Friday 26 May 2023

The Friday Joke - The Aliens and Jesus - and some thoughts on a rather tough week

Without further ado, here is the Friday joke, heaven only know, we all need a good laugh! Thanks to my mate Iain Begg for sharing this, it's a cracker

Some aliens landed on Earth and ended up in an audience with the Pope to discuss their respective religious beliefs.

To their mutual astonishment they were both familiar with Jesus.

"Oh yes," said the aliens. "He's a really great guy, and he swings by us quite regularly. We see him most years ..."

"Really?" said the Pope in astonishment. "He has only visited us once, and that was 2,000 years ago!"

"Weird!" replied the aliens. "We always have a massive party when he visits us - food, music, dancing ... it goes on for days and is the highlight of our year - he's such a cool guy! What did you do when he visited you?" ;)

Regular readers will know that I've had a difficult week. I had the results of my latest biopsy and the results have not been good. I am facing a few months of treatment and some of the effects may well have a lasting impact on my quality of life, something I've struggled to deal with, if I am completely honest. I am lucky. I have some great friends and a great band who have been really supportive. It makes a difference. I am putting my troubles behind me for a week and going to Portugal for a week to finish recording the False Dots new album with Boz Boorer on Sunday. Boz lives in Monchique and a week in the mountains is literally just what the doctor ordered. Wednesday and yesterday were quite difficult days. As sometimes happens when I have a lot of stress, my tinnitus was literally screaming in my ears. I took the dogs around Arrendene, which was beautiful, but only really sought to lower my spirits. I looked at all of the beauty, my dogs, the fields and I thought to myself of all the people in the world and the fact that in no time at all, this will all be washed away and no one will remember us. The universe is four and a half billion years old and we are less than a blink of an eyelid. 

We'd scheduled a False Dots rehearsal for last night and I found it quite an effort to haul my sorry ass down to Bunns Lane. I felt lacking in energy and enthusiasm. We set up, had a quick chat and a cup of tea and then launched into a full blown rendition of our current set. We played it as we played a gig. I had made the decision that I'd put everything into it. I needed to make some noise with the band. When you play music, your problems melt away. My band mates Fil Ross and Graham Ramsey are quite exceptional musicians. They musically take no prisoners. We have worked exceptionally hard to make a set of songs that we feel are wonderful. After maybe the first four bars of Bubble Car, our first number, I was no longer the sad. miserable, morose 'c\ancer victim' that I'd felt like all week. I was the lead singer/guitarist of the False Dots and we were rocking. The songs sounded exceptional. Full of life and energy. Whilst nothing may last for ever, when you make Rock and Roll music, it sends vibes out into the ether. Music is generated by the excitement of molucules by loud noise, in rythmic patterns. Those vibrations may fade, but maybe there will be some of those molecules vibrating to the music of the False Dots forever. 

I always enjoy playing, but for me last night was a boost I really needed. I video'd our last two numbers for posterity. The songs are Not all she seems, which I co wrote with Pete Conway in 1979 and Action Shock which I wrote in 1982. I was sixteen when I wrote Not all she seems. We'd been listening to a bit of The Velvet Underground at the suggestion of my eldest brother Laurie, who suggested that it was where the roots of Punk Rock lay. We wanted to write a song to shock people, so these two sixteen year old suburban kids, with no life experience, wrote a song about a transvestite prostitute, on the run from a violent pimp, who has a Tory MP as a client, who is madly in love with her, but who is too scared to admit it. The song was written before I knew what a pronoun was. The song ends when her pimp hunts her down. She packs her bags, disappears, never to be seen again. I always wondered what happened to her? Action Shock was inspired by The Falklands war. As it unfolded and the professional and well equipped British Army triumphed over a rag bag of ill equipped Argentine conscripts, I became fascinated by the concept of two soldiers meeting on a battle field in the middle of the night. One will not survive. In 1982, my Dad was still alive. He told me stories of loved ones at home waking up in the night, knowing that their loved one had died, at the exact moment they perished. Two men, face to face, enemies, who don't know each other, face to face. Only one will come home, one will be a red stain in the mud. Scared, cold and alone. What for? Because some old men (and women), thousands of miles away, couldn't get their act together to sort the problem out in a civilised manner. Although the story was inspired by the Falklands, it could be Eastern Ukraine, it could be Sudan, it could be anywhere, any time. Young men thrown to the wolves by politicians who couldn't give a shit. 

At the time of the Falklands war, I had a chat with my Dad, a former World War II bomber pilot about the nature of war. I was 20. He said "If ever you get called up son, remember two things. The top brass are not your friend, you are just cannon fodder, but if you don't do your duty, the people you love and the things you believe in will pass away". He told me of the tricks that experienced bomber pilots would pull, to ensure that they had a better chance of getting home safely. He'd always replot his course and try to get to the target first, as he believed that night fighters would let the first bomber through, so as to not give their presence away. He survived a tour of duty of 38 missions, although he was shot down on the last op of the tour. 

These days, the False Dots write more cheery songs. I've mellowed. Our new songs have a dancy, ska feel, but we always finish with these two as we can really rock out. It may amuse you to know that Hank Marvin of the Shadows gets a songwriting credit on Not all she seems. His son Paul was in the band when we wrote it. We rehearsed it at Hank's private studio in his home in Radlett. Hank suggested the riff that makes the song. He told me "You don't need to be able to play well to play a good, catchy riff". As far as I know, it is the only punk rock song Hank ever wrote!

If you like a bit of raucous punk rock, which celebrates life at it's grittiest, I hope you enjoy these two numbers, mistakes and all! It's now Friday morning. The dark clouds have lifted. I feel in a far more positive frame of mind. After our rehearsal, we had a beer and a chat. I thank God that I have good friends and I am not facing this alone. And yes, I really am alright now. Maybe, when I come through all of this, I will start a charity to get people with cancer playing Rock and Roll music. It may not cure your broken body, but it may just mend your broken heart! Have a great weekend and enjoy the music. 

I know that this is a  bit of a long ramble, but to me at least, I needed to share the simple fact that if you want to get through difficult times, take pride in what you have done in your life, do the the things you enjoy and don't be scared to see your friends. They will pull you through


Unknown said...


I attended the funeral of Bridget Murphy an old family friend who has died at the age of 93. Her son John gave the eulogy for Bridget who worked for years in the maternity unit at Edgware General hospital. What struck me listening to John's tribute was that Bridget had helped so many people in her life including our family when we were "down on our luck". That's a great achievement for anyone at the end of their life.


Rog T said...

She probably delivered me!