Monday, 25 February 2013

Music Monday: City Slicker

London's Lights!

This is my town, not the bit I come from of course or the bit that really is London, nope, this is the shiny bit! But still, this is my home town, the place I grew up in, where I learned to deal with casual violence and the trials of living with people around all of the time.

I don't live here anymore, I live in a coastal town and things are quieter and suit family life far better. We have amazing geographical features around us that make our lives great and that is of course awesome, but for tonight lets pretend I'm a big smoke kind of guy and hit up some city songs.

Last week we signed out on a sad note, this week I think we start with something of a similar mood and end happy. That's the plan as it stands anyway.


This song was on the soundtrack to the film 'Philadelphia' staring Tom Hanks, Antonio Banderes and Denzil Washington. It was a brilliant film as far as I'm concerned and I've got a lot of love for it, but if I had to choose between the film and song I'd tell you this beats the movie hands down!

Springsteen is 'The Boss' yeah, and his albums rock and roll, he captures the working class feel of those inner city American cities and towns (so I'm told) perfectly and let's face it; he kicks arse! In this though he walks the streets as a homeless man and damn this video does the song justice. The dark, sad heart of America laid bare as the light is shone on the heart-rending poverty of so many on those far away shores gets me every single time.

It starts and you know that you are hearing something true, something deeply painful, something raw. I'd tell you to enjoy but instead I'll ask you to just listen.

ROTTERDAM by The Beautiful South

The Beautiful South may be safe, yet slightly smutty, mainstream, but certainly off centre, easy listening, but with big old thorns in some of their songs, but above all I find them very relaxing. It doesn't matter if they are carving away the myth of love and marriage, promising sex instead of stability or serenading an old soak on his way to a pine box.

It all sounds very charming, soft and calm. I like that.


This lot are mental! From them we get some off the wall stuff but here they hit something so catchy that it may very well drive you insane. Sorry. This is infectious, quirky, bizarre and yet utterly brilliant!

We don't always need music to teach us that life is amazing/cheap/sad/tragic/or wondrous  Sometimes we just want to be entertained. These guys hit that note perfectly.

BELFAST CHILD by Simple Minds

Right, this is a haunting, beautiful song from the eighties masters and though I couldn't tell you many more of their hits past 'Don't you forget about me', I'm pretty sure they were fucking great. I remember thinking 'Simple Minds are really cool', so I figured they definitely gave me a reason to think that.

Awesome intro on this!

Finally we need to leave on a high to make sure I haven't depressed anyone and so it's off to old snake hips for some saucy, catchy, drinky, party music! This is Elvis smashing it way out of the park with a huge song that never fails to make me smile!

Take it away Elvis!

Any suggestions? Just let me know! Back next week with another five and perhaps, just perhaps I'll head to something more classical and classy for a start of the week to bring drama and action...

Thanks for reading and listening.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Library Lover

"To add a library to a house is to give that house a soul."

-Marcus Tullius Cicero 

So here I am,  many weeks late to a party that a certain author started with a brazen attack on the Library system, and you know what? The dude is deluded, so deluded in fact that the idea of doing a whole blog post on the man seems a waste, so instead I think I need to tell you why I love my Library so much and what it brings to me and my family.

That OK? Cool.

Right, well to start with we have very little income to hammer out on books and yet books are a major draw all of the time. Books contain words, words have power; the power to educate, reduce stress or sadness, inform, amuse, excite, arouse, enrage, alter mood, bring hope and transform. 

Books are incredible. The more books you read the more incredible you can be.

Now we have (at current count) eleven bookcases full of books. They are stuffed full of love and information in equal measure but realistically we simply don't have enough of the bastards! We always need more! That is where the Library comes into play you see. We are Library mad! We are there at least once a week, normally twice and leave with anywhere between (but never less than ) thirty to fifty books each trip. Those books are devoured! Leapt on by hungry minds and consumed! Every smile extracted from them, every line studied and every picture adored for many a minute before the page is turned, the story done, the next one loaded in the reading gun!

We love the books and take them back and get more and start the cycle all over again. Sure, sometimes one goes missing or is late but on the whole we keep our noses clean and our minds engaged. 

It's the best way to be!

If we faced the horror of Libraries dying then it would rob us of all the incredible potential that they hold, each isle a river of gold waiting to enrich our lives! How would we cope? Well I suppose we'd use the net more or raid my mother's shelves or second hand book stores but we'd never get enough an that would also bring the problem of space... Or lack there of. 

