My mate Steptoe advised me this morning to filter my Boblog material a little bit before putting fingers to keyboard.
I must therefore omit my dream last night which had something to do with me on all fours, barking like a dog, forcing my way into a play I had gone to watch and getting the biggest laugh of the night. There was also my dream about being at a football match and helping to eject a lout who attacked a player, and as I walked back to the stand noticing for the first time the clairvoyant booth next to the hot dog and burger stand in the ground. I cannot mention the news about the Wombles and what Bernard Cribbins may have done to them, which explains why Oldham-born Madame Cholet is so traumatised that she speaks with a French accent.
So, thanks to Steptoe, I am self-censoring. It is like living in a dystopian Orwellian nightmare. I had one of those last night too.
Bernard Cribbins was on the Danny Baker show this morning. I really really like BC and even own an early 60s single he released, ‘I’ve grown accustomed to her face’. He has his autobiography out so I have just ordered that at the local library. He was in The Railway Children of course, but also Carry On films and perhaps not so famously he was the original Charlie in TV series Charlie’s Angels.
I have managed a few books from the library in the last few weeks. Violet recommended ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ to me which was a warm life-affirming piece by Mitch Albom. It was about Mitch’s old teach Morrie who he connected back with in the last few months of his life – “Their rekindled relationship turned into one final ‘class’: lessons in how to live”. If you ever feel like you spend your life working and forget why, then this is a good book to reflect on.
On a rather different level I really enjoyed Ewan Flynn’s ‘We are Sunday League’ about his team Wizards FC, who played in the Edmonton and District Sunday Football League. Really good and loved the chapter about the player who went on to captain Gibraltar as they become accepted as a EUFA and then FIFA member nation.
For some reason I also took out ‘Poems for Life’ from the library. I found myself focussing on end-of-life poems and was drawn to Dylan Thomas’ famous poem;
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light
That’s who I want to be but don’t we all?
One I did not know I share here. Ernest Dowson’s ‘Vitae summa brevis spem nos vetat incohare longam’
They are not long, the weeping and the laughter
Love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.
They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.
Look this is a bit of culture ok? Perhaps a bit depressing too though….
While I am on that subject, last week on the 10th it was World Mental Health Day.
This happened to coincide with one of my thankfully rare but occasional relapses into depression. It is not something about me that I broadcast but I am always very open about it. We all experience mental health problems in very different ways and have tools to cope. My tools worked for me and meant I contained it in about six days – not easy though when you have job interviews, work and general life to get on with. How tough must it have been for people even 10 years ago?
People looking out for you. Some friends noticed I was absent from social media; others picked up on my last blog. Just having someone ask ‘are you ok?’ is an immense help when you mood and self esteem are dragging along the ground.
Talking. My friend Smiley chatted with me for 90 mins and I felt like the weight of the world started to lift. It is not just someone listening and not judging you, it is being able to talk and try and express out loud what is happening in your head.
Drugs. Don’t knock the pharmaceutical options to help with mental health. They work.
Time. Just reminding yourself that there is no quick fix does help. You cannot rush recovery. I am lucky that I have family and friends who understand this and / or try to understand. The problem is that you can still appear to be functioning, to be laughing and silly, when you are disintegrating inside and desperate to crawl into a dark corner alone. Things were so dark a week ago and now I feel nearly back to ‘normal’.
I am sharing this in the spirit of being open about mental health. So many of us struggle. I know and have known so so many people who have battled depression, work-place stress, anxiety, low mood and other more serious conditions going to the extremes of behaviour and being unable to cope. By reading or speaking to someone and hearing that they have similar problems is such a help. If anyone reads this and you want to reach out for help, just let me know.
One timely support was a band I have featured in my blog before, the Essex Ska band Death of Guitar Pop. On World Mental Health Day the singer Silky put the following video on You Tube and Facebook about his own struggles and offering himself as a sounding board to others. Inspiring for a young band, two geezer blokes, being open about what is still often seen as a weakness and a stigma especially – in my view – in relation to men in a work environment. Well done Silky.
Blimey, this is more serious than usual.
Been out working in Qatar again. My best breakfast was simple scrambled eggs on toast with coffee and juice. My best dinner was the weekly ‘Butcher’s night’ in the hotel restaurant where they have tonnes o top quality raw meat which they cook to order. I am not a steak man – and they had huge T Bones – so opted for lamb kofta and a large lamb chop. The others seemed to eat daft portions of meat. Unbelievable.
I was more restrained in Business Class this time. No booze flying out and little on the way back. Couldn’t even face a full meal on the way back. Watched three films including ‘A Quiet Place’ which is great.
The travel highlight was the fact they put a bright yellow First Class label on my suitcase at Doha airport. As it came round on the belt at Heathrow a bloke said to his partner ‘First Class. Who the fuck’s is that?’, and then starred open-mouthed as scruffy Primark-jeaned oompah loompah Bob grabbed the case. Must have though I was an eccentric billionaire. Ha ha!
So not much work in the week ahead so back to job applications and dog walking. Having shut myself off for a week or so it will be time to go out again. Oo, that reminds me, me and Steptoe went to see Craig Cash et al’s ‘Early Doors’ the live stage show at the Hammersmith Apollo the other week. Half of the BBC2 sitcom characters were in it and the replacements were very good too. It was excellent and so funny. Just the word ‘circus’ cracks me up.
Hard working coppers Phil and Nige are having a tough time as the law becomes more and more rigid to apply – “Evidence is the new buzzword Ken”.
Standing ovation at the end and quite right too. Didn’t expect that much but it was brilliant.
The Walking Dead is back. Great as ever. Also a one off This Country special which I highly recommend.
Right my next Boblog will be the usual non-serious drivel. Lucky no one reads it.