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Sunday, 7 December 2014

A Man Is Not A Man.....

Well, I've been looking through some of those old note books, mentioned in my last post.

They certainly make fascinating reading, as they go back quite a few years. I can see some themes among the many jottings and notes within the pages and some very interesting thoughts and ideas too. I've no doubt I'll be using at least some of them here, over time.

There was one note that jumped out at me though and it was one that I'd completely forgotten about too. It was a comment on an old YouTube video of mine, which I'd made a note of. I have no idea which video it was, but the comment said, "A man is not a man until his father dies".

I've just Googled that quote to see if it may have been an old saying, but I can't find any suggestion of it being so. It does sound like an old quotation doesn't it and the kind of thing you'd find in a book?

I'm guessing that the comment was on a video I may have made when my own father died, back in January 2010. I may just have to go back and check.
I'm not sure that I would agree with the comment particularly, but I can certainly understand the meaning behind it.

I was already in my early 50's when my father died, when he was 92, so whether his death had any major impact on my life I'm not that sure, that's apart from the obvious grief and emotional impact that is.

One thing I would say though, is that that event was just the start of a pretty momentous year for me and one that has changed and influenced my life ever since. The whole year was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster.

As mentioned my father died in January 2010. My mother-in-law then died suddenly, just over a month later. My father's death was not a shock, due to his age and the fact that he'd not been well for a while. But my mother-in-laws death certainly was, so you can probably imagine the impact that had on the extended family, especially the grandchildren, to whom she was very close.

One aside from this is that, at my fathers funeral service, I gave a speech about his life and one that was very well received as it happens. Strangely enough, I didn't find that anywhere near as hard as I thought I would.
This was one area where my past experience of vlogging and talking into a video camera was a help. I treated the speech as a kind of vlog and, in an ironic twist of fate, the person I concentrated on most of the time during that speech was my mother-in-law. I have no idea why, but her's was the face that I found myself using as a form of video camera lens (I hope that makes some kind of sense?)

Part three of my annus horribilis was losing my job and being made redundant in June of 2010. Once again this was a shock, as although I knew changes were afoot, nobody expected staff members to lose their jobs, least of all me. I wasn't the only one by the way.

Naturally, this had a huge impact on my life both then and since. I was lucky in that I came out the other side in a fairly good state and am happier doing what I do now, than I ever was at work back then.
I was also lucky in that I had other interests and potential projects to fall back on, some of which were in the pages of those old note books.
So, in many ways, I am better off now than then, although not financially. But, I have learned that money isn't everything.
One possible regret though, is that I've never had the chance to go back and thank them for getting rid of me.

In September of 2010 my younger sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. Thankfully that was detected early and the subsequent treatment has meant that she is now back to full health. But, once again, this was another of those episodes that makes you stop and think about life, the universe and everything.

Since that year, my life has changed in many ways and it has also been a lot less traumatic too, thankfully. But it has changed my whole outlook on life, work, pleasure and passions. I've made many changes and I suspect there will be more to come.
I'm looking forward to it.

Change may not always come in the ways that you want it to, or would like it to. It can creep up on you when you least expect it and often there's nothing you can do about it.

Sometimes, it's not the changes themselves that affect your life, it's how you react to them. I've always tried to have a 'glass half full' mentality and I think that helped me through that year and beyond.

So, although I'm not sure that the death of my father was quite the event that made me a man, that whole year may well have been, at least, part of the reason that I am now the man I am?

PS: I've checked and I made a whole series of videos about my father's illness and subsequent death.
This is the first one: A Matter of Life and Death the 2nd is: Life is a Rollercoaster and then are a few more on the Rollercoaster theme, if you're interested. As to why I made and shared those videos? Well, maybe that's a topic for another post?

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Write It Down

I mentioned in my last post about constantly having ideas, which if I'm not careful quickly dissapear without trace into the void that is my brain.

For that very reason, I usually carry some kind of notebook and a pen around with me. The size of which depends on what I'm doing and where I'm going.
Of course, these days a mobile phone can be very useful for the same purpose. So I also find myself jotting down 'notes', or recording voice memo's into the phone. The wonders of modern technology eh?

I've been doing this for a few years now and it's amazing how much 'stuff' you can commit to paper, or phone, over time. I am currently well into my second bigger notebook, as well as still using my smaller version too.

After all, you never know when inspiration may strike and, as often happens, it can hit at the most unlikely and inappropriate moments. So having a means of making a note about that great world changing idea, or thought, is very useful

I sometimes find that, when making those notes, they can almost turn into a kind of blog post as the idea grows and expands before your eyes and your pen is frantically trying to keep up with your thought process. In fact I've been known to fill up a whole sheet of A4 paper with scribbling, before transferring the salient points to the 'proper' notebook.

(I've just noticed that I actually have another four notebooks, with loads of video ideas in them, sitting just to the side of me on my computer desk. I'd forgotten all about them, as they are several years old now and are a bit of a leftover from the days when I used to make several YouTube videos a week. I know what I'm going to be doing after finishing writing this post....)

Looking back through those books can make very interesting reading (see above).
I have notes about ideas for long abandoned schemes, websites, and apps, quotes I've heard, or read, titles of books to be read, or music to be listened to and much more.
The original ideas for both the Pierless Music website/service and The Stinger magazine can be found within those pages for example.

Keeping those old notebooks for future reference can be very rewarding too, as you never know when one of those abandoned ideas may be resurrected. Sometimes ideas are written down that you know you don't have the time for, or can commit the effort to, at that moment. So the books become a kind of storage area, ready to be accessed when the time is right.

