eeyorns unified field theory of thermodynamics, life, the universe and everything

Since my return to regular paid employment I’ve found I’ve been sleeping much better, particularly since this week, when a lot of what I have been learning has started to ‘click’ and come naturally to me. I’m beginning to feel confident in my new role and its been much less fraught this week. I’m lucky that the 3 older members of the telephonists team like to work evenings and graveyard shifts, and both have shown me lots and explained them well. And Laura, one of the younger members of the team is effectively buddying me whenever we work together. She’s indifferent to my pleas of encroaching senility as reasonable grounds for not ‘getting it’ and can be a hard yet very necessary in my case, taskmaster, and I thank her for her continued efforts on my behalf.

Anyway, what with all the sleep I’ve come to the following conclusions. I hope you may find them helpful:

All things exist as part of a circle or waveform of some kind
Evolution/reincarnation is the passage through the dimensions
A large number of present day man and womankind are beginning to or have already moved into a new dimension. If we consider the last era to be the human age, consider this new dimension to be centred on the astral

I suspect that Nicolai Tesla may have said something unintelligible about waves, circles and energy. If so, I agree with him!!!

And finally, my favourite from HH the Dalai Lama

In love and cookery, be reckless and brave!!!

David Bowie: Oh!!! You Pretty things

A Leavetaking, part 2

My father became very depressed during his last few years. Not least of course when my mother died in early 2003. They had been married for well over 50 years, and had met during WWII in London, when he was a student at Kings College, London. Mum was a native Sarf Londoner and her family home was in New Cross. So he’d known his life partner for the best part of 60 years.

But once he’d got over the initial devastation of that immeasurable loss, a number of his former work colleagues and friends followed suit, and as he remarked in his sardonic way ‘I suppose I’m at an age where these things are bound to happen, but it doesn’t make it any easier’. It seemed at one point that he was attending a funeral almost weekly, and each time he would return home and announce that he couldn’t wait for his own turn, before toasting another old friend several times and often polishing off another bottle of fine single malt whiskey from his extensive collection.

We his children could little to comfort him, but to drink along with him and share our own memories of his latest departed friend.

And then the inevitable event that we’d all been hoping against happened. He had always been a very practical and active man, and he was buggered if chronic arthritis and heart problems were going to stop him from leading his life his way. It was painful to watch him take a whole day to do some task that might have taken him no more than a couple of hours when he was able-bodied.

But he remained truculently independant through to his last dying day, and although I was nominally living with him in order to help him whenever he needed it, the majority of my offers of help were routinely spurned, usually fairly hurtfully. But such was our relationship during his last years. Although I had had a very successful 25-year career in IT, given he and mum their first grandchild – and a son no less, and helped raise 3 other children not from my loins,  I think he still considered me a bit of a disappointment as his son and heir, and he never held back in his withering criticisms of my poor general abilities in DIY, gardening and the like, and despite the fact that my presence probably saved him from being put into a Care Home, my presence was hard to bear for him.

All he saw of my life, I think, were all the wasted opportunities and failures, particularly my failure to  complete my University Education. I don’t think he ever got to grips with the devastating effect that PTSD had had on my life, and just saw the frequent drunkeness and other habitual behaviours (particularly my heavy use of the Internet in those last years) as evidence of lack of moral fibre.

This is something I have never really understood. Although it was me that had witnessed my younger brother’s horrific death, when all’s said and done my father had lost a son as well. How could he not understand or empathise with my reaction to his death?

The facts as he (and I suspect, both my sisters) saw them, was that I was claiming Jobseekers Allowance, drinking too much and spending most of my time faffing around on Facebook or playing online bridge, and spongeing off my old man to do it. In point of fact, I paid my way towards all the household bills. The only thing I wasn’t paying was any rent.
Dad had fully purchased the house about 5 years before retiring, so it wasnt like I was ripping him off there, either.

To this day, the eldest of my 2 sisters can barely give me the time of day. Luckily, my younger sister still talks to me, but its still a very strained relationship. There was a time that I would get a hug from both my sisters when we got together, and another when my visits came to an end. Those days are long gone.

