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Sunday, 21 May 2017

Love, hope and strength.....

Had I have been a 15 year old lad looking for a cause with a spikey haired charismatic leader I might have been more into The Alarm back in the day, I wasn't and I just didn't get it. OK 68 guns was a good tune but I was lost in the poetry of Oscar wilde, saving the whale and banning the bomb.  I adored Big Country, Stuart was my spikey haired go to leader, I had no idea of the connections, friendships and visions of life that brought these two bands together....fast forward 30ish years and in a small venue in Islington I was introduced to 'acoustic' Mike Peters. My now husband a fan, man and boy, took me along. Mike appeared joyous but vulnerable but what was more interesting to me was the love in the room. I spoke to Gaz Top at the end of the gig and apart from me being quite drunk and being overly excited because I was chatting to Gaz Top he also shared this deep feeling of love....long story but this was forgotten by the time we got home, falling asleep on the train and walking 2 miles bare foot to get home overtook my joyous recollections of the gig.

And so to last night, The Alarm at the Electric Ballroom. I was quite indifferent about going to be honest, working week, hassle of getting into London blah blah.
It doesn't take long to be taken back to that feeling from the previous gig. I'm surrounded by men of a certain age. Some still holding on tight to the hair gel others have embraced the shaved look, all have something in common, The Alarm.

There's something different about the atmosphere, honestly it's something quite beautiful. Big manly men politely asking if they can 'squeeze past' 'excuse me please' without exception every person who needed to get past or accidentally bumped into me apologised, it's a gig...this is unusual! Equally, instead of getting quietly wound up by people talking while the band played I was deeply moved by the voices singing loud and proud around me, there's something very special when a crowd sings. The bloke behind me knew all the old stuff, word for word, I only know which songs were newer songs as matey didn't sing along! At times the love in the room was almost unbearable, nostalgia helps but this was different. No air of angst, no brooding, no anxiety no uncomfortable feelings just love. This is quite a feeling. With other gigs there's often an underlying feeling whether this be because of drink or the message from the band there's an 'edge'. Not here, the gathering of men surrounding me were embracing, singing and throwing out the love. Big big love.

OK so I get it, take away the longing to be 15 years old and looking for the anthem of your youth, I get it. The message for me last night wasn't one of anger, rise up and fight, though lyrically I suspect Mike would lead us and frankly I would follow....but for me the message was of love. Morrissey once sang about love peace and harmony and actually meant 'woe is me' when Mike Peters speaks of love, it comes from a different place and I feel that, very much so.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

It's not 'you'....it's 'me'

I've heard a lot of rubbish spouted from both sides of the Referendum bun fight and have come to the conclusion that it's not 'them' it's 'us'. I refer, of course, to blaming migrants, political and financial for the state of 'our' country.

Before you tick a box on the 23rd it might be worth considering our own use of the key issues currently argued over, education, housing and the NHS before blaming the people that have helped build our country.

Maybe, if we as parents engaged more with our schools, primary and secondary, supporting and celebrating teachers instead of moaning about their 'long holidays'. How about taking joint responsibility for your child's education, help your child to read and write, complete homework, educate them about life, then maybe teaching might be a more attractive job and there wouldn't be shortages in classroom spaces. Maybe that church school you longed Jessica would attend isn't the right place for little Jessica.....think about the child not the ofsted report, they mean nothing in reality.

Maybe, if we all looked around and acknowledged all the empty properties rotting away in and around our towns and cities we could lobby our councils/politicians to get these properties back into positive use. Maybe we should stop trying to be the king of our castles and look at owning property as a debt many can't afford....using property as an alternative to a pension is fine but it's not a 'right'.

Maybe, just maybe we should look at how we use our NHS. I bet there's more time and money wasted in A and E on looking after people who really didn't need to be there. Are we not able to manage a splinter ourselves? Or maybe a scuffed knee does need a receptionist,  triage nurse and junior doctor's attention? Our personal health is our responsibility first, when we can't look after ourselves be it an accident or something worthy of trained professionals attention, it's then we should seek that help.

