When you’ve been doing this sort of nonsense for as long as I have, it pays to take a short breather every now and again, and as I mentioned in the additional posting I shoved up on hearing the news of the death of Leonard Cohen, this recent period has been one of them.
I was very fortunate in that, during the time I was planning exactly what to do with the blog while I was tuning out for 2 weeks, I could turn to four ridiculously good guest posts in quick succession. The fact that readers could enjoy Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Martin Stephenson, The Pipettes and JAMC over four days demonstrates exactly the variety and quality entertainment that I want to bring to this place. My thanks to Badger, Rich, Strangeways and S-WC for filling the void with such panache.
My own break was partly enforced from the fact that I was away visiting two very dear friends – a husband and wife – over an extended long weekend to celebrate them turning 50 years of age and throwing a party in their home town in Hampshire. I hadn’t been able to make the family celebration they had held up here in Glasgow earlier in the year as it coincided with my trip to Toronto, but I was determined to make sure I didn’t miss out the second time. It was always going to be a drunken few days – I don’t see them as often as I’d like and when we do get together it is always very messy that would always end in tears-stained nostalgia if we didn’t continually rip the piss out of one another.
This particular mate was my best man when I remarried in the mid 90s. By then, he was already forging an incredibly successful career doing things and being in situations that very few of us could ever imagine. The nature of his job is such that he can’t say too much about it and I’m therefore not going to give anything away – I’ll simply confirm that he’s not a spy or anything like that but that a great deal of his work is of utmost national and international security.
He once, many years ago, had to spend nine months away from his family in a very dangerous place; while we were talking over the long weekend he reminded me, and I’d completely forgotten about this, that I had given him a box of home-made C90 cassettes to take with him as his musical accompaniment. Not only did I supply the cassettes but I typed out something like 25 pages of notes on many of the songs with a lot of asides about why they were important or personal to one or other or both of us. I genuinely couldn’t recall doing this and was stunned when he brought out said box and notes and let me read over them.
This was all done back in 2003, and while I’m not claiming that my thousands upon thousands of words were worthy of any literary prize, I was proud of them in that they, and the songs, had seen him through some tough and lonely times; I could also see that this, in some ways, was my first ever stab at blogging albeit such a thing hadn’t been invented at that particular time. I was tempted to bring the notes back up the road with me and reproduce them here, stopped only by the fact that much of what was written was relevant to the particular situation and circumstances ny mate would find himself in and even now, thirteen years on, neither of us would want to put into a wider, more public domain. But reading my written words again, having forgotten that they existed, was a highlight of the year so far.
Which is just as well given the lowlights that would unfold over the next few days.
My political leanings can be worked out easily enough from the words and songs that have featured on this blog over the years so it’s fair to surmise that the ascension of Donald Trump into the White House doesn’t sit easily with me. But hey, if that’s what the voting system used in the States brings about, then so be it.
It’s been fascinating to watch the reactions to this outcome, just as it was when the Brexit vote and Scottish Independence results came through in recent times. Particularly on social media where so many folk on the losing side then seem to make a mad rush to ‘unfriend’ those who voted the other way. This seems just completely the wrong thing to do – if you surround yourself only with those whose views and opinions are completely in line with your own, then you’re not really going to get much of a perspective on life and society.
I am distressed and worried about what the future holds; I’m not envious of those with children whose fears must be even greater. But I’m not going to stop talking to any friend – in real life or in cyberspace – for the ‘crimes’ of either voting a madman into the White House or putting an X in a particular box which then gave the outside world the impression that the little island I happen to live on is populated by racist bigots.
Life is way too important for that.
But I won’t ever talk to anyone who phones in and votes for an act on the X Factor………..
You’ll be pleased to know that things round here will return to normal from tomorrow. I just wanted to come back sharing a few things that were on my mind.
mp3 : The Psychedelic Furs – President Gas
mp3 : The Presidents of The United States of America – Bad Times
mp3 : Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy – Hypocrisy is the Greatest Luxury
mp3 : Chumbawamba – Mouthful of Shit
Onwards and upwards. Starting with going over to read some of my favourite blogs. I’ve missed you guys and gals.