Every woman in my life has been brilliant and beautiful IMO. Not necessarily beautiful in the good looks sense, though even there I’ve seen a beauty in all of them. But beautiful minds, certainly.

A desperately maudlin, drunken email late one night, as another relationship foundered in 2011, was the start of the rot, I think. I was living with my latest beau in Hastings on the South Coast. We had only just got together physically, having had a long and deeply intimate merging of minds online, and I had been convinced that she was ‘the one’, and that this time it would work. And it probably would have done, if only I could have found work down there. Unfortunately, we’d set up home there primarily so that my partner could spend as much time with her father during HIS last days. Its a wonderful town to live in (IMO), but has one of the highest unemployment rates in the south-east of England. My partner had returned to Edinburgh for a long weekend to see ‘her boys’ and, left to my own devices, I started drinking again having pretty much weaned myself off alcohol.

My partner was a Reiki Master and rarely drank herself, though I as far as I was aware, she wasnt necessarily averse to it, and we’d had a few nights out with her sister and her partner where we’d all had a few beers. But it turns out she WAS averse to drunkeness, as her ex-husband, it turned out,  was an alcoholic, and reading between the lines, got nasty when drunk.

All I know is that in my maudlin state, I’d sent her an email in which I’d said I was feeling quite suicidal at the thought of losing her due to my continued joblessness, and it turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. In a panic, she rushed back to Hastings to find me bleary-eyed and much the worse for wear but still coherent. I got my marching orders and told to vacate the flat we were in, courtesy of her cousin. She herself moved out that same day and went to live temporarily with her sister. Worse still, for whatever reason I’d also copied my email to my eldest sister, and she too had had a very fraught night as a result.

The fact is, I’ve lived with suicidal feelings for most of my life, and in fact the only reason I’ve never felt like acting on those feelings was that I was not prepared to put my parents through the agony of losing another son.

But thats water under the bridge. I accept that I had put both my lover and my sister through the wringer, and I don’t blame my sister at all for not forgiving me for it, although as an alleged Christian, I think she might have tried to find some compassion for me. Nor do I blame Lucy for acting the way she did. My understanding is that as a Reiki Master, she was probably overloaded with lots of negative energy from having too much compassion for me.

Anyway, the relationship was shattered and I felt dead inside. Nice job, Ian.

Dad’s own passing a couple of years later just added (I suspect) to the my sister’s belief that I was a worthless piece of garbage.  On the day that he passed, he’d begun the day well, got up unassisted and painfully dressed himself as was his wont. After breakfast, he’d started to bring some bits of wood upstairs and into his bedroom, where he set up a makeshift workbench out of 2 chairs. I asked him what he was doing and was told that he was intending to make a mounting batten for the bathroom curtains. He’d recently had a shower cubicle installed and had had to resite the curtains as part of the process. I offered to give him a hand, but was told that he would prefer to do it himself to make sure that the job got done properly. I retreated to my room. At the time, I was very unwell as a result of my prostate problem. I was getting regular and often severe urinary infections, and this particular day I was feeling very tired and sluggish, and I felt ever shittier throughout the day as I headed back and forth to the loo to piss razor blades. Eventually I crawled into bed, absolutely exhausted about 3pm in the afternoon and fell into a near comatose sleep, to the sound of my old man slowly working with a junior hacksaw. I awoke in darkness and was aware of voices that I recognised as my sister’s and her husband’s. They had keys to the house and had evidently let themselves in. Chris was sounding quite panicky and calling out ‘George, where are you?’. George was my fathers name. I got out of bed and called out to them from the top of the stairs before disappearing into the loo for another session of pissing barbed wire.

When I’d finished I came out to hear Chris sobbing and repeating Dad’s name over and over again. I walked into dad’s bedroom to find Dad on the floor by the bed with Chris evidently giving him CPR while talking to a paramedic on his mobile; minutes later there was a blue flashing light and I let the ambulance men in.

