Thursday, 20 July 2017
But this little gem of a radio blasts out SO much fun everyday, it brightens my life.
It is tuned to Radio X.
I have listened to XFM since its conception in 1997. I remember many a Saturday afternoon driving to the seafood stall but having to pull over so many times in fits of giggles , tears streaming down my face, listening to Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.
The crab and prawns always gave me indigestion as I would be doubled up on the way back home.
Cramped with laughing with a belly full of fresh crab is actually quite painful.
In 1996 I went to see Oasis at Maine Road. It was THE BEST NIGHT OF MY LIFE, as anyone who knows me will testify. I still, to this day could bore for England about it but oh what a glorious night.
I was on a high for two whole weeks after the gig and wore my sky blue Oasis T shirt and trackie bottoms to meet my kids from school. proudly, much to their embarrassment. Of course XFM and then Radio X has Oasis as their main man band wise. But wouldn't the listeners be jealous to know that after that magical gig I wandered through the streets of Manchester (absolutely Coronation Street land) back to my hotel. As I tried to navigate the revolving doors a tiny little bloke was being shoved by a huge burly bouncer type of guy. Then I realised the tiny bloke was Noel.
OH MY GOD.
Somehow I ended up at the after gig party with Liam and Patsy, Noel and Meg, the other band members and all of The Manic Street Preachers. A roadie with the Manic's couldn't believe I had 'dustbin lids' I think the adrenaline took years off me.
The next morning I got the train back to London and it broke down every five minutes. It was the longest train journey but I was just SO happy I didn't care.
The following years had me singing an answer to my kid's questions, it must have been maddening.
'What's for dinner?' 'I'll pick you up at half past three, we'll have lasagna.'
'Oh mum, hurry up' ' So Sally can wait'
You get the picture. 'Don't look back in anger'
Around my way the birds are singing.
'You've got to make it happen' was a case of misheard lyrics on a car journey when my daughters had a giggly fit as they thought the words were 'you've got a naked husband, you've got a naked husband.'
Music, XFM and now Radio X music has helped me through difficult times.
Every morning I am in stitches listening to Chris Moyles and the team, the teams are so important.
I love Toby Tarrant, Jack Saunders, Dan O Connell, and yes, of course Pippa and Sunta who both add so much to the entertainment even if they are mercilessly ribbed by either Chris or Johnny.
And the most surprising person is definitely Johnny Vaughan, I thought I didn't like him, I don't even know why, perhaps it was bad press. But now, he is my favourite, well him and Gavin 'The Woodman' Woods.
I adore the Saturday 'Kickabout', just a minute of their bantering has me crying with laughter.
I love the way the whole Radio X team gel together and I normally get really annoyed with too much talk when I want music.
But, you guys have smashed it.
Great music, great talk, brilliant camaraderie.
Oasis, Radiohead, Snow Patrol, Kasabian, Coldplay, Bowie, Smashing Pumpkins, Pink Floyd, et al.
Nowadays my kids are grown up so it just leaves me to sing to my dog;'You're in love with a psycho, you're in love with a psycho and there's nothing you can do about it.'
Thanks Radio X.
Monday, 17 July 2017
Tuesday, 11 July 2017
Daniel Goleman states in his book, Emotional Intelligence (1995) that optimism " means having a strong expectation that, in general, things will turn out all right in life, despite setbacks and frustrations...optimism is an attitude that buffers people against falling into apathy, hopelessness or depression in the face of tough going."
Life is tough. Whether you are a student, a teenager, a young parent, an old parent, employed, unemployed, in love or nursing a broken heart. Life is a road which carries many bumps, it is how we choose to navigate the road which can make the journey enjoyable, miserable, magnificent or dull.
There will always be something with you as you make your journey.
It will go everywhere with you.
It will be on display at all times.
It has no size.
It has no colour.
People will make judgements about you on the basis of it.
Its impact on your life is profound.
What can it be?
It is your attitude.
