It’s been ages since I last blogged – and it feels right to start again. With a good old rant.
For me, it started in 1999. I had settled down in the cinema to watch The Sixth Sense – having been told there was a big twist at the end. After 5 minutes, my ex leaned over to me and whispered “do you think he’s dead?” 🙄😡
I’m not even sure if ‘spoilers’ was a word back then. It only really became part of my vocabulary when River Song started to use it in Doctor Who 😆 So, although I can’t blame social media for starting it, it’s got much worse since the advent of FB and Twitter etc. Whether it’s the plot of a new film, or a major twist in a tv show, some folks just like to let you know that they know something you don’t 🤷🏻♀️ I really don’t understand the mindset that thinks it’s lots of fun to spoil other people’s enjoyment.
I’m not talking about FB fan pages where you know people will have seen something and are discussing it. Those are easy to avoid. And mostly people will stick a huge **SPOILERS** warning at the top of any posts involving discussions about plots. For example, I enjoy NCIS (you might have noticed 😉). But the UK is a couple of months behind what they’re watching in the US (and I like to record a few episodes and have a bit of a binge-watch), so I know to mute the pages involving fandoms until I get caught up. But, when I was on Twitter, it was inevitable that someone, somewhere would stick up a tweet with the big ‘reveal’. That’s not the reason why I’ve deleted my Twitter account – it was all so angry and negative and depressing on there, so I decided to ‘protect my peace’ – but it was so annoying whenI was scrolling through my timeline, the day after a film was released and there was the twist at the end revealed in a random post. And once you see it, you can’t unsee it 🤬
And it’s not just spoilers. It’s all the endless speculation about where a series is going and what will happen to a character. I’m glad I was able to read the Lord Of The Rings and the Potter books without being flooded with everyone’s opinions of how it was going to (or should) end. Back in the olden days it was my boyfriend refusing to tell me if Frodo and Sam get to Mount Doom and who dies in the books! Or my girlfriend, who was reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince before me, refusing to tell me why she was crying as she got towards the end.
And don’t even get me started on all the moaning about whether something, in a new incarnation of a series that started in the 1960s, is ‘canon’. That’s a whole blog in itself.
So, with the last of the Avengers movies coming out next week, a whole season of Star Trek Discovery to watch and a collection of NCIS episodes saved up on my a TiVo to gave a binge-watch at some point, I’d like to raise a glass to all the people who are too good and decent to post spoilers 🥰🥰🥰
There. I’ve got that off my chest.
Be kind to each other.
Well, here it is. New Year is almost upon us – and this is my summary of 2018 (NB figures quoted may not be entirely accurate 😉)
January was about six months long 😬
Then, the Beast from the East struck and we froze for six months (and I ran out of milk!) ❄️💨❄️
Then we sweltered for another six months ☀️😓☀️
Then it was Halloween 👻
And then it was Christmas for another six months 🎄
For me, personally, the year went something like this:
It started OK – plans were made 😊
And, then it got a bit shit 💩
And then it got a lot shit – all plans were cancelled 😕💩
Then it was worse fucking shit than the shittiest shit you can imagine 💩😣💩
But, finally, it got a bit better – plans have started being made again 🙂
And now we’re nearly at the end of 2018 😃
Thank fuck 😆
Here’s to 2019. As Prof Brian Cox once said – things can only get better, Can’t they 😉
Be kind to each other. Love from me and River xx
Yesterday was my annual visit to my family for “let’s do Christmas early, because Jan is very selfish and prefers to do Lord Of The Rings Day on 25th December” Day 😆
And surprisingly (given the events earlier in the year where my dad and I hurled abuse at each other), it went really well. But, as expected, we were all in full-on reminiscing mode. We (obviously) stuck to Christmases when all was calm and all was bright, but it was good fun.
One oft-told story about one of my first Christmases was repeated – and it finally dawned on me that my preference for alone time on a regular basis started very early.
It was Christmas 1959. I was approaching two years old and this was my second Christmas. I was still an only-child (oh those halcyon days when I didn’t have to share 😆) and I was also the first grandchild and the first girl born in my dad’s family for a very long time. So there was a huge fuss made of me and loads of presents under the tree. And, although I was still too young to really comprehend what was going on, the family went completely overboard on the day.
(I’m a tad older in this picture, but it’s cute, so who cares 😉)
There was a lot of “oh Jan, look at this” and “Jan, look what Gran Beaton’s given you” and “this one’s from Aunty A and Uncle P” and “let’s look at this next”. I’m fairly certain my parents were having a brilliant time and I probably was too.
But, once all the fuss settled down and all the presents were opened, I must have decided I’d had enough. I picked up a doll and took myself up onto a chair and completely ‘zoned-out’, as my dad puts it. It must have made an impact – because, even in the depths of Alzheimer’s, my Mum remembers it. She said “your eyes glazed over and you didn’t respond to anything”. Dad wanted to try to ‘jolly’ me out if it – but Mum persuaded him to just leave me alone. So, they gave me some time to just sit and after about an hour, I came round and was fine again.