Chris had found Dad laying across the bed and he was displaying the signs of having had a heart attack. Despite Chris’s best efforts, he hadnt been able to revive him. The ambulance men took one look at Dad and gently told Chris to stop.
They checked Dad’s pulse and breathing and shook their heads. It seems Dad was already dead before Chris could do anything to save him. It was about 8.30 in the evening and Dad had been due to go round to to my sisters at 7pm for dinner. They had come round after dinner to check everything was OK.

Dad’s GP was called out to confirm the death. He explained that Dad hadn’t had a heart attack as such, but in his opinion Dad had stood up at some point from his exertions, and had actually fallen backwards onto the bed dizzy from low blood pressure. His heart had stopped in that instant with no blood in it. He said it would have been instant and painless. We took some comfort that Dad’s last moments were pain-free and that he himself was now free from pain at last. He had borne the chronic arthritis stoically, but it was perhaps his greatest frustration that he could no longer do all those things that he took for granted.

We of course said our farewells to Dad over the next week as he laid in rest, and again at the funeral. As my relationship with my father was so strained, I really have no clue as to what he really thought of me, and I suspect he was equally in the dark as to my feelings for him.

So if you’re listening Dad, here it is:
I loved and respected and worshipped my old man from the earliest days of my childhood to the day of his death. Still do, of course. He was a good father to all of his children, and he did all he could to nurture us all. He was always there for all of us, even when he didn’t necessarily agree with our personal decisions. He always supported us in whatever we chose to do. He was IMO a lovely intelligent, caring, gentle man, and if I can achieve a half of what he achieved in his lifetime, I’ll die a happy man. I am proud of him and glad that he was my father. And I am equally glad and proud to be his son.

I love him and miss him every day. He was and remains my biggest hero, and my role model.

And so for this blog, I think there is only only one song to finish on. He hated most of the music that I liked as I grew up, but his special bile was reserved for that ‘dirgey racket’ which was his reaction to the music of Roy Harper and Leonard Cohen.

And so Dad, this one’s for you

Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah

A Leavetaking – 10 songs for the end of the world as we know it

As the US economy heads over the cliff, and the Hegemony does its best to convince us to go to war against ISIS, Russia or Korea – in fact anywhere so long as its ailing Arms industry doesnt flatline……this series of songs came to me earlier today. All songs of leavetaking, most with the underlying theme of war and its dreadful consequences

1. Pleasant and Delightful – Shirley and Dolly Collins

Shirley and Dolly in all their glory singing the glorious Copper Family anthem. Taken from the magnificent ‘Anthems in Eden’ album

2. A Sailors Life – Fairport Convention

Fairport’s tour-de-force seminal folk-rock opus

3. The Banks of the Nile – Fotheringay

Sandy Denny’s second great folk-rock statement

4. Sloth – Fairport Convention

Richard Thompson and Dave Swarbrick’s magnificent collaboration and contribution to the anti-war ouvre

5. The Battle of Evermore – Led Zeppelin

Sandy Denny’s collaboration with Robert Plant and LZ. I found this lovely re-evocation of the track from a Page+Plant tour, featuring Najma Akhtar

6. The Band Played Waltzing Matilda – Eric Bogle and John Monroe

Eric’s fine tribute inspired by the Anzac Day Parade

7.  A Reason for it all – Eric Bogle and John Monroe

Another fine song from Eric inspired by the discovery a woman in Sydney who had died 12 months before being found

8. River – Joni Mitchell

The standout track from another magnificent album

9. Farewell, Farewell – Fairport Convention

A new song by Richard Thompson written in the style of a trad folk song and set to the tune of the song Willie O’ Winsbury. Another evocative and beautiful vocal from Sandy Denny.

