Tag Archive: Life


Come along and see me

Riding in the tt races

This week it’s coming up to TT week – that time of year when tens of thousands of motorbikes come and visit the usually (comparatively!) peaceful Island.

I like it – the noise of the bikes, the smell of the bikes, and the foreigners who visit all make it an awesome fortnight.

Some residents don’t like it – the bikes are noisy, smelly, and bring foreigners to our home. To these people, I will often quote that famous manx phrase “There’s a boat in the morning”. There is always the option to leave for a holiday, and no need to bear it with bad grace.

True, it’s not as busy as it was 20 years ago (when quoted figures were 80,000 visitors with 50,000 bikes) but it’s still a very noticable influx, which brings a great atmosphere with very little trouble.

(additional – since I started this, the police figures have been released showing that 80% of arrests were of locals. Grow up, people!)

True, I’m not as busy as I was with the band (although nothing will beat out 12 gigs in 14 nights of 2006, but that also encompassed me driving into a wall at very high speed, so fewer gigs are probably for the best!), but the odd gig here and there is well received.

The TT is a race held on public roads, which are closed for the duration. As with all road races (the best known is probably Monaco for the F1), if the driver gets it wrong there isn’t much forgiveness in terms of run off areas, and this inevitably leads to fatalities, which is always very sad indeed to read about, but the racers know the risks I suppose.

If anyone has the chance- come along and see the races in the next few years, quick! Atmosphere is awesome, our Island is lovely, and the beer & music is totally fantastic!

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no title for this week

This is short and sweet. It’s actually this week’s entry, not a backdated one. Sometimes things don’t have to be in order.

If indeed the reported events of Monday morning/Sunday night did actually happen, my overriding feeling is…

There never should be a time to celebrate death.

My heart and thoughts go out to those who have lost loved ones fighting for a cause they believed was right. That is everyone, I don’t care who you are, or which colours you are wearing.

“I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.” – Martin Luther King, Jr

Personally, I just hope that this whole violent and wasteful (in terms of life) affair is now over.

Ch-ch-ch

Changes…

(Delayed from April for sensitivity reasons!)

A lot of upheaval recently. Mainly in my business life, as there are big changes afoot in the company I work for. On the plus side, it resets my “itchy feet” counter to zero and I get to stay where I am, doing what I do, doing it where I do it!

I know that one of my strengths is handling change. I have been told though, that I can’t be dealing with it as I’m “too far along the change curve, too soon”.

So I think that’s what I get for being frank and honest! Ah well, the more things change, the more they stay the same!

As of this Friday, 1 July 2011, the change will all have happened, and I can get cracking with learning the new ways of doing things. I’m sure some will be better, I’m sure some will be worse, but what I’m looking forward to most is a different desk- that will complete my ‘set’ of primary floors worked on in this building.

That’s got to be worth celebratory cakes, yes?

Turn and face the strain- don’t wanna be a richer man!

Another part of me

Nothing clever this week,but I do have a lot of things written,ready to publish over the next few days, so brace yourselves!

I was reading Stephen Fry’s excellent The Fry Chronicles recently (ace christmas present- thanks Neil!), part of which retold a story I’ve heard before in which motorbike couriers in London used to be referred to as “donors”.

Which brought me to my point: can anyone explain to me why organ donation in the UK is these days an Opt in?

I understand some people object to organ donation on the basis of their personal beliefs. This is absolutely fine, and I have no quarrel with anyone who does not wish their bits to be used: an opt-out should be allowed, as individual beliefs should always be held important.

But why, when we hear about appeals for organs and shortages of potential matches, is the legal default not “please use anything that works”? As I understand it: even if I carry a donor card and make everyone aware of what my intentions are, one of my family can veto my wishes, and have useful bits burned with the rest of me.

This, to me, is nonsensical. My liver will be stuff all use to me when I’m gone, and may do some good for someone else.

So if you’re reading this, please remind everyone that I do want to be divvied up as would be most useful.

Drink Whiskey & shut up

I was playing a gig recently, and I put on a piece of clothing that isn’t mine.

Well, I say not mine. It’s something I’ve had for well over 14 years now. By anyone’s reckoning, I think it’s mine, and it’s far far too late in every way to give it back.

The person who it used to belong to never saw me gig, and only ever heard me play any sort of guitar from a distance.

I wonder what they would think if they watched me rockabilly the hell out of a guitar, and essentially turn into a person they don’t know in the process.

Would they be proud? Would they even stay around for the end?

Well, who knows! I never could second-guess them. I know I enjoy it, and I’m looking forward to getting back to match-fitness!

My guess is, though, that they’d tell me to just drink whiskey and shut up (great song by Brian Setzer- check it out if you can!)

Barljo

Here is the news

…Coming to you every hour, on the hour. (ELO in case you’re wondering).

Many apologies- I’ve had a busy few weeks with trips away, some work stuff, and lovely people.

I will blog furiously to get my count back up to 1 per week (there’s one missing, but I’ve “privated” that one as it’s just for my eyes), but for now:

Quick catchup on the last trip away: weather meant I didn’t get my first jump. Ah well… The good people of Tilstock have offered me cash to stay away in the future…

Quick catchup on work stuff: big changes at the place where change happenz. Fortunately change is what I seem to handle best in my professional life, so I’m looking forward to the challenges it’s going to bring.