And that, ladles and jellyspoons is the first occasion of my frequent “There has been too much peopling, I can’t people again for a while” 😆
That story prompted other memories from my sister of Christmases when I did the same thing and took myself off to read in a corner, or when I got so overwhelmed by all the laughing and excitement, that I sat on the stairs and cried for half and hour. For some reason it’s quite reassuring that this response to various excitements turns out to be a lifelong thing – and it’s not something I invented as a grown-up. I love to see people. I even enjoy a party (now and again), but I need a bit of quiet time too. And, if that’s you too, know that it’s fine. And if it’s not and (like my sister) if you thrive in the peopling bits of life, that’s fine too.
I wish you a happy festive season – and hope you all have a perfect balance of peopling and quiet time.
Be kind to each other xx
I suppose I was in shock that first year. I told my family that Christmas was cancelled. I went to see them on Boxing Day as usual, but I didn’t want any of the trappings of the ‘Festive Season’. I just hibernated on the actual day. I had a movie marathon and watched the Lord of The Rings films back to back. And, despite the awfulness of the situation, it was lovely. Sort of familiar and comforting. And thus Lord of the Rings Day was born. Since then, even though I’ve recovered and although I’ve had the odd invitation to have Christmas dinner with people, I’ve always preferred to just hibernate at home. I make a big fuss about the LotR day and how much I love it – and I do love it. But it is slightly bittersweet and just now and again I do shed a (small) tear for the years gone by, before I pull myself back to the present and thank Twitter (and now Facebook) for the people I’ve met – the gifts that keep on giving.
Like most of my blogs, this one has had a couple of versions. When I started writing it, a couple of weeks ago, I was in a bit of a grumpy place. I’m still in the throes of drug withdrawal symptoms and my mood swings would be seriously impressive if they weren’t so horrible (this will also, I hope, let you excuse me for it being a bit all over the place 😬). Anyway, this began as a bit of a rant about how I didn’t ‘do’ music during and following the events of my last two relationships. Which is partly true (you will still see some of the angry stuff in here)(well, it wouldn’t be one of my blogs without them, would it?) but I think the final version has mellowed into something that is a little bit happier 😃
If Music Be The Food Of Love – Famine or Feast edition 😉
It was a Sunday morning. And I was trying to cheer myself up by doing a bit of kitchen dancing to one of my music playlists (as you do) 💃 They say you should ‘fake it till you make it’, and this definitely works for me now. I love putting ‘My Happy Stuff’ on shuffle, because I get a bit of variety – all my favourite tunes from the last 60 years interspersed with the soundtrack of Lord of the Rings and occasional chapters of a Harry Potter book (these are from before I figured out how my technology works – and I’ve just left them there, for sentimental reasons 😂). It’s damn near perfect 😆
On this particular morning, as the songs rolled on, I realised how most of the music was pre-1994. There was nothing there that came from after I met Sarah. And my negative train of thought (dangerous things, those trains 😳) took me to a place where I remembered being constantly annoyed with her for never being able to play all this music when we were at home together. And remembering the same thing going on with my last girlfriend 😡
I’m not someone who has ever been a serious music buff. I never fell into the John Peel mode of following all the new bands and finding out what the next big thing is (or what I ‘should’ be listening to, to be one of the cool gang). But I always knew what I liked (and what I didn’t) and enjoyed singing loudly and tunelessly in the car. In the days before the back pain thing set in, I also loved going to gigs – I was at Knebworth to see Led Zeppelin, saw Queen at the Apollo in Glasgow and there was Live Aid, of course. Not forgetting the scary/brilliant sensation (also at the Apollo) of the balcony bouncing as hundreds of Status Quo fans jumped up and down! Sadly I can’t do live music any more unless the gig is seated – and sitting down gigs are never as much fun 😕
Looking back it felt as though, between the 18 years of that relationship and the debacle of the rebound one that followed, I had lost music from my life altogether. Sarah had music in her very soul. She hated anything she considered mainstream – it had to be things that were new. Things that other people hadn’t discovered yet. And it’s not that I actually hated any of her choices (mostly) – some of it was great and has stayed with me (as will be explained). That relationship started in the early days of music being mobile. It wasn’t as easy to listen on the go as it is now. So most of the music that was played, was played at home. But, when an album went on, it never seemed to be one of mine that was playing. And once it was clear that she wasn’t exactly overjoyed at my (old 😉) music, I started to only listen to my stuff when she wasn’t there – which wasn’t often. Eventually I stopped playing my music at all. I’d tell her (and myself) that music has never been important to me. And I think I actually started to believe it.