10. Meet on the Ledge – Richard Thompson

Richard Thompson’s classic anthem to absent friends

Bonus tracks:

11. Walking on a Wire – Richard and Linda Thompson

12. Vincent Black Lightning 1952 – Richard Thompson

13. Vincent – Don McLean

14. Way Back in the 1960’s – Incredible String Band

15. Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall – Bob Dylan

16. The Same Old Rock – Roy Harper and Jimmy Page

17. Death Don’t Have No Mercy in this Land – Revd Gary Davis

and a final one suggested by my  good friends Opher and Zouk, which really should be in the Top 10

18. When An Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease – Roy Harper

Medscape Medical News—Physician Health Programs: More Harm Than Good? State-Based Programs Under Fire

Another appalling but insightful blog from Disrupted Physician

Disrupted Physician

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 9.11.46 AMMedscape Medical News > Psychiatry

Physician Health Programs: More Harm Than Good?
State-Based Programs Under Fire
Pauline Anderson
August 19, 2015

There is growing scrutiny of US physician health programs (PHPs), which are state-based plans for doctors with substance abuse or other mental health problems.

Detractors of the PHP system claim physicians who voluntarily disclose they have mental health or drug problems can be forced into treatment without recourse, face expensive contracts, and are frequently sent out of their home state to receive the prescribed therapy. Some physicians allege that during their interaction with the treatment centers, large amounts of money were demanded up front before any assessment was even conducted.

In addition, critics assert that there is no real oversight and regulation of these programs.

Called by turns coercive, controlling, and secretive, with possible conflicts of interest, some say the PHP experience has led vulnerable physicians to contemplate suicide.

View original post 2,796 more words

20 Musicians I’d like to see before I die

My good friend Opher has recently been creating lists of ‘My best gigs’, ‘My Fantasy gig list’ and ‘The gigs that got away’. Here’s another in the same vein.

  1. Roy Harper. I’ve actually seen Roy countless times but since his enforced retirement due to a pending retrial, he’s top of my list as someone I’d like to see one last time (or more if he can manage it). He is and always has been (IMO) a superb singer/songwriter and musician, whose body of work has stood the test of time and many of his themes and concerns are even more relevant today than when he first wrote them.

  2. Bob Dylan. I was just too young to appreciate what a genius songwriter Dylan was and is, although I got to listen to all his early records at the time they were released. But his music never really grabbed me. It took me many years to realise how good he is.

  3. Dweezil Zappa. Frank Zappa’s son is by all accounts a very accomplished guitarist and interpreter of his father’s musical legacy. I used to like Frank’s early work with the Mother’s of Invention, but again was never a rabid fan and much of his later work is unknown to me. It was actually quite a shock to discover what a brilliant guitarist he was, and I’m really enjoying discovering his later output.

  4. The Magic Band. I always had a lot of time for Captain Beefheart, and his masterwork ‘Trout Mask Replica’ still gets played regularly. The Captain’s backing band were and are all brilliant musicians IMO, and they’ve played the UK a couple of times now. If they come back again, I really hope I can get to one or more of their gigs

  5. Neil Young. I have actually seen Neil once, back in the day when Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young headlined with Joni Mitchell at Wembley. I was actually quite disappointed on the day because the sound was abysmal from where we were sitting. I’d very much like to see him both as a solo artist and also with Crazy Horse, which is his full-on electric band

  6. Judy Dyble. Judy was Fairport Convention’s lead singer in the early days, who left before the band became popular. Although I’ve heard bits and pieces of hers over the years which I’ve liked very much, I only caught up with her music again very recently. Her latest album is wonderful, and if I’m very lucky I’ll have saved enough money to buy a ticket to see her shortly in Gloucester, before they all sell out.

