The day the music died…

(Broken record, geddit? Ha, because you know, I’ve been wallowing)

You know what sucks about relationships ending, you know besides the obvious, crying in the shower, the doubting, the crippling fear of being alone forever and ever…*ahem* yeah…erm…music. Or more specifically the music you can’t listen to anymore. We’ve all experienced it, well I’m fairly sure we all have, otherwise this post is going to be hard for you to relate to.

There is music that to listen to would bring back a host of memories, music has that ability, like a good book to transport you to a specific time, place or conversation. Sometimes that place and conversation is a happy one, you could be walking on sunshine one minute or plumbing the depths of a dark place the next. When you share with someone a mutual appreciation of music, you go to those places with them, or you can imagine seeing them there, because like you they’ve got great taste (obviously not that great since they let you go). In short, music has the power to inspire, thrill or break you.

When your mutual appreciation of good music isn’t enough to keep the ‘you and the other’ together, there is a whole host of music you can’t listen to. That little known indie album you found, from a little known, barely emerging group? Forget it. That amazing album that could not only epitomise, but in fact render the 70’s legendary? Bah..put it down. The bands and music you introduced each other too? Nah..pick up your records and retreat to your own respective corners. Because behind every song there’s a story, not just a story, but multiple stories, each that will in fact remind you of everything you don’t want to be reminded of. Like a mix tape from hell.

And then there’s the tendency to wallow, to indulge in misery, listening to the Smiths and LaMontagne (no Adele, never Adele), which only serves to keep the perpetual cycle of misery and music, music and misery going. Are you miserable because you’re listening to that music, or are you listening to that music because you’re miserable? Course there’s always the possibility you’ll swing the other way, overcompensate and go to the truly dark side that is ‘artificial pop’, dancing with your hairbrush, whooing loudly at the songs that proclaim your emerging singledom with all the energy of a teenager overdosing on sugar and cupcakes.

Stop. Put down the Gaga records and take a step back. You’ll thank me in the end.

Of course there’s going to be music that’ll be painful to listen to, no doubt about it. There’s a song from the 90’s I loved as a teenager and had forgotten about in the intervening years. The ‘other’ managed to dig up and dedicate that song to me through some fateful, (un?)happy coincidence. It’ll be a long time before I can even hear the name of that song and not be transported to a memory of that.

The solution is to find a comfortable medium, a mix of songs, it’s ok to skip through your music player, swallow that lump in your throat and quietly move on.

But above all learn that the time will come when you can listen to those songs, ‘that song’ and it won’t be a painful memory that jolts you, but a bittersweet dull sort of ache, where the memory has faded, and though a new one might not have taken its place just yet…but you can see…you can see that other memories, other songs, other lives can be attached to ‘that song’ (Woah, how deep is that?)

I don’t remember the first message ‘we’ exchanged, and I’m a little glad for that…but I remember the song…for now.

I like Eddie Vedder’s take on it all…the process has already started.

Off to join the circus…

I’ve been a little lost lately, not literally, though sometimes I think that’s easier, being lost physically can be a simple matter of turning the right corner, using a map or asking for directions. No, this sort of lost is the kind where no matter where you go unease follows.

I had always thought academia was my calling, my little niche where the pieces would slot into place and I’d fit in, where all my quirks, the little idiosyncracies could be maintained and managed, perhaps even celebrated. However I’ve come to question even that lately, maybe the academic world is one where I don’t fit in, not really. I’ve come to view it as being a closed off, suffocating sort of place, where progression is slow and riddled with the worst sort of office politics. It’s not what you know, but who you know, glimpsing behind the curtain renders the illusion flawed, the reality of the academic world is one of isolated wariness, where you have to guard your work with all the fierceness of a jealous, irrational lover. Competitiveness is the key in academia; publishing, writing, taking part in a frenzied haste to be prolific, the best, the most read and cited.

But…that’s not me, I’m not competitive, I’m not suspicious of others, I’m…far too nice. Honest. Laid back. Like this cat

I don’t have that drive, I’m ambitious, I want to succeed but not in the sense that I have to step over others to do so. I’d never make a good politician.

I suppose right now, pausing time for a little while will never do, because if I could travel anywhere I’d want to travel everywhere, see everything, take the world and all it has to offer in my own time, in a leisurely pace, a laid back manner, far from competition and politics and scrambling for a place. I’d hop from island to island, country to country, people to place, sights to sounds, aromas and tastes.

