Tuesday, 29 January 2008

I've been away

and this is where I went.

Friday, 25 January 2008


The horror, the horror. I was right to be cautious - this is a nightmare.


Wednesday, 23 January 2008


I met my beautiful ex in the local pub after a gap of about a year. She's getting married.

Of course the news transports me back to the heat of the break up. The rising panic and sense of incomprehension. The tiredness. The lack of control.

Then the torture of loss sets in. Anniversaries, smells, running routes round the park, food, habits, old photos, shared jokes, shared friends, shared objects. The silence.

The feeling of sadness tonight is not even from events as such, but a kind of symbolic sadness. It's the formal passing of something; being told that it is now final, when it was final months ago. This must give a clue to the special agony of the families of missing people.

Although it still hurts, somehow I know it is natural.

In a way I am glad it hurts. I'm good at sadness. Even on the way home I was flicking through my ipod shuffle searching out the saddest songs. I settled on Always on my mind by Elvis.

I suppose at least I am living a life authentic enough to experience pain like this. At least I tried to love someone. At least I am processing these feelings, rather than trying to fight on without acknowledging them. At least I am a decent enough human being to wish her happiness. I managed to say through a cracked voice when we left that she deserved the best, and I'm glad I managed it because she does.

But I turned away back to my old life and she turned away to her new one, and that was hard. I sometimes have to fight the rising panic of feeling like everyone is making progress and I am going backwards.

I'm not sure what the future holds, but if I am happy with myself then I'm more likely to be happy with someone else. Not certain, more likely. All I can do is think about my best plan, and cling to it.

And for now the plan is to listen to Tom Mcrae.

Tonight I'll walk on water
tonight I'll walk through flame
and sing it to the corner
and still the blood in your veins
til something flickers in me
I feel the motion of light
and slip into the distance
and someone slips into my life
but it ain't you
it ain't you

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Bruce is back

(a bit late I know)

I lo ve you all like the amusing pens my Granny buys me.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Chris Langham

This evening I watched Shrink Rap, where Dr Pamela Stephenson - comedienne turned psychologist - interviewed Chris Langham, the actor who starred in the brilliant Thick of It.

Chris Langham was being interviewed because he had recently been convicted of downloading child porn to his computer and viewing it. He had served a prison term after pleading not guilty to all charges after claiming that he downloaded the images for 'research'. He also claimed that he had been abused as a child.

When the case was going on, I remember taking a hard line on the story, which is unlike me. Langham must have known what he was doing, and as a former vicitm of abuse he must have known the damage downloading such images perpetuates. He deserved everything he got, and more.

Having watched the programme, I now feel differently. I feel desperately sorry for him, and ashamed at my willingness to see things in black and white. Life is so often shades of grey.

I am at a loss to know what conclusion to draw, so let me draw several.

1. The media did not portray all the nuances of this story, which worries me.

2. Television is not a stupid medium.

3. People and life are complex; sometimes seeminly inexplicable actions happen. Where this is illegal, the perpetrator must be punished but sympathy can also be extended simultaneously.

4. Those who recognise these nuances and stand by people irrespective of their wrongdoing are brave.

5. As with the Mark of Cain, and the McCanns, I cannot help but think there but for the grace of God go I.

I am not arguing that he should not have been punished. But then neither is he. I am arguing news stories often get written as much for their saleability as their integrity. I am arguing that we instinctively make shortcuts to certainty.

I am arguing that we must collectively and individually guard against sanctimony, in a nuanced and complex world.

Monday, 14 January 2008

Pewter says what now?

So. My lovely brand new Toshiba laptop which I spilt hot tea on in its first week but is now fine - just needed to dry out like som sort of sordid crack addict - came with some pre-loaded Microsoft software.

Now, this is different form what I've used before, cos when I do Word and Excel it's all different menus and stuff. I am pretty sure it isn't Vista, but how do I find out what it is?

And, whilst you're at it, how do I get myself some of this so-called 'software' and what type should I get?

Saturday, 12 January 2008

100,000 hours

I imagine, if I am really lucky I'll live for another 40 years or so. I might be lucky and it might be 50, but I might be unlucky and it's 20, so let's say 40.

That's 340,000 hours.

Of these, I'll be trying to sleep 8 hours a day. Gulp. 278,000.

I'll also spend 10 years in retirement. And I'll be taking my weekends, thanks. That leaves 186,000 hours.

But I want to know about the hours I have autonomy over. Let's say I'll probably always have daily chores to do - 1 hour a day sounds fair - and I'll probably always have travel to do. Let's say 2 x 45 minute journeys per work day, on average.

I am now down to....guess what?

100,000 hours.

I have autonomy over 100,000 hours. That's it. Then my life will be done. Oh, and during this time, I have to squeeze things in like 1) earning money, 2) having a family, 3) socialising and 4) hobbies. I left out things like 5) blogging and 6) staring into space.

Suddenly I don't seem to have very much time left at all.

So the logical question is, how should I be spending it?

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Numbers 20 - 40

21. Go to a party dressed entirely in leather, or velvet.
22. Meet Larry David.
23. Eat at The Fat Duck
24. To visit Japan
25. Learn yoga properly
26. Learn a martial art
27. Listen to the Beatles albums one after another dressed only in velveteen.
28. Cycle across the USA, east to west coast
29. Prioritise my time according to principles of positive psychology
30. Write a book based on the experiences of the second world war generation
31. Offer discrete services to targeted section of the population: young, old, deprived, depressed.
32. Be a reliable friend
33. Buy a guest house and offer walking holidays combined with psychological counselling / coaching
34. Learn about wine in depth
35. Sod it; to own a vineyard in California and make quirky wines
36. Know more about plants and trees and nature, innit.
37. To spend a winter in Anchorage, Alaska, writing to old friends
38. Become a Zen snowboarder in Whistler, Canada and live for the moment
39. To raise a family
40. Retain both curiosity and humility as I get old
41. Be green, in both business and personal life. Not as in inexperienced though, environment wise.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Happy New Year

So the new year is upon us, and now we look forward to 2008. Only two years of this decade remain. I was impressed by what Seth Godin had to say about this:

Here's a question that you should clip out and tape to your bathroom mirror. It might save you some angst 15 years from now. The question is, What did you do back when interest rates were at their lowest in 50 years, crime was close to zero, great employees were looking for good jobs, computers made product development and marketing easier than ever, and there was almost no competition for good news about great ideas?

Many people will have to answer that question by saying, "I spent my time waiting, whining, worrying, and wishing."

This is why I am so in favour of new year's lists. They get a bad name, but I think this is because of poor execution rather than anything else. Lists represent action and change. They are a tangible attempt to improve our future. In so doing, they symbolise hope. And without hope we are nothing.

Happy 2008.