  7. The Who. A favourite band from the early years, who I’ve never actually seen live. I thought their recent appearance at Glastonbury was astonishing, and I hope they play some more using that lineup

  8. Wilko Johnson. Another musician who I’ve admired and enjoyed ever since he burst forth as lead guitarist and songwriter for Doctor Feelgood. The recent record with Roger Daltrey, ‘Going back home’ is well worth a listen

  9. Guy Davis. Guy is a New York based blues musician who plays guitar, banjo and and is an awfully good harp player. He writes very good, modern bluesy songs. I chanced upon him doing a live session on Paul Jones Blues program on BBC radio last year. If you don’t know of him, go check him out, he’s really good

  10. Van Morrison. Another artist that i’ve loved from the early days. He still continues to make brilliant records, and I’m glad to see he’s still touring

  11. Joni Mitchell. As previously mentioned I did see Joni but was disappointed with the sound on the day. Her own health problems, and the fact that she had pretty much already retired from the music business, make this one a bit of a pipe-dream I suspect

  12. Kate Bush. I quite liked her early stuff, but it was really ‘The Sensual World’ that really knocked my socks off. I did try to get to see her in her recent run at the O2, but I’d evidently left it a minute too late because the whole series had sold out by the time I got through to the ticket website 😦

  13. Ziggy Marley. Bob’s eldest son (I think). Saw him many years ago fronting the Wailers. Would love to see him again

  14. Paolo Nuitini. A modern singer/songwriter with a great future ahead of him. Lovely voice and great songs

  15. Joan Armatrading. Joan actually played Stevenage just before I moved back to Colchester last year and I had intended to see her there. Chalk that miss down to a senior moment 😦

  16. Linda Thompson. Linda’s work with ex-husband Richard forms part of my permanent soundscape. She has suffered from dysphonia for many years, but with their son Teddy’s encouragement and assistance, she recorded a blinder of a new album last year ‘Dreams Fade Away’, and more recently took part in the Thompson family project, which I’ve yet to hear. I hope she may yet get to do some live gigs. Not only a beautiful interpretative singer, she’s also a hilariously funny lady, and her Facebook blog is a joy to read each day

  17. kd lang. Another wonderful interpretive singer whose early work I’m not that familiar with. She first really caught my attention with her masterclass cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, and her ‘Songs from the 49th Parallel’ is another big favourite

  18. Leonard Cohen. I saw Leonard in London in the 70s and have been a big fan from his earliest days. The gig, as it happens, was on his 40th birthday, and he was mesmerising. I’d really like to see him again.

  19.  Emmylou Harris. I’ve followed Emmylou from her earliest days with Gram Parsons and she just gets better and better. Another lovely singer and interpreter

  20. Peter Knight’s Gigspanner. Steeleye Span fiddle player has assembled an amazingly competent trio of musicians in Roger Flack on guitars and other stringed instruments and Vincent Salzfaas on congas and djembe. Their music defies description, but can be loosely described as World music with a traditional English folk bedrock. I was priveledged to see them a couple of years ago at Hitchin Folk club. I really hope its not the only time I’ll see them. Absolutely superb

  21. Shirley Collins, the acknowledged Queen of English folk-music was recently encouraged to sing again on her 80th birthday tribute/party. Like Linda Thompson, she suffers from dysphonia, so even that brief appearance, leading the assembled gathering with the Copper Family’s wonderful anthem ‘Thousands or More’ would have been lovely to see.  I at least have fond memories of seeing her a couple of times when she was in her prime and accompanied by her elder sister Dolly. I look forward to hearing and seeing the wonderful tribute DVD to her that is in the making

  22. As with all these lists, there’s always a couple more that should be on this list and I can think of at least 6 more women that I’d very much like to see, either for the first time or once more with feeling (Cara Dillon, The Unthanks, Joan Baez, Kate Rusby, Kathryn Tickell) and several male musicians too (Paul Young, Dave Swarbrick, Vin Garbutt, Tom McConville, Richard Thompson, Chris Wood+Andy Cutting, Boo Hewerdine, Eric Bogle). But I’m not going to nominate any  more living musicians.

    But in the event of Time Travel being discovered within the rest of my lifetime, I would dearly like to go back to late August 1970, Afton Farm on the Isle of Wight to witness the amazing force of nature that was Jimi Hendrix. And if I were to push my luck, I would have also liked to have seen The Doors and Tim Buckley.

Jethro Tull – Too Old to Rock n Roll, but too young to die