last few years and what a difference it makes. What also makes a big difference is nursing staff who are friendly, interesting and PRETTY. Call me what you want but this makes an incredible difference if you’ve been in solitary for years. Corrie was just gorgeous. Someone just chatting to you makes the difference
I’ve said it before but surprise visits are the most valuable commodity because you feel like people have really made the effort to track you down –huge honours go to my friend Isabel who I used to think of as a good Samaritan, I now think of as a Brilliant Samaritan.

Not only has she run a triathlon for the trust, stepped in to do my meals when Gwen and Gary have been away, she came to see me in Hospital on Wednesday and to cap it off took me to the British Museum yesterday with her friend Yolanta

as they thought I needed to get out and they were planning on seeing the Picasso exhibition. Now, I haven’t probably been to the British Museum for close on 20 years. My post stroke memory of Museums is slightly clouded by a trip to the science museum back in about 2006 where I realised a lot of the secret to good museum appreciation is in having good eyesight, which I no longer have (in fact I am registered as blind! Well to be clear I can see, just not all that clearly, it’s all very unclear). Not being a fan of looting, I wasn’t too sure what I’d make of the British Museum,

but my first thoughts are, like the Tate Modern, it is an amazing building with a beautifully smooth floor. I love scale. Massive covered spaces, I find profoundly amazing. Anywhere, the bloody British weather can’t spoil! God, I’m easily pleased. Anyway, enough rambling, once we had made our way through the Wellcome Trust exhibition which visually depicts mans struggle to stay alive

it was time for the Picasso exhibition. Now they say, you can judge a lot about a people by the way it treats it’s animals, I’d like to swap that, for ‘the way it treats it’s disabled people’. I am amazed at the expense institutions/buildings/concert venues go to, to accommodate disabled people. Admittedly, we are legally protected – which means as much as I moan about how crap this country can be I’m rather proud that it deems me worthy of protection.
As for Picasso, I appreciate art on many levels –particularly if I see chin-scratching pretentious claptrap,

I’ll say so and I’ll laugh about it, unless of course some ‘Picasso Police’ start bludgeoning me. I think Picasso was a genius,

an extraordinary talent, but I can’t get away from the fact that this goes hand in hand with him being a drunk sexual deviant and first class weirdo. So, swings and roundabouts – ironically probably where he hung around. I had a pretty good laugh, particularly taking the piss out of some of the rubbish written by chin scratching experts. So thank you Isabel. I guess the point I was trying to make about wheelchair access. I’m sure when they built the British Museum, it was all stairs – I’m grateful that they have all these lifts now.
And finally, a big thanks to my mates Ched and Terri for inviting me to their post nuptials drinks in Guildford

yesterday where I was able to catch up with some old friends and meet some new ones. It’s always nice to meet people who just seem to ‘get’ how hard this is. It was all made possible by the fact that Gary and Gwen

could drive me there. I have gone a bit mental since I got back from hospital, spending most of my survival money on booking lots of events to go to next year at the Albert Hall.

This may be a bit mad on the face of it but is consistent with my post-stroke philosophy ‘I'm convinced getting these things in the diary is the best way to
ward off dark thoughts’

Believe me, it’s tough warding off those b*stards! Alongside my mahoosive collection of deeply sarcastic t-shirts lurks this one!

14 Aug 2012

Post 360: Nothing should be this hard

I’m sorry if it seems I complain all the time. I do try not to but it is a bit of a vain effort. I’m actually going into hospital today for another f*cking operation. They’re going to finally get rid of my pesky Gall Bladder which has meant eating a fat free diet for a couple of months. At least after today (or whenever I’ve physically recovered from this supposed ‘keyhole’ procedure) I should at least be able to get back to eating with other people again which has become one of the things I do with my life now I don’t really have one.
Seeing as fatigue is my major ‘Quality of Life’ issue, I don’t do myself any favours, especially not this weekend. I’ve decided that if I stop going to things and seeing people because I’m tired, it’ll be the beginning of the end. If people are going to continue making the effort for me, then I’ll just have to be tired, that’s the way it is. I’d planned for this operation to be after the weekend as this weekend was as important as they get.
I’m always grateful to get tickets to anything but this weekend my friends Karen and Toby

