2020 Vision

As the clock struck midnight to usher in the New Year, I was filled with optimism. Despite 2019 not being a great year, I convinced myself that this was going to be better. I was eagerly anticipating moving into my new home. I had got my running to a really, really good level. I was healthier than I had been in a long time. I’d spent alot of time managing gigs and becoming more involved in Softlad Promos, and despite losing one of my best and longest standing friends I was looking forwards not backwards.

Sure, I’d made a couple of mistakes in my personal life. Forgivable, if not forgiven. I regret the hurt I caused, but don’t think I deserved the hounding I got over one of them in particular. But that’s in the past and not the point of this blog. I even had a date lined up for the first week in January with someone who I had admired from afar and man was she beautiful. On top of this there was also the Smut Marathon to look forward to. It was going to be a busy year no doubt.

Fast forward 3 months and St Patricks day. The dating was going swimmingly. Despite it never being a relationship, it was fun, exciting, sexy. We connected and had the best of times for those fleeting months. I never knew St Patricks day would be the last I saw of her, but I don’t regret a thing, not even the gesture that in my opinion ruined it all, despite it just being read completely wrong. It’s just who I am.

After my twitter drama in January/February (with reprisals in April and June and September) I had to change my account for the Smut Marathon and little did I know how important this writing competition would be for me. The competition had to be shelved, which was a really sad state of affairs, as once again the ugly side of social media was laid bare. However, It did bring me closer to the organiser Marie Rebelle. We spoke often. We listened caringly, we shared tales both happy and sad. Marie always takes the time to read and comment on my blogs. To have that from someone who writes so wonderfully is incredible. The fact I get to call her a friend blows that out of the water though. Along with Marie I made some amazing writer friends along the way. Myself and Jae Lynn bonded over a love of music and most notably Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Go Your Own Way‘ and now rather than being a writer friend. Jae is simply a friend who writes.

Not only did I connect with Jae but I also stumbled across Carolyna Luna. We bonded over stickers (who knows, 2021 may be the year I get them) as well as writing and music and Star Wars and Bourbon to name a few. She inspired me to write when I didn’t have the words. She encouraged my confidence when I’d found my way with my new twitter but more than that, she became a huge part of my daily life.

As lockdown continued, I stumbled across the #VirtualPubCrawl when Shiner Sam posed a selfie one day with a beer and a band tee. All of a sudden I was engrossed by this wonderful community. Raising money for charity whilst drinking beers and listening to exquisite music. I mean… what is that about! Too good to be true right? But as the clock struck 3 every other weekend, the chords to Primal Screams ‘Loaded‘ signalled the start of the madness. There are far too many people to mention that have made this an amazing part of my year and everyone that has spoken to me or tweeted or done a down in one or donated to charity are all legends. However it would be remiss not to mention a handful. Al Burke was the first person to speak to me and become a friend. Then there are a ton I plan to meet in 2021. Andie, Ems, Danny, JD, Kirsty, Jake, Paula, Ady, Andy, Al, Dom, Rob, Matt, Sarah, Sarah, Russ, Redders, Dan, Amy, Michael, Lisa x 2, Johnny, Richie.The list really is endless and that’s before I even mention all the bands.. again special shout outs to Revivalry and Citylightz, you guys are the absolute bomb.

Now I make no apologies for mentioning these next few people who made my year much more bearable. People that transcended Twitter and I met in real life.

Lilycat – You gave me confidence and support in the unlikeliest of circumstances. You were the best part of the first quarter of 2020. Thanks for the Peanut Butter Latte and well just for being you. Keep swishing your pony.

New Indie Sounds. Mate. That night in Manchester was just the best. Never met someone that felt like an old pal within a few minutes. I promise I’ll get you that drink back when tier 4 lifts.

Indie Rob and Gems. Rob. You gave me so much this year buddy. You helped me through an awful time and I cannot thank you enough. Gems. Who knew we have probably been in each others presence so many times in Wigan and never even knew we existed. So much love for you two.

Scott and Kay. What an amazing couple you are. The kindest people I know.. how you treated 12 was the most warming thing I witnessed in 2020. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Sam. Thanks for giving me some much needed confidence over summer. Amazing to think 12 months ago you never knew I existed. But I did with you. Yet here we are now and I can class you as a friend. Probably the craziest thing to happen to me in 2020. Keep being that new music champion but more importantly keep me posted on my fav, Beryl

Dating was a bit hit and miss in 2020 some incredible highs and some earth shattering lows. So let’s just leave that eh.

A special mention to my twitter bro and twitter sis. Syriz and Vimtotime. Again 2 absoluye shining stars. Both with amazing twitter accounts that I just connected with.

To Amy, who’s been there on twitter for me for over a year. Making me laugh daily and sharing her beautiful blogs and amazing pics.

To Splintercat who keeps me in check, never let’s me get too big for my boots and keeps me in tea and cakey. A smile is never far away.

Finally, my last memory of 2020 is dedicated to my mum. She’s had the toughest of years. 2 strokes, losing friends with alarming regularity (nooo not falling out with em, them sadly passing, no she didn’t do it) . One of the best things about seeing 2021 in will be the fact my mum gets to see it in as on more than one occasion I was frightened that she wouldn’t.

So as 2021 arrives. Here’s to health and happiness. To kindness and care and to getting back to doing the things we enjoy with those that we love.