After we broke up (and as I healed and got past the stage where ANY song reminded me of her in one way or another), my music very gradually started to come back into my life. I started listening to music radio again. But then I fell in love – with someone with a huge musical life 🙄. And off I went again. One of the stranger moments – in a sea of strange moments in that relationship – was sitting at home, happily enjoying one of my own choices from the Sonos playlist I was setting up. Then I got a text from her, commenting on the song and laughing about it. This was when she was at work, miles away, but tuned in to all the remote network stuff at home. That was seriously creepy 😳. And, because my choices of music seemed to be hilarious and less ‘valid’ than hers, I went back into ‘let’s just play your stuff’ mode. When you love someone and they love something so much, it seems easier to let things go. And watching her create her own music genuinely made me very happy, so I focussed on that. Even when I was doing all that driving up and down the A1(M) I had a CD that she had made up for me to listen to 😆
So, for nearly 25 years, I allowed my choices of music to be secondary to my significant others’. But very, very slowly over the last couple of years, the music’s crept back. It’s been brilliant to figure out this new technology thing and to start putting my own playlists together (I’m a slow learner 😂).
My current playlists have a whole heap of songs that come from my childhood. (If You’re Going To San Francisco and In The Year 2525, for example) and some from my teenage years (much David Cassidy – my first and only true love) and a smattering of the songs from the long hot summer of 1976 (Chicago, Bellamy Brothers, Dr Hook), the year my life changed in so many ways 💜😢
And now I’ve even bought a turntable – so I’ve been able to listen to some of my ancient vinyl collection as it is supposed to be listened to – crackles and all. The vinyl has been gathering dust on a bookshelf for years and the spines are destroyed by assorted cats scratches (the purists would be horrified), but it was flicking through all those dusty album covers that brought back memories of so many people and places and the songs that remind me of them.
In my teens, there was Laurence, who sang Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline to me. I still sing this one for my baseball team (Go Red Sox!) and I think about him every time I hear it 💜. Charlie and I played Elton and Kiki when we sang Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, and lovely, lovely Tommy……sigh……he had me head banging to Status Quo’s Down Down.
In my early 20s, David and I had FreeBird by Lynyrd Skynyrd and I remember Stuart and I doing the “On a hot summer night would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses” bit from Meatloaf (cringy and corny and stupidly funny – that makes me smile) 😍 That whole album takes me right back to parties in the Bellsdyke Nurses Home. The entire party singing Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad 😃
So, sometines it’s not specific songs, it’s the sound of certain voices, artists and albums that remind me of people I loved and all those important moments in time. Charlie showed me Janis Joplin’s genius and Stuart gave me Harry Chapin and the Moody Blues and Pink Floyd. David gave me Led Zeppelin and The Who. Ian, who I was engaged to for a while (have I ever mentioned that I nearly got married to a guy 😳) was a huge fan of The Jam, so I got Paul Weller.
Then, when I swapped sides, I picked up Carole King and Billy Joel and kd lang from the first woman I fell in love with.
So, dear reader, there I was on that Sunday morning, kitchen dancing – and feeling thoroughly pissed off about all the years of missing listening to these and being ‘deprived of my music’ and I started writing a blog. But, as I wrote, it dawned on me how much of my music came from places of love. And then I started to remember the good stuff from the Sarah era and I checked my CD collection. Blimey, there’s some bloody good stuff in there!
In spite of having dwelled on how much I’d been deprived of, it turns out I gained so much more. The music she gave me is wonderful. It started with Bjork and Jefferson Airplane and then there was Radiohead and REM. I got Snow Patrol, The Reindeer Section (‘You Are My Joy’ was ‘our song’) and Coldplay (just the early stuff, because they went ‘mainstream’ 😂). And, for good measure I have a love of Bach Cello Suites and some Gregorian Chanting (I know – some eclectic stuff).
For just those things, I will always love what she added to my life. And now I can happy-dance to all the music that reminds me of her and other past loves without feeling any of the angst. Maybe in a few years, I’ll be able to play the song the last one wrote about me (although, as with most things, it’s actually more about her)(What? Still angry? Moi? Never 😆) without cringing about what happened at the end. Or maybe I won’t 😜🙄
I could add a hundred other things to this list of songs of my life – ones that aren’t necessarily about relationships, but still take me back to moments in time, but this was what came off the top of my head. So I’ll leave it here.
So, apart from realising that I had way more boyfriends than I thought, back in my yoof 😉, I think what came out of this for me was finally realising just how important music really has been to me. It has been the food of (and fed by) love my whole life 🎶💜🎶. And I have resolved that, whatever happens in the future, my music stays. No more famine, just thefeast 😊
So, from anger to contentment in one blog. Not a bad result. Thank you to the boyfriends/ girlfriends/ partners/ wife who helped me find the music I love.
Be kind to each other x