Aside

Pain really is a pain (Re-Post)


Pain is a pain, we all know that; I know that as an irrefutable fact.

I get nervous when writing about myself; about ‘cronic-pain’ and depression, Myoclonic-jerks and falls, its personal… very personal and you can’t be sure who the audience is, who am I trying to reach; are you interested in the trials of life of a middle-aged, slightly shy male?

Pain is a pain, we all know that! It’s said that all of us will suffer back-pain sometime in our lives; if you haven’t had it yet then you’ve probably got it to come. Our hope is, that, it comes and goes in the blink of an eye, the truth is, when pain comes, it will linger for sometime and cause lost moments of living not to mention days off work.

Pain is a pain, we all know that! It’s not a pleasant thought, but, take heart in the knowledge that you may never have another episode again in your life! Unfortunately some will have repeat episodes which could go on to become cronic-pain.

Pain is a pain, In my case, it started with neck-pain and sotmach-pain, followed a month or two later,  with back-pain. That was about 18 years ago and little has changed, despite medical interventions, and, so-called, cures. Little has changed, except my state of mind!

I’ve now been offered a choice: nerve-block jabs in the spine, which was less than successful on the 3 previous occasions; spinal fusion to ‘help the pain in the leg’ or accept that today is the best it will ever be!

I had an operation before, with high hopes of success, it failed!

Pain is a pain, we all know that; 3 years ago, I was sent to a consultant regarding issues in the thoracic area… ‘It’s muscular, but, I will send you for a scan because your GP has asked for one!’ So I go for a an MRI and await the results. Some two years later and yet another consultant, looking into an unrelated issue, tells me the results. It turns out the first consultant hadn’t reviewed the scan; the very same consultant now offering, yet another, operation???

Pain is a pain, we all know that! But how far do you go to get rid of it?

JSB

Aside

Political Disintegration 


​As I write this post the ramifications of #Brexit and the failure of the ‘remain’ campaign are ripping apart the old political order as coup upon coup unfolds in both the Conservative Party and the Labour Party.

At just after 1:30am Jeremy Corbyn sacked his shadow foreign secretary, Hilary Benn, whom, the Observer newspaper claimed, had been phoning around Labour MP’s asking two questions: (1) Should he (Hillary Benn) ask Corbyn to stand down as Labour Party leader and (2) If Corbyn refuses, would other shadow cabinet members join Benn and resign en masse?

I feel they still don’t get the fact that Corbyn was the last hope for the Labour Party, or at least his principles were. While the ‘careerists’ are running around like headless chickens, worried for their own ‘jobs’, the people they purport to represent are overburdened by needless Tory austerity, which many of the ‘careerists’ supported, at least in part, and angry by political misinformation and lies, so very evident throughout the referendum campaign, that they will never trust their political representatives again!

The question shouldn’t be ‘how can we make the Labour Party relevant again?’ It should be ‘how can the left re-engage with abandoned Britain?’ More people these days get their political information from organisations such as #38degrees rather than from a leaflet stuffed through their door in the run-up to an election! The Labour Party reeks of ‘establishment’, the very thing that the public stuck two fingers upto in the #Brexit referendum and the focus of anger throughout western democracies. Everything about the Labour Party is outmoded, even it’s name is irrelevant and harps back to a pre-thatcherite, industrial, Britan that will never return. So now it’s time to put the Party to bed, to work on new alliances and new structures which can adapt to the needs of a 21st century Britan. A positive, progressive, force rooted in the united goals of the left and representative of the dissolutioned and abandoned communities so desperately needing a voice!

(previously posted on Facebook June 26th 2016)
JSB

The Strangler Figs


Popped along to The Musician on Friday (28th Feb 2014), one of Leicester’s premier live music venues offering new acts as well as established ones, a chance of getting down close and personal, with a knowledgable and appreciative audience. I went along with one purpose in mind, to find out more about a local band… The Strangler Figs.

I had previously heard them at The Exchange  in Leicester, at an event designed to give talent, both new and old, a chance of playing to a substantial crowd at this years Western Park Music Festival. There were some good acts on that night, I had gone to support Sam Bradshaw, a solo experimental guitarist I had come to know. Sam was at his provocative best and well worth seeing. Sam, along with Becky, a great soloist, made it a really good night.