In fact, that exact thing happened to me yesterday.
I had a meeting with somebody and during the course of the discussion I mentioned an idea I'd had a year or so ago. The idea was favourably received and the upshot of this is that I'm now going to look again into the possibilities of getting that idea off the ground, literally.
When I originally jotted that idea down, I didn't really think it was viable, rather more of a pie in the sky scheme. I did some intial research and then turned the page and went onto something else.

I was reminded of another, partly forgotten, scheme recently as well. It's one of those that I don't have the time to take any further right now, but at least all the notes and original thoughts are still there, waiting to be acted upon at some time, maybe.

So you never know. And if there's a lesson to be learned here it's that jotting those ideas, schemes and thoughts down may seem like a waste of time, and a bit of hassle, but you just never know when they may come in handy. And if you don't write them down, you can be sure that you'd never remember them again.

I know I'm very pleased that I've taken the time and made the effort to do just that over the years.

How about you?

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

I'm Still Alive.

So here I am over a year since my last post on this particular site and if you happen to care about these things you're probably wondering where the hell I've been?
As it happens I've been busier than ever, but on other sites and with different projects.

My main focus has been with The Stinger magazine, a free independent local music magazine for the Hastings area. I'm the editor of the magazine and we're now building up to publishing our 6th issue in January. Here's a link to our website: The Stinger

I've also been busy with other projects, including my own local music website Pierless Music. You can find that here: Pierless Music

So, if I'm that busy why come back here? Good question and I'm glad you've asked it.

I guess the answer to that is that I feel inspired to do so. As to what has inspired me to start posting here again.... well that will have to wait for a future post, possibly.

All I will say is that inspiration comes from the most unlikely sources and at the most unexpected times.

I've recently found myself writing more frequent posts for the Pierless Music site and scribbling down ideas for other posts as well. All this has got me back into the habit of writing, something that I've had to do over the past year due to my involvement with The Stinger.
Being the editor of the magazine has naturally meant that I've been writing more anyway.

All that other writing has obviously been very music based and generally covering very local content too. Another aspect of this is that when writing for both The Stinger and Pierless Music, I'm not always writing for myself, more for the particular publication or website. Some of these posts are of a personal nature, but not probably the sort of thing I'd think to post here. And anyway, if you wanted to read those posts, you now have the web links to go and do so.

I've no doubt, in fact I know, that some of the posts I publish on here will be at least partly music based. That comes with the territory with me I'm afraid. But I do also intend these posts to be more personal.
I even started a personal Tumblr account some time ago, with the view to writing far more personal blog posts. That never came to anything, which in hindsight may well have been a good thing.

What I'm also hoping to do is to write in a far more 'stream of consciousnes's fashion. In other words, not to think about what I'm writing too much and just let the fingers do the talking and typing. In my experience, that usually leads to a more personal outcome anyway.
My plan is not to re-read, or edit things, too much. When writing for Pierless Music, or The Stinger, I frequently go back over the posts before pressing 'send'. There's a very good reason for that of course, but those reasons don't apply here.

For those who may know me from YouTube, that's something that I used to do there when making vlogs, but I seem to have got out of the habit of doing that, once again.

I do tend to find that both writing and making vlogs becomes a habit, which also means that it's a habit you can quite easily get out of. That's what has happened with my video making. Because I'm now having to write more, rather than record vlogs, that's the way my 'output' has gone.

My stream of ideas for either vlogs, or blog posts, has never dried up. One thing I'm never short of is ideas and topics to talk about. I forget far more ideas than I ever commit to print, or video.
For instance, I had a great idea for a post this morning, the inspiration for which came from something on my Twitter feed.
I promptly forgot what that idea was and only remembered it while walking around my local supermarket, as you do, which meant fumbling for my phone and making a note of what that original idea was.

So, let's see where this takes me this time. As always it's a case of wait and see. This may take off and develop into the kind of personal blog I've been meaning to commit to for a while now, or it could fall flat on its face, once again.

Ultimately though, it doesn't matter. After all it's a personal blog that answers to nobody but me. I just hope I don't disappoint myself along the way.

Thanks for getting this far.

I hope to 'see' you again shortly.

PS: I apologise in advance for any spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

The Making Of....

I suddenly realised the other day that I haven't posted all of my more recent You Tube videos within this blog.

So, here is a follow up to my video about my appearence on the BBC in July of this year.

This video tells the story of how that tv appearence came to be and what happened during the making of that piece.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

A Social Media Policy

Some months ago I wrote a blog post for the Pierless Music site which I run called ‘A Social Media Policy’. The idea was to give bands and musicians some guidance on the potentials pitfalls of their own use of social media, based on my own experiences.

That post was well received and I was recently asked to update the post for use on the Epik Music Videos website.

They have changed the title to ‘The 10 Commandments of Social Media’, even though there are actually 16 'Commandments'. But the title does have a nice ring to it doesn’t it?

Don't worry if you're not a musician, or in a band as I think you'll find that most, if not all, of the 'Commandments' can be used for an individual too.

Here's the post: A Social Media Policy

Let me know what you think.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Radio, Video and Local Music

I've been on the radio again. This time it was for Carnival FM where I was presenting a series of Local Music Shows.

Here's a new YouTube video about it all and some things that have come out of it all.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Hastings Pier Rises Again.

I recently wrote a blog post for the Pierless Music website that I help to run and I thought I'd share it with you here.

It's all about Hastings Pier, a favourite topic of mine and it contains some good news at last.

Here's a link to that post. Please let me know your own thoughts on this, even if you live away from Hastings itself.

Hastings Pier Rises Again