It would be hellish and a robbery of our children's right to wonder!

Libraries should always stay open, people should feel drawn to them (as they are) and enter with each step taking you towards something you wanted to try and something you didn't know you wanted to until you saw it there in front of you. 

Don't talk about shutting Libraries, how they are for 'middle class people' or that they are easily replaced by the internet or book shops. They aren't, couldn't be, never should be shut. Closing Libraries is like shutting the door on knowledge. It's switching out the light of hope for lonely old people who read because they have no one left to talk too late at night. It's stealing kids' futures.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Magic Box

As a rule I don't believe in magic. The universe is a wonderful, unique and amazing thing with possibilities abound, but I'd nearly always look for the scientific answer when presented with 'evidence' of a magical or spiritual miracle. That's not to say I'll not bend the rules with-in my universe or that I look down on people with faith. Thinking about the commitment they make to an idea I can almost feel jealous that they can give themselves to something that they cannot see or properly quantify.

It's brave, not stupid.

So well done to the believers...but for me the closest thing to magic I can get is popping M&M's in my mouth while the kids aren't looking and claiming they just 'vanished' from my hand while trying not to chew. This stereotypical action led to a far more complicated set of lies around our house, lies about Fairies, where Marshmallows come from and the 'parent Tinkerbell hotline.'

Petal bought a pink box, small, unassuming, the kind of thing you place a small gift in. We looked at it together as it sat on the table between us and tried to work out what it was. She looked at me and suggested that it could be 'Magic.' I said I didn't think it was as we'd bought it from a card shop but she was fairly convinced that if she left it somewhere easily seen then something would 'happen'. So she set that sucker down on the work surface before bed and wished it goodnight and flew off to bed.

I found myself looking at this flimsy pink box as I made my tea and wondered what should go in there? Money? Nope, not something I have a lot of at the moment and also cash is cold, it's not 'magic'. So I'm pulling the Whitard's Tea down and there sits the mini marshmallows, so with not a monumental leap of inspiration I took some of those pink and white bad boys and stuffed them in the box, concealed the evidence and headed to bed.

Morning brings a skipping, pink clad cross between Darcey Busell and Stalin, heading towards the box with some interest and excitement. The lid is opened and BAM! Utter joy.

We now have that box and some of the other kids (though not all) have boxes too. They have to have the lids on to seal in the positive vibes so that that magic energy can be transformed into pink and white treats, and on special occasions like Christmas morning Petal particularly looks forward to the extra sweets that arrive.

But how do they get there?

Right, *clears throat* I have to confess I've told them, the kids, that 'the Fairies' come and put the marshmallows there. I've told them we have a phone number to call in case they forget to top the boxes up, that marshmallows grow on trees, that Tinkerbell herself drops the goodies off and that when she's on holiday one of the other Fairies does it.

I know, I know, spreading lies and misguiding the youth. Bad Edd.

The thing is the very little ones really do believe that the fairies come to top them up, that there really is something going on with the boxes that's magical and that if you are really good then more may appear. This sometimes does happen but do you know when I end up filling them more? When we've had a pig of a day, everyone's been bitching and arguing and people are grumpy (including me).

I top the boxes up at this point because when they have gone to bed and the day has soothed away I can see it really is only one day, that all that negativity isn't good for anyone and that what you need when you are finding things tough is not someone saying you can't do shit or have shit because you're naughty, but for someone to take the time to do something nice for you.

I don't use the boxes as weapons, they are just physical symbols of my love that remind me, not them, that giving of my self is what will make an impact in their lives, not taking all the magic away.

The box cost 60p, it's what you do with it afterwards that counts. Get a box and every now and then fill it with love. They will remember this stuff...

Monday, 18 February 2013

Music Monday: HORSE FEVER!!


So, it seems there's plenty of people out there with horse in them that aren't hooked on an addictive drug or are Catherine the Great! (Yes, I'm sure it was all lies, but I do love that fable.)

Obviously this isn't funny, in fact take into account the 'Bute' entering the food chain along with all kinds of other contagions of the meat and its decidedly scary, but guess what? No ones dead yet and so maybe I can get away with this here weeks post being all about that most excellent of animals!

I remember riding a horse once...though I needed a step ladder to get the job done! :-)

Right, that's enough verbal horseplay, lets get on with this shall we? What's first you ask? I thought it would be obvious...

CRAZY HORSES by The Osmonds

Right, now this isn't something that I'd normally do to you but I feel we have to start big and if we are looking for big horse tunes then we are looking for huge hair, massive flairs, and of course the frankly bizarre sound of The Osmand's doing a rock anthem as only they could....thankfully.

