Adapting to 40 – Not Quite Out Of The Game Yet!

I have had 6 whole days to get used to the fact I am now 40 years old.  This time last week I was a young 39yr old, full of vim and vigour.  But those days are gone now, and I even have the slippers to prove it.

To be honest, I was dreading turning 40.  There really didn’t appear to be anything good or joyful about the whole ordeal as I contemplated it in the days and weeks leading up to it.  But I was wrong.  I had two of the best evenings I have had all year last weekend.

On Friday evening, the day of my birthday, I traveled up to Bristol with a young lady friend to see the awesome brilliance that is Rufus Wainwright in concert.  Having seen him live once or twice before, I was expecting a good show, but Rufus managed to surpass all of my expectations.  Not one person left that concert hall who was not grinning from ear to ear.  The concert opened with an a capella rendition of Candles, the closing song from the new album ‘Out Of The Game’.   The album version of Candles is not one of my favourite songs, but the version he performed on his own in Bristol was stunning.  Here is a video of him performing said song in London earlier in the year.  I have found myself singing this all week!

Other highlights of the night included fabulous versions of ‘Out Of The Game’, ‘Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk’, ‘One Man Guy’, ‘The Art Teacher’, ’14th Street’, ‘Going To A Town’, ‘Montauk’, ‘The One You Love’ and a truly memorable cover of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Everybody Knows’.  The end of the concert was also pretty wild and bizarre, with Rufus dressed in a toga, a stage invasion, and a giant panini singing ‘Gay Messiah’.  It had to be seen to be believed!  In fact, you can see it right here –

It does give me pause for thought that one of the campest guys in the music industry is singing the current soundtrack to my life, but them is the breaks.  I have had a pretty shitty year up til now – I won’t recap on my year of heartbreak and dodgy health – but it was hugely reassuring to find that I can listen to Rufus and still smile.  All is not lost, not by any means.  I had worried that listening to Rufus would be too painful, but the exact opposite was true.  It was glorious.  Thanks for the tickets, Dad!

The very next night I was out to celebrate my birthday with a bunch of the girls from work.  The wonderful Anne went to the trouble of making me a quite splendid cake, which you can see pictured below –

Birthday Cake

Anne the cake-maker is sadly leaving us next month, which is a devastating blow professionally.  Though, I suppose it is a lucky escape for me, as the cake I feel I would be obliged to make for her birthday next year would likely get me the jail….
And so, anyway, it transpired I spent the first few days after my birthday eating jam sponge breasts.  And it is not every year I can say that!  The girls from work  ensured I celebrated my birthday in fine style, plying me with booze and making me dance to Robbie Williams.  I love every single one of them, even if they did make me dance to Robbie bloody Williams.  They helped make an old man very happy 😀

Here’s to 50!  Bring it on!

I shall leave you with Jericho, a song that I dedicate to you know who 😉

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Thoughts on October 20th Anti-Cuts March, by John Frugal Lakey.

A posting by John Frugal Lakey.  Re-posted with permission.

“A couple of thoughts on yesterday in London.
Although it was a great day out, it was also a long day.  Up at 4am , drive to Plymouth to pick up Steve, and blag a free lift on the union bus to London.
The bus…, well, I think they sussed we weren’t union members, but put up with us, as we were there to support the protest and oppose the cuts.  They handed out blank banners and pens so we could make our own protest signs with prizes for best designs.   Needless to say we won the prize with our “yes Dave .. the peasants are revolting”  sign.  The prize was a xxl purple unison / union tee shirt.  Ah well, at least i can use it to wash the car.

Once in London we arrived a little too late to meet up with UK Uncut – as this was the plan – and a shout-out on Facebook for info didn’t return anything, so we went along with the march, and it was massive!!  I was quite impressed and easily 150,000 people attended.

The problem was, well, they seemed happy…?  And i questioned myself why they were there ?  It all seemed like a, well , a sponsored walk.   All the signs seemed to be the same.  Everyone seemed to dress the same,  all the same chants from the last few years, lots of use of the word `comrade`, `brother`, `sister` etc.  No one smoked, everyone was polite.  Even the police ??!!??   And, to be honest, it was a little, may i say, boring.. ?
We searched in vain for a little action, someone to do something a little out of the norm.  Maybe just a little little naughty, but, zip, nothing.  No-one stept out of line.   No sit in protests – nothing – it all seemed robotic.

