So will I be celebrating? Yes, sort of. Lat year I was in no mood at all to celebrate, but this year I am in a far better place and a far better frame of mind. Last year I wrote this blog about turning fifty
I reread this and I was struck by the stark words in one particular paragraph
Which brings me to my feelings about my birthday. I am not celebrating for the simple reason that I don't really like myself very much at the moment.If I live until I'm a hundred, I'm half way through my life. I feel like I should feel happy and settled. I don't I feel angry, frustrated and restless. We live in a very imperfect world. The thing is that for reasons which I can't fathom, there seems to be a massive conspiracy being enacted to make it even worse. The NHS is under constant attack. We are denied education about healthy lifestyles and the effects of food. Food products which are scientifically proven to damage our health are sold without warnings. People are sleepwalking into cancer, heart disease and death. The environment is under constant attack by the forces of greed. In this country, there is constant pressure on the green belt. In the wider world, rainforests and coral reefs are being destroyed. I sometimes look at humanity and wonder if us, as a race are like a cancer, out of control, destroying the host planet. We could do great things, if we put our minds to it, we could solve all of the problems facing humanity. If we diverted one tenth of the money we spend on arms and one tenth of the worlds armed forces into sorting out the problems of poverty in the world, then the problems would disappear. I believe that if we eradicated injustice, organisations such as Al Quaida would simply disappear. If you look at how much money the Russians, Americans and British have spent in Afghanistan on war, arms and destruction, and say "what if we'd pulled the soldiers out, stopped supplying weapons and instead spent some of the money on developing a decent society".In many ways, my feelings have not changed, but my general happiness has. Part of that is the fact that I am no longer grieving so heavily after the death from cancer of Paul Hircombe, bass player of the False Dots for 28 years and one of my closest friends. I still miss Paul and I still have issues playing the songs we wrote together, but I feel that cycle is coming to a close. Perhaps the last year has been one of painful growing up for me. There are many things I am very conflicted about, but I have a clearer idea of what I am and who I am. There is a particularly unpleasant Barnet troll who tweeted that the only thing I am any good at is "writing about myself". Maybe he's right, maybe he's wrong, it doesn't really matter. Today I am being self indulgent and sharing my innermost thoughts. Whilst such trollish individuals clearly launch such attacks purely to try and undermine their targets and try and destroy their self belief, it can actually be a good thing for us. There is a saying that what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. My thoughts turned to the way immunisation works. We expose ourselves to a dead version of the invasive disease, to build antibodies to it. This enables us to fight off the disease when we meet the real thing. Often when we receive a vaccination, we feel ill for a few days, but in the long term we are stronger and healthier.
What I am saying is that for all of us, if we encounter such a person, often it can make us feel physically ill. It can upset us and possibly depress us. We should treat this as we would a day fever after a flu jab. The point is that once we have been immunised, there is little point continually re-immunising ourselves. After the first encounter with the dead virus, our immune system realises that this particular thing is nasty. We have the necessary defences to deal with it. We don't need any more exposure. Learn the lesson and move on. Disengage from the trolls and ignore them. Perhaps the biggest problem I have when I see such individuals is that I react to the way they find unwitting victims on media such as twitter and effectively cyberbully them. In the past I have reacted. After much thought and a very interesting discussion with friends last night, I've realises that this is not the way to deal with such attacks. What we do is simply alert the new victims that they are dealing with a rather nasty troll and advise them to disengage.
I have in the past taken the view that the way to deal with such people is to face them down head on. All that happens is you spend endless hours on Twitter and you make yourself angry and fed up. Forget them, unfollow them and ignore them.
I have in the last few days also witnessed some appalling behaviour in the world of business. Sometimes we find that people can behave in a most upsetting manner and be extremely two faced. In the past, again I would have reacted very badly to such behaviour. I must be growing up a little bit. rather than brooding and being angry, I've simply dusted off my feet and moved on. I asked myself the question why I needed to be involved with someone who I clearly couldn't trust. The answer was that whilst it was painful, I was better off out of it. That realisation made it far easier to put it behind me.
There are still challenges. I await the results of my latest PSA test and have the joy of a prostate biopsy too look forward to in September. This is a very unpleasant procedure. In truth I am dreading it as much as anything I have ever dreaded.
Thus far, I've only talked about the negatives. Lets talk for a little while about the positives. There are many. Yesterday we had the kick off meeting for the new film. Capita! The Movie. We have an extremely talented team. The production will be far better and far more ambitious than the previous efforts. These were done on a tight budget and rushed to meet deadlines. This film has to be technically perfect. Wheras with the two Barnet films, we made them to coincide with specific decisions and to raise awareness in relation to these, the new film is not being done to such pressures. I am genuinely excited. For the previous films, myself as producer and Charles Honderick as director did everything and were rushed and stressed by it. For this film, we can stick to our designated roles and give 100% focus to this. I am genuinely excited.
Then there is my business, Mill Hill Music Complex. The past 18 months has been incredibly tough. We launched a new studio complex and have faced a monumental task in getting it right. Monday saw the launch of our new website, one of the final pieces in the jigsaw - http://www.millhillmusiccomplex.co.uk - at last we are starting to reap the rewards. There is some incredibly exciting news about the studios, however I am embargoed for a few days. Lets just say that some of our customers are going to be making a few waves very soon.
I was born under a lucky star. I am approaching the next year of my life in a positive frame of mind. I feel like I am coming to the end of a difficult cycle of my life that started in 2008 with the death of my mum, my father in law and my mother in law. It has been a traumatic and awful five years, culminating with the death of Paul last year. In many ways, writing this blog has helped me deal with the issues and grief. I also think it has made a difference.
One of my beliefs is that every year our birthday gives us a chance to take stock, look at the last year and say "did we do alright?", analyse our mistakes and learn the lessons. Having done that we can look forward to the forthcoming year and take on the challenges, armed with the weapon of knowledge we have acquired through these struggles.
The last few years have been ones of tears, pain, sadness and hurt. Through this blog, we've seen all manner of terrible things happen in our locality. One could be down and depressed, but we are still standing and we have much more in our locker than when we started.
Many apologies if, as my trollish friend implied, this is all a bit self indulgent. It's only once a year so why not?
Many thanks to all of my blog readers. It took me fifty years to get my first million blog hits. Who knows where we'll be in 2014 ? I just hope that in a years time, we are all here, happier and healthier and looking back on a year we can be proud of.
In the last year we've made a film "Barnet - The Billion Pound Gamble", We've saved Friern Barnet Library, we've seen Brian Coleman beat up a woman, get convicted as a criminal and be kicked out of the Conservative Party, we've seen the death of Lady Thatcher former MP for Finchley, we've seen the arrival of Saracens RFC in Barnet and the departure of Barnet FC to Harrow, we've seen a highly successful Mill Hill Music Festival.We've shared all of this and much more besides. Who knows what we'll be looking back on in a years time. Lets hope it is all good
And on a final note, just as I finished writing this my wife gave me my birthday present. "First Issue" on vinyl by PiL. It doesn't get much better !