Now I couldn't tell you I'd ever put this on out of choice but if some other evil bastard puts it on then I can't help but feel all Gee'd up and start dancing like a twat. It's the only response possible to something so truly unique as this 'sound'.



Glam rock gods and pretty jumping Fraggle's Poison rocked my world way back in the day with their obsession with bandana's and hair dryers. I bought the 'Best of' and loved most of it a few years ago and though for the most part its throw away silly light rock I ask you a simple question?

What's wrong with happy bounce up and down rock? Fuck all I'd wager. So here for your general amusement are the poppy, rock tits Poison, jammed into full on run about and jump up and down mode.

What's not to like?

HORSE by Professor Elemental

Right, one off the new album and I'm sure one I haven't put up here before but if I have then I'm sorry. It's perfectly justified to be here. It's about the subject matter...sort of.

(By the way I can remind you now to go check out some of the Prof's work on youtube, go to The Chronicles Of Professor Elemental and watch, even if you have seen it before. The more hits it gets the more chance there is of 'Britain's Greatest Eccentric 2012' getting some form of repeat performance...and you get to see my keen acting skills to boot!)


Now I know I'm not covering myself with glory this week but you gotta run where the theme takes you and yes, I know we could have gone to far nicer, far better places than this one but I can't help but wonder how long it is until someone tests some cheap burgers and finds they are in fact 8% Cowboy.

Shit, it wouldn't be the first time someone put human in a pie, which leads us in an odd sort of way to my favourite cannibal of all time; a fella by the name of Alfred Packer. Packer will come up in another post, we will leave him for now, instead listen to this and fill it in as follows; 'Save a horse, EAT A COWBOY'.

Normally I'd send us out on a high, and I suppose in a way I am, but the final slot here is, of course, given to Lou Reed.

Perfect Day.

It's a different kind of horse but too many people are stuck taking it all the same, many people's reaction is to be outraged and its always more complicated than it looks like on first glance. There's no easy fix to either really, both are problems of supply, both afflict the poor more than the rich and sorry, only one of them has famous films made about its trade.

I've seen people taken by it. My advice? Don't start, because it's one bastard of a ride to get off once your galloping.

Next week more music. If you have any suggestions then throw them up here and I'll consider doing them. Rules are simple, its five pieces of music; could be five albums, five songs from one band, five soundtracks from one composer, take ya pick. If you don't select something then I'm left to my own devices...not always a good thing.

Thanks for reading and listening.

(watching that again reminds me of just how good an actor Ewan McGreggor is. Fucking brilliant, fucking brave!)

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Some Random Thoughts.

So it's been a long week full of ups and down, Lefts and Rights and some serious shit has happened...most of it not good to boot. So I figured I'd have a look see without getting dirty and diving in when I don't have all the evidence, news, details or proper sit reps.

Lets take a look shall we?

A famous woman was shot dead by a famous runner.

Right, this is something that the media has reported with the emphasis on entirely the wrong person. For the record the woman is the victim, use her name, remember her, ask how her family are maybe? But instead it's all 'Runner's name first', 'his family say he's OK , 'the cops are charging him with this', in fact some articles aren't even using her name.

They seem to think he is the important part of this situation and so, just for the record, I'd point out that SHE IS DEAD, not him, HER FAMILY MUST BE UPSET, obviously his are too, SHE ISN'T A NAMELESS VICTIM, she was a person, a person who was killed, as are all people who are killed!

Now it's not clear what happened and it's not absolute who did what to who, that will possibly come in time, but for now, USE HER FUCKING NAME!!! FIRST!! NOT AS A FUCKING AFTER THOUGHT!!


The Pope has retired.

No, I'm not a big fan of structured, organised, controlled belief and religion but I don't ascribe to the idea that anyone who does 'believe' is a fool. Faith CAN move mountains in a personal sense, but it's the structure around it that constrains how far the mountain can be my humble experience.

The main man? Not someone I'm fond of. I won't go down the route of why I think he was always a terrible choice, due to age, background, his questionable past, his involvement in the paedophilia cover-ups...opps, I did, sorry! No, anyway, I won't go into detail, but some thoughts have leaped out and worried me intensely.

Why has this man quit and in so doing become the first man to do so in 600 hundred years? What would make him walk away when concerns over his health were far from his close aides minds?

Oh hand on...