Low paid jobs? There's a lot of them and 'we' don't want to do them. Surely 'they're taking our jobs'.... as an example of this a relatively well paid job I did recently was done by me and many Polish guys, who worked hard and fast. My wage was the same as 'theirs', I had the same rights as 'them', I was respected by 'them' and suffered no sexual harassment or discrimination. You can of course turn that last statememt around and have it read 'me' instead of 'them'. The job was open to all yet the 'locals' chose not to do the job. To be fair I hated the job but the job was there for me at a good rate of pay, on equal terms, for everyone. Maybe, if 'we' have a problem with 'foreigners' delivering our stuff, for example, we should stop buying things from a company that pays no tax.....the guys I worked with do.

What's my point? Well I think we need to take a good look at ourselves before we blame others. Yes there are issues in our country that need addressing but remember, you voted in the present government, who have made cuts upon cuts that threaten 'clever little Jessica 's' school, hospital and housing.

Maybe, just maybe if we managed how we use our services better, we can live more happily alongside the people who deliver those services.

I know there's more to the argument than I've discussed,  but as I write both sides of the coin are trundling down the Thames on boats, each trying to out do the other, not through debate but by bashing into each other....I'll leave that right there.....

Sunday, 12 June 2016

The Good, The Bad and The Ukulele...

We went to see the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain last night. I happened upon this merry bunch years ago, I think I was watching a folk festival on telly and up popped these witty, talented musicians. I was hooked.
There's a joy about their music,  my preference is hard rocking but there's something about this lot.
It was small boy's (who's nearly 6ft) first theatre gig, he also plays the ukulele and to see his face as they played the first tune was a thing to behold.
He knows everything about TUOGB, educated and inspired by YouTube he's taught himself to play and appreciate a vast range of genres. (He also loves the Ramones....my work here is almost done!)
So, to the gig, it was life affirming, joyous, smiley, clever, witty and for me full of love and laughter. Versions of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Psycho  Killer, The Model, Happy and even Le Freak by Chic filled the small theatre. 
 I guess now that I find the likes of GBBO, The Sewing Bee, Googlebox, First Dates et al warm easy viewing, I'm mellowing! Celebrating the simple things, without  malice....anyway I digress.
As we left the theatre, we smiled taking the joy home, the warmth shared,  the talent appreciated. I only wish we could have danced....a real expression of how we all felt.....happy x

Thursday, 2 July 2015

There is a light...........

As usual, I've opened up the laptop with something important to do and have got distracted. I'm supposed to be writing my resignation letter but I've ended up here instead, it's been 9 months since I wrote anything but now it feels like I should, it's cathartic, it'll help me write my resignation.

 I never set out to save the world, but I guess it was always in me. 10 ish years ago I started working at my eldest son's school as a learning support assistant. I hadn't intended on lauching a career in education, in fact I was far more interested in moaning about teachers, strikes, holidays blah blah, but I was asked to apply as I had been helping them out with exams so I did, pocket money that fitted around my kids, happy days. I never thought that I'd end up in the big heap of despair that greets my darling partner every day. There's been tremendous highs and some bitter lows, but today is the day I say goodbye to education.

 The pupil referral unit I worked in broke me and although I was put back together, it was never the same. I expect you'll think it was all the kids fault, but it wasn't. Managers unable to manage in an environment that was already brittle is a dangerous combination, several members of the teaching staff were broken at that place, some continue to teach the reluctant, some don't. Such a waste of talent. If only the people at the top could see that kids that had failed in mainstream school were achieving, results were excellent, kids were attending and some were even re-integrated back into their old school, ready to try again.

I meandered into another school job, although desperately looking for a way out, applying for anything in the hope that something would come up, it didn't. The grammar school way was how I was educated but today it's a tight, robotic, frightening thing. Ok, so the school was outstanding but we weren't 'educating', the kids passed exam,s sheep like while the outstanding teachers sat alone in their classrooms sobbing.

