It has been a long time since I did a bit of blogging. I have been busy doing my writing course with the open University. I decided to buy some voice recognition software to save my old limbs from seizing up and suffering from repetitive strain injury. I must say so far it has been very successful.
Our house is still on the market. We are still hoping to move back to England because that is the country I fell in love with when I first visited and will always have a place in my heart. So if anybody wants to buy house in Scotland just let me know.
That’s all for the moment I just thought I would do a blog just to get started again by promise I will write more over the next few weeks.
Goodbye for now.
It is 3 am. The nights are getting colder on Skye and the weather is very unseasonable for this time of the year. There is a stillness in the air. Combined with the general quietness of the country this can be quite unsettling for some. For those used to the hustle and bustle of the city it can be unnerving. Although I should be used to it by now there is a little bit of the city boy still in me that needs the bright lights and the smell of greasy takeaways. When I say quiet I am not exaggerating. Sometimes I swear that I can hear the blood pounding in my brain and the squeal of the synapsis as they fire their little bolts of electricity rebounding off the inside of my skull backwards and forwards. For someone who is always used to being surrounded by extraneous noise this is an often liberating sometime creepy experience like an astronaut stepping on the moon for the first time. Today I am going to do a bit of writing. I am going to start developing a character to put into a story. We shall see how it goes.
I think I can feel a character coming on. Just got to give him a face. Then start writing. Luvly Jubly.
That’s a good byline. That will get them hooked. Don’t worry (you weren’t going to worry were you?). I don’t dress in my wife’s undies when she goes to work (well not often anyway). I don’t look at sheep with lust in my eyes (well not yet anyway) and I have weaned myself off deep fried Mars Bars. This is far more serious. From the minute I get up in the morning till the minute I go to bed I have to be surrounded by music. When I am not listening to music, playing music or watching music I get withdrawals symptoms. I eat to music, bathe to music and have sex to music (although Vivaldi with canons does not seem to be working so well these days). My memories are wrapped in music. My inspiration is bound in music, My life….is music.
At the age of 50, sitting at my desk in the social work office, I turned to my colleague Martin. I was bored and so it turned out was he and it all started from there. I knew that he used to play in a wee folk band and played the bass and used to sing. He also used to sweat….a lot, but we will come back to that later. Anyway that was it. We started surreptitiously scanning the small ads in the classified sections. Second hand dildos and used panties vied with transsexual dog walkers but eventually there it was in very tiny barely legible ink. “Second Hand PA system for sale”.
We used to practice in my front room. I think we used to imagine that Mickie Most would walk past my house and offer us a recording contract. Sad to say that never happened but we did put together a selection of songs rooted in our past which we thought most people would enjoy as much as we did. It was so loud that we might not have made many friends but I did notice that the smack heads living next door looked at me with a new found respect (or was it loathing).
I cannot remember much about our first gig. I could see that Martin had started to sweat (a lot) but halfway through my bottle of Famous Grouse I was feeling like Eric Clapton on acid. It was in a local village hall in Helpston (I think) and I can remember lots of people clapping and shouting and screaming. I thought for a moment that the hall had caught fire but then I realised they were clapping for us. That moment will stay in my mind forever….we had arrived.
We did that gig for free but now we were stars I managed to negotiate a fee in one of our local pubs. I was so proud when I saw the sign outside the pub “Sunburst playing Saturday night at 8pm”. Anyway we arrived early and by the time we had carried all the equipment into the pub and wired it all up we were both bloody knackered. The Famous Grouse was handed back and forth until we had got our breath back and finally, there we stood, axes in hand, staring back at a sea of unfriendly faces. Three songs in and the drum machine decided it was going to start playing different songs to us. Martin was sweating buckets by this time and I was dying for a fag. I was feeling decidedly queasy and the landlady was looking very unhappy. During the interval she said that she thought we were going to be playing sixties music. I told her that’s what we had been playing. She said that she didn’t recognise any of the songs. I said that if she could remember the sixties then she wasn’t really there. Anyway she finally offered us £60 not to play anymore so that was a bit of a result….sort of.
I would like to say that we went onto greater things and that we received a call from Mr Eavis to headline Glastonbury but all you music lovers out there will probably have noticed that Sunburst has not attained the dizzy heights of stardom. Martin was sweating so much that we had to call a doctor. He only suffered a minor heart attack that night but he has been told to take it easy now and not exert himself. I took a hammer to the drum machine.
I am 64 now and would like to tell you that my drive for musical excellence and that my musical star has dimmed. But there are no happy endings to this story. I am in the middle of negotiations for my new band to play a series of gigs in our local pub. My new guitarist does not sweat and our new drum machine is state of the art. I mean…..what can go wrong?
I took this picture yesterday whilst out for a walk. While walking I reflected how since our move to the Isle of Skye that walks now provide solitude and time to think about life in general. I never thought I would enjoy living in the country. How wrong can one person be. I mean there are times I could scream (and in space no one can hear you scream) but it is not a bad life.
I read on a recent jobs board that the minimum qualification required to become a social worker is an honours degree in social work. Well I was a social worker and I had 3 bloody “o” levels and not very good ones at that. I could count and spell and that was about it really. I was a social worker for 25 years and became a qualified practice teacher mentoring other students who believe it or not had an honours degree in social work. I started doing voluntary work helping probationers at a day centre with literacy and numeracy. Then I worked in a homeless hostel for 16 – 25 years old, I graduated to working in a children’s home for troubled teenagers and then with a young family and still working part time I gained my social work diploma at the then Cambridge College of Arts and Technology. My final job in social work was in Adoption and Fostering. I loved it. I enjoyed every bloody minute of it (well most of it) and I think I made a difference. I did not always toe the party line. I did not always do as I was told. My old social work tutor (Tony Whatling….he used to look after Syd Barrett for a time when he was working in social care in Cambridge) taught us that our primary job as social workers was to question and challenge the excesses of institutionalised power inherent in powerful organisations. That made me a very popular bunny at times but it didn’t half make life interesting. I was in Peterborough a few years ago an bumped into a couple I had worked with and had helped them through the adoption process. They actually hugged me. I nearly fuckin cried. So now as I sit here in the autumn of my life I feel that I can look back and feel that I did make a difference to some people’s lives. I didn’t write a great novel. I didn’t write a top twenty hit. I didn’t get an honours degree in social work.
I do not think of myself as a violent man. I am a bit of a coward actually but will stand up for wrongs that I see and will stand up for myself. I am what they call assertive rather than aggressive. But during my life and I am ashamed to admit this I have met some people who I hated with a vengeance and whose absence from the planet earth I think would have made this world a better place. At least for me if not countless hundreds of others. Ask yourself the question. If I had a bead on Hitler and all I had to do was pull the trigger. What would your response be? Now I am not going to name names but here are my nominations.
For one of them I created a facsimile of a voodoo doll and stuck pins in. The next day he kept rubbing his side and gobbling painkillers. I felt really chuffed that day. One of them I followed home and plotted burning down their house (not with them in it I might add…I am not a complete psycho). And the other one I saw at a festival one day and was sorely tempted to pour a glass of cold beer over her beautiful head. So you see nothing too malignant. One left…and I haven’t decided what I want to do to him yet. He is working as a stress counsellor which I find very amusing as he obviously had plenty of practice.
So fellow bloggers. Ask yourself this question. Could you murder someone if you knew you could get away with it? Go on, treat yourself.