had managed to get tickets to the closing Athletics session of the Olympics. Now, I must confess to being deeply cynical about these Olympics, so convinced was I that no matter what mountain-moving effort we made the British summer would let us down and the whole world would collectively snigger at us. Well, how wrong was I? I will usually argue till the bitter end when I’m convinced I’m right but when I’m wrong, I’ll admit it. I may be pigheaded but I’m not a pig! Instead we were treated to what without Irony must have been the best Athletics session of the games. Mo Farah winning the 5000m

was just amazing and Bolt winning his third Gold Medal was pretty awesome.

Two blokes who seem to always be smiling when they are interviewed. It just feels better that you genuinely like them. Bolt is full of charisma and chat, whereas Farah seems full of humility. Very different things – I try and be full of both of them despite finding it bloody difficult to be anything like my old self these days.
I can laugh if I find things funny but I don’t know how to make my face smile.
So, after getting back from the Olympics at 1AM, I was more tired than I had ever been. Ideal preparation for the Blur Concert in Hyde Park. My concert-going mate Oli had kindly agreed to take me, and thankfully it didn’t rain as it had seeing Soundgarden a few weeks before, illustrating my point, that no-matter how compelling whatever the outdoor event ends up being ‘if it rains it’ll be shit’. Perhaps this is more acute if you’re in a wheelchair, there are few grey areas with me. 50 shades of Grey, I wish – is f*cking BLACK, if you’re in a wheelchair. When we got there New Order had just started. I’ve always been a big ‘New Order’ fan and I loved their set. The only thing that spoiled it for me was the dowdy keyboard player.

When you’re faced with a crowd of any size, it should be a great feeling – I’m all for artists concentrating. I used to worship a DJ called Sasha who’s facial expression barely changed

but he was synonymous with the music, his concentration fitted with the intensity of the music, unfortunately their keyboard player didn’t and barely acknowledged standing in front of 70,000 people – she looked like the teacher at school who’s lessons you always dreaded because she was dull, not much to look at and had no sense of humour to speak of. Not a problem when I saw them at Brixton Academy, as they didn’t have a big screen. After New Order came the undoubted low of the weekend in the form of ‘the Specials’ I took no pictures because I was too busy thinking how sh*t they were.
After them they cut to the BBC on the massive screen

and began televising a bit of the closing ceremony on the massive screen. Thankfully this didn’t last long as I’m sure it was an even bigger yawnfest than the Opening Ceremony and apparently that was good.
Luckily Blur came on before there was the slightest excuse to watch ‘malnourished spice’ and ‘mutton dressed as lamb spice’ pretend to get along and prance around miming before Roger Daltry literally got wheeled out before the inevitable ode to four Scousers. Like fans of hard house why can’t we just let it die and move on.
So, speaking of never letting things go. Blur. They were excellent. Thank goodness, the late 90s Britpop war was won by Blur, not Oasis. I’m sure anyone of the Blur boys can be as awful as Liam Gallagher but I respect them more as Musicians. Alex’s

autobiographies have done a lot to inspire the ‘Warts’n’All’ honest way I write this and even though Damon

seems to be a bit arrogant and has a bit much attitude I respect his musical creativity and genius. Starting with ‘Boys and Girls ‘ it is clear that a lot of their songs are just pure crowdpleasing goodness. ‘Parklife’ brought the house down,

so did ‘country house’. I thought their slower numbers were awesome ‘Tender’ and their new one ‘the Westway’ were a bit emotional as was Damons excellent observation about how the Olympics show off ‘what is great about humanity -self-sacrifice and graft’.
I was too knackered to do this yesterday. Right – off to hospital.