Remember the man that was arrested and convicted of stealing 'sensitive documents' from the popes desk? It was later reported that the man was thought to have been offered a pardon and so be spared a custodial sentence if  he promised to not reveal what he saw. The guy is currently doing his time, so in a few years he'll be able to spill and we will all know what he saw right?

Strikes me the church could be trying to remove a very damaging man from the throne before the storm hits. Now I'm not saying he is doing anything horrible, has been involved in something horrible, or is looking at something horrible...but that makes to much sense for it to not make me really worried. Why? Well if he's surrounded by people that are willing to protect him, no matter what he may or may not be doing, then that would just confirm a systemic corruption I already believe is present.

I don't believe in their structure but I worry for the people that hold their faith in this institution and how the real story here may affect their lives and their personal faith, which is a very precious thing to have.

A Big Bomb Went Bang

Some dudes in a far away country, one that is highly controlled and seemingly ruled by a bit of a fruit loop, have decided to set off a big bomb. It made a big shake and scared a lot of people. Those scared people are very worried about this big bang but I have to point out something they seem to have forgotten...

They have big banging things too, lots of them, and their ones have even been used.

So I agree, crazy people with big banging things are scary, but then so are perhaps not so scary people with big banging things too. In the end they all make big bangs, it seems to me that if all the big banging things were gone then it would be a much better world.

Yes, that is a very simplified version of events, some minor thoughts, and perhaps too little depth for anyone to draw a conclusion on. But then I'm not here to sway you, just laying down some thoughts. That's all.

As always I'd suggest we wait for the facts to surface and hold back our indignation until we know what it is we are being angry about, how it actually affects us (if at all) and what it is we need to say about it all.

Something happen this week that I missed?


Silent Sunday

Monday, 11 February 2013

I'm Close

I have come to a time, a place, a point when soon I must show something to someone. Of course I have been banging on about this for some time and so I'll forgive you if you pass out in a pool of your own drool, but the book is nearly done.


So now I have to tidy it a bit and then slide it under my best friends nose and then leave the house, go pace in the kitchen, pull my hair out in the toilet and generally take my nerve racked ass for a walk. It will be all clean and clear when given to her and then come back all scrawled on and ringed and corrected and questioned and then I'll have to read it through and see what she thinks.

I trust her. She is awesome after all.

Once I've sorted out that part and fought the book into a form of readiness I'll then be doing what I did last time...Unleashing it upon you folks for test reads.

(Looks pale and distracted.)

So what you'd do is read it, let me know if you liked it, how much lighter fluid it took to purge the thing from you physically and how many pints you needed to drink to forget it and then make a few decisions. Content will be added after each chapter and I'll be taping you up to see which character you think should get the slot.

Hopefully you'll like it, but if you don't you should be able to at least tell me where you think I fucked up. So I'm letting you know early and if you are interested then just let me know and I'll slide it to you when it's ready. It's a chance to save me from making obvious mistakes, a chance to perhaps make something better than it was when you received it and, this is the cool bit, the chance to pick some characters to have a spot light shone on them in an interview style framework.

If you are interested then let me know. It's maybe a month away but I want to build a working list.

Cheers for reading....oh and let me know yeah?


Music Monday : COVER ME


Ok, we don't need Frank Drebin puns here normally but I figured it wouldn't hurt just this once.

Covers, sometimes they can be inspired pieces of music that make you stop and take a breath and think 'fuck me, why didn't someone do that before?' Other times you want to hunt down the bastards that maimed a classic song and make sure they never get to do it again!

This week we are continuing our positive upswing of late and looking at covers that make me smile my arse off. We could obviously take this to mean they will be amazing covers performed by the very best of artists...but woah, lets slow down, a cover doesn't just have to be amazing for you to find it amazing, or for it to effect you. Nope! Sometimes they can be cool, or off the wall or even tragic enough to make you scream with laughter!

This lot are fab, they make me grin, they pick me up for lots of different reasons. That's enough bullshit though, lets gets this party started!

COMMON PEOPLE covered by William Shatner

Yes...we are going there, and if you think this isn't a 'proper cover' then ya as mental as Bill, because this is an interpretation of the original song that goes off on a shopping trip all of its own and lets face it, if you can't better the original in the poppy bouncy way it was originally recorded then shut your eyes, take a deep fucking breath and dive in to some mad waters of discovery!

Sometimes this kind of thing does the job and makes me wanna fucking hug the world and the guys bringing smiles to it, other times I want to hunt down every copy and smash them all! For every 'Common People' there's an illjudged travesty like The Scissor Sisters 'Comfortably Numb', I can assure you we won't be going there tonight!

