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2 Jun 2013
Post 399: Despite planning stuff, isn’t it difficult staying interested?
I’m sure there are those who think this is just one joyless moan? Luckily, I don’t quite think everyone thinks it is. I do try and write about what joy I do manage, after all – we should all be trying to live life through joyful moments and do our best to try and share them. Life is all about sharing joy isn’t it? There is nothing better than bringing joy to someone else. Forget how cheesy that sounds – it really is as simple as that. It is the Tuesday after a bank holiday, it is 3 days till June and f*cking ten degrees. The old me might have uttered a cursory profanity and broken into a jog but there’s nothing cursory about the disappointment I’m feeling now. Granted, the sun did shine over the bank holiday weekend so I am pleased we got to share that (at the very least) but I can assure you I’d rather have a job, office, colleagues and a real life to go back to on this delightful Tuesday. I am seriously saying I miss working. I know it sounds mental but I have said before that one of the primary functions of work is that we’re sociable creatures but on our own terms – Offices, yes; shopping centres; are you mad?
It’s now Thursday and I’m trying to work out what to do with the rest of my life. It’s a slightly profound question. So before pondering eternity, I thought I’d try and get my house in order. More or less, my fulltime existence is planning my events calendar around my therapy and rest times. A sort of peripheral for a normal, healthy person, a fulltime job for a disabled one. What have I booked, who have I asked, who’s actually taking me, where are the tickets, where do we park, How do we get there? Now granted, a person with normal energy and normal eyesight might find this a bit of a wrestle but they’d just do it. The fact I find it verging on impossible is understating it comically! Especially as most venues seem to be chopping out costs left, right and centre whilst increasing their booking fees. 4 years ago you’d usually be sent paper tickets, which would give upcoming events a bit of tangibility, plus you could file the buggers. Now a few places email tickets for some things, expect you to pick them up or do actually send them in the post, or even less helpfully, a combination of all three and the onus is on you to know what’s going on. F*ck, I’m boring myself even writing this. I guess my point is even a professional administrator (I know they exist) would struggle. Now, this is big business, there’s clearly an enormous secondary market in these things –we’ve all been to events where a terrifying man will say ‘anyone need tickets, buy or sell?’, he’ll buy any spares for a fiver or sell you one for a ton – it is twilight robbery, and these guys don’t have necks!
Some venues send you a four page form to fill out and an email address to send scanned documents to prove you’re disabled. Doing this does me in. I can’t believe there are people out there pikey enough to stoop that low and pretend they’re disabled! Disability – Not having a neck and speaking in aggressive cockney is not a disability, at least not officially! Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that this isn’t a piece of piss – I can imagine there are a few people who don’t give a f*ck, or even hate me for mentioning it – well shame, bye then – don’t let the door hit you on your way out.
I’ve had a visit from my counsellor, Cathy, today, she helps me not be all over the place (which I usually am) and concentrate on the things I should be concentrating on, when you’re an energetic young turk, you can afford to be doing a million and one things – just doing that one thing can now be difficult and it is helpful to have someone on your side who can remind you what you said you thought you were supposed to be doing.
She has also counselled me into believing that there are people in this world who might be interested in helping, maybe even caring about and looking after someone like me. ’Counselled me into believing’ is a good effort but a long way from convincing me.
I suppose this week’s joy has been in the form of going to a couple of massive concerts, firstly, the glorious Muse, the 5th time I’ve seen them since 2008, another epic, sprawling, massive, production heavy event at Arsenal’s relatively new North London home, The Emirates Stadium. Obviously seeing a band do a stadium gig is a spectacle, which is probably my main reason for going and as usual Muse (3 lads from the West Country) were pretty awesome my only criticism (there’s always something!) was the choice of Dizzee Rascal as warm up act! I thought for the Olympic opening ceremony he was pretty good, the fact he was told not to swear, and his rendition of ‘Bonkerz’ was entertaining, at the least it fitted the mood, here’s what I wrote on youtube to go with this video of him trying to ‘warm up’ the crowd on Sunday
Some people love Dizzee, I don't. As a general rule I dislike Hip-hop artists that just seem to shout over a snythesized backing beat, at least Chase and Status have an actual drummer. All Dizzee seems to do is tell the crowd to 'jump' and 'make some f*cking noise'. He is a moron with as little right to be warming up a Muse gig as JZ had warming up Coldplay when they played Wembley a few years ago
I still think he’s a moron, after telling Jeremy Paxman ‘that Hip-Hop had a lot to do with Obama getting elected’. I’m not a fan of Paxman’s belicose style but it’s the first time I’ve really seem him lost for words! My hero and compatriot for the evening was my mate Oli who loves Muse and says he enjoys taking me out, I do apologise for being a bit ‘lairy’ when Dizzee was on, so that’s what a hip-flask of Cherry brandy does. I guess that’s not really a surprise. That’s the end of that experiment! Anyway, that aside, it was a pretty decent evening even if the drive to the Emirates is speedbump hell and London roads are a disgrace. Sometimes it feels like you’re driving on a dirt road through the desert!
