A relief

Forgive the mess in this picture, Nala’s bedroom is being renovated. I wish I were kidding…

Actually it’s a weird room off of our kitchen that leads to the garden. When we bought our house the surveyor said ‘pull it down’.

Their exact words.

We know an amazing builder who said we could fix it. Hooray! Reduce, reuse, recycle probably isn’t supposed to apply to your house but it still seems like the thing to do.

The title of this post, relief, is down to my puppy and my weekend. Nala met a delightful 14 month old this weekend and was pretty much perfect.

The baby shuffled on the floor, Nala watched.

The baby laughed and shouted, Nala glanced and carried on her work on a bone.

The baby screamed, Nala checked everyone was ok and just chilled.

This was the relief of all reliefs. I could not be happier. Weirdly I’m not worried about the baby being born, lack of sleep etc at all, I just worry about Nala’s reaction. Test 1 passed with flying colours.

Now let’s get her to walk beside the buggy…

A week of YouTube – John Butler

I was sat at a friends house and we were discussing the future of our band (spoiler, there was no future. RIP band). My friend was chatting about how he enjoyed the technicality of metal but the soul of acoustic music.

I thought this was very wise, and quite a cool thing to say. I decided there and then I would tell someone else those were my feelings at some point in the near future.

My friend then turned to me and said ‘listen to this, if only we could play like this guy’.

That is how I was introduced to John Butler. I started collecting his albums and listen to a recent live album ‘The tin shed tales’ at least once a month.

It is just beautiful and I’m glad my friend introduced me to this song. It makes me smile, relax and celebrate that some people practiced so much that they got incredible at guitar.

Just to make it slightly more modern, here’s a new version. Though sadly there is 100% less dreadlocks.

I read it somewhere – The most recent

Ian Wright, Wright, Wright.

When you write football chants down they don’t have the same affect as when sung.

I was 9 years old and was on my way to my first Arsenal game at Highbury. Junior gunner autograph book in hand. I was prepared. I didn’t have a replica shirt at that point because they cost too much. I think I wore as much red as I owned.

That game sticks in the mind for many reasons, John Jensen scored his only goal for the club (if anyone can get their hands on a ‘I was there when John Jensen scored’ T-shirt I will be forever grateful), we lost to QPR and my friends dad warned us that if he ever heard us saying those swear words in the songs at home we could never come back to Highbury or any other football match. That threat was enough to put me off swearing for the whole of my time at primary school.

Back to the matter at hand. Ian Wright, and really autobiographies in general.

I love them.

A good biography has always been of more interest than any work of fiction to me. To come away feeling like you know someone a little bit, with some snippets to reflect on and apply (or avoid as it may be). Time well spent.

Footballer biographies have always been a bit hit or miss. Whilst their skill on the pitch can’t be questioned, their lives can occasionally be rather repetitive unless you want a blow by blow account of goals they scored. This book was different.

If I loved Ian Wright before I read the book, I admire him now.

The book is about progression, never staying still and always going for more.

He could have continued with a bad crowd when he was young, he didn’t.

He could have given up after countless rejections from clubs all over the country, he didn’t.

He could have accepted his fate at any point. Instead it appears that he moulded it.

As the book draws to a close he talks about his marriages and family. When I read athletes accounts of their relationships you can feel rather sorry for the partner, the unrepentant athlete who was never around moved on. I will never know Ian Wright’s situation in detail but he came across as humble about his mistakes and trying to move past them to be the best man he can be. I respect that.

That’s what is great about biographies, insight to heroes that you would never otherwise have. See the person behind the goals, chants and Nike commercials.

Also, one major positive in my book – an entire chapter dedicated to my favourite player of all time Dennis Bergkamp.

Mr Wright, thank you for the goals and for your book.

Taking a moment on a Sunday

I try to make Sundays slightly different to the rest of the week. Less e mail and social media, more relaxation and being present.

Today I shall be thinking about this quote:

Taking in the good, whenever and wherever we find it, gives us new eyes for seeing and living.

Krista Tippett

That’s it. Happy Sunday, today I will be looking for the good and focussing on that.

Things I love – music from the other day

I work in Brighton, East Sussex. Brighton people love music. They love it a lot. 

People are very committed to finding and appreciating new music. Go to Resident on Record Store day and expect to queue for most of the morning. 

In my experience it’s always been this way, the genres have just changed. When I was growing up we would go and watch rock and punk (pop punk I should say…) gigs, love the music and and probably never hear of that band again. You then have the conversations that go something like 

‘didn’t that bass player go to join the lanky sprockets’

‘Oh yes, but they disbanded and became the lars’

‘Oh. That’s a shame the sprockets were great’

‘Yes. Yes they were’

‘I miss them’

‘Probs too soon for that. Oh mate…no… don’t cry.’

These days I try to keep up with new music but just can’t.

It’s exhausting. 

This week I have decided to embrace that and only listen to music I loved years ago. 

Blink 182, Take off your pants and jacket. Makes me think I am 15 and playing PlayStation 1.

Red hot chili peppers, By the way. When I hear The Zephyr song it reminds me of the first band I was in. We were utterly obsessed with the chilis and I was convinced I would become Flea. We were rubbish and slap bass/jazz trumpet continues to allude me.

Matt Costa, Songs we sing. I met my now wife shortly after buying this album. It reminds me of drives in my Fiesta with her and finding out all the things we wanted to know about each other. I also decided I wanted to be a surfer and wanted to be with Pippa forever listening to this. I never became a surfer.

Very sentimental, but true nonetheless. 

In listening to these albums again I not only reflect on what they meant but I give them new meaning. 

Matt Costa ‘Sunshine’ will now have the meaning of not only meeting the woman of my dreams, but now decorating the nursery of our first baby. 

By the way now reminds me of the bands I used to be in, but now of dancing in the living room with my puppy. 

Experiencing music from an earlier part of life is wonderful for the nostalgia rush, but giving them new meaning is even more wonderful. 

I realise I didn’t cover Blink 182. What can I say? It put me in a good mood aged 15, it still does. Can’t wait to play it to baby Tucker. When Pippa isn’t home probably…