Words As Weapons – Birdy

A message sent to another tweeter, prompted a follow from Jae Lynn. We spoke briefly and I was astounded to see this prompt proudly on her twitter. You see, unbeknownst to Jae, I have been working on a side project linking Music and Writing, and triggered by the exact same song, which will be my first post. Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Go your own way‘.

So without further ado, here’s my song for Jae, and whilst not a song that defines me, I believe it’s more appropriate than ever in the current climate, where all that we can offer many people, including loved ones, are words.

I feel your knife as it goes right in, cut to my core but I’m not bleeding.
All that you say trying to make me small, well the bigger you get, the harder you fall.

You use your words as a weapon, dear. But your blades don’t hurt when you have no fear.
You think that you’re deep under my skin, You’re trying to keep me suffering.
If you use your words as a weapon, then as a weapon, I’ll shed no tears.

You have my heart but I lock it up, this burning flame has been burnt enough.
My window’s cracked, but they can be replaced. But your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

You use your words as a weapon, dear. But your blades don’t hurt when you have no fear.
You think that you’re deep under my skin. You’re trying to keep me suffering,
If you use your words as a weapon, then as a weapon, I’ll shed no tears.

Birdy – Words as Weapons – Written by Jasmine Van Den Bogaerde, Ryan Tedder.

Before I talk to you about this particular Song, I need to take you back in time, to the very first memory I have of finding inner strength, of overcoming fear, just for a little background. So let me rewind just over thirty years.

I don’t come from a conventional family as my dad passed away when I was a baby. So my mum worked when I was at school. Obviously during summer holidays, this presented a problem, so I spent most of them at my Grandmas. I loved it, whenever I went there, I had a shiny new matchbox car waiting for me that she’d got from the supermarket we often walked to. She used to let me slurp the froth off her Mackeson stout (a drink very similar but not as widely known as Guinness). It was great too, as she lived very close to my best friend.

It’s quite strange as I think we only became friends as we shared the same name. No, not first name, the same full name. I guess that’s what we bonded over and here we are some 39 years later, still friends. So back to circa 1989, we wandered up by the canal, and over the ‘rabbit rocks’. It was one of those hazy summer days, clear blue skies and not a care in the world. That kind of day that lives with you forever, where you can still smell the freshly cut grass. Life was simple back then, I’d certainly not encountered feelings for girls, and despite my best friends popularity with the members of the opposite sex, we were still mostly innocent kids. This particular day there was a bigger group of us, maybe four or five and as young boys do, we egged each other on, trying to push the boundaries. Not wanting to be the first to back down. Our parents weren’t particularly fond of us going by the canal, but we were mainly sensible and never the naughty kids that were disrespectful or trouble makers. We just liked having fun.

This one day, we went beyond our usual limits, to a wooded area, it’s name escapes me for the moment, but when we got there, we were doing the usual stuff, exploring, looking for hidden treasure (usually porn mags cast aside in the bushes), playing pranks. Then out of nowhere, we heard this almighty roar, smelt that unmistakable smell of motorbike fuel, and within seconds we surrounded by a gang of older kids tearing around on scrambler bikes. My heart was racing, back in those days, you could get beat up for nothing. I wasn’t from a really rough area, and I shied away from trouble and confrontation, but here, stuck in the middle of the woods, well it was every boy for himself. It was a game of cat and mouse and everytime we darted in the open, the bikes would be on us, circling their prey.

Then it happened, my brain started to override my heart. Logic dictated that well, they didn’t want to hurt me, they merely wanted to scare me. Why would they risk hurting me and getting in trouble, or injuring themselves or damaging their precious bikes? They wouldn’t! I found the strength and I got out from my hiding place and I walked right in the track. They surged past me. The smell of burning rubber as they revved their machines, like a bull scraping it’s foot on the ground, preparing to charge the matador. But there were no histrionics, no swirling and twirling. My actions were more of a red rag as they knew I wasn’t afraid. They whizzed by and I could feel the lump in my throat, my eyes stinging as I held back the tears, but I did it, and my friends followed suit. We’d won and they soon dispersed.

The pen is mightier than the sword.

Edward Bulwer-Lytton

*SNAP* Okay, now we are back in the present day, and as I have started to write over the last few years, this song has resonated with me so much. Words are so powerful and they really are ‘Mightier Than The Sword’. You can lift and destroy someone with words and when you use them as a weapon, you can cause the recipient so much damage. You can play on their insecurities and fears. This song has helped me overcome my own instances of abuse. We all get them, and suffer, sadly. We just all need to find that light bulb moment, to feel that burden lift as the fear is replaced.

“My windows cracked, they can be replaced, but your arms will tire throwing stones my way.” This sentence is the one that really struck me.
You see it’s true, people can damage and hurt you with words, they can cause you moments of panic, pain and suffering. But nothing is permanent. Time heals and you evolve as a person.
Sure you’re not the original window, but next time you’re made of stronger glass. You have a different frame that can withstand greater punishment, but you still remain. Whereas the stone throwers, once you starve them of attention, move on. Maybe they find another victim, maybe they change their ways. But you always remain.
I hope that if you never knew the song existed, you enjoy it. Even if you already knew the song, maybe you have taken something from my words.
Thanks again Jae for the wonderful prompt.