Piece of shit.


RUBY, DON'T TAKE YOUR LOVE TO TOWN covered by Leonard Nimoy

I have a long and happy history of buying people shit gifts. I revel in the moment as they open the terribly  wrapped 'present' to find its a fabulous copy of the book 'The Joy Of Anal Sex, For Her', given to my brother in law, or perhaps 'Anal Hoopla' the evening game presented to my sister as a moving in present. Where am I going with this? Well I once went to find THE WORST ALBUM IN THE WORLD...and figured the greatest hits of William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy would fill that slot. The funny thing was that I came to love it's incredible mix of stupidity, psychosis inducing Shakespeare speeches to music (Shatner is fucking amazing) and of course the odd gem.

Here's one of those Gems. Sit back. Shut your eyes. Allow Nimoy to tug at your heart strings. I am willing to bet you last ten seconds before laughing.

Count them.


WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE covered by Richard Cheese

If you haven't been to the house of Cheese before then let me open the door, take off ya shoes, fetch you a drink (yes he only serves Absyinth) and if I may, I would suggest you get the mind bleach ready and pray it works, though I can happily inform you that once never leaves you.

This guy is a legend and I hope you get the joke, if you don't then I may have fucked up one of the great rock songs that actually gets radio airplay. Sorry.

YOU SHOCK ME ALL NIGHT LONG by AC/DC covered by Hayseed Dixie

I love this song, it was the working title for the book I'm currently writing and I bang on the AC/DC version whenever I start up. I also love this version.

The thing is you can tell how good a song is if it can be played in a hundred different ways, by one hundred different people, in a hundred different styles and it still works. This works!


Music is something that is incredibly important to me., as it is to many. The incredible ways it can effect us, lifting us higher than we could hope to be or drop us lower than we'd like.A great song can stop you in your tracks, a great voice can capture the pain or hopes of a generation!

Music is damned good for the soul!

Above are a collection of covers that make me laugh and cheer, here's one I love that was recorded by a twitter mate! I'm jealous to be honest, dude can sing, dude can play, dude is doing something I always wanted to be able to do and and maybe one day I will. Personally I think this is fantastic and I'm really happy to share it with you.

Ladies and gentlemen!

I give you @OOK_Librarian and his awesome cover of Adele's 'Set Fire to The Rain!'

More next week and perhaps something more classical. I'm not sure as of yet.

Thanks for reading and listening.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Join The Army Of Positivity

I could tell you we live in a world full of wonders and realistically all you have to do is clear your head and look out of the window and if you sat there for long enough you'd see that. I could tell you we live in a 'Kingdom Of Fear' (Yes, I have stolen it from Hunter S. Thompson and yes, he is a fucking incredible writer and no, I don't think he gives a fuck), a kingdom in which the poor are demonised, the sick and elderly mistreated, ignored and abused, the dying afforded no compassion, the jobless no pity or encouragement and the different no love. A kingdom in which the rich lord over the rest, collecting their ever increasing taxes, expanding their own wages and comforts while taking what little comforts the poor have.

All you'd have to do is pick up a paper and see that there is truth in this too.

I could tell you that to be upwardly mobile, skilfully dodging the recession and increasing your own nest egg would see you despised by the very people that also claim they hate the poor, and that to have money is merely an excuse for those that govern to tax you some more till the years that you spent missing your kids football matches or ballet lessons so that you could climb the ladder have become almost meaningless when the tax is taken and the public decry your wealth as the physical embodiment of selfish capitalistic greed.

This you could also learn from reading a paper or going on line.

I'm not going to tell you any of those things. Nope. That's a waste of fucking time. It's pointless. It's useless. Because you know the truth. The one truth that they can't tax or condemn. It's simple and its true and its damn powerful.

You are a wonder of nature. A fantastic being of potential that can do anything you set your mind to.

Don't believe me? You can't do anything? Can't fucking fly can you?! BULLSHIT!

I give you passion and commitment and enough lessons and you can learn to fly a plane or take up abseiling or paragliding as a sport and hey presto! BAM! You can fly.

Can't shift the weight and you're getting old so it's gonna stay that way? Nope! Wrong again! Pensioners are now some of the most dedicated gym rats around! The huge increase in elderly body building is not shocking...its fucking awesome!

