I was chatting to a pretty good friend who has just turned 50 recently. I'd say she's had a pretty rough time over the years, although she'd probably smack me in the face for saying it. She asked me a question. How did I feel about being 50? (I passed this milestone last year). I said it didn't really affect me at all. I don't feel like an old man. I still play football (badly), I still play punk rock records and I still go and see Rock and Roll bands. This week I went to the 100 club to see The Strypes, a teenage RnB (in the Dr Feelgood context) who were awesome. I finished work at 5:30 pm, met up with a few mates, had six or seven pints and saw some ass kicking rock and roll. When I arrived at Mill Hill, I grabbed a big greasy box of chicken, ribs and chips from the Red Rooster. Not exactly the perfect diet for my anti cancer lifestyle, but what the hell, it was glorious. The Strypes are a simply awesome band. Perhaps one of the most exciting live acts I've seen since the Ramones, and that really is saying something. I had almost given up hope that such bands were coming through any more.
So here I am writing this blog as "Whips and Furs" by the Vibrators plays on the record player. I contemplated the question, what would I change in my life? What decisions have I made that I'd undo? What perhaps disturbs me is just how few I'd actually change. It has been a hoot. The things I'd change are probably small things. I wish I'd been a bit calmer, a bit less angry at times. I wish I'd been a little bit nicer to some people when I could have been. Perhaps since I had children I've calmed down a tad. I no longer feel the need to win every argument and I can let things go. I've learned to apologise, rather than to try and justify the unjustifyable. There is a counter side to this though. All the energy I've saved from not persuing silly arguments has had to be redirected somewhere. I suppose that is where I find the energy to write this blog.
Then I look at the wider picture. What could I have done, had I been minded to be less lazy, less self indulgent and less hedonistic? It is 4 1/2 years since I started writing this blog. The blogosphere has given illiterate, dyslexic fools such as myself a platform. This blog has had nearly a million hits. More people have read my blog than many well respected authors. I've truly no idea why the blog has been so successful. I don't think I am a good writer. I don't think my view of the world is representative. The only thing I can possibly come up with is that this blog says things that need to be said and aren't being said anywhere else.
We had an example this week, where a disgraced and discredited local politician was given nearly a full page in one of our local papers. What did he do? He spouted bile against the very person he'd been convicted of assaulting. Now in this blog, I've printed dozens of guest blogs, given lots of people a platform. People such as John Sullivan, who is fighting for the rights of his disabled daughter, Linda Edwards who fights for the rights of disabled carers and Julia Hines who is the chair of Age UK Barnet. These guest blogs are extraordinarily well read. Why can I see that these stories need telling but the local press doesn't and instead indulges petty criminal politicians who care for no one but themselves.
As I mentioned at the start of this blog, I was listening to the album "Puremania" by the Vibrators. There is a line in the song, "She's bringing you down" which says "Don't you cry, when you see her going by". As I listened to this, I thought of Mr Coleman and Helen Michael. As I pondered the lyrics and the manner of Mr Colemans downfall, I thought it was quite an appropriate anthem for Mr Coleman. I suspect that any tears Mr Coleman may shed, should he see her going by, are purely ones for his own loss.
And in answer to the question I was posed at the start of this blog, I will start feeling old when there is no more work to do for me. As John Lydon said in the lyrics of "Rise" - "Anger is an Energy". There is plenty to be angry about and whilst there is I'll have more than enough energy to get by.