Thinking about it, the journey to anything is often one of my biggest considerations, and it’s getting to the stage where fear of the journey almost dissuades me from bothering going to an event. Yet another thing to file under ‘this is no bloody good’ –It’s a thick file.
Luckily it was a warm and pleasant bank holiday weekend which allowed my friend Isabel, her little daughter Lara and I to go to a Foodies Fair up the road across from Hampton Court. An event 100% reliant on decent weather. It was actually quite pleasant but I couldn’t help thinking ‘only because it’s a nice day . There’d be no-one here if it were cold and miserable’. Another challenging event with difficult terrain and lots of people that I’m glad I managed to do. Isabel is such a little terrier!
I need people like her to suggest things. Speaking of which an old mate of mine (I made the ‘old’ joke back then, I’m sure he’s still not laughing) legend Marc French, when he had helped out a few weeks ago, I’d suggested a comedy event, he’d countered with, ‘shall we go to the IMAX first?’ seeing as the comedy was in a tent on the South Bank. Now, I’d never been to an IMAX – which is basically a cinema on steroids in 3D, probably with similarly inflated prices, cheers for the ticket Frenchie! We had opted to see the new Star Trek movie, which takes the Star Trek formula, takes all the camp out of it, the crap uniforms, monsters made out of rubber and Styrofoam and basically gives it the Matrix special effects treatment, I mean, it almost looks like the same movie poster. Everything about the IMAX experience is just ‘BIGGER’. The Screen is about 5 storeys high and there are approximately 1 million speakers (probably). It was a pretty immersive experience. Despite wearing the 3D glasses, my eyesight is too screwed to see the 3D, interestingly though, the 3D glasses stop it being blurred, another question neurologists won’t be able to answer. The Villain was Benedict Cumberbatch or as I choose to call him Cumberdick Bendybatch. An interesting choice, I tend to think of him as ‘period drama’. I’ll bet when his acting career began, the thought of ever playing a genetically engineered Star Trek supervillian was a strange new world he hadn’t boldly even thought about.
Anyway, a superb idea from Frenchie – we decided that red wine, pipe and slippers is where we are now after our respective forays into playing electronic music all those years ago. He did it properly, I was just a muppet! Frenchie is a gent for helping me out, we certainly laughed our socks off seeing Irish Comedian Andrew Maxwell at the E4 Underbelly Comedy Festival afterwards. Maxwell’s observation ‘How could one man in the 70s eclipse the work of the entire Catholic church?’ was darkly hilarious.
This just doesn’t stop – it’s now Saturday 1st June and I’m off later to see 90s Punk Rockers Green Day at the Emirates, and no, I didn’t think like I do now that perhaps, just perhaps, I might be overdoing things a bit. It was pretty good and obviously reminded me of going to see them at Wembley 3 years ago and reminded me of the lovely Christina, a girl who pre-stroke would have probably been on the level but who soon realised how much better she could do, the story of post-stroke life really. Anyway, I’ll stop that and just say I thought they were better this time simply based on what they played. Stuff like this Whereas three years ago I think they’d fallen into the trap of playing ‘new material’ FAIL, nobody cares – we’re not chinscratching hipster c*nts! I was right about remembering how ghastly the journey was, these were my youtube thoughts:
Despite not having the greatest seats this was still quite a gig. Green day do punk without the nihilism which is a big hit in my book. Major chords, melodic tunes, energy and smiles. Billie- Joe Armstrong has a great voice and behaves like he's having the time of his life which is what inspires people. Not 100% convinced by the Emirates as a concert venue. I suppose a stadium is a stadium
Thanks to mate and regular concert-goer Graham for putting up with me not being the most talkative person when I’m exhausted.
Seeing as we’re on bands that had the audacity to play new material 3 years ago, I’d also been to see Depeche Mode on the Wednesday who looked like this
They were 100 times better tonight[29/5/13] than they had been in December 09, playing most of their old good stuff. It was like Gay Pride this time (always a positive for atmos) and they kept 'new' material to a minimum which they didn't do last time.
Big thanks to Christian and Terri ‘the Cheds’ for taking me and bonus points for the amusing facebook chat I had with Terri the next day: ‘I think my heart belongs to Dave Gahan[Depeche Mode lead singer]she said ‘I don’t think he likes girls in that way’ I said
Forget all that – what it’s all about is people coming to see me, firstly, there was Mr Firth, a veritable encyclopaedia on Rock Music which is a big help considering I go to all these gigs, I know f*ck-all.
And last but not least my best mate Tony who dropped in after golf. It must be golf season and the weather is good because golf gets Tony to make the trek from North London all the way out to the sticks where living in a wheelchair is just possible. Oh f*ck, I’ve gone on again.