An optimistic attitude prepares you to anticipate success and to bounce back from set-backs. A positive attitude will enable you to see obstacles as opportunities and to remain motivated in order to achieve your goals. An optimistic outlook will help you make self-fulfilling prophecies work for you rather than against you. If you expect things to turn out well, they are more likely to do so.
Optimism is such a wonderful tool because it gives you the confidence to cope with positive and negative events. It helps you to approach situations with assurance, persistence and an expectation of success. Being optimistic means you have a natural aptitude for happiness. That you can manage your perspective and that you can take an active role in creating the life you want.
A valuable lesson to learn here though is that for some people, an optimistic outlook will simply not work. Some people, believe it or not, are quite happy being miserable. I had a long relationship with such a person, He would use my 'optimistic outlook' as a weapon against me. Obviously the relationship ended. As far as I know he is still quite happy being miserable. But that's life. His glass will be forever half empty. At the end of a tunnel I will see daylight, he will see the headlights of an oncoming train. I will see a silver lining, he will see rain approaching. I'll see the doughnut he will see the hole.
You can keep your glass half full by accentuating the positive aspects of a situation. This doesn't mean you are ignoring or denying the negative aspects it's simply a decision to seek encouragement rather than discouragement.
Another key aspect in keeping your glass half full is to express gratitude for what you have or what you have experienced. People who show their appreciation feel more alert, optimistic, enthusiastic and positive.
Of course it is true that when the going gets tough it will be more difficult to be grateful than when things are going well. However it is a valuable lesson to learn that it is during hard times that we need gratitude the most.
"The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.'
Tuesday, 4 July 2017
Douglas Coupland is a Canadian novelist/artist/designer who creates visual masterpieces, one of his pieces is a poster reading, " I Miss My Pre-Internet Brain," He has designed many more since this one which was included as part of the collection: "Welcome to the 21st Century."
Coupland is 54, a few years older than me and, like me lucky enough to have actually owned a pre-internet brain and can therefore compare past and present. It's quite a concept and makes me feel privileged to have been born in the 1960's, a generation of children who may well have been the last lot to grow up in a world of self-discovery and wonder, curiosity and creativity as well as in my case anyway, hunger and quite a bit of deprivation. I didn't know I was deprived though so it didn't really matter. I knew I was hungry quite a lot but then I just assumed everyone else was as well. Wasn't it a great feeling to see your big brother walk up the road with a rabbit tucked in his belt, or to not get caught whilst scrumping? (Younger people will need to google)
A big joy of childhood was the library, a big quiet building where one could wander for ages and ages and go home with lots of dusty books under your arm. (yes, yes, today you know exactly what you want to read, you've seen the reviews online and a pristine book will arrive wrapped in a box) I still love the library, I still sit down in my Lloyd Loom chair and retreat into the world of 11th century Paris or Tudor England or anywhere in the world at any time at all for that matter, even space if I feel so inclined. The library today though is a noisy affair with lots of bleeping going on and people talking into their laptops. Old people shuffle about too embarrassed to ask how to actually borrow their books as the machine has replaced the librarian.
In my day my friends and I on the rare occasions that rain stopped play, would idle away time colouring in. That meant using colouring pencils to colour in pictures in a book. Now, that's an exercise in 'mindfulness.'
The thought of being stuck indoors was a frightful one. Why would anyone want to do that? There were, (still are actually) trees to climb, rivers to swim, orchards to strip, fields to scour. I think I spent about a third of my childhood in swimming pools, proper swimming pools with a proper deep end, not namby- pamby shallow 'safe' boring drips that pretend to be pools today.
Then there was school, Primary School was good fun, Secondary School not so much but I did learn a lot. Curiously although I hated Physics, my teacher to my hilarity was called Mr Grime, I learned an awful lot although didn't realise it at the time. Who knew flow tanks would have been so helpful?
