Not all ideas are good ones

Posted in journal, opinion on April 1st, 2010 by george

I remember when I first found myself attracted to creative people, how the best of them seemed unstoppable fountains of ideas. And I quickly realised that quality control was not part of the equation. That would impede the flow. I marvelled at how someone could come up with remarkable, inspiring trains of thought one minute, and blindly stupid, asinine rubbish the next.

As a callow youth, I was quick to make this judgement of the genii I encountered, but never for a moment considered that I did the same thing. I liked to think that I applied a filter to what occurred in my fevered brain, sparing anyone nearby from my direst imaginings. The brainwaves that I made public were good and pure, immaculate conceptions all. I-yi-yi…

Once again, music saved me. Once I started playing music for real, jamming for hours on end with friends, it slowly dawned on me that only by letting it all out could I begin to express myself. As a musician I am still learning to think, play and filter simultaneously. How else can I expect to keep it fresh? Read more »

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living room

Posted in journal, single dad on March 29th, 2010 by george

I love our living room. It serves many purposes. Currently it is a guest bedroom, an internet cafe, a laundry room and a cinema. This is when it is happiest.

When no one is staying, sometimes days go by when no one even goes there except to pass through to the back yard. When I was a child, we lived for a short while in a lovely country cottage that had a parlour. We never went in there except when we had guests. Sad and wasteful.

The name living room says it all. Its a room for living to take place in. When I’m on my own, the kitchen mostly becomes my living room. Thats where the food delivery system is…there is a phone in there…washing machine…its the warmest place in the house. When I’m done in there, I either go out, or to my studio, or to bed.

I get no kick from sitting on my own in a comfy chair, watching TV or reading a book. I am too much reminded there is no one else around. So another reason I love my living room is that if I am in there it is because I have company.

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make babies

Posted in how about?, journal, opinion on March 27th, 2010 by george

This morning, in the early Saturday quiet, I saw a young father, carrying his very young child in a snuggly, wrapped inside his coat. Instantly I remembered how it felt carrying my own child in this way. From there my mind went to young people I know who have recently had babies, and in particular to dear friends who are expecting their first child in July.

How blessed we parents are! Over the years I have heard all kinds of reasons put forward for not having children….’the world is overcrowded’…..’we haven’t the money’…..’its downright irresponsible’….’I don’t think I’m ready’…’my work will suffer’….’its not for everyone’….and so on. If you are lucky enough to become a parent, in an instant, all these things become utterly meaningless.

I recall, in the flush of fresh parenthood, wanting to persuade everyone to make babies of their own. How insensitive and foolish this was. We are all blessed in different ways. Years ago, with the great Mumbo Gumbo, I recorded a song that light heartedly addressed this.

The saddest thing in our world is orphaned or unwanted children. If you have the means, please consider supporting SOS Children’s Villages, perhaps the most effective international organisation today caring worldwide for abandoned children. Johnny Cash, Angelina Jolie, and Nelson Mandela are just some of the distinguished believers in the SOS Children’s Villages mission.

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rebirth

Posted in journal on March 25th, 2010 by george

My friend Neil gave me this orchid last October for my birthday. I’m woefully inadequate when it comes to plant care. I watered it and it soldiered on through November, but by Christmas it looked as if it had given all it had.

I put it in a slightly larger pot, and continued to water it. By the end of February I had little hope left that it would flourish again. However it never looked dead.

10 days ago, an undeniable bud manifested itself. Today it sports 2 flowers and a third bud is vigorously preparing to do its thing.

I have nothing profound to say about this. But it is deeply satisfying and reassuring. So much in nature shuts down during winter. In the depths of the cold weather it is difficult to remember how much is gone, and tough to imagine any of it returning or being replaced. But it does and it is.

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St Patrick’s Day

Posted in journal on March 17th, 2010 by george

Today is St Patrick’s Day. Its extraordinary that a man born in Roman Britain, which was approximately modern England and Wales, should today be widely recognised as the patron saint of Ireland. St Paddy is a limey?! His feast day is celebrated perhaps even more outside the church than in.