As soon as they got to the end of the march at Hyde park, they turned around and went back to the buses.  Some stayed to listen to a few speeches from the likes of  Ed Miliband( who attended an austerity speech in a Rolls Royce !! i shit you not !) – but to be honest of what little i caught of the speeches it was more of the same, comrade, brother sister speeches going over recycled crap with no real positive outlook to the future.

Now, I like what the unions have done for the working person in the past, but i honestly think if they seriously want to be a voice in the future they need top step things up,  and BIG.  This government and the Labour party are not listening to you, they think you are pussies.  And yesterdays  march proved that to them.  While you marched the Tories held a day out at Ascot for the boys.  Ed rubberband turned up in a Rolls-Royce and you allow this shit to happen???  I think someone is taking the piss.

What I did come away with was a bigger understanding of apathy.  At the end of the day, people don’t really give a shit until it effects them personally, and then it will be too late.  We have 3 main parties in the UK and, well, there is no real difference in any of them.   All 3 will fuck you over in the interest of the corporates that pay them.

Would i go again??  Well maybe.   Just in the hope that a few of the people there might actually be a little pissed off and inspired enough to do something other than a sponsored walk.
In fact,  I’m tempted to try and go up for the 5th November action, so if anyone is looking for car-share and is up for it, give me a shout…..”

Ae Fond Kiss

It has just occurred to me, the major difference between my old job as a gas engineer, and my new(er) job as a carer is this – as a gasman, I saw my customers/clients, wee auld biddies in distress, once or twice a year, whereas as a carer, I see my residents/service users, wee auld biddies in distress, more or less every single day of the week.  I am told that I am their carer, not their friend.  In December(one week after my focking fortieth) I will have been at this job two years.  Most of these people are like family to me now.  I suppose that makes me a bad carer.  But hey, I never do anything ‘right’, life, love, and aw the rest o’ it.  But I try…

Proof Positive – Kilts Pull The Birds.

Just in case there was any doubt about the matter, I today present definitive evidence of the bird-pulling abilities of a Scotsman in his kilt.  Last Wednesday, I donned the tartan finery to attend the wedding of a good friend of mine.  After a few ales I looked a little like this –

The following day, a bird decided I was so good looking, she took up residence at my work in Newton Ferrers.  At the time of writing she has been there for over a week.  I reckon she has taken a wee shine to me.  Quite the poser too, loves having her photo taken.  And check out that plumage!

Of course, one always faces stiff competition when it comes to pulling the birds.  This little bugger is trying to steal mine.

Dream on, pussy cat!!

On The Road To Bastardom.

Every now and again I announce I’m going to start training to be a bastard.  Events in recent days, weeks and months have made me say that  quite regularly actually.  Being a nice guy seems to be getting me nowhere.  Well, last night at work I got to try out as a bastard, and with no little sadness I have to report that I think I passed…

As I came on shift last night, I was informed that one of the residents wished to stay up a couple of hours later than usual in order to watch a fireworks display, and that they had been told that whether this was possible or not would be entirely “up to John”.  The firework display – an annual affair for the Newton Ferrers Regatta – was to start at 9.30pm, and was due to run for maybe half an hour.  Normally my default position is to accede to the wishes of my residents, but this time saying yes was not so straightforward.

One problem was the knock-on effect accommodating this request would have on other residents, some of whom are rather particular about the time they get attended to.  I have yet to master the art of being in two places at once…

There were other considerations, but the main problem was that this resident needs two carers to assist to bed, and from 9 o’clock onwards I would be on my own.  I would be no good to anyone if I put my back out.  Doing so while defying explicit written instructions about best practice in manual handling probably wouldn’t do me a lot of good either.

It’s been jokingly remarked before now by one or two of my colleagues that some of the residents might see me as a “soft touch”, so willing am I to do any daft little thing for them.  This was one of the few times where I was going to have to say ‘no, sorry, I’d like nothing more than to accommodate you but it just isn’t possible’.

To say the resident was unhappy would be a bit of an understatement.  There were petted lips, and threats to “raise merry hell”, along with that of “going on strike”.  There was the expressed intent to leave the very next day, and stop taking any medication.

I was all the bastards under the sun.  The powers of the bastard flowed through me, triumphant.  And I hated every second of it.

So there you have it, proof if ever needed that even nice guys can be transformed into complete bastards by the power of the situation, as outlined by Philip Zimbardo in his book The Lucifer Effect.

We made up within the hour and no crisis ensued.  I don’t know if that counts as a mitigating factor in my favour or not….?  Still, being a bit of a bastard should make me more of a hit with the ladeez….  😉