[Walks up to the microphone stand….takes out the Microphone, looks around at the audience and sizes up the room.]
As a school boy, not just any school boy, a grammar school boy – (looking smug) I used to get the train to and from school. Heavy school bag over one shoulder, I would have walked around in circles if it wasn’t for the chip on my other shoulder.
One summer afternoon I’d bunked off school heading and was heading back to the train station. I saw the train was just pulling in. It was on the other platform so it was 50/50 at best whether I would make it. So I started to leg it.
This was in the days before health and safety, and you could open the doors of the trains from the outside.
[Face Stage Left]
And I got down the tunnel and up the other side; I knew it was going to be close; I must have been sprinting at about 15 miles an hour. [Runs towards stage left]
(I had done this many times before) was running alongside as it was pulling off, and this kind young lady was looking out of the window willing me to make it, but it was going really fast it was touch and go. And as I got closer, I could feel her sympathy towards me. And I managed to just get there and grab on to the handle. And I opened the door.
[Looks onto floor – looks stage right]
Her handbag had fallen out of the door onto the platform and shot off in that direction at about 15 miles an hour (pause), her faced changed (pause), and I was like Nah you know what? It’s ok I’ll get the next one.
I don’t get the train anymore
No, now I get the tube. It’s a lot easier.
When I get the tube I like to get a seat and be comfortable relaxed and happy, not like the grumpy, angry pregnant woman standing in front of me. Normally I wouldn’t have seen her as I usually have my eyes shut when I sit in the priority seats.
I also read the Advertising Slogans and wonder what they really mean….
- Just do it! Just buy the trainers….
- Because you’re worth it …. We think you’ll pay a little more
- Every Little Helps ….. Us Make More Profit
[Walks back and puts the microphone back in stand]
I only remembered the story about my trip home from school when Chris set the homework. I mean that happened over 35 years ago now. But it’s not the image of that woman’s face on the train that I remember as she pulled off. No it’s the look on her face as the next train pulled in to Beaconsfield and she was waiting on the platform. Sheepishly I hid in the toilet. Luckily she was on her own and didn’t have the police with her. Well – what would she tell them? I’m waiting for a young schoolboy with a handbag??
Thank you and good night.
Kids and Family
Single blokes have it simple, you like simple things with two syllables like football. And you get to watch match of the day if you want.
Married men – we like simple things – words with two syllables, like bake off. We watch it not because we have to, but because we want to and we’d actually quite like to bake a cake, even if it turned out well – in which case our wives would hate us for it.
Family life is more complicated.
Having 3 daughters, for example, I was a bit miffed when someone thought I might have a favourite. Sarah-Louise, Ruby-May and Devil-Spawn believe me, they are all treated the same. This guy asked me “If they were all drowning which one would you save?” That’s a ridiculous question – isn’t it? I can’t swim!
I love my kids. And I love my wife. I heard her start to use the hairdryer while she was in the bath and I thought: No! she’s actually using the hairdryer in the bath – you’ve got to do something! So I rushed in and shouted “drop that hairdryer”.
Later, in counselling, this woman said to me “You’re interpreting everything your wife does negatively; try to see the positives in everything she says and everything she does.” I thought “OK Fair enough”. I’ll try it. So we were in the kitchen larking around and I said “oh come here coochy coochy coo – give me a cuddle baby”, and she pushes me away and said “you’re not funny get off”. And I thought “aww bless her” – “she’s just helping to toughen me up ready to face the hecklers”.
Number 3: (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher – Jackie Wilson
I love Jackie Wilson – I discovered his back catalogue after hearing him referenced in a song by the Dexy’s Midnight Runners. My favourite is Reet Petite – or as we often refer to it in our house – The lookabar song….(there’s a story behind that).
Number 2: Respect – by Aretha Franklin.
An absolutely fantastic song and performance with such a lasting legacy. It must mean so much to so many people. I also just discovered the Otis Redding original that was recorded in 1965 – a completely different take on the same song. For most of the day as I was listening through the songs I was absolutely convinced that this was going to be my number one for the year.
Number 1: She’s Leaving Home – by McCartney and Lennon.
The reason this pipped Aretha to the post was just that I couldn’t stop listening to it. It’s been in my head now for several days, an earworm that is most pleasant.
I’d already come to the opinion that Sgt. Pepper’s the Album was a massive influence on music from 1967 onwards and knew the legacy of how it had massively influenced bands like the Beach Boys – and so many other artists. But I’d ruled out Sgt. Peppers the song from the top spot.
