Tag Archive: lifestyle


Open your eyes

I’ve been watching a program about the making of one of my favourite albums- Queen’s “A Night At The Opera”. It’s one of their earlier albums, and yes- it’s the one with Bohemian Rhapsody on.

This post isn’t really about the record, or the songs, or even the technical ‘behind the scenes’ that I am always fascinated by. I haven’t listened to much music recently, and this made me feel like I was letting these guys down. They clearly loved what thy were doing, but so much work from so many people went into it, and the end result deserves more than me not listening to it.

I’ve been trying to keep up on podcasts whilst washing up, and scooter riding isn’t really conducive to a musical commute.

This programme, with the lovely gentle Brian May and some interviews with Freddie I haven’t seen before, brought back memories of their music.  I remember finding a vinyl of Greatest Hits when I was about 6 years old. I didn’t know who those guys were, or what music was going to be, but I remember bugging my Mum and Dad to put it on. They gave in, and I listened with huge headphones on.

Since then, I’ve got pretty much every song they have released, some that they haven’t, and a Guild Red Special 250 of 315 from 1985. Without Queen, I probably wouldn’t have ever played the guitar.

And so, a public promise to you all: starting next week, I will listen to music again, and what better place to start than Queen I from 1973, and I’ll follow their timeline first.  One album a week, in order, on repeat. I also hereby promise not to skip Hot Space.

I won’t blog about it, but I will do it. After Queen, who knows, but that decision is months away.  Maybe something recent!

“Open your eyes, look up to the skies and see…”
Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen.

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Oh-whoa, Come Take My Hand

I’m looking forward to the clocks changing this year.

Not because the days will be longer, or the evenings lighter. Purely for a silly self centred reason:- that will be the time to put away my winter bike gear, and break out the lighter coat and my open face helmet. A full helmet like I wear over the colder wetter winter feels like two things to me. 1, like I’m riding a post box and 2, like I’m in a tiny car, so what’s the point of a scooter!

I’ve only worn an open helmet for a few months after TT last year, but it felt much more like real riding.  I’m not under any illusion of being a Real biker (I’m sure my scooter has nearly 3hp!), but I don’t consider myself a real guitarist either, and I enjoy them both.

So here’s to summer. The wind in my eyes, and also the sand in my face & flies in my teeth!

“Come take my hand- we’re riding out tonight to case the promised land. Sit tight,  take hold. Thunder Road” Thunder Road, Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street band

Theme from The Godfather

Welcome to blog 1 of 2 this week. I know I missed a week, and apologies for that- I was off-island and didn’t have much data allowance to play with!

It recently came to my knowledge that godparents need to be baptised to take up their role.

Now, I can understand the historical reasoning behind this. I’m not one given to questioning a religion’s reasons and beliefs, and I’m not intending to offend anyone who may be Christian. I respect everyone’s right to choose their faith, and long may we live in a country where have that choice.

But, it’s 2011. The UK, according to figures I can find at http://www.statistics.gov.uk from the 2001 census, is split as follows: 72% Christian, 15% no religion, 13% other. That’s almost 1 in 3 people not christian, and so ineligible. Who knows how many people who have listed their religion are active in any case!

I’m fully aware of the legal responsibilities, and the moral ramifications of what being a godparent entails, and the rule to me seems needlessly dogmatic in this day and age.

I do not base this view on my religious views (irrelevant for this brief article), but more on the thought: why would a ceremony carried out when you are under 2 years old make you more suitable to take on an adoptive parent role 30 years later?

I hope this comes across as balanced. I do not mean to demean any belief system, but much more I do mean to question rules that have always been in place, and are not re-thought. No pithy link to the title to end this one I’m afraid!

Barljo

…For racing in the street.

Music is very powerful. This week, I’ve had an Album Of The Week, being Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town”. One of the tracks in particular speaks to me “Racing in the Street”). It really shouldn’t, as I have no way of relating to the events described, or the characters it surrounds.

But crikey, that song hits me. It stirs real emotions, it feels like a true story, and I feel like I could be one of the characters.

This shouldn’t really happen. I don’t have a ’69 Chevy upgraded to 396bhp, nor could I fit new heads or transmission to it. I have a Honda Jazz, 1.4 (with 96bhp according to GT5 on my playstation), that I take to the dealer for service.

I didn’t build it up from scratch, or ride from town to town to partake in drag races against Cameros, Ford Deuces and their ‘rodded ilk. I bought it from the dealer, and I generally pop into work and occasionally load it up with band stuff to gig.

There seems to be so much feeling and emotion in both the writing and performance of the song that it just spills out. It’s a haunting story with realistic people.

It makes me feel part of a world that could I could hardly be more removed from, paints a romantic view of a foreign exotic culture.

Escapism? Maybe.
Romanticism? Maybe.
Daydreaming? Maybe.

