The Next Day

So, I woke up this morning and walked into the kitchen, and everything just feels different. It is odd, looking back on the last 24 hours, on just how amazing a day it was, not just for the bad feelings. I learnt an awful lot about how my online ‘friends’ dealt with grief, because most of them are not my age or indeed as immersed in music as I am. There was the inevitable ‘how can you grieve the loss of a stranger’ crap from certain quarters but that’s going to be inevitable from anyone without a soul who doesn’t grasp the significance Dave Bowie had on an entire generation of souls who never fitted in to begin with. For those of us who lived and breathed his work? This is gonna be a tough couple of weeks, but there’s a path to follow.

Mostly, a lot of people will be living in the past without any real desire to leave.

Losing someone you care about inevitably brings up memories that you shared, even if the person you’re grieving never actually met you. That’s why people end up as affected as they clearly are over Bowie’s passing: he touched millions upon millions of people’s lives with his music, his art, just by being a metaphor for rebellion. As a result many people will remember the first time they heard Album X or Song Y because it associates with a crucial part of their own evolutionary process. As a result, you become indivisible not simply from the man, but the music too. As friends to sad sacks grievers like me the trick is to listen to the stories and then nudge me past it. Because you don’t live in the past any more, it is dead and gone and to survive and flourish? You need to move forward.

To do that, it’s probably time to distract myself more than usual.

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I made this. Well, mostly.

I am reminded of Bond this morning; the modern incarnation’s life is wrapped quite significantly around death, and returns to original canon with the loss of his parents as a child as an indicator of 007’s modus operandi. Because bereavement is such a significant and unavoidable part of existence’s due process, it is amazing to think how so many people aren’t really prepared to deal with mortality better, but part of the point of living is not to concern yourself with anything but that process itself. One of Bowie’s undeniable strengths, right up until the moment he passed away, was understanding what he was, how everything worked around him, and that to be a great artist all you ever needed to do was embrace yourself, both good and bad. There were mutterings yesterday, disapproving noises from those who would argue that a habitual drug taker and bisexual performer will never be a role model. Yeah, we all got that, and we weren’t in love with him because we knew that was right. This man represented all the glorious that was possible when you were bad and wrong sometimes: even he, in the end, could not cheat death. He lived enough for a thousand lifetimes though, and what this just goes to prove is that if you want to taste the real highs, sometimes you have to sink very low to find the true path to redemption.

In that regard, the number of lives he touched is amazing and significant, and should never be underestimated as a result.

Mostly, today I get my house back in order, both physically and metaphorically. Once that’s done I’m going to try my hand at at least one new thing, and make sure that my step count stays as high as it has been to maintain the health momentum for the month. After that? Who knows. We’ll see how things pan out. Things aren’t worse today than they were yesterday, far from it, and the future’s different, interesting without a true innovator within it. Let’s see if anyone is man/woman enough to step up and fill the breach, though I guarantee they won’t ever be an exact fit. It might sound like hyperbole, but to say we’ll never see the like of Bowie again? Perfectly acceptable. They don’t make performers like him any more, because the world in which he was fashioned is dead and gone.

In the future, the challenge is different, and undeniably exciting to anticipate.

Let’s Dance

The last time I cried in a kitchen over someone I’d never met, the world lost Iain Banks, and I grasped just how much my life had been influenced by the Scotsman with a heart often as black as mine. This morning, at about 7.50am, Life on Mars played on 6Music and I just lost the plot completely.

Some people define what a generation became, and I suppose that’s what the London boy did. All those people who didn’t know where they fitted in, felt dispossessed or somehow *different*… that’s what he gave them all. He defined musical output for every one of the 69 years he lived, and the fact his last album released on Friday? He knew the end was coming, but because David was a showman, he never stopped until the last breath, and for that he garners the most respect of all. Because life is about living, the first moment until the last, and that’s what the man did.

So, ask me how David defined my life, and here’s what you get.

Everyone will look to Space Oddity, but this is the song that defines me, without fail. The lyrical beauty if it is incomparable, and the relevance even at this moment? Take a look at the lawman/beating up the wrong guy and it’s last week, last year: this song is timeless, eloquent regardless of context.

But really, you need to go to 1977 and Low to realise where this man completely changed everything. This is his collaboration with Brian Eno which pretty much began my love affair with ambient electronica, the same year ELO gave me instrumental rock. I went though Scary Monsters and Super Creeps with an almost joyful enthusiasm and that was it, I was utterly hooked. I’ll freely admit, early Bowie has pretty much escaped my notice because this was when I began my love affair with the man’s brilliance, and there’s going to be quite a lot of catching up this week. Also, anyone who does summat like this is a fucking genius.

Of everything I’ve read thus far today? A random Tweet sums it up better than I ever will. If there was ever a metaphor for current life?

This is probably it.

