Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Be You

One of the things which seems to rule this world is materialism. There's billions of people, running around, trying to get their hands on the latest gadget. It can get depressing. It can wear us down. It can make us wonder what we're on this planet for if we're not part of that rat race.

And I suspect that there are lots of people who feel out of this "loop", who don't want to be part of that hamster on a wheel life that they see affecting those around them.

I see it a lot, and it drives me crazy. So many people who have nothing to talk about but themselves. You question them about the news, or music, or films, or something else and they have no opinion. It's as though they're blind to the beauty around us. They never stop to smell the flowers, nor do they dance in the rain. For many people, it can feel as though they are dragging their feet through mud, wondering if there's any way to break this cycle.

It doesn't help when you're trapped by the day to day walls of life. A job you may not like. A housing situation you may hate. A partner, or lack of, who doesn't understand. It's draining, tiring, and often upsetting.

So what can we do to change this world? What can we do to help it get better?

- Smile. It's free and it's easy.
- Hugs. The same go for hugs. Free to everyone.
- Dance. Even if you're in company. We all have the music in us. Listen to it.
- Sing. Doesn't matter if you don't have the best voice in the world, music always help to lift the spirits.
- Be you. You're changing things just by being in this world. You can change it for the better.

Thank you to everyone who sent messages last week. The ribs are slowly healing. Still a bit sore, but getting there. I really appreciate all your love and concern. Thank you!

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Be Happy!

"Dream big and dare to fail...I dare you to do that." - James Hetfield

So... I've some how managed to smoosh a couple of my ribs. Don't ask me how it was done. Don't ask me where it happened. I wasn't drunk. Wasn't under the influence of drugs. And haven't been in bed with anyone (I can keep dreaming on that one, right?!). At some point in the past few weeks I've either knocked them, made contact with a wall, or done something else which has left me groaning like a zombie and breathing like I'm on heat (If you've had a phone call from me and have mistaken me for one of those nuisance heavy breathers, I apologise.). The NHS tells me it'll take them between four and six weeks to heal. The other medical staff I know have laughed, given me painkillers, and told me not to do anything else stupid (not happening. Stupid's my middle name. If it's going to happen, it's going to happen).

Anyway, not being able to move a lot, sit properly, lie comfortably, or do anything else remotely close to "normal" has left me with ample time on my hands. Sometimes we need things to remind us to slow down and enjoy life. A few years ago I managed to snap a ligament in one ankle, giving me chance to catch up on some sleep and relax a little (albeit uncomfortably and on crutches.). This time around I've been catching up with friends, ambling (at a slow pace) to and from work while listening to new music, and enjoying the garden (in between rain showers). I've been having a go at crafting, laughing at posts on Tumblr, planning a trip to London, and generally dreaming about what I'm going to do next.

And you know what? It feels great! Feels bloody brilliant! A lot of us race through life as though it's a marathon, not bothering to slow down and admire the view. Do it. Don't wait for something to make you stop and look around you. Do it this weekend, even if it's only for a few minutes. Listen to a song you haven't heard for ages and remember why you love it. Re-read a story you haven't read in a while and fall in love all over again. Most of all, do something which makes YOU HAPPY!


Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Dear Internet

Dear Internet,

Can we please pause and take a collective breath?

Recently I've been horrified to read a number of news stories of people who've killed themselves because they've been bullied on Facebook, or Twitter, or Tumblr, or some other random website. You may sit there and think, "Well, they shouldn't have taken it so seriously".

No, it shouldn't have happened. It should never happen. Unfortunately it does.

I know that people will always argue. It's part of who we are. It's part of life and of having an opinion. But, with the internet, you don't know how a person is feeling. You don't know if they're happy, sad, or if they've just lost their lifelong partner. You can't see them so you can't read their emotions. They may have told you that they're happy while, on the inside, they're screaming for help.

I know because I've done that. I, like many millions around the world, have been bullied both in real life, and online. I've been bullied for my accent, for my hair, for my clothes, because of where I'm from, because of my weight. I've been called names, been ridiculed in public, been screamed at on forums. I've been torn apart for the pettiest, most trivial things.

It takes courage to be able to walk away from it all, to tell yourself that you're better than it. Unfortunately, some people don't have that courage and they see the only way out through dying. What a waste of a life. What a waste of potential. That person who killed themselves because someone on Facebook called them fat? They could have cured cancer. They could have saved your pet's life. They could have been the one who established life on Mars. They could have. They could have. They could have.

I've been in the sad situation of having to counsel people who've lost ones through bullying and it's never pleasant. Often the victim has plastered on a face, hiding what they're really feeling. The question which always gets asked is "Why?". Why didn't they say something? Why didn't they get help? Why couldn't I see there was something wrong? Why couldn't I help? Why? Why? Why?

So please, before you hit that "Send" key, think. What are you saying? Would you want to be the target of that? How would you feel if it were you? Take a deep breath and walk away. It's not worth it. It's not worth the pain and the tears and the heartache.

So please, let's have some civility and thoughtfulness for others. If you're a victim, please seek help. There's plenty of people who will help you find a way out, and never forget that someone, somewhere, loves you. If you see if happening, whether in real life or online, please step in and stop it. You never know, you might save a life.

All our love,
The World.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

For The Love Of Music

One of the things I seem to write a lot about is the power of music, of how it can draw so many emotions from us on so many levels.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend played me this song. I'd never heard it before, despite having parents who are fans of the Beatles. A quick search of Google turns up that the song was never released as a single and became part of the White Album.

The song moved me so much that, a week later, I had this done.

Isn't it crazy how chords and words can push us to the edge and pull us back again? Isn't it crazy how something, by someone we've never met, can speak to us on so many levels?

Those few words spoke to something deep inside of me. Reminded me of the person I once was, the person I am now, and the person I'm going to be. They reminded me, much like the one on my back, that things can change, and for the better.

Some people say that they don't enjoy music, that they don't "get it". Coming from a family where there's been nothing but music, those statements are confusing, especially once you realise that the human body was designed to react to certain strings of notes. How amazing is that?! You were built to be in love with music. You were built to dance and sing and love and create. You were built to carry on what so many others before you have already done.

The same friend sent me this song. Every time I hear it, it makes me cry. I won't be getting it tattooed any time soon, but, like so many other songs, it will be one which stays with me forever.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Selling Mars Book Launch - 27th April 2013

I try and write here at least once a week, so I apologise for my absence. The past few weeks have been extremely busy. Last weekend, 27th April, was the launch for Selling Mars. And boy, did we have fun! The venue was part of Leicester's old gasworks, all sloping wooden floors and high, vaulted ceilings. Two bands were kind enough to cross the borders from Birmingham to Leicestershire and play for us.

The first, the amazing Crimson Clocks, played us a gorgeous set, ranging from their own pieces, to the introduction to Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds (which is one of my favourite albums!). They don't fit in to any particular genre of music, so I'm not even going to try! Just go and listen, and you'll see for yourselves!

Next up were the incredible Birthrite who really did bring the house down. Lots of laughing, lots of great songs, and one extremely tough crowd (We'd prefer to sit there and nod along in Leicester. We're not big dancers!), they did get us all up dancing. Absolutely brilliant performances from both bands!

I did, at much insistence, do a reading.

And then got down to the most important part of the evening. Chilling out!

You can see more of the night's photos here. Thank you so much to everyone who came! It was great to see you! And if we didn't see you that night, hopefully we'll see you at another soon. :)