I had been sat by a group of young lads who appeared a little nervous. When asked, they told me they were the first ‘band’ on that evening and that their name was ‘The Strangler Figs’.

The Strangler Figs are a five piece outfit from Leicester, Hinckley and a smattering of Wigan. They are brothers Joe and Freddie Pickering on guitar/vocals and keyboard respectively, Joel Hanson on double bass James Lyons on drums and Rosie Price on backing vocals. they told me they were once asked if they were a ‘Stranglers’ tribute band. Well I can tell you with certainty they are not!

Moments before their gig I passed two of the band members of the stairs, they looked a little concerned, which made me wonder if they would get up and play. I need not have been concerned.

They took to the stage amid mutterings of… ‘look at the size of that double bass’ (True, the double bass did look huge! huge enough to make a cello look like a fiddle.) As they tuned-up and began their set, it was clear, any nervousness was channelled right back into their music; enough to be edgy, enough to be different.

The Strangler Figs set started with a cover of The Pixies ‘Where is My Mind’, which they owned, and included a memorable  rendition of Jungle Books ‘King of the Swing’ which demonstrated both their expertise and their sense of humour. After a couple of their own numbers the set was, all too soon, over.

They left the stage as true professionals and true to the principle of ‘leave them wanting more’. I wanted more, hence popping in to The Musician on Friday… and I’m very glad I did!

You can see The Strangler Figs at The Donkey on Wed 5th March

STOP PRESS: Strangler Figs to play at Simon Says 2014

Video courtesy of DemonFM:

JSB

Aside

TheGuyWithaStick


Over the next few weeks this  blog site is changing.

all blogs and reviews in one place with a new name… TheGuyWithaStick

The @johnsblackmore twitter account will continue and a new account @theguywidastic will be added.

TheGuyWithaStick will link the blog spot, facebook, twitter and Paper.li and make it easier to get involved. We will, of course, continue to contribute content to external sites.

If you have a music/arts/film review you would like us to post, please get in touch.

We hope you like the changes.

Aside

CONTROLLING THE WEATHER


The argument goes that by striking at SYRIA now, it will stop the use of chemical weapons in the future. But what target should be ‘hit’?
The only sure way of removing the threat of CW’s is by strategic strikes upon the weapon stores themselves, presumably, now relocated far and wide. The problem with this, is, we simply can’t be sure innocent civilians won’t be caught-up in such military intervention, either directly or through environmental factors such as the weather, we don’t control the weather!
In whose interests is it to have plumes of contaminated smoke rising above Syria’s towns and cities and along the border areas near Jordan and Israel?
Israel also has chemical weapons and have used them against Palestinians in recent years, are we going to bomb Israel as well? Of course not! So we can’t argue that these current deliberations have morality at its heart.
Then there’s the issue of aligning too closely with the Syrian opposition
coalition. Some groups within the Syrian opposition coalition have been in armed combat with British forces for over a decade and have their own reason for calling for military intervention by the West, one of which is the spread religious fundamentalism.
We have too often joined with the US and others to enforce a particular interpretation of international law, much, it has to be said, to the detriment of the reputation and ability of the UN, particularly in terms of conflict resolution.
Have any of our military interventions throughout the region resulted in a more peaceful region? Or ended the threat of terrorist attack here, in the UK, or elsewhere?
I’ll let you be the judge!

 

PASS IT ON!


So we’ve just gone through that Christmas time again, when all is well in the World and Santa brings joy and pressies to one and all. At this time of year we would be forgiven for not realising that not everyone will share the glad tidings of joy and abundance of happiness that overflows from the cup of ‘Seasons Greetings’.

There are many reasons for not sharing in this joyous time; it could be religious: Islam is the fastest growing religion in the World while, according the Christian Orthodox calendar, we are way out! It could be that you have experienced the loss of a loved one at this time of year so Christmas becomes a time of reflection on a life that’s lost and for those left behind; or it could be that you are homeless, not knowing where your next hot meal is going to come from or if you’ll find a decent, dry pitch for the night. But, I think, the killer is loneliness.