I can't take getting hurt again. That's a tough one but I'm going to tell you this; there are millions of people, single, wonderful, lonely people out there. If you are one of those then it stands to rights that you could find someone to chill with because we all need company and there are more than enough of us to go around. Maybe there is danger of heartache, disappointment and betrayal, but there's also the chance of happiness, love and that wonderful feeling when you find someone you know you just 'fit' with. Sure, there is danger, but there are rewards and what's life without a little risk? You can be careful, you can take it easy and maybe, just maybe, you could find something truly great.

What the hell am I talking about? Why the hell am I banging on like a fucking self help guru with no skill and less muscle mass? Why?! Because I'm sick of people being treated like they are useless, unwanted and unloved. I'm sick of being told by the government that I'm a burden, or that I'm not pulling my weight, or that I have to take pay cuts, or that I'm not worthy of care because I'm vulnerable! I'm sick of people telling me I'm a cunt because I voted one way or the other when it's clear that neither of the main parties wants anything more for us than to be sheep that beg to be governed.

I'm sick of the negative bullshit.

We, the basic human being, are incredible machines. We break records every year, running faster, climbing higher, swimming further, travelling distances on boats, planes and rockets. We can see other points in space, so far away that to comprehend how far away they are is boggling and yet we have our eyeballs ALL OVER THAT SHIT!!

We overcome great trials and triumph in the face of repression, depression, and trauma. Some of us will become legends on the football pitch, have millions cheering us on as we pass the finishing line on a 5000 meter race and then see those same millions copy a crap set of hand actions that once performed have the power to transform us back into sobbing wrecks as we remember the moment we saw it done on the podium.

Some of us are caught in explosions, lose our legs, and go on to become Paralympians.

It's true that we, humanity, can be cruel, barbaric and evil, But that's not what most of us are like. Most of us are vessels, barely able to contain all the incredible potential that is held with-in, trying hard to get all that awesome 'stuff' out and not always getting it right. People can see we are awesome of course, but perhaps not as many as we'd like, or maybe we feel we'd be even more awesome if we could just get a chance to follow 'that' dream?

I'm not going to hear all the negative shit any more  No government minister or opposition fool is going to dictate to me just how awesome I can be. No cash sum is going to make me a success, or a failure. No cruel  remark will breach my armour or slow my stead!

Join me! Let's mount up! Take up our pens and our books! Our swords and or paintbrushes! Covered in the armour of our dreams and talents, propelled by our hopes and our dreams we will ride into the sunrise as it peaks over and asks us what it is we will be taking from the day! Our answer will be simple!


(Rides off waving banners of encouragement to all! Gets the directions wrong and rides back, doesn't look embarrassed because fucking up is another thing we do really well...and then rides off IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION...waving banners of encouragement to all!)

Monday, 4 February 2013

Music Monday. Something to Smile to!

Had to pop in and lay something down here, I hate missing Music Monday as you know! Right, what shall we do? It's been pretty serious around here for the last couple of days so I think something that makes me smile, like, proper smile, big, sunshine on your face kind of inner peace kind of smile.Lets have a few of those shall we?

I LIKE IT HOT By Wolfsbane

Ok, it's silly and basic and probably a bit crap but it does make me beam and though I'm sure it's because I loved it when I was young but it just screams summer and that's maybe what I'm starting to ache for. Sun, warmth, greenery, trees, late evenings, the works!

ROLLING RIVER by The Mountain Firework Company

These guys are amazing! Amazing live, amazing on c.d, just all kinds of amazing! I've been told its Blue Grass...I still have very little idea of what that actually means but I know that when the c.d goes in and I hear this it lifts me right up into fresh, free and hopeful!

and finally we have something for the funny bone, yes, I know what you're thinking! THREE?! ONLY THREE?! YOU CHEAP BASTARD! Well, I'm busy writing other stuff and it's late and I'm tired and so you will just have to deal with it.

Stop sulking.

Ok, cool! Right, on with the final selection! One that I have thrown about all over Twitter and that's simply because I love it! You see It's slightly silly, about one of my favourite things in the universe and I simply Love the Professor! So here we go!

I always want a Cup Of Brown Joy!

Right, see you soon (certainly next week) and hope you have a wonderful time getting down to the strange mix of English south coast Blue Grass, eighties rock and Chap Hop!

Life is kind of like that though, its all a bit jumbled, sometimes strange, but ultimately utterly fantastic.

Keep your heads above water and have a beautiful week.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Depression. A True Story.

