Saturday, 14 March 2015

Rog T's Cancer Blog - Friday the 13th - Part III - Redemption

First of all, thanks to everyone who expressed their concern and care after the two blogs I wrote yesterday ( ) about the latest stage in my journey and the frustrations I had yesterday. 

I thought I'd just post a little follow up, as it doesn't tell the whole story of my day. From what I wrote, you may reasonably expected me to fall into a bit of a blue period. I took an hour out of my schedule to take the call and digest it, then I had to work. Work is a great thing for the soul. It forces us to focus on things other than the problems in our life. When many people fall ill, they stop work and fall into periods of depression. I prefer the alternative. I prefer to throw myself into work.

If you work with someone who is suffering from cancer, don't automatically assume that they want less work and less stress. Some stress is good stress. If somene tells you they have cancer, I would say that the correct response is "Is this something you'd like to discuss and how can I help you get through this". In my case, the answer is that I have no sympoms at the moment so I don't really need any help, but if I get a bit tense around the time of tests etc, please bear with me. As far as I am concerned, for people in my situation, on active surviellance, the issues are purely psychological. All I ask is that if I am a bit short sometime, maybe make a slight allowance as I may have things on my mind. 

When we have setbacks and stress, it is not inevitable that we fall into depression, but we need help and support to cope. Now quite by chance, I had the best possible therapy for my feelings of  stress and frustration. I had a rehearsal booked with my band, The False Dots. We have recently been doing some recordings and it was a first opportunity to get into the studio and review the recordings. So myself, Allen, Fil and Graham arrived at the studio shortly after 5pm. We spent a couple of hours reviewing the recordings and Allen did some vocal overdubs. I was actually amazed at just how great some of the songs sound. I was particularly pleased with my own guitar playing on some of the tracks. I am not a great technical player, but I like to think I've got good feel for music. I was really pleased with the way the recordings came across. They are rough pre prod takes to allow us to refine the arrangements, however I loved the raw energy. They were recorded completely live and there is  a real energy in the recordings.

We spent the final hour playing through the 15 songs that make up our set. We have written two new  songs - "Saturday", a football anthem about our love for the experience of going to a match and "In a Silent Place" which is a song about catching up with a long lost love via Facebook - it is a song about finding yourself. Both are co-written by Allen and myself. I am really pleased with them. We have also reprised "The Fern House" which was the last song we worked on in 1985 before Allen quit the band. It sounds amazing. Interestingly I think we play it far better now than we did when we wrote it originally. For some rather intangible reason, we were on fire. We finished the set as we always do, with "Action Shock", which is a song I wrote in 1982. It was based on an interview I saw with a British Paratrooper in the Falklands on TV. He said "When I see my enemy on the battlefield, one of us will not survive. I can't afford to worry about his feelings" in repsonse to a rather stupid question that is lost in the sands of time.  It is an extremely powerful song and one which always gets a response. I think yesterday we played it better than we have ever played it. I don't think any band on the planet would wanted to have followed us after that rendition.

We left the studio absolutely buzzing. I have not felt higher (and I had no stimualtory help) ever. I adjourned to the Mill Hill Services Club with Graham and had a great chat and a few beers. I returned home and was still buzzing at 11.30pm. To try and wind down, I got my two dogs and went for a walk around Mill Hill Park. There is a spot where you can sit and watch the a panoramic view of West London. I just sat there and watched the world go by as the dogs romped around.

In the peace and calm, I assessed my day and my life. I am truly blessed in my life. I have challenges, I have problems, but I have friends, I have a family and I have love. Graham commented that the best thing about our current line up is that we all lift each other continually as we play. It was a day when I needed a lift and I got the most massive lift imaginable. I had expected to wake up this morning with a grim outlook. Instead, here I am positive and looking forward. Music is one of the most powerful tools we have in life. It can change pour mood and it can give us strength. At the top of this blog, I posted a link to "Born to be Blue" By Steve Miller. This is a beautiful track and is one of the tracks I listen to when I am feeling down and need inspiration. Times of down and hardship help us find ourselves, however "no man is an island".  We need the love and support of our friends to get through. If you have any crisis in your life, this will show you who your real friends are. If you have a friend who is having a crisis, now is your chance to shine. Don't be too busy for your friends. If you've not read my blogs from yesterday, then please do. You will see that, without even knowng it ( I didn't tell the band about my issues beyond saying I'd had a bad day) they have transformed how I am feeling about life. All they had to do was be there and get on with it.

So if you were worrying about me, please don't. I am in a good place. 

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