Sunday, 31 August 2014

Ten Years Later

On August 31st 2004, I started on a journey that I never thought I'd take. Following an overdose from illegal drugs, I began to walk along the road to becoming clean. It was a long, hard journey, one with more lows than highs. It was painful not just for myself, but for my family as well. They debated where they'd gone wrong. They wondered if there'd been warning signs. But none of it would have helped. In those few years I'd chosen to take a dark route into the pits of Hell itself.

Now, exactly ten years later, I'm going through exactly the same process of letting a drug leave my system. For that decade, I've taken a cocktail of various anti-psychotic medications to help with damage I did to my brain. Back in 2004, one friend described it as pulling the cables from a studio patch bay and returning them in the wrong order. I had to relearn how to do things. I still don't drive because I'm nervous of my own perceptions of speed and distance. I never had the chance to learn because, in those later teenage years, I was too wrapped up in what caused me to finally spiral into a life of drug addiction and alcoholism. One day, hopefully, I'll get to learning to drive and it'll be another big achievement for me to celebrate.

But now there's no need for the handful of pills every night. While I will still have the bipolar, the doctors have deemed that I'm now well enough to look after myself. I get up every day, I go to work, I can balance my finances, all things I couldn't do ten years ago when I was writhing on the floor, screaming for the hallucinations to stop. Right now I'm going through many of the symptoms I suffered ten years ago. Hallucinations, muscle spasms, nausea, exhaustion. But I know that, at the end of it, there will be a bright, new life waiting for me.

It feels good to have reached this point in my life. For me, it's an indicator that there are better things in this life. It's giving me a chance to follow my dreams and take the next step. There are plans afoot for large projects much like the ones I worked on before all of this. I'm scared for what will come next. But I'm also excited. I'm looking forward to what happens next.

Many would like us to believe that there isn't a life for those with addictions or mental health issues. Often the two go hand in hand (I still haven't stopped smoking. But I will, one day). But there is. It doesn't matter how old you are, life can begin again. It may take a major event for someone to stop their destructive behaviour. Or they may finally reach a point in the road where they decide that enough is enough. And there's help out there for everyone. As always, I'm here to listen. Click the contact button and send me an email. 

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Bored of Boris's Routemasters? Try This!

If you go down to London Town, you’re sure of a big surprise. For there’s black cabs, red buses, Beefeaters, the Queen, and, among it all, something you never thought you’d see.

It appears like a thief in the night, an old Routemaster bus painted from top to tail in black. A small crowd has already gathered to await its arrival and the aptly named Necrobus doesn’t disappoint. Decked out in red seating, velvet curtains, and little gooseneck lamps, it definitely fits for what’s about to come.

Once your tickets have been checked, you’re ushered aboard, creeping up the curving back staircase to the sounds of haunting orchestral music. Despite its very 19th Century look, the Necrobus also houses some very cool mod-cons, including TV’s, cameras, and a wireless microphone system (so that you don’t miss any of the… action). You’re introduced to your very well spoken conductor who runs through the rules, including that “Foot Cam” is a necessary part of the CCTV system. I’ll let you be the judge of that.

Anyway, on with the tour. There possibly can't be anything nicer than been whisked around London in a pimped out, black 1960's Routemaster while listening to tales of executions, plagues, and fires.

Or can there?

Well, this is a twist on your traditional bus tour. (Obviously. Otherwise you wouldn't be riding around London on a pimped out, black 1960's Routemaster) Keep your eyes on the TV screens because all will be revealed in the form of Mr Hinged, the Health and Safety guy (or 'elf n' safety if you want to be like that). It's up to him whether the Necrobus runs and, well, it appears to be running without a license.

So it's up to our good conductor, and one or two of the more burly male passengers who got roped in whether they wanted to or not, to make sure that the bus sticks to its route. I won't give too much away but let's just say that Mr Hinged's nickname is apparently “Unhinged”. Yeah, just sayin'.

But anyway, I'm not going to give too much away because otherwise you'll just read this and not bother going and taking the tour.

The tour does have some slight interactive elements and the guides have great comedy timing. While the tour is suitable for those under 13, the website does state that it's not suitable for very young children. Despite that, there's plenty of humour that'll keep the adults giggling and the kids wondering what the heck their elders are laughing at. Yes, it is spooky and there are a couple of points that may make you jump. There's plenty of history and, well, you get to ride around London in a pimped out, black 1960's Routemaster while having a good laugh. Truth be told, I haven't laughed as hard as I did on this tour for a very long time. You also get the chance to see London at night and, for that, I'd recommend sitting on the top deck of the bus. So if you're bored of Mr Johnson's new red buses, go and catch this one at Northumberland Ave for a truly different view of London.

Friday, 1 August 2014

The Break Up

I had a break up recently. It had been coming for a while but it had to be done. It broke my heart and I've spent many hours wondering if it was the right decision.

They asked for money. I gave it to them. They asked for my devotion. I gave it to them. They asked for my undivided attention. I gave it to them.

In return, they gave me something back. I felt like they loved me. I felt like they wanted me to be a part of their life.

Then they started asking me for more money, more time, and more attention. This time I refused when I realised I wasn't getting what I wanted in return. Their devotion to me had dwindled to nothing. Their eyes were looking at another. Their ears were listening to everything but what I had to say.

After fifteen long years, suddenly I wasn't worthy of their affection any longer. My looks had obviously gone. I probably gained weight. Maybe I was demanding too much of them. Maybe I'd wanted too much when I'd asked them to leave me a little something in return for all the money I was giving them. Who knows? But suddenly the eighteen year old Argentinian cutie was obviously a better option than the 30-something who still suffered from acne.

The funny thing is, I didn't break up with a person. No, I broke up with my favourite band. The final straw came when the last little thing they gave us for free (short tour videos on You Tube) were put behind a pay wall. Already I was paying for albums, fan club membership, forum access, merchandise, concert tickets, meet and greets, heck, even wine and coffee. I poured my life and soul into following and supporting them for the best part of twenty years. So when they decided to start charging me to watch the single free thing they'd been giving us for the past few years, I gave up. I'd had enough.

And I'm not sad to say that it utterly broke my heart to do it. They'd come into my life when I'd needed them the most, when I was on the edge of suicide. And now I'm kissing them goodbye. Will I miss them? Yes, I will.

Will I go back to them?

Well, we'll see. They'll have to do a heck of a lot of work to win me back.

But, for now, I'll be enjoying the freedom of musical singledom. Who knows; I might find my next big love interest!