Wednesday 10 March 2021

Five tips to make your day happier

 Since our studios re-opened on the 14th January for professional musicians, I've been working 7 days a week. I've taken one day off, that was for my cousin's funeral. As eleven of our fourteen staff have been furloughed, I've been doing jobs I've not done for 20 years. Amp and speaker repairs, cleaning the coffee machine etc. I'm not complaining, I'd rather be working than stuck at home watching the telly. It is nice seeing people and the likes of Lee Thompson of Madness, Pat Kane of Hue and Cry and Joshua Alamu, celebrety singing coach, who has been preparing several artists for TV appearances. All stop for a brief chat through the perspex we've put up to protect us from Covid. Some days no one comes in at all and the phone doesn't ring. Days like today it is busier and people are starting to book rehearsals for post lockdown shows. Some of our best customers have announced some decent summer shows, which is really positive.

It is great to hear after what seems to have been a very dark and despondent winter, that festivals are being planned for the summer.

It has been a strain, especially during the dark, cold days in January and early February, to stay motivated and keep going. I have several rules that help stay focussed and positive.

1. Allow yourself treats. I give myself some sort of treat every day, apart from Thurdays, which is my day of fasting and abstinence. I don't drink Mondays until Friday night. My treat is my lunch. We have time, so I prepare these the night before and microwave them. Monday is the remains of the veg from Friday nights curry, with some freshly prepared rice ( I always order extra Dal and Aloo Sag). Tuesday is my 'Special'. This week it was pork spare ribs in Lentil stew. It was delicious. Wednesday is my favourite, Chorizo sausage from Boucherie Gerard, withh Aubegene, chilli, Garlic, tomato and olive and Penne. As I said, Thursday is my vegan da usually. It sets me up for the weekend. Friday night is beer and a takeaway, so just a light Sandwich. Saturday, we go for a long walk, so we skip lunch. Clare will cook a special and we may share a bottle of wine. Sunday is another long walk and a Roast. My target is to walk 40 miles a week. I do this most weeks, and if I achieve it, I allow myself a beer if I watch Manchester City are on TV during the week. It is a good incentive.

2. Listen to uplifting music. I spend much time at work preparing playlists for my own entertainment and to share in the blog. I find that during lockdown, I've listened to more Ska and Reggae than ever for this reason. Al;though my first love is punk, I've always used the energy to drive me, I've need to be uplifted more than driven through the storm of covid. I recommend listening to tracks you don't know by artists you like and building your own play lists.  This week, I discovered a 1995 album by X Ray Spex, one of my favourite punk bands, that I never knew existed. My daughter was born that year, so I was clearly distracted. It is fantastic and I can't believe it passed me by.It just shows what gems you may turn up if you bother looking.

3. Appreciate the beauty of nature. Anyone who follows me on Instagram will know I love nature, sunsets, trees and wildlife. I am not the worlds best photographer, but sometimes I get lucky! People seem to like the pictures. When I used to commute, there was an amazing panoroma of West London when the Thameslink train passed Cricklewood station heading towards Hendon. When I first used the line, you had a clear view of the Welsh Harp, but this has long since been built up and the view lost. You do however get amazing sunsets, check them out if you are on the line at Sunset, sit on the West facing side. These always cheer me up.

4. Don't obsess on social media. I've said it before, I'll say it again. If an account is irritating you on Twitter or an individual is annoying you on Facebook, block them and forget about them. I used to get all het up and cross about such idiocy, but I realised that it was just making them thrive. At present, a silly sausage in Mill Hill is spending his days posting nonsense about me. I have a few friends who keep sending me screenshots. I actually find the whole thing hilarious. People can really be silly. I just got sent one that said "Roger T doesn't like music, weird Guy". There was a time when such a crass attempt to Gaslight me might bother me, but sitting there listening to X-Ray Spex, talking to one of the best soul voices in the UK as they get themselves a coffee, you have to just chuckle. I was almost tempted to see what inspired such nonsense, but my wife nipped in with the dog, so I forgot.

 If it wasn't for the fact that there is a Mayoral Election in May and I am standing in a by election in Edgware on the same day, I might be tempted to ignore Twitter completely, but I foolishly committed to helping the party raise its profile on social media locally, so I am posting a lots of community information at the moment. As the studios have been quiet over the last few days it's not really been a problem. I've enjoyed finding new public information accounts to retweet. We've got a team going to maintain the account, so I am doing it during the day and then knocking off, which suits me fine! Again of Facebook, I just block obvious Trolls, I am past the phase in my life where I will engage with anyone who simply wants to be unpleasant.

5. Take as much exercise as possible. As  I mentioned, I'm walking 40 miles a week. It keeps you fit, healthy and helps you sleep. All of these things help keep you happy. It has also helped me lose over a stone since Xmas! I can't wait for Powerleague to reopen and 5 a side football to restart





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