Quick catchup on lovely people: I have very good friends, an awesome family, and a lovely lady sharing lives with me (hers, her son’s, and mine). I am very lucky.

The world at large gets crazier by the day, and I do get upset by the troubles around the world. May everyone in a troubled area stay safe and get home as soon as possible.

Barljo

i thought it was over but it’s not

The year did not start well- I’m not overly well (still battling proper flu having got over manflu just in time to enjoy it properly!), but I set my alarm to wake up for midnight. As I texted to my friend Emma earlier that evening “I haven’t missed a New Year’s Eve for 23 years, I’m not starting now”.

But also, I’m feeling rubbish. I won’t bore you too much with how or why I think, or what I should do about it but clearly won’t as I’m a wus…

I’m wondering, as I’ve only picked up my guitar a handful of times this year. Does any playing I do come from a level of self-confidence or the other way round? It seems that the less I gig, the less able I am to stand up and gig.

Case in point- I met a new friend this year. So we’ve swapped stories, hung out, all the normal stuff you do whilst getting to know someone. She’s never seen me gig, never mind just been around the me that is playing ‘tomorrow’. I don’t know how (or indeed if!) she can believe the stories I tell of what StoneChase get up to or playing in front of 3,500 people at a mini-festival when the only John she’s known is barely capable of dealing with social interaction more complicated than “medium cappuchino, vanilla shot please” without flashcards.

So gigging may turn it around. On the other hand, I would find it very hard to stand up and play in front of people. Unless I was allowed to play in a different room. In a different pub. In a different town.

People who know me are astounded at the confidence level I consistently fail to have. “But you look so…” Is usually how that conversation finishes. And putting my guitar on makes me look like I could take on (and sleep with) the world. But this isn’t a performance based anxiety, it’s The Other Guy who has the problem: the guy who would love to smile and say hello, the guy who you probably don’t notice, the guy who holds your door open, and the guy who just about manages to make it through each day.

So from The Feeling: “I’m spinning in circles I can’t stop, I thought it was over but it’s not”

Stay safe this year people- the world appears to be getting fuller of crazies (I’m aware of the irony of my typing that!) that even my dear home gem-of-God’s-Earth Island appears to be called home by some of them. Just be careful out there.

Barljo

Planes, trains, and automobiles

Well, not quite- one car (thanks Christina & Martin), one plane, one Fiat people mover thing (thanks JG & Trish- multiple journeys within), a boat, and then my car. That was a busy weekend! It was chock full of goodness, top food and the lovliest most awesome people ever.

Also, it encompassed the debut ever gig for my ukulele. Which went down better than the straight stuff JG&I played. Ah well, everyone loves a uke, I guess! Some people appear to be converts, and I think sales may rocket!

In the next few days, I’ll know if I have a similar style journey to make next week, and if that comes off it will be full of interesting and frightening unknowns. Time will only tell on that though.

I have the strangest feeling that I don’t belong where I am at the moment, and I’m very unsettled. Various threads of my life are in limbo (which I’ll detail when they are resolved), and I feel on very uncertain footing. This is an alien feeling to me, as the island has felt like home since about my 3rd day here 20 years ago. The main wobbly stuff should be resolved for absolute certain within a month at the longest, I know that, and that will help.

From that point, there may be three directions, and I have no SatNav for any of them. Looks like I’m flying blind for a bit!

So, to end on a lighter note as this has been a little heavy so far:- who is your fantasy SatNav voice? Mine would have to be Mr T. Who could ever tire of “Turn left, sucka” and “I pity the fool who doesn’t take the second exit of the roundabout”. I guess the only problem would be directions to an airport…

Barljo

Not a deep heartfelt blog this week. I was reading around as you do and found this quote.

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” ~ Anton Chekhov

I’m going to be ribbed for quoting that guy as I’ve been verbal about “more bloody Chekhov?!” many times in the last few years, but this is a good quote and needs to be shared!

I guess it could be applied to many things, I’ll leave that to you guys. But as (apparently) Chekhov says, actions speak louder than words. So this week, here’s what I’ll try to be doing: showing people glints of light rather than talking about the moon.

More than words…

Barljo

So, it’s October. Supposedly and statistically the most likely time that depression kicks in and alcoholics turn heavier to the bottle.

Trouble is, I don’t feel like that this week. The crisp bright mornings wake me up better, I’m nearly uninjured again so can get back to training soon, there are adventures to look forward to, and new & exciting stuff to talk about. In short, light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

Only one thing really remains to sort out, but I need to stick that out for a few more months, and then take steps to resolve that too. I can afford not to worry about that right now, as there is nothing I can do about it so worrying would just be a waste of energy.

It may seem a little like Fever Pitch in that my ups and downs are following Liverpool’s football fortunes, but I know that’s not it. Honest.

I’m not saying that things don’t suck sometimes. They do. But my recent time of suckiness seems to be unsucking itself.

(I’m not overly proud of that paragraph, but writing it in proper-speak made it sound like a therapy session. Using ‘suck’ in it’s various declensions sounded easier to read).

The only plum that I need to finish off the pie (it’s all about pie!) is a bit more positive thinking from yours truly. So, let’s get at it, JB. Get stretching and exercising that ankle and get out there on 21 October. 10 miles to start do we reckon?

So, to finish off the song chorus for this blog:

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life. It’s a new world for me…

And I’m feeling good.

(If you only know the Michael Bublé version, check out any Nina Simone version on YouTube. I far prefer it!)

Barljo