Taboo Topics & Toxic comments amp;

Is it just me or am I the only one to have been engaged in increasingly odd number of conversations involving topics that would formally been considered taboo?

Chatting casually about an article claiming there are now 52 gender options for example felt quite normal. Previously such a conversation would not have been feasible as for starters more than two genders would not have been recognised & if discussed would have been accompanied by much tutting in hushed tones in a secluded corner. Leading me to conclude that the tectonic plates of social change have indeed been shifting.

Warranted these changes may be judged as glacially slow in some quarters but at least there has been change. Reflecting how much the world seems so different now to when I was younger where strict, hierarchical norms were once the accepted ways. Work place bullying was rife with confidence sapping, sarcastic comments from dragon like senior nursing staff who thought nothing of humiliating their junior colleagues. I sincerely hope that level of institutional bullying is declining but sadly fear there are pockets that stubbornly remain. Whilst the burden of social change probably remains largely with the young I feel that older generations should not shirk their responsibilities either.

I have previously alluded to the fact that I have been the recipient of a number of compliments. Recently these included comments to the colour of my hair, shoes & choice of zoom background. Coming from young people whom I did not know & had nothing to gain from the exchange I can only surmise their motive was just to be nice. This level of generosity to others is a lesson that I feel older generations could do well to follow. As sadly the judgmental looks, snide comments flung my way recently have come from contemporaries or older.

new album

Being complimented on my zoom background was slightly weird yet oddly gratifying given that it came from the lead singer of a band I like. Perhaps another example of how much things have changed? When I was growing up the best you could hope for was hanging a cherished poster on the wall, saving enough money to buy the album hoping you liked all the tracks & perhaps hand writing a letter to the fan club. Not so today. For the price of a ticket pre order I got the digital & vinyl album plus an invite to a pre listen Q & A Zoom call where the band even answered one of my questions!

new helmet

I could probably cite many examples of where communication between generations is so important as often the two groups can both surprise & inform one another. The one that springs most readily to mind occurred when the assistant offered to pair my new motorbike helmet to Spotify on my phone. Not sure what music he thought I would have been listening to but he clearly wasn’t expecting what started to emanate from the device. Turns out the track playing featured a favourite drummer of his with a band he had never heard before. You could almost see his initial opinion of the old woman he probably first drew being rewritten as he grilled me for information about the music & then shared his views on the psychological benefits of playing musical instruments & tattoos. Proving perhaps the old adage of not judging books by their covers & all that but only if you accept that it cuts both ways.

Here’s looking at you

Living in what I shall now dub ‘Corona Times’ you realise the world is really tipping on its axis when you find yourself watching a live stream concert in the early hours because it was broadcast in a different time zone than your own. Not touring has, as the lead singer summed up neatly has forced us all to think more quickly & creatively about many things. So maybe something positive can come out of the chaos that seems to have engulfed the planet after all. Meanwhile I continue to work on a charity music project with my Tagaband co partner Sandra. It won’t be for the want of trying as we have had to overcome many obstacles to reach this point where even now despite all the effort it could still be scuppered. One of the advantages of my blackbelt training is that you know the value of perseverance! Meanwhile if anyone wants me I am hiding in my office with my guitars for comfort.

Stay safe where ever you are & what ever you are doing.

Damsons, Deer & Digital Dabbling

Its now been 8 months since Paddi passed away yet I still find my self up & out the door as I have been for more than a decade to wander the fields behind the house. As the seasons change so does environment so the view is never really the same twice & if I’m lucky I get to see wildlife too.

The wheat fields were a golden colour & the gentle rumble of the combine will be felt as the lane fills with tractor & trailers in a frenzied bid to get the harvest in.

Covid may have wreaked havoc on the wider world but not in these fields. I consider myself most fortunate to have been able to escape here on a daily basis to try & cling on to a sense of personal freedom.

Freedom like trust a very flimsy often underrated commodity until you no longer have it. Whilst lockdown had the feel of living in some sort of house arrest now our mobility is being governed by need to zealously conform to a myriad of conflicting rules & regulations.

So with no gigs to go to the answer was to set up a fund-raising project that led to hosting what I have dubbed a ‘micro festival’. In the role of ‘crash test dummies’ we live streamed a segment into an all day music event with a largely virtual audience. The scaled up version is likely to take place later in the year. This project is still ongoing but has been severely affected by the unpredictable announcements connected to covid concerns. More of that to follow as time goes on so be warned!

Then when out of nowhere came the chance to travel North for a live music it was too good an opportunity to miss. Daughter & I set off to Newcastle for a hotel I last stayed at back in the late 1980’s. With The Hunna headlining supported by Jaws & Bare Roots it was a total ‘no brainer’ to go especially as we could combine our visit with some sight seeing & meeting one of my daughters old ship mates.

Searching for our Pen

It was a curious set up but for all intents & purposes it mostly felt like a gig & the portaloos were the cleanest I had ever had the privilege to use. So may be some of the changes were for the common good! I certainly am glad I made the six hour drive to listen to those bands play they were all awesome in their unique way.

Sat in our ‘Pen’

The staff at the venue were lovely & I have never in all the gigs I have gone to been greeted by name when collecting my preordered drinks. My daughter & I joked that perhaps we were the only ones drinking Pimms but hey who cares it was a warm evening & that was the perfect beverage. We bought a mask to support the organisers in the hope they will get to run more & I was given a Hunna Hat as a thank you for organising the trip.

The Hunna

Live music lifts your soul especially when you can sing at the top of your voice & dance along even if a little self consciously in your own little pen. Quite a contrast to the gig I had attended in London prior to the lockdown where 10,000 of us had jostled together in an amorphous blob.

Not sure when we get to alight from the current crazy train but for now I have the memories of those few days to sustain me. The measures currently emplace seem to be designed to suck every ounce of enjoyment from peoples lives. As the dark nights approach coupled with the restrictions I can only wonder at the impact to the nations mental health. I now also have major reservations about the methods of data collection that inform these decisions. I am not convinced that young people are responsible nor is the virus spread just limited to social situations. The work place seems just as likely & it will be interesting to see how the incidence of sick leave rises with the approach of ‘cough & cold’ season where it will be virtually impossible to differentiate between the conditions.

Angel of The North

Newcastle we loved you, we had a fantastic break returning home to gloriously un-seasonally warm, balmy weather to catch up on some gardening. Bye for now & stay as safe as you can.

%d bloggers like this: