Saturday 7 January 2023

The Saturday List #391 - Whats wrong? Well since you asked....

 We all love a good whinge at this time of year, don't we? It's dark, it's wet, the credit card bills from Xmas are arriving, electricity and gas are rocketing, we are being urged to stop drinking, A&E departments are full and the trains aren't running. The best way to start feeling better is to get it all off your chest, go on have a good whinge! I believe the reason why the pub is so central to British culture is not because we are all alcoholics, but because we love a good whinge. So come on let it out. Here are my personal whinges.

1. I turned my ankle in July in Crete at my nephew's wedding and it's still not 100% better, just to make it worse, I have a shard of glass in my heel that I can't get out that is really painful, so walking is no fun at all. 

2. The studio VAT is due in January, for the September-November period. This is the most lucrative period of the year, but late November and December were unexpectedly quiet, due to the World Cup, completely disrupting our finances and being yet another curveball thrown at us as we try and recover from the pandemic.

3. In April we will need to replace our Ford Galaxy. We've had it since 2008, we bought it then because the government was telling us that diesel cars were better for the environment. Now we'll be walloped with a congestion charge. We use it to ferry equipment around for my band and other local festivals. Yet another cash curveball. The ULEZ is a big kick in the goolies for us.

4. At this time of the year, we start thinking about gigs to book, as we plan our year. This year will be the first for many a year without seeing Terry Hall perform with The Specials. No Wilko Johnson either. It makes me feel rather sad.

5. My Dad passed away at the end of January in 1987. My thoughts always turn to him at this time of year and all of the things that he should have shared with us in the interim. He dropped dead of a heart attack with no warning at all. I was totally unprepared for it. I've come to the conclusion that I'll never 100% get over the shock, especially at this time of year. A good mate of mine lost his Dad this week, it made the feelings even more intense.

6. At this time of year, I normally write a business plan for the studio for the year. We look at our equipment, the state of our rooms, the advertising budget, the trends in music to ensure we are not missing opportunities. The last time I did this was in 2020. It was full of exciting plans. In 2021 and 2022 I didn't bother, it was pointless. With the pandemic and Omicron wave's etc, it was pointless. We were planning week by week. This year, the plan is one of survival for the business. How to cut costs, trim expenses and try and manage cashflow. Any advertising will be free and organic.

7. My weight. The 1st January I am always at my heaviest. That is one reason why I don't drink. My foot and ankle issues have really not helped. My target weight is 14 stone. I am currently 17st 2lbs, I expect to be 16st 7by the end of January and under 16st by the end of February as my fitness returns. I played five a side on Thursday for the first time since early December and I was out of breath after five minutes. Not good at all. I am at my least fit ever and it bugs me, it will be fxed. I recently joined Virgin gyms as my old gym at the Mercure in Watford shut in November.

8. Darlands and Arrendene, my favourite dog walks are almost impassable with mud. I need the open air and fields to keep my mind in balance. Most of the walks we are doing now are on pavements and I really don't get any spiritual relief from them. Without this I feel very diminished.

9. I've been finishing off writing my book. I started it late in 2018. My target was a chapter a month, then to edit it and ensure it was readable. I started the review during lockdown and had to put it down, as some of the negative feelings were a tad too intense for the claustrophobia of lockdown. I've picked it up again and some of it is difficult. I also realised that it needed to be more readable, so is a bigger task than I first realised. It is making me morose and reflecting on the fact that I am not as wonderful as I'd like to imagine is a tad difficult at times, especialy when it is wet and dark.

10. I'm 60 years old. How did that happen? All of my mates are starting to look old. We are nearly all orphans. Some of my mates Grandchildren are having kids. Playing football with 20 year olds makes you realise that you are simply falling to bits.

There you go, I've got it out of my system I feel much better, or I will next Saturday, when I have a beer and go to see 999.

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