Filthy/Gorgeous

Not nearly as angry today as I expected to be, but for large portions of the working portion of business it did feel as if I was being followed around by Tim Curry as IT with a rubber hammer, with which he would hit me on the head every ten minutes or so before cackling demonically. I couldn’t breathe properly when weightlifting, nearly fell flat on my face on the run back. Of course, nobody got hurt, and it was all just minor mental inconvenience… but the point remains. some days it’s the stress that divides good work from just work.

For those of you don’t know, I’ve been accepted by the local NHS mental health unit for CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) as part of a longer journey to uncover what is going on in my head. The wait for this has been three weeks to be initially assessed and a week for the okay, and I’ve probably had four good night’s sleep that entire time. I have, effectively, been running on empty and am only now returning to what could be probably considered as normal. It’s also played havoc with eating habits. I need to fix a lot of stuff.

One of the things I’ve stopped doing is blogging, mostly because once a week I record twenty minutes of video blog for Patreon and, at least over the last few weeks, after that there’s been no extra mental space to accommodate anything else. Last week however I did a Zoom event, a Poetry Book launch and an Open Mic poetry/prose evening. It’s beginning to fit into place. The only problem, such as it is, remains getting other people to appreciate my poetry enough to publish it. However, as we come up on four years of doing this shit, there is undoubted progress. If there wasn’t, I wouldn’t be leaving the old life behind for good.

In a certain light, things appear to be going very well indeed.

Therefore, having tried to do a Newsletter and having had nobody really that encouraged to keep reading, I’m going back to what I know best. It helps that there is now a regular stream of actual life to report on too, that I’m pushing myself into things properly for the first time in probably six months. Let’s be honest, a lot of the time when there’s been no desire to share has coincided in when my mental health was sub-optimal. With a haircut (finally) and some genuine encouragement on my work, it is all just better.

Yes, I KNOW my own validation is all that matters, but sometimes it really helps when someone else turns up and reinforces that.

Lucky Stars

It is 1977: I am 11 years old. I hear a song on the radio that I love: Ariel. It’s by a bloke called Dean Friedman: an American singer-songwriter for whom that is his only ‘major’ US hit. However, his quirkiness catches the ear of a Radio One DJ I listen to obsessively: Noel Edmunds. Thanks to him, I buy Friedman’s second album ‘Well, Well’ Said the Rocking Chair and become obsessed with a particular track.

I am still carrying it with me to this day.

It is a quintessentially perfect piece of narrative storytelling: it’s the breakup song to end all breakup songs. It’s uplifting and smart and has the most killer saxophone solo, but what keeps it in my head after forty years are these four lines:

Take a look at the place you call your home
you’re reflected in all the things you own
and the seeds of reason you have sown
they’re a measure of a part of you that’s already grown…

Not gonna lie: for a good few years I carried those lyrics around with me, in a tea ball locket. I am happy to reveal that to you, dear readers, because I know we’re at that stage in our relationship. It’s still on a playlist that gets listened to weekly, and it was stuck into last month’s Internet of Words #Soundtracking2020 playlist… and that’s when things get funky.

Monday, I’m sorting stuff out online post PT, and I get a notification: Dean Friedman liked my use of this song, in that playlist. I think to myself  ‘nah, can’t be the real fella, it’s gonna be a robot or a fan account, coz that’s how social media works…’ So, I went and took a look. I didn’t believe what I saw. So, I had to go check the account. IT’S THE ACTUAL REAL DEAN FRIEDMAN. No, really IT IS.

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I’m not gonna lie, this is a MASSIVE huge deal for me. This song is so significant that it is indelibly threaded through my entire life, I could not separate me from it if I tried. Were I a singer (no I’m not, don’t worry) and there was a set list of covers I’d play, this would be the first song on it. Therefore to have the person who wrote it FOLLOW ME FIRST (I didn’t even know he was on Twitter ^^) is a massive deal.

It would be like Daniel Craig reading my Bond Fanfic and then chucking me a respective follow. It would be Guy Garvey knowing how much his lyrics have altered my life and doing the same. This is THE MOTHER OF BIG DEALS and let’s be honest, two days on, I’m still quietly revelling in the wonderful nature of social media. It also means that something has to happen as a result…

I am already writing it, despite the fact I planned other stuff this week. I suspect it will come with me doing an audio reading of it, when the thing is finally complete to my satisfaction. The title alone is the stuff of childhood dreams and aspiration, just beyond your creative reach. If the guy who wrote the song that altered my perception as a 12 year old can turn up and remind me that people do listen, anything is possible.

Needless to say, this is the beginning of a VERY interesting journey.

[EDIT: He now follows me on the Work account too… \o/]