Time Heals…Just Very Slowly

8 08 2014

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The problem with time is that you don’t realize how little of it there is of it until it’s gone. We are all guilty of thinking that we have enough of it to do everything that we hope – or want – to do, without really appreciating that the clock starts ticking from the moment that we arrive screaming into the world.

Henry Rollins, ex-lead singer of Black Flag and one of my favorite spoken-word performers, has often talked about how important even individual minutes are, citing the fact that people who are unable to negotiate quickly through airports are – in many ways – robbing him of precious moments. Granted, the man spends the majority of his existence flying from one location to another and, presumably, he has got his travelling etiquette down to a fine art, but the fact is that we rarely know how much time we have.

In February of this year, my father passed away. Ten months after being diagnosed with cancer, he lost his battle and departed this mortal coil. Everybody dies, it’s an unquestionable fact. But it doesn’t make things any easier, knowing that you will never see somebody again or that you will never have the chance to talk or even laugh with them in the future.

People often have a standard response to the news that a loved one is no longer with us, most of which are intended to provide comfort. They have gone “to a better place,” or they are now looking down on us from above. Of course, these are words that have little real meaning during the grieving process, most of which is spent thinking about the hole that a person has left behind. And, once again, time becomes the issue.

“It was his/her time,” “when it’s your time,” “it’s time to let go.” In the last six months, I have heard all of these seemingly stock phrases, most of them in the days and weeks following Dad’s death. The friends and relatives that have said them mean well, but they disguise a fear of their own mortality, an acceptance that one day somebody will be applying the same sentiment to the end of their lives.

Those who take solace in religion will tell you that that person is no longer suffering, is now able to enjoy their reward in heaven and that they will be waiting for us in a venue that seems to have no overcrowding issues – despite the fact that the dead have been relocating there for hundreds of years.

Today is Dad’s birthday. He would have been 72. Every year I tried to get him something that he didn’t have – a near-impossible task that inevitably required the input of my mother and was almost always related to a book that he wanted…one of the few things that we had in common was a love of print and physical rather than virtual reading.

It goes without saying that the last few months have been tough, just one of the reasons why I haven’t been active in the blogosphere…but without him wanting to read some of my latest musings, I have found it difficult to get motivated.

However I wanted to get something up today, just to let people know that he is never out of my thoughts.

At his over-crowded memorial service in February, I read aloud my final letter to him, and it just seems appropriate that I reproduce it here, on a blog that he read and (occasionally) agreed with. If you want to know what I said on February 14, then feel free to click the button – but only if you have the time.

Read the rest of this entry »





Charging our phones to cope with the end of days…

17 02 2013

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Over the years, I have contemplated Armageddon hundreds of times. Not in a how do I achieve it sort of way, but more along the lines of what happens when civilization breaks down and the ants – or worse, the programming department at MTV – take over.

Pop culture has prepared me for a worst-case scenario, normally to the sound of a power ballad and the sight of some last heroic act of defiance. With the destruction of most of the planet  now assured,  the natural consequence of this anticipated disaster is always a plucky band of survivors who set out to rebuild society, while fighting off zombies or Republicans.

This is, of course, utter bobbins. Read the rest of this entry »





Giving Thanks for Thursday

22 11 2012

Having been an overseas observer of the US festival of thanks for the majority of my 44 years, I admit that I have always found it be slightly odd.

Without wishing to take anything away from the day itself, there are just a number of anomalies that stand out and make me smile.

For millions of Americans and transplanted ex-pats, it is a day to spend with family or friends and stuff yourself full of turkey/vegetarian alternative while watching TV. Or Christmas as it is known in the UK.

America basically shuts down for Thanksgiving. Even the most corporate of evil commercial chains seem to have shuttered their doors for a few hours, while across the country, people are getting together and giving thanks for something (spoiler alert: that’s where the name came from). It’s a good day to hang out, drink beer and eat food. Perfect preparation for the shopping bonanza on Black Friday that follows the Thursday of Thanks.

That’s the first thing.

Unlike most other holidays, TG doesn’t have a set date. It exists in a nebulous “fourth-thursday-of-november” sort of way, the date changing every year – which must be really confusing if you want to claim being born on Thanksgiving… Read the rest of this entry »





Happy Columbus Day…well worth celebrating

8 10 2012

As a proud Englishman, there are many things that my country did to other sovereign nations that make me feel a bit ashamed.

This is a discussion for another day, but as America celebrates the  achievements of Chris Columbus by allowing school kids to play outside my office window, I thought I would join in the fun by posting a picture.

Enjoy your day….





Has it only been three weeks?

2 06 2012

Taking a break from the blogosphere is like missing out on episodes on your favorite television program or letting your weekly magazines form a dusty pile in the corner of the room.

21 days may not seem like much time to be off the grid (especially when you consider that most Brits think two weeks on the Costa Del Sol in August is a “nice long holiday”) but it’s really easy to let the act of regular blogging slip through your fingers and that time wasted on other “physical” pursuits can never be virtually retrieved.

I admit that I don’t follow the golden rules of web-logging.

Sometimes I flood the web with my random thoughts and commentary on life’s mysteries, other times I ignore it like you would do a crying child on a long-haul flight – you know it’s there, you think you should acknowledge it with some sort of irritated stare/comment but it’s a lot easier to bung your headphones on and blank it out completely.

The other problem is that when you don’t sit down on a regular basis and get your thoughts down, you run the risk of missing the chance to pass “informed” judgement on things that are going on in the world. Read the rest of this entry »





Has It Only Been Fifty Years?

12 05 2012

Fifty years ago today, my Mum and Dad got married. May 12, 1962…in a small church in Barnet, with a small ceremony.

I know that I don’t normally use this blog for anything other than cynical reflections on politics, religion and pop culture but in a world that increasingly fails to understand the true nature of partnership, my parents have been together since they met at a Church Hall towards the end of the 1950’s.

They were married before man walked on the moon, before Concorde took to the skies and when the Berlin Wall was still a symbol of the Cold War. They have seen Presidents fall and colonies become independent. They were man and wife before the Internet became the trendy way to find your perfect partner, they didn’t need a computer to rate their compatibility… they just knew.

Fifty years is a long time…unless you get to share it with the right person.

So I am raising a virtual glass to them on their special day. May there be many more.





Raising a Glass to George on May Fourth…

4 05 2012

Another day, another celebration.

In 1977, George Lucas introduced us to a galaxy that was quite far away and inadvertently created a new religion. He populated this new universe with a host of colorful characters and brand merchandising on a galactic scale.

Since then, the world has never been the same.

In honor of Star Wars Day – it’s May 4th, as in “May the fourth be with you”… – this is my personal top five list of things I love about George’s baby and what parts of the 6 films (the three proper ones and the CGI prequels) that just annoy me. Read the rest of this entry »