I wasn't allowed the luxury of further education and went to work in London just short of my sixteenth birthday. At twenty I was promoted to a Chief Referencing Officer, fancy being a chief of anything at that tender age. My job was to travel across all of the London Boroughs collating evidence of land ownership. This would see me chatting to a Lord and Lady in Kensington one day and a big burly gypsy on a caravan site the next. I loved that job and it has stood me in good stead as a researcher.I expect all the information I found by trawling around with my pencil and pad can now be found on the internet, not so the myriad of stories behind the facts however.
Nearly thirty years later, my pre-internet brain is shared with my post internet brain.
Today as I walked around the park with my dog I came across a lot of young mums pushing their babies in their buggies. Ducks, swans, herons, cormorants, woodpeckers, parakeets, tits, a sly fox all totally ignored, bright orange and red crinkly leaves left underfoot and not kicked up in delight, squirrels left alone to squirrel their nuts. All the while the babies moaned and the mums listened to music or talked loudly into their hands-free sets.
The dog trod in a sticky pile of something and was covered in burrs, as I extricated them I realised my hand was covered in poo. I had my wellies on so climbed down the old roots of a tree into the stream and splashed about as I washed my hands, I dried them on a waxy leaf... much to the horror of a lady walking by who politely passed me a packet of disinfectant wipes.
Monday, 3 July 2017
As a child I played outside all day long. Imaginary friends would surround me in the woods along with fairies and elves. Trees would have faces to match their personalities, my imagination was that good.
As I grew older I became enchanted by the Greek myths. I still love them to this day. A recent guilty pleasure was discovering the film Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief which I love.
So why the picture of sunflowers? Well my hippy childhood taught me to see the stories behind the scenes; a gift that the young today may never learn with boring old Google giving them black and white answers to all of their questions.
Google: Sunflower; (Well, take a look)
Sunflowers : The beautiful sunflower takes her name from Clytie, a water nymph who turns into a sunflower after grieving the loss of her beloved Apollo. The mythological symbolism is that Clytie (in her form as a sunflower) is always facing the sun looking for Apollo's chariot to return that they might rekindle their love.
The sunflower grows tall and moves to face the life giving rays of the sun and is often used as the symbol of spiritual faith and worship.
A vase full of sunflowers brings sunshine to the gloomiest of days.
|Me,back in the very early 80's|
It was summer and I was wearing a dress, quite a smart dress as casual clothes were not deemed fit to wear to work at that time. I felt frumpy and not model material at all but a steely determination had set in and on the way to Mayfair I mapped my new life , it would include lots of glamorous parties, champagne, gorgeous clothes, Vogue covers, shining hair, good-looking men and of course, vast sums of money.
I arrived at the building which was a tall and grand affair, I presumed the whole house was the agency but soon realised that the number of bells attached to the wall gave the lie to that assumption. I pressed the bell to the agency and the door swung open. I climbed up a long staircase until I reached what was probably once known as the servants' quarters. I was ushered in by a youngish man who was wearing a hacking jacket and light brown cords, (I don't know why I remember this detail so clearly) he had a floppy fringe which he had to keep flicking from his eyes. He looked me up and down while rubbing his hand across his chin. He asked me to pull my dress up so he could see more of my legs. I felt a red flush bloom across my cheeks but pulled up my dress as instructed. He seemed to stare at my legs for ages and I felt awkward and embarrassed but kept telling myself I was being stupid as of course I would have to expect this sort of scrutiny everyday while being photographed by David Bailey and the like.
Finally, the man from the agency, (I can't remember his name) told me he thought my legs were a tiny bit on the chubby side but not to worry, I could exercise that away. I remember feeling mortified, my legs couldn't really have been any skinnier, they wouldn't have held me up. I dropped my dress back down to below my knees.
The photographer called from the 'studio' which was probably once upon a time, a broom cupboard.
I had lost my nerve, I couldn't bear the thought of my chubby legs being photographed. I dashed back down the staircase on my sturdy pins and hailed a taxi which took me back to County Hall.