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 😉

We Don’t Want No Radiation.

Devonport Naval Base in Plymouth is where the UK’s Trident nuclear submarines go to be refitted.  This dangerous and dirty work is done in close proximity to 250,000 Plymouthians, and within a matter of a few hundred yards of at least one primary school.  The ‘reward’ of a couple of hundred jobs is a poor return for the risk the whole city runs of cancers and leukemia.  Never mind that under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty(N.P.T.) the UK is meant to be working “in good faith” towards complete nuclear disarmament.  But sadly the UK is intent on building bigger and more destructive weapons of mass destruction, while lecturing the world on the perils of having weapons of mass destruction.  Such hypocrisy, you could hardly make it up.  Trident Ploughshares activists today took a simple message to the base.

What would your message be?

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…

I Will Survive…

OK, I admit it, I have been a miserable bastard this last 9 months or so.  I apologise to all those(all two of you) who have had to read ma sad laments and moans.   From today I intend to get back to normal.  There may still be the odd bit of moaning though….  😉

Beset by a litany of problems, that, frankly, might have killed a lesser man, I have allowed maself to wallow far too long in a depressing stupor.  Falling out with my father, falling out with my brother, becoming homeless, the stress and hangover from Occupy Plymouth(which I have still to write about at some point), serious health problems in the family, being skint, getting bronchitis, an abscess in my mouth, and the falling apart of what I regarded as a serious long-term relationship, all contributed to the ‘perfect storm’ that afflicted me.  It has taken me til now to clear the mental fog all this has caused.  Problems still exist, my Mum is going in for a hysterectomy soon, and Dad in for an operation on his prostate, I’m still skint, and single, but things do not seem so irredeemably bleak as they did a short while ago.  I am not quite sure what has lifted my spirits, possibly the intervention of some good friends, but I feel better.  Maybe the two weeks I had off work, which I thought I had wasted, have actually done me some good after all?

Anyway, thank you to all those who have put up with me, tried to lift my spirits, or attempted to distract me from my own personal annus horribilis.   You will be pleased to know your efforts have not been in vain.  All I need noo is ma leg over and I’m sorted…    😉

Richard Brautigan Quotes and Poems.

For no reason other than the fact I feel like it, and possibly for the need to have some beauty in my life, here is a collection of lines from the writings of Richard Brautigan.  He is quite possibly one of the main reasons I am such a sentimental fool….

I’m haunted a little this evening by feelings that have no vocabulary and events that should be explained in dimensions of lint rather than words.
Ive been examining half-scraps of my childhood.  They are pieces of distant life that have no form or meaning.  They are things that just happened like lint.”
From Lint, in Revenge of The Lawn.

I will be very careful the next time I fall in love, she told herself. Also, she had made a promise to herself that she intended on keeping. She was never going to go out with another writer: no matter how charming, sensitive, inventive or fun they could be. They weren’t worth it in the long run. They were emotionally too expensive and the upkeep was complicated. They were like having a vacuum cleaner around the house that broke all the time and only Einstein could fix it.
She wanted her next lover to be a broom.
From Sombrero Fallout.

Hinged to forgetfulness like a door,
she slowly closed out of sight,
and she was the woman that I loved,
but too many times she slept like
a mechanical deer in my caresses,
and I ached in the metal silence
     of her dreams.
From Rommel Drives On Deep Into Egypt.

Spinning like a ghost
on the bottom of a
top,
I’m haunted by all
the space that I
will live without
you.”

———–

The Beautiful Poem”

I go to bed in Los Angeles thinking
about you.

Pissing a few moments ago
I looked down at my penis
affectionately.

Knowing it has been inside
you twice today makes me
feel beautiful.”

———–

Once upon a valley
There came down
From some goldenblue mountains
A handsome young prince
Who was riding a dawncolored horse
Names Lordsburg.

I love you
You’re my breathing castle
Gentle so gentle
We’ll live forever

In the valley
There was a beautiful maiden
Whom the prince drifted into love with
Like a New Mexico made from apple thunder and long
glass beds.

I love you
You’re my breathing castle
Gentle so gentle
We’ll live forever

The prince enchanted
The maiden
And they rode off
On the dawncolored horse
Named Lordsburg
Toward the goldenblue mountains.

I love you
You’re my breathing castle
Gentle so gentle
We’ll live forever

They would have lived
happily ever after
if the horse hadn’t had
a flat tire
In front of a dragon’s
House.”
All from The Pill Versus The Springhill Mine Disaster.

I like to think
(it has to be!)
of a cybernetic ecology
where we are free of our labors
and joined back to nature,
returned to our mammal
brothers and sisters,
and all watched over
by machines of loving grace.”
From All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace.

Beautiful, sobbing
high-geared fucking
and then to lie silently
like deer tracks in the
freshly-fallen snow beside
the one you love.
That’s all.
Deer Tracks.