31st August

Mind over matter. Will make the Pooh unfatter!

Despite my fears I weighed myself this morning and even though I was expecting to have stayed the same or even put weight on due to eating too much over the Bank holiday weekend I was pleasantly surprised to find I had lost another couple of pounds over where I was last week. Almost a stone in 3 weeks now! Strangely though, last week I felt as though I’d lost weight but the past couple of days I haven’t – I feel quite bloated – hoping it will pass. Otherwise I feel fine, in fact I feel better than before, happier (although Sarah said that I’m grumpy on fast days but I think that was a coincidence!) and generally a bit healthier. I’m not finding the fast days difficult like some people report as I’m the sort of person who will stick to it in this sort of circumstances. fasting seems to create a spiritual feeling within me. I don’t feel too hungry and I’m not tempted BUT I still miss tea on those days!!!!!

And it’s payday today so I paid the Virgin Media bill relieved that we hadn’t been cut off due to the late pay date this month!

Been using Spotify a lot recently, took me a while to get round to it but now I have I find it good for checking out new music. Today I listened to Stealing Sheep after I saw them mentioned in the Caught by the River newsletter. After that I caught up with a couple of recommendations from a friend namely Kate Denny and The Owl Service. I’m not sure if I’ll subscribe as £5 a month seems a lot (£10 if I wanted it on my mobile as well) to pay for the same service without adverts although they do seem to go out of their way to make the adverts as annoying as possible!! Besides the adverts give you a chance to go to the loo without having to pause it!!!!!!

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

I see they’ve made squatting in residential properties illegal. Another law introduced by this government aimed at protecting the rich. I think things are going to get much worse as more and more of the things we have taken for granted for most of my life will be eroded until this country is ran for the benefit of the few once again. The poem above, about Nazi Germany sprung to mind as the middle class will be distracted by the baubles that the establishment toss them to distract from what they are doing to the poor, disabled etc. Then one day it will hit them like a sledgehammer and there’ll be no one left to fight for their rights. I hope I’m wrong but this country will be a very unpleasant place to live if this Government has it’s way.

Driving through Croydon in the rush hour tonight on a busy main road I spotted a woman on the side of the road. She had parked her bike against a chain link fence and was kneeling facing west and the setting sun. Her back was arched, her hands raised and her palms outstretched, her head was thrown back, face toward the sky. Obviously she was in the midst of some sort of devotion.

To anyone passing by who even noticed her she must have simply appeared as either a complete nutter or a religious fanatic. I couldn’t help but wonder what was going through her head, what God she was worshipping – could it have been the sun itself. What strength of belief did she have that meant that her act of worship was so important that she stopped what she was doing, ignoring everything else and completely, unselfconciously throw herself into her devotions on the side of the road.

Sarah and Lissi went to the theatre with her mum to see a play called Rent which her brother was musical director for. So it was just me and Ben. We played a couple of games of 3d snakes & ladders but he kept cheating! We then watched a couple of videos and ate popcorn:

30th August

Sums it up really! From the top Emeli Sande is, as far as I know, a Soul Diva who has the fastest selling CD of 2012 – I’ve won 2 tickets to see her next week at the i-Tunes festival but can’t actually remember why I clicked to enter the competition for that gig! Sproatly Smith are a Psych-folk band that a friend recommended and that I’ve been enjoying listening to – hoping I can convince my fellow organisers that they’d be good for SoL. Prince Harry’s knob is a song by “punk poet” Attila the Stockbroker and is about the recent photos of our prince in a state of undress! Even Sarah likes this one and shared it on her Facebook page. Attila once read a poem for me and my first wife on the occasion of our wedding anniversary whilst standing ankle deep in mud at Glastonbury and being filmed for BBC News. We split up not long after that but I don’t think that was Attila’s fault! The last entry sums it up really “What a long strange trip” it has been!

Fast Day 6 – WHY do people always bring cakes in on my fast days – Bastards! These were brought in by someone who is apparently leaving the company today although I have absolutely no idea who he is or what he does!!

Ben has come out with a couple of real corkers recently. The other day he said to his sister “Bex, I’m going to miss you when you go to university……..do you think I can have your room?”

Then tonight he marched into the living room and announced “Aren’t you going to answer that then” We said what and he replied the doorbell! We hadn’t heard it and we were expecting the Tesco delivery man. He then marched to the front door, pulled it open and announced in a loud voice “my family didn’t hear the doorbell”.

29th August

Bob Dylan has a new album coming out – this used to be something to look forward to but in recent years I’ve dreaded the prospect. I’ve got past the looking forward/disappointment stage and now I just try and ignore the fact. Shame really as he was one of my first musical heroes. Some people think he has done his best work across the last few albums but frankly they’re insane!!!!

I started to get messages that a track from the new album had been put on line and until today I’d ignored them. Then today it was announced that there was now a video as well and foolishly I gave in. I watched it and looking back I can’t even remember what the music was like because the video just completely blocked it out! It was car crash TV – I knew I should press the stop button but I just couldn’t and the longer I watched the more bizarre it got and the more I couldn’t tear myself away!!

Basically the video was about a boy who is trying to win the affection of a girl and he starts to follow her down the street stealing a rose to give to her. At the end of his first attempt she sprays mace into his face. The second time he gets chased by the Police for stealing a second rose and after a chase knocks a guy off a ladder before being locked up. Then when you think it can’t get any worse his third attempt is thwarted by two hoods who snatch him off the street and throw him into a van. He is then taken to the guy he knocked off the ladder and the two thugs beat the crap out of him with baseball bats and the like before dropping him back on the street.

Running through the video are shots of Dylan dressed in a bizarre costume walking through the streets with an entourage. Only at the very end do we see him approaching the kid as he lies in the street and then he STEPS OVER HIM AND WALKS ON!!! Only at this point do we see Dylan from the front but we also catch a view of a man dressed like Gene Simmons from Kiss walking as part of the entourage.

It’s an awful violent video and I just don’t see what Dylan is thinking! Is this the same man who wrote The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carrol? I do believe he has finally lost it!!

Maybe this will explain it…..

28th August

Fast Day 5

I’m afraid to say that the weekend may have taken a toll on the old diet. That’s one of the problems of going-a-visiting, people keep putting food and wine in front of you and it’s rude not to eat and drink it……..isn’t it? So I was quite glad when another fast day rolled around although the cup of green tea for breakfast was not the best way to start a working week! On the bright side I have a nice salady thing that I bought for lunch yesterday but didn’t eat that squeezes in at about 280 calories so all is not lost!

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25th August

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An uneven silence.

Mornings, when I came to visit my father, were always the same. He’d sit in his chair reading the newspaper. I’d come and sit in the other armchair and read whatever caught my eye, a book, a discarded section of his paper or in later years something on ny phone.

The room would be silent, broken only by the turn of the page or other people elsewhere in the house, my stepmum in the kitchen cooking bacon buns for breakfast or the kids in the back room watching tv or arguing about whose turn it was on the computer.

Occasionally the silence would be broken, one of us would speak, I’d ask him his view on something in the news, usually chosen for maximum reaction or he’d ask me if i’d seen such and such a movie or heard of so and so the singer. A discussion would ensue, views would be exchanged and then the silence would descend once again.

As I sit here this morning in my usual place I stare across at the empty chair opposite and though the same silence fills the room it’s an empty uneven one.