I think that this sums up what music is to me. I’m surrounded by it as much as I can be. It helps me when I listen, and when I play it. I get lost in it, and it sometimes feels like it’s coming through me rather than from me.

So, please do look this song up. Listen to it, feel the story. Imagine your girlfriend/partner/significant other in the role that Bruce’s baby plays, and feel that emotion. The hug her (him/both/gender neutral), let them know how you feel and try and show your own emotion. This is how to learn.

Barljo

Courtesy of the postaweek2011 tag, I was led to a blog exploring the question of whether to text or call.

Do you prefer to text or call?

Personally, I far prefer texts or emails than phone call. I always thought it was because it felt more techy, futurey, and science-fictiony (they’re all words… Promise!). As Li Li says in her blog, it’s fast and mobile. I also like that I can read it when I’m ready (like when I’ve finished the washing up, or that bit of the ps3 game I’m playing) and that when I text someone I’m not likely to be interrupt something they might be doing. More than anything, I find life easier to deal with by text or email.

I wrote last week about finding social situations tricky (approaching the place where I’d be using flashcards to order coffee, that sort of thing), and that coupled with my dislike of phone calls and personal issues around general first-person interaction has always troubled me. I’ve had trouble being in crowds the last 12 months or so, and I’m happiest at home.

In short, I felt a little bit pathetic both for how I felt and for finding it hard to deal with, when it felt like there were people with ‘real problems’ out there. Now I find out I might be able to apply a label of Social Anxiety Disorder, and that is something of a relief.

No matter that I can communicate, or how well I appear to do it in extreme situations, that doesn’t mean I like doing it! I’m not going to claim that having a label for the situation makes it any better, but it makes me feel more normal, and that in itself is a help and helps me feel more relaxed.

So I apologise if I don’t answer my phone… Just send me (as a very predictable ending if you know this song) a Message In A Bottle. A text would be fine if you’re nowhere near the sea.

Barljo

*update on last week’s blog: I didn’t tell the person that I think they’re ace. I’d rather not say and have what we have than say it and risk ending up without.*

Which brings me to this week:

Too frequently in the last few weeks it’s been pointed out (mostly directly, once indirectly, but I’m fairly sure I was in the crosshairs!) that maybe I look at things too cynically, always seeing the problems. That got me thinking about self-fulfilling prophecies…

So, maybe my glass isn’t always half full. I don’t think of myself as a cynic, I’ve always felt mine was a healthy realistic viewpoint. But maybe I should relax a bit and take a more “suck-it-and-see” approach to things.

On the other hand, that sounds like it’s going to hurt. I’m a risk-averse person, I know this, and it would seem that as time moves on, I’ve moved away from assessing the risk/reward involved to assessing whether there is any risk. If there is, it appears I don’t take it.

I’ve tried to buck that trend of late (ref parachuting, wave-dodging, audition-applying) but that doesn’t seem to have fed through into every area of my life. I’m not sure if it’s rejection I fear, or hurt, or just disruption to my routine for the risk of only a little gain- maybe I’m more of a spinster than I thought!

So, at some point I need either a) take a leap and break the cycle or b) get some kittens, and call them my babies- kids won’t walk past my place: they’ll run. “Run away from crazy kitten man” they’ll shout. (Erm, that’s a Chandler-from-friends quote by the way, edited to be snake friendly).

In short, I’m far too chicken to step outside my comfort zone. I always have been, and I probably always will be. As much as I may want to change that, it’s far too much who I am. I quite like who I am most of the time, but sometimes I suck. 😉

I’ve also learned a new phrase recently- Secret Single Behaviour (abbreviates to ssb). Descriptive of stuff you do which you know is a bit weird but you do anyway because there’s nobody around to say “dude, that’s a bit weird”.

So right now, I’m off to make sure I have some green jelly in to eat at the weekend when Liverpool are on Match of the Day (ssb alert!)

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

Lost six months

For new readers, please don’t panic- it’s not all religious zealotism! Have a look at previous weeks, there is other stuff!

This past six months have been a little ‘lost’ for me. I’ve not been stuck on a tropical island with a polar bear having to press a button every 10 seconds or anything… I just drifted.

I closed my bands, stopped show rehearsals, and took time out. As it happened my relationship ended during that time as well. Whilst I did a lot of training for that walk thing (see ‘Personal Challenge’ for that), I got mentally lazy. Very lazy indeed.

I didn’t really change how I’ve been acting, as I’ve tried to remain as conscious and present as I can, but I’ve found that I did much less studying and much less meditation, which made staying in control of my mind and emotions that much harder. Ultimately of course, that bred further indiscipline and suddenly it’s six months later.

So, July is here. It’s halfway through the year, and it’s time to get back in gear. Books to be read, mind to be tamed, meditation to be breathed, tiny differences to the world to made.

Onwards!

Barljo