It wasn't all doom and gloom, I loved working with the boys at my first school, the kids were witty, fun, honest and most of all willing to believe....they trusted me, that's a great feeling. Their often complicated lives shared with me, I'd provide a shoulder to cry on, I'd stick up for them, I'd be their voice and offer a listening ear, a mutual trust.

I miss that.

When it was good I could see the students opening up, understanding how to think for themselves, develop opinions. Laughter was the key, great banter before banter was a throw away hashtag.

I miss that, but it's gone.

It's all changed, everything. I no longer see the classroom as a place to enthuse, inspire, invigorate, it's a padded cell. I arrive at 8.30am and am locked in for the day, with small humans who are no longer able to learn with their minds, they are furnished with iPads, barely looking up from the screen that craves their attention, I am invisible, the battle is too great, my time is served.
 

So that's that then, I guess I better get on with my resignation letter and look to the future. I have another job to go to, no marking, no preparing lessons, no coursework, no parents evening, no education....its a job, you turn up, you do the job and you go home....bliss

Will I miss it? Yep, but not enough........
L x

Friday, 12 September 2014

Our lips are sealed. ...

It's been a funny old week....I must be mellowing in old age as on several occasions this week the 'old' me would have blown!  I didn't and I still have my job and a semblance of dignity to celebrate this coming weekend.

I am however finding it hard not to react to certain items in the news at the moment, particularly the horrific fire that killed 50 dogs.

And so the outrage pours....hatred spewed all over 'social media' while throwing money at the problem hoping that will make it better.

Question: Should we not be vaguely concerned that there were so many unwanted abandoned dogs at that home? The public, as ever have been fantastic but if they really cared surely there would be no need for such a large compound for unwanted animals?

Is throwing money at a problem not just papering over the fact that this place even exists?

The alleged arsonist is 14 apparently. With the anger and rage his act has summoned I have seen terrible things written about how this child should suffer horrifying tortuous acts....anger blinds.
Anyone thought why a child might do something so horrific? Anyone raising any money to pay for the psychological  help he may require? Anyone considered where he's come from, his background/mental health? Thought not. He's not important...yet he lived among us.

Maybe, just maybe we should be raging that a child who allegedly has set fire to a building has gone unnoticed in our so called community....who's looking out for strange behaviour, Teachers?? Parents?? Social workers?? Who's actually responsible...The 14 year old accused?

In a week where a super star athlete has been in the news it seems we all knew he was guilty of premeditated murder, he definitely meant to kill his girlfriend, he's a nutter. Ok.

Also in the news last week was a story of two men who had been released from prison after 30 years as they were innocent after all. No correlation between the two stories but we have to trust the Law don't we....or do we?

Over the last 10 years plus 1400 and counting children have been suffering abuse quietly, in a broken northern town bereft of the 'balls' to believe or speak up...is there a fund to house, support, feed, counsel these young damaged souls...direct me to the Just Giving page and I'll donate.

The argument will be it's down to the government to provide those services...it is but they're not there anymore, a service slimmed down to deal only with 'urgent' cases....your next task is to define 'urgent'.

Let's not bullshit ourselves, money, blankets and dog food do not mend a broken unhinged selfish world....remember the ice bucket thing where you chucked iced water over yourself to AVOID donating to the charity....yeah we're all great...well done.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Hungry like the wolf......

Me and football, a love affair that began when I was 3 years old. I can't pretend to be a loyal devoted fan of one team in fact I have 3 teams that I follow, I know, I know but you don't have to bleed a team to love 'em ok? I love football, it thrills me as much as it pisses me off, but I love it. Yes, I moan about referees decisions, bad behaviour, money, corruption blah blah blah but there's just something that I can't let go of.....

'Super Sunday' often sees me and 'him' shouting at the telly, holding our breath, trying not to throw something, there's an honesty in our passion, it's real. Don't even get me started on 'Soccer Saturday' drives me wild, I often throw out the C word, mainly aimed at Charlie Boy Nicholas......yet still I watch.