Not only is She’s Leaving Home a lovely story – it’s sung as if it’s happening now. I love the fragility of McCartney’s vocal in the opening verse. And I found out that none of the Beatles played any instrument on the track (in fact only Lennon and McCartney made a contribution at all, with Lennon writing the chorus – from what I heard) and only Paul and John sang.
I guess songs have to have a personal relevance – for them to be in your list of favourites. And for me this week this song is massively relevant as Alice is off to University – this week, in fact. Did this influence my choice? Undoubtedly! But I think after listening to it you’d agree that this song stands up on its merits anyway – wouldn’t you?
Have you listened to it yet? Get it on – have a listen and then if you have time here’s a page for fun. You could call it a test of how well you paid attention!
So this exercise took up a fair part of Sunday 17th September to do. It came as an idea from a friend who suggested I play my favourite songs from each of the 50 years I’d been on this planet.
Here is the full list I listened to on that day. Other than the top 3, the rest are in rough order of popularity:
- She’s Leaving Home – The Beatles
- Respect – Aretha Franklin
- (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher – Jackie Wilson
- For What It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield
- Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles
- I’m a Man – The Spencer Davis Group
- Ode to Billy Joe – Bobbie Gentry
- The End – The Doors
- Suzanne – Leonard Cohen
- The Look Of Love – Dusty Springfield
- Chelsea Girls – Nico
- Venus in Furs – The Velvet Underground
- White Rabbit – Jefferson Airplane
- Corcovado – Frank Sinatra
- Electricity – Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band
It was a fun journey of discovery as some of these songs I hand’t heard before. It was quite tough to rank them though – especially hard to decide between number 1 and 2.
What’s your favourite song from 1967 – and what have I missed? Would be good to have any comments you have.
I read this post on the BBC website promoting a Radio 4 article on the Today Programme featuring Jenny Eclair. I had to do read it twice as it completely rang true with me – all 7 of the points hit home and here’s why there’s at least 7 reasons to make lists:
- Set your thoughts free. Apparently we can only hold 4 things in our heads at once. Writing things down in a list that I need to do, or ideas, or anything just helps me live in the present. I know I might never have that thought or idea again, and no matter how lame it might be – I’m going to capture it – so I can have new ones – hopefully even better ones.
- Make you more successful. At the moment, I’ll confess my lists are task oriented rather than goal oriented but all that is about to change. A friend (thanks Pete) introduced me to a book which is ideal for keeping and monitoring your goals. So in addition to my lists of daily tasks, I’m going to have a list of goals as well. I just can’t wait (and no I’m not kidding).
- Save you Money. For me, I will use a shopping list when I go shopping – but not all the time. And when I do, I tend to stick to it. Browsing the supermarket instead, usually means that I come out with junk that I just don’t need. There’s something satisfying about creating something in your imagination first and then putting it into reality – even something as simple as a shopping list can do this.
- Beat self-doubt and bolster your self-esteem. This is an idea to list your achievements. I haven’t really tried this suggestion, but it still rings true. At the end of the day I can see the things I planned to do and which ones are completed. But I could benefit from listing what I achieved in a day – as quite often these things are not what I planned.
- Ensure you don’t make mistakes. I love this one, because it points directly to the work of Atul Gawande and his amazing contribution with his book The Checklist Manifesto and the introduction of checklists into medicine to save lives. It’s really important to follow standard processes to ensure quality – and to improve these processes and checklists helps us do that. Yes, it’s a specialist list alright.
- Help you to stay focused. As soon as something is written down, I tend to stop worrying about it. I prioritise my lists and review them – and that way the important things do tend to get done and the rest of the noise just goes away. Yes, all that helps me focus.
- Face up to things you’ve been putting off. Yes, once things are on the list and they’re prioritised – the trick is to do the important ones – even if they’re daunting. Or a least start them. A lot of the time the items on the list will need to be broken down into smaller more granular items in order that the big ticket item can be ticked off one day.
So this article tends to talk about the benefits of writing lists. I imagine that there are a lot of people who don’t keep them, or only use them occasionally. I’d be very keen to hear from people who don’t keep them and why not. I’d be lost without my lists and I’m sure I wouldn’t function as well without them.
But then again, I am a self-confessed list maniac. Please post and let me know your experience of lists.
The timings below should suit those who are coming straight from work in London (and might want to start early) and those coming from further out (who might want to start a bit later).
Here’s where we’re at:
6:00 Pub Meet and Greet – The Water Rats
7:00 Venue Opens
7:30 Buffet food to be laid out
8:15 Solo Artist – Steve Humphrey
9:00 Comedy – 3 acts (1. Tommy Keenan 2. Matt 3.Joann Condon)
10:00 Band – Roisin Roulette
12:00 ++ Close
The live music license finishes at 11:00, so the band has to finish no later than 11:00. We have the DJ all night until 1:00 a.m., so these times are likely to be very fluid.