Someone (@ADadCalledSpen) asked me if I had ever blogged about depression, I haven’t and that is because for the most part I'm a pretty happy guy and why not, I have a wonderful wife, seven amazing kids, we aren't starving, I'm fairly healthy, all is basically good.  Not perfect but pretty good.

All the really important things in my existence are fine, I could complain about the house, its damp issues, the lack of money, the lack of job or opportunity and the as yet lack of success as a writer, but you know what? That stuff will change if I work hard enough, make the right moves or perhaps catch a lucky brake while working hard at it and making the right moves. That stuff is transient, in ten years I’ll either look back and say ‘hey I made it’ or ‘Hey, I didn't  but this job is OK and I'm still writing and blogging so who cares right?’ One way is obviously more favourable but I’ll take the other without tears.

It wasn't always this way though and that’s the thing, depression isn't something you catch like a cold and then ‘shake off’ in a few weeks. It’s not something that is all or nothing either, it comes in all different sizes and strengths and folks, you need to read this’s a disease. You can beat it and move on and never look back but be aware that it can seep into your life, drain the colour from your eyes and leave everything grey and lifeless or rob you of respite from it by destroying your sleep patterns and making you so unreachable that the people that you really need turn away as you push them out the door.

I know that people have terrible, awful times, BLACK DAYS, days when getting out of bed is almost impossible and you feel that the world would certainly be better without you in it. I know that self loathing and fear can drive you so deep that any compliment is a lie, any concern for you is ridiculous, for how could anyone love someone like you?! I know that in those days you can see no future that isn't touched by the dull ache of emptiness and loneliness.

I can tell you I have felt low, lower than I’d ever want to be again three times in my life. They were all connected to the same feelings of inadequacy and failure and through those times my decision making process was compromised to a massive degree. My ability to care for myself, communicate with others and keep myself going forward simply dropped off the chart. They are moments I'm not proud of, times I look back on and yet they are times that show that I am not just human, but very human and that is what makes me who I am.

When I was fourteen I moved to a new town and as a painfully shy person I couldn't make friends, deal with the new people or the new dynamic in my life. I came from a shitty inner city area where  I never bunked of school,  was looking at some pretty good grades for my exams and people thought I was pretty smart. It didn't work out that way in the new town but I could have probably got a whole bunch of exam results and headed to university, I'm a smart enough person to have done that. From there I probably would have got a much better job, met different people and would probably have more money, a better home and be able to drive. But then I wouldn't be here, right now, with my wonderful wife and kids, so I'm glad it all went wrong.

Fast forward a few years and I’d just broken up with someone and this is bizarre but I actually took a good pop at committing suicide. I took a whole bunch of pill and banged a bottle of whiskey. I'm not a big guy and I ain't got no hollow legs, so I lay down and you know what? I was happy for the first time not just in weeks but in months. I was really relieved that all this crap was finally going to go away and everyone would be free to move on without the weight around their neck that was Edd. I passed out. Lights out. Game over. I was glad...then pow, I'm rolling over and throwing up. All that crap formed a dark patch on the floor and it was black, this horrible black sludge and then I roll over again and I'm out again. I felt rough for weeks afterwards but I realised I’d gotten lucky and started to try and clear my head and over the months that followed I drank a whole lot, did irresponsible, naughty things but I got better and pulled myself out of the mire.

The thing is I never tidied up the mess. I walked out of my room in the morning and went to a mates and stayed away for a day. When I got back the sick was gone as was the empty bottle and the empty bottle of pills I’d taken from the kitchen. I presume my mum found it all, tidied it up and from then kept an eye on me. We've never talked about it and to be honest I really don’t want to now. It’s in the past. But you know if I hadn't done that I never would have looked around and decided that I needed to get out there and I’d never have met my now wife just a year later. So it’s weird but I'm glad that happened too.

Finally, the third passage. The last time I scooped way low. Nope. Not going there. Sorry, that shit doesn't need to be visited ever again. I worked through it, I got another chance to make the right decisions and with those second chances I built the foundations of my life now.


Depression is something I suffered from, something that sits there in my past, waiting for a chance to come back in. I know I'm susceptible to the Sirens call of self hatred and so I combat it with positive action and self monitoring, but you know what else? I'm a lucky one. Other people get taken and don’t come back out. Other people, great, clever, amazing, inspiring, beautiful people fall into depression and it is like falling. Plummeting into a darkness you haven’t chosen and no matter how you try you can’t grab onto something on the edge to hold onto. Some fall and fall and fall and the really horrible thought is that there is no bottom, just the endless descent into deeper and deeper levels of loathing and fear and paranoia and despair.