11 Aug 2012

Post 359 - a placeholder because this weekend is going to be a bit busy

Yep - it's Saturday and I'm going to the Olympic Athletics today thanks to Karen and Toby and then Hyde Park tomorrow to see Blur and the closing ceremony get televised. Oli Cassidy is taking me to that. I love spectacle and noise - the weather forecast looks ok too. My mum called after she'd been to the Athletics on Tuesday saying it had been 'a once in a lifetime experience so it should be great, mind you, she gets excited when the daffodils come out!
But just to make this weekend even more of a challenge I had noticed a rather unique event on last night called 'Sporting Stories at Bedtime' which was Stephen Fry, Brian Blessed

and Eddie Izzard

reading out random Sporting Stories from books that they had chosen at the criterion theatre on Piccadilly Circus

- possibly London's last Independent Theatre. Stephen Fry is a trustee and that sort of line-up doing ANYTHING guarantees bums on seats. I dunno, maybe I'm a mug. Anyway, my heroes for the evening were Ched and his fiance Terri, who I never got a picture of because some dick of an usher threated to call the manager if I took a picture. Fair enough if I was filming or snapping away with the flash on - which I wasn't - he was just being some self-important jobsworth. A shame because it spoilt what was a rather good evening. However the highlight was running into virtual demi-god Stephen Fry at the wheelchair access door. Such a Charming guy. Blessed is bonkers and larger than life. He does seem to have the same thirst for dangerous adventure as Ranulph Fiennes, he briefly touched on his death defying journeys to the summit of Everest and the Magnetic North Pole which he has done recently. He is 75 and clearly a few cherries short of a fruitcake.
Izzard is just Charisma. He is charming, well spoken and funny. His run around Britain is how publicity stunts should be done

8 Aug 2012

Post 358: I miss intercourse

But cheap innuendo, I’ll never miss, anything that makes us giggle or that snaps us out of the tedium that is surviving till the next interesting thing comes along. Is it really that simple? Yes, yes it is.
Over the course of the tedium that now doubles for my life, I have conversed with a few people over the interweb mainly because they have read this. Incredibly, it hasn’t put them off even though there’s quite a bit here that makes even me sigh. A few of these modern ‘pen-friends’ are stroke survivors and suffer in a bit more silence and dignity. I’m big on both but sometimes I do get a little carried away. Anyway, this week’s genuinely interesting topic has been inspired by one of these stroke suffering pen-friends. I think even though we both survived, we’re sufferers! It concerns reasons for living. A subject I’ve often wrestled with as it’s somewhat difficult to nail down and be certain about these days.
Anyway, she had said in an email that she wanted her partner of 20 years to be happy and since her stroke it was her strong feeling that he could not be happy, almost like she was holding him back and she was thinking of saying to him ‘ it’s OK to leave, her exact words in her email were ‘ It’s the one thing of integrity I can still do’ Woah, tough lady. Now since my stroke I have found living for myself pretty much impossible. I don’t get better. I just try and maintain a certain level of health so I can do the meagre things that make up my life and goodness is that tough enough. It’s like I am a 35 year old 90 year old. Ouch, I think that just about sums it up. Since it happened, I have been living for the sake of my parents (my family basically) and my friends, essentially, anyone who would be sadder if they found out tomorrow I was dead. The worst moment of my life was when my long-term girlfriend left me and said words to the affect I was now a burden that would essentially hold her back and ruin her life, she added that I had probably already ruined it going out with her during her twenties and not proposing, and now it was all a wast of HER life. She then helpfully added (when I was quite upset if you can even begin to imagine) the modern way to win an argument ‘It’s always about you’ – I was obviously in a strong comeback position, being in a hospital bed with no energy and hardly any voice. I just wished I’d died when I had had the stroke. I think this decided a lot of my behaviour since and this is why this email conversation with my friend triggered this train of thought. If you accept you’re just going to be a burden and you’re going to hold people back for the rest of your life you might as well give up on everything, which is simply not something I’m prepared to do. I want to be happy again, I want to find a reason to live and after plentiful soul searching I have decided that I can only do this by falling in love with the right girl. Now, is this not a selfish attitude to take? Is wanting to be happy potentially at the expense of someone else’s happiness a pretty self centred approach? Well it is, if you accept that you’ve got nothing to offer anyone. I refuse to accept I don’t and once I had taken in what my friend was saying, I wrote back to her straight away because she is so not worthless, and giving up your reason for living is basically giving up on life and no friend of mine is doing that. I understand her motivations are selfless and utterly honourable but if I can stop anyone feeling as low as I once felt I’ve done something useful and dare I say, good. So, believing I have quite a lot to offer is central to EVERYTHING. I also hope I am realistic although unfortunately I can’t get away from the fact that taking me on is a huge responsibility and I can’t shake off my old standards. This notion that looks mean nothing is horsesh*t of the highest order. I have always had a ‘type’ and I was bloody lucky before life metaphorically tipped acid on me, letting yourself ‘bat below your average’ is bloody hard and I can’t just rely on my ‘glittering personality’ and being a ‘cheeky bastard’ plus I don't drink enough.