Loneliness accounts for more deaths at this time of year than heart failure, alcoholism and substance abuse; all of which can be attributed to the consequence of loneliness. My mother, like so many other mothers, feels lonely since the death of my father and at this time of year her loneliness becomes much more acute; it’s lonely when everyone else is having fun and you miss, with every sinew of your being, your soul-mate and life-long partner. For the single person, living away from family and friends, ‘seasons greetings’ can feel hollow and something of a ‘sham’, Yet, to me, the worse kind of loneliness is the loneliness felt while you are in a loving relationship with family and friends around you.

Like everyone else I have felt lonely at various points in my life… some may say “it’s character building”! I’ve been on my own at this time of year, but, before and after the 25th, always managed to party well. Yet, as a result of 17 years of constant pain, I have had my greatest ‘moments’ of loneliness while being married with children. But wait! That statement should not reflect upon my family in a negative way, it’s not them… it’s me!

Constant pain causes depression, huge revelation that! No! Of course it’s not! Anyone with a few, free grey cells knows the consequences of chronic pain; that tooth abscess x365days! Constant, chronic pain becomes all-embracing, after a while it starts to rule your life. You can fight it for as long as you can, but, at some stage, it’s going to beat you! It’s going to beat you so bad that you withdraw into the shell that was once you.

In my case, the early stages of depression manifested as sporadic feelings of helplessness and loneliness. I recall on a particular occasion opening-up to my wife and telling her I felt lonely, she found it totally incomprehensible that I could have feelings of loneliness while being married with 4 children. My wife felt it was a reflection upon her and our family, which, of course, it wasn’t, but it was very difficult to explain, exactly, what I was going through. Over the years, I have found it easier to explain and my wife now recognises many of the ‘signs’, much more than I do in fact!

One of the issues people have regarding loneliness and depression is that ‘it may rub-off on others’, which of course is bollocks! in the same way that a scowl won’t turn the milk sour!

People are social animals; we need each other, whether its to talk to or to kick us up the butt every now and then! We need to feel the warmth of another and to know there is someone there when we are ‘ready’ or ‘able’ to look for that hand-up, that hand of friendship.

So, please, as we go into a new year, take a look about you. That person stood at the bar or sat on their own; whether it’s a he or a she; old or young. Hold out that hand of friendship, say hi! You don’t need to become life-long buddies, but, just by acknowledging the person you will change their day; no big talks, no life stories a simple Hi! will do.

Loneliness is not contagious but laughter is most certainly infectious, so pass it on!

JSB

WHAT?!


What are they pumping into the Vale?

It runs on through not absorb in shale!

They take the good then dump the spoil

above your school, your girls, your boys.

The heavens had opened on this land of ‘song’

for days the deluge had carried-on!

Yet they kept on pumping into the Vale,

expecting water to be absorbed by shale

.

On a foggy day a mountain moans

as streams beneath a sonami forms

now well lubed, the shale gave way and 

down it crashed onto a new school day.

A road runs through it 50 years on

The pit and spoil all long since gone

The greening of the Valley’s hides their violent past

but of this lost generation the memory lasts.

images

RIP

JSB

Aside

CALIFORNVACATION


The holiday period comes around far too quickly for my liking. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike holiday periods, how could I, there’s nothing better than having the ankle-biters off school, being bored for weeks on end. No! I don’t dislike holiday periods, I just can’t afford them!

For many years, we would spend our holidays alternating between Wales and Norfolk, my two favourite places in the whole World. One year, we decided to have a change.

We thought long and hard about where we should go, we wanted somewhere different. Having thrown-out the idea of Spain and the Mediterranean, we decided to take the kids to… CALIFORNIA!!!

Having forked-out a small fortune for this holiday, all too quickly departure day was upon us. Four kids, two adults and three wardrobes full of clothes, or at least, that’s what it felt like.

I didn’t think they would let us on with all this baggage… but they did!

We sat in awe, as the jets flew over-head, at the end of our journey, as we awaited our transport to the holiday centre.

‘Dad!’ ‘This place looks like Great Yarmouth’, my daughter pipes-up, ‘Don’t be daft Amy!’ ‘This is ‘California!!!’…

‘Great Yarmouth is 3 miles away!’

For the record, we all had a great time! 😉

JSB