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16 Dec 2012

Post 371: That time of year again

Here are the complete trust drinks photos (I hope)
I’m in the middle of doing that stupid thing I always seem to do.
Well, where to start?
I guess forgetting the constraints this stroke imposes. I used to be the kind of person that would look forward to any event or social occasion, a giver, not taker – I know there are probably a few innuendo enthusiasts

but I try not to think of it in that sense but FYI, I’d still be a giver. Not one scrap of my being would even give a solitary sh*t though how tiring sociable occasions or going out were. It was something different to do, meeting new people was exciting. I found boring repetitive things I had to do (ie anything compulsory) tiring – eg some (I stress some) aspects of having to work, going to the gym ( again sometimes, particularly those times where ‘you didn’t really feel like it but probably ought to) and tidying and admin – all sociable activities were NEVER things I thought of as tiring, I know we all have to do things that are tiring but feeling like this all the time is ridiculous (I’m sorry I go on about it!)! The example I often use is that I loved going to weddings, I loved it. Some people hate it. I still love weddings even now, the logistics and how tired they make me and how pathetic they make me look scare me but it will always be an honour to be invited to a wedding.
To a certain extent this attitude to sociable activities has knocked onto my post stroke lifestyle and means if a gig comes on sale of a band/comedian at one of the major venues I go to I’ve got to think of something pretty seriously problematic not to go for it. I feel that if I’m pulling back I’m not being myself really. I’m not trying to be different, only idiots/hipsters can be arsed with that? Instead, I’ve gone and had one of those weeks that just happens. The most important event was of course the annual Trust Christmas drinks on Tuesday

which I just loved. It was a noticeably cosier gathering this year,

it is of course heartening that anyone turns up to these things at all given my propensity to be a bit of a miserable f*cker about the festive season and well, lets face it, about life in general! Still, it will always be a pleasant non-threatening evening, not that I ever did any serious hell-raising, those days are in the past and now this is my idea of a big night with a few nice glasses of red wine. Trouble is, I can’t take my drink at all anymore, I never much could in the past but these days this,

leads to this.

Ie – I can’t remember this even being taken, although what has made me chuckle is the way that Paul’s ‘Movember’ growth has developed into a ‘Decembeard’!
No-one was conspicuous by their absence and I got some genuinely contrite emails but I was delighted to see some old friends.

It’s the curse of the busy person, that you only know other busy people! Speaking of which I was chuffed to see my university housemate, now government minister Matt pop in, in penguin suit

en route to Buckingham Palace for some state Christmas function, you literally couldn’t make it up! Also my carer Gary seemed to be enjoying himself –

him and his wife Gwen have been legends since moving in! Without them, I couldn’t survive – they are like family these days. I also get a proper photographer to do this nowadays because I guess my vanity knows no bounds. I will put up a link to them all on facebook when time allows. It alleviates so much stress and the quality of the photos is off the scale. Nick Wild, you’re worth your weight in Gold!
Now since my stroke f*cked me in the arse, my ‘giver’ status has been a problem. I still do my best to be one by being generous to a fault but I take whatever help people are willing to offer and sorting out these drinks on my own isn’t something I could do – I can send out invites via facebook, and even that’s hard, I have to have help and as usual I look no further than Tony,

my best mate who runs the trust putting in time worth thousands of pounds would it were billed by his employer. Thinking about it, the same is probably true of anyone who helps me – it does not take much deductive logic to draw the inescapable conclusion that friendship is priceless.
What really took my breath away was the effort that my friend Gina and her husband Oli put into the raffle.

Understandably John Lewis have done their time being the ‘go to’ people for the raffle prizes. I still have a bond with them but my physical ties with them have diminished as a lot of my colleagues from 2004-2005 have moved on to pastures newer, obviously not greener!
A friend of mine had enquired of Gina ‘what her husband did?’ and she had With customary modesty just answered ‘oh, he runs a shop’ –true, but it doesn’t quite explain that it is a nationwide chain called Oliver Bonas

and thanks to him they had supplied the lions share of prizes. Also thanks go to my mates Simon Dawes