The DJ is actually booked until 1:00 a.m. – so if there are enough people staying on to keep the party alive – then the party will go on as we have a license until 1:00 a.m. But if not we’ll just wrap up when it dies off.
Really looking forward to seeing you on the night…
P.S. Please don’t bring any gifts. It would really just be fantastic just to see you and have a good night.
This week I completed my 54th 5k Park Run. I was pretty pleased and often see others at Wycombe Rye Park Run wearing their exclusive t-shirts. In fact, their is a FREE 50th Park Run T-Shirt available for those that reach this milestone. And I felt that maybe I deserved one too. After all, running 250 kilometers is the equivalent of running from London to Cardiff.
So I followed the instructions on the park run site, you have to click through on the email to your profile and then follow the club progress link on the profile to order your t-shirt. You also then have to have an account with wiggle.co.uk – which is the partner that supplies the merchandise.
Oh, and there’s one more thing – until there’s more stock – you have to be extra small. That’s not me, so I guess I’ll just have to wait and check back in a few weeks.
One of the benefits I’ve found of writing more frequently is that I get to keep my thoughts. “What I write I get to keep” I thought.
By that I do of course mean that I get to record them. But I also meant that there’s a real value to keeping the words themselves – not just the writing process. I’ve found this useful for a long time now in a work setting and personally and I wondered if other people felt the same as me.
I googled the phrase “what I write I get to keep”, and I believe the association of the two words “keep” and “write” led the semantic engine within google to deliver articles about keeping a journal – and the hidden benefits. Such as this one. All interesting stuff.
It’s not really what I meant though with my sentiment. I’m really meaning my thoughts are valuable and precious and I wanted to read articles about other people who had things to share on the subject.
So I tried some other searches:
- “thoughts are valuable”
- “thoughts are assets”
- “keeping your thoughts”
But none of these really seem to find what I’m wanting to read about. Although I did along the way manage to find a lot of information about different – sometimes quite unrelated topics just by the phraseology of my google searches. I’ve started to unearth, for example, a whole world of theory about why writing regularly is beneficial.
I listened to an article about Google and Microsoft translation services the other day on Radio 4. It explained that these services now have statistical reasoning built into their logic so that phrases like “heading towards the blue” would be translated to something not quite what the author meant – because blue was usually not a destination and heuristics would use that “knowledge” to avoid literal translations.
In the old days, you had to kind of treat Google search like a tool – well kind of like a machine. But these days I find it isn’t always giving me the things I want – and this article is an example of that. It’s frustrating to a degree.
This little excerpt “Google has all grown up“, highlights that Google isn’t giving always the best response, but the most popular – or a kind of reversion to the mean. Perhaps it’s time to try something new. Bing I hear you say. Well that’s a story for another day!
It was Babe Ruth who first said “Never let the fear of striking out stop you from playing the game” and it’s a quote that we use in our house quite a lot.
Here are some pictures of me during the 10k race.
I must thank Brian the marshal on the course who was the tail runner – I turned up almost ten minutes late – and he said don’t worry I will stick with you all round the course so you don’t get lost. And he did. And I finished. Brian this is for you.
You may not know this, but tomorrow is “bring yourself to work day”, at least it is for me.
When I woke up this morning I decided not to wear a jacket and not to take my umbrella to work. Yesterday was so warm, and our office was so hot, that me in my shirt and vest and jacket was just not working. So today, I thought looking through the window – it’s bright you don’t need a jacket, you don’t need an umbrella – why are you carrying all of this stuff around each day that you clearly don’t need?
Then at lunchtime, from my 12th floor office window with a great view of St. Paul’s, I witnessed a thunderstorm. It poured down with rain. I had no jacket and no umbrella and what’s more, I had planned to go out that evening for a meal.
At the meal, we had some good company, food and conversation – at dishoom’s in Shoreditch. We talked about 360 degree feedback and how sometimes this can work and sometimes not. People seem more comfortable to give feedback anonymously – and we talked about Ricky Gervais in the film the invention of lying. We naturally put up barriers at work that hide who we are when we either pretend or use barriers as a defence mechanism.
And what about the rest of the day? Well despite not having a jacket or umbrella – I was fine. The storm passed, the sun came out and I made it home.
So tomorrow when I wake up, I’m not going to worry about what to take and what not to take to work. What barriers to put up or who to pretend to be. I’m just going to do my best to do my work and work to do my best because tomorrow, I’ve decided, is bring yourself to work day.