I think I’d have lots of fun if I ran away and joined the circus…I’m perfecting my juggling skills just in case.

Written for the Daily Prompt: Travels

I remain just one thing, and one thing only, and that is a clown. It places me on a far higher plane than any politician.

Desk Jockey junk…


‘I bring to my life a certain amount of mess…’ Francis Ford Coppola

Junk. Well, there’s a daily prompt that’s perfectly apt. My workstation is a mess, and I mean a mess. I’ve never been in the habit of being neat and orderly, my table is overflowing with books, notes, letters, leaflets…pieces of paper that really are junk. Things I should have thrown away months ago. But I’ve never been good at letting go, there’s an insane paranoia that persists…telling me that I shouldn’t throw away that leaflet offering a ‘massive reduction on eye-catching, fully laminated’ business cards, because you never know, one day I may have a need for 500+ business cards that proudly proclaim my neurotic tendencies in all their eye-catching, fully laminated beauty.

The mess and junk on my table tends to reflect the disorder in my mind. I live in, am perpetually plagued by the mess in my head, constant, perpetual paranoia of the clutter, the mess of my years on this planet so far. But that’s just who I am, I’ve tried to neaten it up, to compartmentalise things, to file things away in neat little boxes…but that never works, thoughts intrude, more ‘leaflets’ arrive, things get lost, swept away in the undertow only to reemerge, bobbing to the surface in all their abject, useless, ‘wrong time wrong place’ glory.

Until that is I have had enough, then all the junk gets swept into a rubbish bin, metaphorically and physically, and I’ll return to a neat, tidy table once more, enjoying the slate wiped clean. At least for a little while…

Now excuse me whilst I go back to my filing, *cough* I think there’s a spare piece of carpet not yet covered by books or papers 😉 

p.s I’m working on changing the wallpaper too.


Written for the Daily Prompt: Junk

Another round for you…

‘Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment…’ – Buddha

Life. Such a short word, such a multitude of layers.

Confusion, hopes, dreams…prayers.

Life. It’s a loaded term.

It comes with its own set of complications…multiplications, hesitations…


Life. It charms, beguile, disappoints and riles.

Swings between light and dark…shadows and brightness…

…laughter and tears.

Life. It can surprise, with a resilience…

…it ends.

But it can begin again and in the worst…when we think it’s over,

…the minutes pass…

And we begin again.

Life. Strange, but if you spend too much time worrying about the future, you’ll miss what’s happening today.

3 years is 3 years away.

Hate to be a cliché.

But as they say…

…live for today.

Not always easy I know. But as the Foo song says,

‘When the wheels come down
When the wheels touch ground
And you feel like it’s all over
There’s another round for you…’


Written for the Daily Prompt: Life

A little more conversation…

‘When the mind is thinking it is talking to itself’ – Plato

I wish I could talk,

Course I can ‘talk’, in the literal sense learning to talk came soon after learning to walk,

But I wish I was versed in the art of good conversation,

an effortless smile here, a quick flick of hair there,

a giggle, a witty retort, an éclat, a proverb.

But alas I stammer, I doubt, I question,

‘does that make sense?’

‘Will they laugh?’

‘Will they see through the pretence?’

I wish I could talk, that’d be my talent, the art of conversation,

Brilliant, witty, urbane, memorable conversation.

Yeah, that would be my talent, to amaze and regale

With words as well as deeds.

Daily Prompt: Talent:

A resounding beep….


‘Shit…I’m a walking cliché…’

Her hands shook as she balanced the book she had been reading on her knee. Tapping a finely polished fingernail against the book cover, she sighed deeply and took in her surroundings. Cold, clinical…sanitised…empty…the absolute personification of what their relationship had been.

‘Suppose you want to blame me for that as well?’ She shook her head sadly at the sound of the voice emanating from the quiet corner of the room. He sat cross-legged on the floor,barefoot, plain white clothes; lines creasing ragged skin and wearing a soft, resigned smile she barely remembered.

‘No…yes…I-I don’t know…’ She wanted to get up, walk over to where he was but she seemed confined to the chair she sat in. What did she want from him, what did she need to hear him say? His response to her musing had thrown her, did she really blame him?

