Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Top Ten Review 2011

Well, no, not really.
I'm not really one for finding 10 of anything I would recommend in one year, but I will try to find a Top 5 as the month goes on.
Until then , I offer you this from The New Yorker Magazine

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Everyday Is Like Sunday

Today is my 50th day of continuous unemployment.
Big deal, I suspect many would think. Try 5 months, 5 years or indeed your entire adult life out of work.
And I can't help but agree in part, but for me, the last 7 weeks have been a backwards step in my world.
I stopped posting anything of any interest some time ago, but my drafts over the past couple of years are increasingly dark, and remind me of a place I don't want to go back to, but fear I might be.
My years working for a Popular* High Street Bank -which shall remain nameless, but let's just say a Bank not just in Scotland, but Of Scotland, but one without any delusions of Royalty- were not happy ones. But in the dark days at the turn of the year in 2010, they took a very dark and not unsurprising turn.
I may one day confront all my demons from my time with the organisation, but not until I find a really good lawyer. But As 2010 was shivering to a start, I was consumed by the living hell of depression.
The signs had been there for some months before I finally gave in, but the day I turned up for work and had forgotten not just how to write my name, but what to actually do with the pen I was holding, was the day I started getting better.
An emergency appointment with my GP was the turning point. I am very fortunate that I received great support from my doctor, CBT, counselling, 3 months off work and a willingness to alter medication as and when required meant I was able to get better, return to work, leave with my head held high, and move to a job I genuinely loved.. Because that first day in his surgery, he listened. And he listened. I suspect at least 3 other patients weren't so happy with him that day, as they may have had to wait quite a bit longer than they expected.
From that day my world changed, slowly to begin with but, it changed.
So as 2011 wandered into view, my world was a much happier place to be. Well for me anyway, I may have become insufferable to others but I hope not. Insert smiley emoticon ironically.
I had a job I adored, my financial worries were fading and
I was looking forward to the future.
Things started going a bit wrong after that.
My health went through an odd phase as I was hospitalised after collapsing at work, although, thankfully, subsequent heart scans and tests failed to show anything nasty.
And then I lost my job. The last time I had to sign on, I was 18, after the seasonal job I had after leaving school ended. So for the first time in over 20 years I had no purpose to my life. Rather than just thinking I had none.
I have spent most days applying for jobs, attending interviews, getting the odd rejection letter, trawling job sites, perfecting Angry Birds, heading off on buses and trains to take photos, listening to a hell of a lot of radio, even for me. But I'm bored. So bored. And I'm getting very lazy. And that is what scares me most. I'm losing my motivation, and as we approach the start of another year, I don't want to end up back where I was at the beginning of 2010. I'm pretty sure I won't, I have my friends, family and a roof over my head. I know, a shit load more than a lot of people unemployed and battling depression.
I am aware I have not gone into great detail about the aspects of my depression, merely giving them a cursary nod, and that is a deliberate move on my part. This is merely a place for me to put down my thoughts. Today I don't want to wallow too much in misery, another day I will. When I do, I shall jot them down here, and then they too will sit in my drafts folder.
Not a very interesting blog entry, I know.
It just sits here amongst the others.
A post that I started to mark my 50th day of unemployment, as if it was going to be any different to the previous 49.
As Oscar Wilde so succinctly put it "Meh!"

*I, of course, use the word Popular quite incorrectly.

Sunday, 18 September 2011


Hello. Yes, it's been a while. I seem to have spent too long over on the twin dark sides that are twitter and facebook. In that time governments have fallen, Bin Laden was killed, 6Music nearly closed, then didn't and I finally escaped from my wretched life in the bank.
I'm not saying all these things happened because I wasn't blogging, but it's surely more than just a coincidence.
So, how have you been? You're looking well, have you lost weight?

I promise to pay more attention to this in future, if only for my own sanity.
Have a lovely rest of the weekend, I'm off to listen to John Finnemore on Radio 4. I suggest you do too!

Friday, 16 January 2009

I Dream To Sleep

Do dreams mean anything? I only ask as on Wednesday night I had a dream that I can't even begin to work out. It's not my Jimmy Saville living in the moor next to my house dream, nor is it the Bat Cat dream. It's not even the "I murdered someone years ago, no-one realised, in fact, even I had forgotten about it, until the body turned up in my bedroom" dream.
No, my dream went like this:
I was walking down the high street, on my way to the barbershop.
I popped into the shop next door to it, and behind the counter was magazine genius and former "Whistle Test" presenter Mark Ellen. He offered to cut my hair for free, rather than going to the barbershop, so I let him. When he showed me my image in the mirror, the reflection was of rock icon Ian Gillan. "You've made me look like Ian Gillan" I said. "Yeah, but if you go next door they'll fix it for you. Tell them I did it and they'll sort it for free" said Mr Ellen. We said our goodbyes and I left the shop. Then I woke up.
Any ideas?

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Here Comes The Future, And You Can't Run From It

"O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is!
O brave new world
That hath such people in't!"

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.
As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."
And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.
Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.
Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Martin Luther King Jnr
August 28th 1963