As a young man embarking on my drinking career,  I and my friends felt duty bound to deliver extravagant performances on March 17. This was in England in the late 60s, when Irish-English relations were not great. After a long history of dissent, what passed for peace was in fact no more than an uneasy truce. Still as a budding musician and trainee drunk, I felt no qualms enjoying Guinness, Jameson’s whisky, and the music of the Dubliners and beyond. Neither did great numbers of my countrymen. What did we care of history? The misdeeds of our greedy ancestors did not concern us. Nor in my experience, did they particularly concern Irish people of our age. Read more »

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single dad

Posted in journal, single dad on March 15th, 2010 by george

Yesterday my youngest son wished me a Happy Mothers Day. It was a light hearted, innocent remark, and that is how I took it. However, since I am the sole parent living with him and his sister, there are times when I get to wear the mother apron. As all single parents discover, we are doubly flummoxed by parental challenges.

When I first embarked on this blogging lark, I considered launching a blog that chronicled both the delights and the nightmares that come with being a single dad. I decided against it, because I realised that despite my best efforts not to, I would inevitably embarrass my children. Being a teenager is tough enough without having one of your parents highlight the details of your tender years on the internet. Also I would never claim to be anything approaching an authority. I’m just another bewildered single parent.

However, to never mention my single dadmanship would be to deny a large part of my daily life and what occupies my conscious mind. So beginning today, I shall from time to time report episodes and a few thoughts as this ongoing, great adventure unfolds. Read more »

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mothers

Posted in journal on March 14th, 2010 by george

Its Mothers Day in the UK today. Or as its now known, ‘Mothering Sunday’. I have never been comfortable with this name. ‘Mothering’ sounds very close to ‘smothering’, and suggests the excessive, fawning attentiveness that hopefully most mothers are wise enough to resist.

What no one can argue with, is that there will never be enough thanks given to the millions of mothers worldwide who on a daily basis, put their own well being aside in order to best love and care for their children. Read more »

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dust

Posted in journal on March 5th, 2010 by george

I have a shaky but determined policy toward cleaning. I begrudgingly devote small pockets of time, throughout the week, to keeping disorder and dirt at bay. The results are a long way short of spotless. I can see how I could spend several hours a day tidying and polishing, but I refuse. The fact being that there is always something better to do. And I mean always.

From time to time, like now, the accumulated dust gets unbearable, and I am obliged to attack. Was it Quentin Crisp who famously said of dust, “After two years, it doesn’t get any worse!”? I admire his tenacious sloth. I am not about to put his claim to the test.

I’ve heard it said that most house dust is particles of human skin. “Unto dust we shall return.”  Maybe so, but I’m not quite ready for that. I’m doing a little spring cleaning this morning, which in my house, means dusting on an industrial scale. Clouds and mountains of it.

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truants

Posted in journal, opinion on January 28th, 2010 by george

This morning as I pottered around my kitchen rearranging the debris, I noticed several children wandering by, after 9.00am, not looking like they were hurrying to school. First two girls walked by both eating some kind of bright yellow candy. Next a boy cycled by then stopped to untangle his shoelace from his chain. A few minutes later a lone boy ambled by peering around as if looking for some company. I would estimate all of these to be between 12 and 16 years old.

Although it is none of my business, it has piqued my curiosity! I know it is not a holiday because both my children have gone to school. Have they complained to their working parents that they are not feeling well, then when the house has emptied, got up and gone out to look for some fun? That’s what I used to do. Read more »

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prune juice

Posted in journal on January 4th, 2010 by george

Yesterday I woke up feeling like I’d eaten a dairy farm. Industrial amounts of meat, cream and cheese. I felt bloated, sick, lethargic and useless. Clearly the seasonal excesses had finally caught up with me.

I dragged myself out of bed with considerable effort, and went to church. When I got home, I did a tiny bit of tidying up, then went back to bed for 2 hours. When I awoke I resolved to fast for the day, except for non toxic liquids.

I went to the supermarket in the middle of the afternoon to buy fruit, vegetables and salad fixings, juice and water. Included in my purchases was a carton of prune juice. By 7.00pm I had drunk the whole carton. Much of the remaining waking hours was spent on the porcelain throne officiating at a spectacular clear out.

One day later I feel transformed. I think I’ll do another carton today, just to be sure I didn’t miss anything.

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