Me Vs Myself

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my scales since returning from the USA in August. Part of me, quite erroneously, got hung up on a number. It’s quite typical behaviour from someone who can, by her own admission, be quite obsessive about goals. Being the ‘right’ weight was, for a time, all that was bothering me. Except in the last week, that has changed. I’m not sure when this was, but I know that today, sitting here, I’m not thinking the same way about my weight as I was on Monday.

Mostly I think this is because I feel like I’m a different person. I know people say that and it’s easy to scoff, but I genuinely sense I’ve stopped being focussed on what I am. Now, how I feel is more important.

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The thing about exercise now is that, if you want, results are so much easier to see. Even if your scales refuse to move, or your profile in the mirror looks stubbornly unchanging, the numbers are hard to ignore. I walked 37.74 miles in five days. Three of those five were inside, but two were deliberately taken as part of a normal day, so I can balance everything out and ensure that I’m not excluding life as a result of the effort. Because I’m conscious of the fact many people I know don’t have my benefits, that you’re forced to live your lives a certain way, it makes me feel even more lucky. Cars are essential, personal mobility becomes problematic when a pay cheque rides on consistency. However, if I stuck a step count on people’s wrists? Would they ignore it, or could they rise to the challenge? As a gamer, there’s the automatically inbuilt spurt of competition you’ll garner regardless, when you know that this isn’t just about your numbers on the board, that there’s others doing the same.

Here’s where this week differs from all the others that have preceded it. This time? I wasn’t alone.

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For a long time Brandy up there has been challenging me to walk ‘against’ her on the Fitbit app and I’ve not had the confidence to do so. Suddenly this week, I’ve realised that actually, it isn’t contest for me, it’s confidence, that I feel able to sit with a group of my peers and show my worth. This isn’t a game, but actually (in a way) it’s no different from playing an MMO or a console title with other people: there’s always the potential to be better, or there’s just the decision to walk away and not take part.  So, this week I decided I’d step up: this isn’t me crowing because I ‘won’ or showing off my prowess, far from it. This is me finally admitting I had the nerve to be counted. By doing this, I have stopped worrying about the scales, and I’m certainly not competing with anyone except myself. This is me embracing how good I feel with daily exercise.

This is me realising how much I need that in my life to be what I am.

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I spend a lot of my life in front of a computer screen. Ultimately, this is not healthy. To inspire my kids, to make sure I’m fit for later life, and just to remain sane, I need a goal. My Surge provides me with the numbers, but it is up to me to make them into what I need to survive. This year, I’ve finally found the combination of factors that works. I’m looking forward to doing more weeks like this, and I know there’ll be weeks when I can’t, and this time I’ll miss them, because it isn’t just my physical health that benefits from the process. For now I’m making the most of every moment I have.

Thanks to everyone who’s inspired me to be fitter this week. I’ll see you bright and early on Monday to start again :D

How to Disappear Completely

I have a problem with letting shit go.

A lot of my mental health issues last year undoubtedly centred around how the World perceives me. It has become increasingly apparent that my more critical eye is something some people don’t like seeing, or indeed listening to. In fact, most of the ire I garnered in 2015 was because I decided to stand up and diss things/people that I perceived as wrong, stupid or ridiculous. Some people, when you use Twitter or Facebook, have obviously guilty consciousnesses and assume, often completely erroneously, that you’re talking about them when actually your anger is directed elsewhere.

Occasionally I’d upset someone totally by accident. Far more frequently, someone would pop up and berate me when they clearly decided that not liking something they liked had done was utterly wrongheaded. Mostly, if I’m honest, I wasn’t the problem, they were. Their overly sensitive indignation had caused the issue and I was a convenient means to highlight that they weren’t the problem in all of this. I unintentionally (and often conveniently) got patsied. Of course, on the counter to this, those same people would argue that as the attention-seeking whore in this relationship, I should be able to take this criticism to begin with.

Social media’s fucking hilarious when you actually break it down.

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Reassurance comes in many forms.

People build empires on line in exactly the same way they do in Real Life. The crucial diversion occurs when you understand that you have more control over your virtual environment than you’ll ever possess in the meat-based version. There’s a point for many people, in their Twitter ‘careers’, when they realise it becomes crucial to remove voices from their seemingly ‘free’ world or they simply cease to function correctly. You’ll watch this happen when someone’s followers hit a psychological barrier. It could be the number of followers, or perhaps after a particular incident. Occasionally, and this is pretty rare it must be said, someone cuts all their chords and buggers off completely. The lure of ‘fame’ is often too strong for many to do this, however, and that in turn causes further bitterness. Of course, the genuinely successful people just get on with it and don’t subject the rest of the World to all of this inherent drama.

Those are the people everyone ought to be emulating.

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Aim for blue skies, always.

Mostly, the World’s always looking for reassurance, because we’re still all kids deep down. It’s no surprise that the metaphor always returns to immaturity and inexperience, because for most letting go of those early years? That’s what keeps therapists in cash, Hollywood in re-makes and social media in drama. It’s no surprise how many people compare Twitter to High School/Secondary School, because it is. All the cliques, the mood swings, that bad hair… its all here. Human life, dissected and occasionally painfully exposed to both ridicule and disbelief.