I didn't have it bad I don’t think. I could climb my own way out but that doesn't mean everyone can. There are degrees and to be honest you really don’t know what it’s like unless you've been down there at the bottom of the well. When people say ‘you just have to pull yourself together,’ ‘stiff upper lip’ and ‘we didn't have it in our day’, then they are, for the most part, utterly deluded.

Depression has always been with humanity in some way shape or form, people have always committed suicide, been withdrawn, it’s not new, it’s not modern and it’s as real a threat to us as cancer. Hell, it even acts the same way! Hiding inside us, growing, building, poisoning our thoughts and destroying our lives, and guess what? You can’t just see it on people. Some people hide it incredibly well for a time, they keep the dark secret that they just want to sit and cry close to them because there is stigma about it. That some people see it as weakness and self indulgence. So they hold onto that shit till the invisible killer strikes and people say ‘he was so nice, so quiet. I don’t even know why he killed himself,’ or ‘She was upset but I didn’t think it was that serious.’


There are ways through it, ways to come out of it, techniques that can help you climb back to the light, but make no mistake, it’s not easy, not ever a case of  just ‘pulling yourself together’ or  ‘manning up’ and if you think it is? Go read. Read about depression, educate yourself because if you don’t you may find that you are the one in the dark place and with that kind of attitude you are going to make life incredibly hard for yourself. Mental illness affects one in three people statistically. Look around you. One in three.

Depression isn't a joke. It’s a disease. A chemical imbalance that can take any of us at any time and even if you can see it coming there is no way of knowing if you can fight it off. I recovered and have a great life. I'm not crazy or stupid.  I never was. I was depressed.

Think before you judge.

I think I'm done.

Silent Sunday

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Dads Do What Dads Do

Something I find more than slightly odd is the attitude that its strange to see a man caring for a baby. Why? Why is it odd? What is odd about it pray tell? I mean the baby is a wonderful, magical, crazy mix of two people, the genes intertwined without some prejudicial preference to the female half. Its half, no matter how you cut it! So if the baby is half you, then why wouldn't you want to carry, cuddle, feed, care for, change, dress, burp or play with the baby that is half of you?

It's pretty obvious that this attitude is not only ridiculous but it's lazy and I think it's the laziness that pisses me off more than the lack of sense that it makes. People who look and see a dad with a small baby and think 'isn't that great, he's pitching in' should be people I like right? Nope. You know why? Because it should be the norm that men are caring for their children if they get the chance. Men should be cuddling their children, showing them love and care, committing to being active parts of their fledgling lives, not just making money and letting the woman 'do the house work and look after the kids.' Men should be taking their children and showing them how to be compassionate and excellent people regardless of whether they are married, divorced, or widowed. It makes no difference, the child is part of us. So when someone says, 'good for you' I worry that they see it as women's work and that it's 'really good of you to try and help slightly'. And then I just want to shake them and scream 'WAKE UP! ITS THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY FOR FUCKSAKE!'

It's lazy to presume that a man would find caring for a baby boring. It's lazy to assume that he we should be working while the baby is with the mother. It's lazy to assume that REAL MEN are in short supply, they aren't, a REAL MAN looks after the people he loves the same way REAL WOMEN do. Men look after kids, take them to the pictures, change their nappies, feed them expressed bottles or formula if need be, teach them manners, speak to them, read to them, cuddle them, show them all the love they have inside because...and here comes the news flash; MEN CARE ABOUT THEIR CHILDREN!

Obviously there are always some rotten eggs, there are guys that skip out, don't care or do see it all as 'Women's Work.' To them I'd simply say that there is no such thing as 'Women's work' or for that matter 'men's work,' there is only work, that needs doing, by do it.

So let people instead say 'cool, how is the baby?' Or perhaps 'He/She is adorable', or even 'How old is the child? You two are doing well I see.' It may be slightly condescending if said in a certain way but at least it isn't utterly illogical and completely stupid.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Petal and Her Baby Brother

Sorry, I couldn't straighten the pic out but I think you'll agree its simply adorable!

Petal is currently obsessed with helping out with the new baby and will scamper happily around fetching and carrying as often as she can, its incredibly lovely.

#TrojanHero is just seventeen days old today and honestly we can't remember what it was like before he arrived. He's our seventh child and each one so far has made a huge impact upon us.

He's already made himself at home and is never short of a lap to snuggle on.

Again, sorry about the pic being sideways but I figure you'll forgive me right?

Yeah, thought so.