I can’t just ‘laugh myself a girlfriend’, plus promising that she’ll always be worshipped and taken care of and highly thought of amongst my friends counts for nothing it seems. The last thing I’m looking for is a carer, I’m looking for a friend, a companion, a lover, an equal, someone who has a life, a career, someone who might even have a kid already, someone who has similar taste in comedy, tv and music, that can look for gigs with me to go to. I understand now that it wouldn’t be fair for them to be my primary carer, that will always have to be for a separate couple who live upstairs. Long may it continue to be Gary and Gwen whose presence has added a new dimension to life. Even though I never feel better other people do say I’m getting better. One of my best friends Vicky Denning, said she could never ‘have imagined me being well enough to make it to my college reunion’, so maybe I do get better, I just can’t tell.
So, despite all this nonsense running around my head(I'm sure there will be cries of 'how shallow and judgemental you are') - I just think this makes me normal. I’m sorry if it’s boring reading and you’re like ‘here he goes again’. I’m really not boring. At least THAT boring. What am I saying, I’ve at least distracted you from yet more Olympic coverage where it looks like we’ve done rather well. Well, who knew? Home advantage does make a difference? I’m looking forward to my trip to the Athletics on Saturday and then seeing Blur on Sunday in Hyde Park when they’ll televise the closing ceremony on the largest screen in Europe!
My hobby (well other lifeblood) of going to events was also in swing this week when I went to the Proms on Sunday. My LSPs (long suffering parents) were driving me to this and I’d also invited my mate Cheyenne.

(not the greatest photo because despite there being a break in the music the usher was behind me saying ‘no photography – no common sense f*ckwit) I was particularly keen to share this experience because it was to see mesmerizing Violin Soloist Nicola Benedetti.

So far has her star risen she’s doing the Last Night of the Proms this year. Mark my words she’ll be as famous as Katherine Jenkins by the end of the year and no-one’ll even remember Jess Ennis

(probably) (a shame because she’s a goddess, no they’ll remember Paula Radcliffe for having a sh*t in the street). We’re a fickle, shallow country. What a fickle, shallow man I am! Anyhoo, it was one the best Prom concerts I’ve ever been too. Benedetti was superb, the 4th time I’ve now seen her, she really is something. I still remember the first time I saw her and simply saying ‘wow’ back in 2010. Having two Orchestras made the sound enormous and the last piece sounded out of this world! When the Albert Hall Organ joined in it was incredible. I doubt anyone’s interested but the piece was Respighi's Pines of Rome.

5 Aug 2012

Post 357: I seem to be alone in not losing the plot about the Olympics?