and Isabel Gomes,

who respectively supplied some Cath Kidston gear and some childrenswear. Simon is Director of Merchandising at Cath Kidston and Isabel runs her own Childrenswear company. Their donations are so generous.
The raffle ended up raising £450 for the trust which we badly need, Thinking about is over £10 each a head. This sort of generosity almost persuades me that maybe Christmas time isn’t so bad.
Now, I should have foreseen that that sort of event is plenty for someone in my situation but no I had of course gone mad.
On Monday, Chase and Status were on at the Dome

and I’m a sucker for anything there. Anyway, lesson learned, it was The Spirit of London awards, an awards ceremony celebrating London’s youth. Me and my friend Ched felt a bit old and Pale as we watched video after video of how the Youf of London had been ‘inspired’ to audition for a.n.other TV talent show or ‘inspired’ to launch their own line of ‘Urban Clothing’. It made me think – how can youfs be inspired to listen and not be disruptive at school when every youth role-model in sport, music or business seems to focus on the end-game of being rich, living in a McMansion, driving a fast car and wearing clothes with labels. I hate having this opinion but it’s clear as day in the popular media today. RANT OVER. Chase and Status were good for the two songs they got to play. They remind me of the prodigy without the aggression and swearing, and they have a couple of blinding tracks, like blind faith. My video of it isn’t really any bloody good. So, that was Monday and Tuesday, on Wednesday I was back at the Dome

with my mate Oli to see an American band who make rock sound like it should. Loud and driven by a lead guitar and a drummer who was smacking the crap out of the drums. Their song ‘lonely boy’ is to my mind, one of the best, if not the best genuinely rocky, bluesy tune of the last twenty years. I know this is a big call. Judge for yourself

I was a fairly broken man after that but any prospect of taking Thursday off was thwarted by me agreeing to spend Thursday evening seeing one of my surrogate sisters Vicki (Bianca being the other) read at the John Lewis Carol Service

in the bizarre architecture of Westminster Cathedral.

The plan was for us and our respective ‘rentals to then go and have dinner

but just after the end of the service who should come and say hello, Charlie Mayfield, the chairman of John Lewis. He had read the 9th lesson so I couldn’t resist slipping in the crap gag ‘for nine lessons, I really didn’t learn much’ I can be my own worst enemy sometimes! Luckily, he laughed. Charlie is a very different type of Chairman of a big british company.

In that he’s down to earth and approachable and seems to give a sh*t. I will never forget him visiting me in hospital in Summer 2006. He is what a modern role-model needs to look like.
So onto Friday, the day after going to their gig at the Albert Hall in October 2011
I had booked to see the Mighty Orbital at Brixton Academy on Friday 14th December 2012.I’ve been an Electronic Music fan for over 20 years and Orbital have been blasting out their massive Techno beats since the early 80s and were the pioneers of the illegal ‘rave in a field’. The name Orbital is a reference to the M25, off which these fields were located. I don’t know what it is about seeing them live. It is so much better than just seeing a DJ play the exact same tunes. The Hartnoll brothers look like they’re shifting furniture behind that hi-tech mixing desk! The lightshow was also spectacular, I’ve already established that I’m a sucker for that. Apologies about the sound being a bit crackly –it was bloody loud. I have top ladies Bianca (R) and Chey (L)

for taking me. I am devastated that Bianca’s visa runs out in March and she has to go back to Melbourne. I hope I haven’t left her with the impression that all British people do is moan. Also thanks to friend of a friend Rachel who introduced herself.


And finally, I was taken out for dinner yesterday evening by my friend Isabel and her mates to an unbelievable Brazilian Meat restaurant.

I’ve now had my protein for January and the delights of the ‘Meat Sweats’ and boy did I sleep well. As much as it was delicious. I’m still a little traumatized after the first thing I was offered was a crispy chicken heart. How offal!

Sorry about that. My pre christmas push has been to wear my new 'wheelchair Jeans'
It may not sound like much of an effort but it is, big thanks to my mum for getting me a couple of pairs as an early christmas present. Thanks also to Oli for driving all the way down here to take me to a comedy show and figuring I could 'probably use the rest' and deciding to stay here and chat and reheat my dinner. If I'm to throw in the towel on a gig, that's how I wanr to do it.


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