Life, as Ronan Keating once sang, most certainly is a rollercoaster. Wise lad, that Ronan (or more accurately that baldy twat from the New Radicals who wrote the song).
The last couple of weeks have bared witness to some great highs, and unfortunately another sad low. Yes, unbelievably it seems deaths come in not threes but fives – my Grandad John, my father’s stepdad, passed away last week.
John was a hero. I’ve briefly talked about my Nana’s schizophrenia and abusive past – John rescued her from the abuse, and devoted his life to her until the day she died. He was a quiet, stoic Geordie; a miner for most of his life. He spent his days in the coal mines and his time at home looking after my Nana. Never complained, never shouted. I never met my paternal Grandfather; my dad kept me and my siblings at a cold distance from him, his way of protecting us I guess. Its because of this that I’ve never been comfortable with calling John my Step-Grandad – to me he was the only paternal Grandad I had. He sent me money every year for Christmas, and the last few years sent money for my children too. And I never rang him to thank him, not once. I never saw him as an adult. My dad, brother and I were planning on visiting him in September last year but cancelled our plans in the end. I’m going to carry that guilt with me for a long damn time. John is being buried next to my Nana Margaret, the love of his life, this week. I hope they are together somewhere, able to enjoy each other’s company free from the shackles of misfiring synapses and the violent conflicts of the world.
It hasn’t all been sadness though. A few weeks ago I had a fantastic weekend of gigging, drinking and making new friends. First up was a local Bristol gig on the Friday to see my friends Dan and Jimi’s band Kikamora supporting 80s glam rockers LA Guns. It was a fantastic night of rock and drinking – check out Kikamora below if you like your riffs sleazy and dirty:
LA Guns were good fun, but we were really only there to support Kikamora and they didn’t disappoint. Afterwards we ended up in the Lanes, a local club that also serves as a bowling alley. I met a couple named Craig and Rachel who are new acquaintances of my friend Paul – I look foward to getting to know them more in the future as they are coming to a gig of mine this coming week. Next up on the Saturday was a crazy pub gig with my covers band that was great fun, and on the Monday I headed off to London to see something I’d been waiting for since the early 2000s – Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds performing an acoustic show at the Hammersmith Apollo. I’ve seen Dave Matthews Band (no ‘The‘ prefix; it really is the name of the band as they are a democratic writing unit with equal credits, not Dave’s backing band) twice before, but never the stripped down acoustic duo performance. Their live acoustic album got me through a very messy breakup, Dave’s solo album got me through my first long term breakup, and I’m very influenced in my own music by DMB. I was so excited for this and it was all I hoped for. Typically they played more songs that I hadn’t heard live on the second night of their two night stint which I didn’t have tickets for, but I can’t complain! Another act I can strike off my ‘band bucket list‘. Below is one of my favourite Dave songs from the gig itself:
The rest of my time since the last blog entry has, I’m pleased to say, been on the up and up. On the first of April I weighed myself and found that I’ve lost exactly 1 stone since I began the proper gym sessions 12 weeks ago! My belly is all but gone, my face is slimmer and my upper body finally has some real definition to it. Its a very exciting journey and one that I will be throwing myself into even more over the next few months. I also now have my Thursdays free so I will be doing a lot more music, and no doubt writing as well.
I’ll see you next time!