This will be a mercifully shorter post (actually it won’t be)because I’m not going to piss into the wind and badmouth the Olympics (much). This week hasn’t been about much except the rather sad funeral of my friend Carlie

yesterday. My dad took me, and afterwards we both felt glad we went, Dad even said ‘I miss her too’ because I used to take my parents to see her when they visited me in hospital. Her smile and cheerful nature were a genuine inspiration.
I’m not gonna say that was the story of her funeral but it was an attempt to celebrate her all too brief life. Her wishes had been for everyone to wear Bright clothes so it didn’t look like a typical funeral crowd and I haven’t been to a funeral where they played 2 Kelly Clarkson songs and even though I’m not her demographic they were both suitably uplifting. The vicar at Honor Oak Crematorium made a good effort giving a suitably religion-lite address perhaps realising that thanking god for someone who died so early was likely to re-enforce atheism. Anyway, his address and prayers weren’t too impersonal. Carlie’s elder sister, Kerrie read out a list of things that reminded her of Carlie and when she sat down her and Carlie’s younger sister, Michaela comforted each other. It was a stark reminder that this has been hard for her family and that she will be greatly missed. I feel pretty lucky to have known her, her attitude to life in adversity was something I could only hope to emulate. Well, I can’t. At least she was always pleased to see me when I made my trips up to the main hospital in Putney. I do recall us both watching the Mighty Boosh

and both trying to figure out the ‘off the wall’ humour. I think the disabled tend to share a more normal sense of humour. Let’s be honest, ‘The Boosh’ isn’t normal! Whatever, we were just mates looking for excuses to make each other laugh even though there was nothing remotely funny about either of our situations. If I had ended up in a care home like hers there is no way I would have lasted so long. I was pleased I went to the funeral. It gives people a chance to say goodbye.
This is even depressing me for f*cks sake.
My other trip out this week was with my friend Isabel, to the Nando’s and then the Cinema in Staines. I am so grateful to have found a friend like Isabel –she’s funny, chatty, reliable and her kids (Kevin(13) and Lara (6)) are very amusing, although how a 13 year old was able to recommend a 15 film still escapes me. Isa needed to laugh so we didn’t bother with the New Batman movie, we took Kevin’s recommendation and went to see ‘Ted’

a film where Mark Whalberg hangs around all day with his best Friend ‘Ted’, his childhood Teddy Bear come to life –don’t get me wrong there were some funny moments, and Ted is voiced by Seth Mcfarland, the guy who does Peter in Family guy.

The unreal beauty that is Mila Kunis

is Whalberg’s love interest (god she’s pretty!) I think I’m on safe ground if I say ‘it’s never going to be a classic’. Both Isa and I laughed but more at the local Staines youvves. Clearly the cinema is their stomping ground. For blokes the uniform is a Ben Sherman shirt and some baggy jeans, not great but what the girls wear is more disturbing. I saw at least one figure hugging hot pink velour tracksuit with Ugg boots

and a whole host of other colour velours with Uggs. I don’t want to go all Gok Wan

but what are these sisters thinking? Are they just finding out what Colleen Rooney’s wearing

and trying to copy her? Anyone who saw my work-shirt collection knew I wasn’t much of a style guru but I sat about 3 yards from the head of menswear who was so I roughly knew what was a faux-pas, even in womenswear even if John Lewis could never be described as a cutting-edge fashion retailer. Christ M&S were a benchmark competitor!
Still, we talked the talk, even if we didn’t exactly walk the walk, ironic that.
I did say this would be shorter and it hasn’t panned out that way, sorry, the Olympics. Are people forcing themselves to be interested? Plucky us are excelling in all the minor sports that Chinese ‘Zero human rights’ training methods haven’t pervaded yet and it’s at times like these we couldn’t be more grateful to our second generation immigrants of African origin. For the record I just can’t get worked up about these games when some people I know are behaving as disingenuously as people with some intelligence saying they are football fans.
Still, I suppose the Olympics is better than the football World Cup. It is Sunday morning and I just found out that Mo Farah won the 10,000m

and the undisputed British Darling athlete Jess Ennis

won the Heptathlon – not only is she just gorgeous but evidence from her TV appearances beforehand make her out to be lovely. Her and Farah both have wonderfully cheeky grins. It feels a bit better when British winners seem to be nice people.



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