My lovely Dad took me to see Wolves when I was 3 years old, I don't remember it but from that day Wolves would always have a place in my heart. Regular readers will know my lovely Dad has been gone a while now but as I think about him I think about Wolves and the sorry mess they find themselves in. (In a shallow twist my allegience temporarily swerved to Aston Villa in the 1980's that had nothing to do with Tony Morley or Gary Shaw...ahem!) Anyway, back to Wolves and the sorry mess....should they have got rid of Mick? I dunno but to expect an inexperienced manager like Dean Saunders to keep them up was criminal. I don't like 'Deano', I'm sure he speaks highly of me too, but the job was/is way too big for him. No club deserves to stay in a league, no club is too big, but for me Wolves sorry demise hurts. I am not a mega fan, couldn't tell you their ideal first team but, it's Wolverhampton Wanderers, my Dad's team.

Should they go down tomorrow I will probabl;y shed a tear, football does that doesn't it? It hurts, none of the Wolves players know how I feel, nor, I suspect do they care, and they will have to shoulder the responsibility of the downfall of a club that has always been in my heart, big words from a part-time fan eh? I am not calling for the manager to be sacked, I'm not going to slate any players, after all it is only football....but it still hurts.

Good luck tomorrow Wolves, play hard, play fast, play with heart, play for my Dad.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

I couldn't help it if I tried........

Pencil skirt, seamed stockings and a bit of trepidation, nothing like a Monday night gig! The occasion, a birthday treat for the other half, tickets to see Dexys at the Duke of York's theatre. Trepidation? Well while I knew Dexys soulful side I can't say I knew enough, Al, however.....there was always the fear that they would be awful too, so yeah, trepidation!

Buoyed with a swift pint we made our way to the theatre. Small, compact and shit hot seats!Result!A speed freak poet gave us an interesting introduction to the gig, I'm pretty sure it was great poetry but as he was very nervous and talking at one hundred miles an hour I can only go by the reaction of the small group who obviously knew him, they were laughing and cheering so I guess he was great!Is Edward Woodward still alive? Just asking...anyway poet leaves stage left....keyboard maestro plays the introduction to One Day I'm Going to Soar album....and then it happened....Kevin Rowland's sweet, delicious, smooth, whole voice broke through the darkness...you know when something hits you on a level you that just can't quite quantify...imagine this, take good quality chocolate, melt in a bowl, take a spoonful, put it into your mouth and now try and describe what you are experiencing, that, my friends, was Kevin Rowlands voice.....divine. As I said I haven't really had enough exposure to Dexys/Dexys Midnight Runners, I knew the newish album and liked it, though to be honest it's a difficult listen if you're a lyrics kinda person, musically its rather marvellous.

Lights up and there they are, laid bare. No faffy back drops, all looking rather dashing in their 1940's-esque clobber, spats an essential....the first part of the gig was the new album in it's entirety, non-stop. Honestly? It was a tad wanky nay theatrical, but I expected that and it worked. Mr Rowland seemed nervy and intense, I also expected that. His sweet sweet voice smothering me with such velvety joy I spent most of the time, eyes shut allowing the sound to coat me, engulf me, affect me.

Trademark violin, trombone and sax made the band boom, tight and happy to respect to Mr Rowland's talent, they were made to make music together.

The stage was small which, I felt, inhibited them at times, the sense of theatre was heightened with little scenarios, I didn't really think it was needed, but I get why they did it.

Stand out tracks? Difficult as each song had it's merits.... 'Incapable of Love', 'It's ok John Joe' 'Tell Me When my Light Turns Green' and a Caribbean-esque version of 'Geno' remained with me on the journey home so I guess they're the ones that come to mind.


In short, Kevin Rowland's voice has changed, today it seems more angst ridden, more whole and oh so silky smoothe. The gig was as bonkers as I expected but nothing can take away the affect it had on me, which is all you can ask for on a Monday night eh?!