Where you fit in the World is something most of us spend our entire existence trying to fathom. Some use it as a way to define themselves, and I realise this is where I’m beginning to shift. That means that, on days like today, I take the reins and make the last action mine. There are days when I won’t be able to control my environment, and then I simply have to accept my fate. On the days where I can, however? I’ll ensure that I’m the one who has the final say.

Because that, for me, defines what I really am.

10,000 Reasons

It started as an aside in my Twitter timeline yesterday, and by this morning the rumour had made the last article of national news. Twitter is considering increasing its character limit from 140 to… well, 10,000. This was enough to send the company’s share price down by a whopping 2%. To put this in context? Fitbit, the company who make my fitness watch, announced yesterday they’re going to try and grab a share of the Smartphone Watch market with their new Blaze. After that, their share price fell by more than 18%. So in terms of stock market panic? Trying to beat Apple is clearly more contentious than giving users more space to air their grievances.

It’s ironic that as I finally grasp how to use Twitter to my advantage with only pictures there’s the assertion that suddenly the social medial platform needs more than it has to somehow assure growth. I’m wondering at what point that became the indicator of success, that it seems that somewhere along this road I’ve travelled you’re only good if all you ever do makes increasing amounts of money. Materialism is all well and good, but ultimately it won’t be enough for many people, simply because you don’t quantify your worth with a number. It becomes a far more complex equation: happiness cannot be bought, however much some people might try to convince you otherwise.

However, in certain spheres, this is the only means to register whether you actually did a ‘good job’ or not.

It is not a surprise that the latest Bond outing’s getting its release date pulled forward by Sony. In relation to Skyfall, the 24th outing for 007’s not been the success that was hoped, and considering it now holds the moniker of ‘one of the most expensive movies ever made’  there’s some quite serious moolah that needs to be made back on hard sales. Sky Movies will undoubtedly be clapping their hands together with glee, as the movie will be available to stream on release via their ‘watch anywhere’ platform. I know this because they tell me at least once a day on their own channels, probably more, and I realise with a measure of depression that this is my future. If you fail in Place A, you’ll be marketed to within an inch of your life from B to Z. They’ve got Star Wars: The Force Awakens too lined up, but I suspect it will be a while before that’s on my mobile.

I don’t like this version of The Future: it’s too much about selling things as units and not enough about merit and interest. There’s no finesse when your making things based on a market share. I’m far more interested in making things because you can and you want to. That’s where we go back to Twitter, because even if they give people 10,000 characters the majority of users aren’t going to want to fill them. Advertisers want 10k characters, not individuals. Newsmakers want the chance to use the platform but in reality? This change is to promote more revenue from big business. Twitter’s overriding appeal right now is that it isn’t Facebook, insofar as it’s not full of adverts or the client itself trying to sell you shit you don’t want.

If this comes to pass? People like me will just leave and go to a place where you don’t get sold to. This isn’t rocket science, people.

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Mostly, I wish the World wasn’t the way it was, but ultimately I’m a realist. I make my place in the world a reflection of the person I am. That means I’ll buy a DvD of SPECTRE and watch it at my leisure. I’ll look at the Fitbit watch and if I think it’s a decent investment, I’ll buy one. As for Twitter? I think it doesn’t matter how many characters you have, if they’re all rubbish, then there’s no point. If all I do is use the words to sell and not educate? Waste of time and money, if you ask me.

The choices, ultimately, are yours to make and not for others to dictate.

Before the Dawn

Today would normally be an Exercise Day, but as it’s January 1st I’m actually going to say ‘no’, which might sound odd when everyone and their Auntie’s gonna be legging it for the Gym. I know what I have to do, I’ve known for some time now, and it is going to happen.

I don’t need to be exercising today to attain that.

What I will do is send a number of e-mails to people. I’ll hop on Amazon and buy a Week to a View Calender. Then I’ll start adding things to it, so that there is a clear set of goals to be attained. Oh, and I’ve got to keep that 40 day My Fitness pal streak going, because THAT is progress in itself.

Mostly? Small steps to begin. After that, we’ll see where we are.

Blue Hour

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Today was tough, but I got there. It’s not as much as I’d normally do in a day, but sometimes it’s not about breaking records, just putting in the miles. Mostly, I like the routine that exercise gives me, because there are days like to day where I lose cohesiveness and need something to tether me to a long-term goal. I’ll spend some time next year talking about how my mental issues have affected my life, especially when it’s come to self esteem and confidence. For now, the need for a routine and progress is important.

It’s all about finding a balance, and there’s not a Lightsaber in sight.

I want to write a review of THAT Star Wars movie at some point, mostly because I’m finally comfortable in my mind of what I want to say. The thing is, I didn’t come out of the cinema raving, far from it, and I’d like to be able to settle my qualms with the narrative I was presented with.

Oh, and at some point we have to talk about SPECTRE.