‘I tried my best…’ he stated plainly.

‘No…no you didn’t, you never told me you loved me, or that you were proud of me, or that what I did mattered…’ The words tumbled out, one after another. There was so much more to say, so much…about how his distance had broken her, how she felt pathetic and empty and angry all at once. Angry, that even now she wanted or needed his validation, his blessing. She wanted him to know that bitterness marred her life, hollow recriminations, rejection towards and from others had become the measure. She would gauge relationships, interactions, love, friendship, acquaintance with a careful measure, reticence, hesitancy, never plunging in, never committing.

She wanted to let him know that she felt trapped, in the memory of who he was, and who he couldn’t be with her.

She wanted…

She wanted……..

‘Hey…’ Fingers grasped her shoulders tightly and she felt herself shaken. Eyes snapping open she was dragged back to her surroundings once more. Monitors beeping, a hospital bed, grapes on the bedside table, flowers in the window. The nurse smiling down gently at her before turning to her patient, the frail, unconscious man with grey, thin, paper like skin.

The book resting on her knee was opened once more and righting herself in the chair she attempted to return once more to the words on the page.

It was then that a resounding, insistent beeping from the monitors beside the bed filled the room…


Written for the Weekly writing challenge: Dialogue

Weekly photo challenge:York Minster cathedral


I recently visited York for a conference. I had time for a quick visit around the tourist sites and a quick snapshot of the inside of York Minster cathedral, apparently the oldest of its type in Europe. I love architecture, buildings fascinate me, often they’re imbibed with all the history, society and politics of the time.

Here’s some further info on the Wikipedia site:

Photochallenge post:

A knapsack full…

‘Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh…’- Henry David Thoreau

Regrets: an awful, heavy trudging word,

we’ve all had them, regrets about events,

ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous and absurd.

Mine, I carry them in a knapsack, an invisible one,

it weighs heavy on my shoulders, the burden of

missed opportunity, of missteps,

regrets…falling too hard, too fast…

wrong love, wrong time, wrong place,

added to my knapsack in the not too distant past.

Of course there are some loves I cannot regret,

though others tell me it’s about them I should fret.

But now my shoulders ache, and this burden wears too heavy,

swaying from the weight, I must reach my turning point,

or else risk being forever unsteady.

So I will lay this knapsack on the ground,

and with determined frown, empty

this bag of churlish regrets and feared missteps.

For as someone once said, ‘fear is stupid, so are regrets’. Marilyn Monroe, now there was a lady who knew how to live.

 Written for the Daily Prompt:

Bus people…

‘Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down’- Oprah Winfrey

I don’t drive so I’m forever taking the bus or tram to Uni, and though I lament the early mornings and the rush to catch the bus on time (if I miss it, I have to wait an hour for the next one), the commute allows me the opportunity to people watch.

You can imagine a myriad of lives from the moment people climb abroad the bus to the time they reach their stop. The loving/not so loving couples, the pensioners, the school kids; all have different, separate lives, yet on that bus we’re all headed in the same direction. I imagine stories for all of them, watching their expressions, their body language, I can ascertain the lonely, bullied child, the pensioners who have  been married for many decades and the busy professional who’s car is probably in for a service and is no doubt updating their Facebook status about the ‘people’ on the bus.

It’s nice to imagine lives outside your own, seeing hopeful, weary, lonely, tired, young, old faces. Of course sometimes the journey isn’t all that pleasant, and you get the odd person unwilling to stick to the social etiquette of public transport and instead talks loudly on their phone, insists every one on the bus hear their music or picks their nose. Now that’s just not on.

Next week I embark on a 6 hour journey by public transport, it’s imagining all the public I’ll encounter and make up stories for that’ll make it bearable.

Written for the Daily prompt: Imagine

Daily Post – My Chosen Cause


Today’s daily post can be found here

If your day to day responsibilities were taken care of and you could throw yourself completely behind a cause, what would it be?

This is a thought provoker – because it has made me realise that the charities I give to and the causes I support are not necessarily the ones that I would get behind if I had a chance to be involved.

Many years ago I belonged to a Youth Theatre, we were responsible for organising a charity event (being ambitious 15 – 18 year olds) we tried to get U2 involved and in fairness to them the response we got if it we had asked over a year in advance they would have been involved. In the end it was a much more local event with bands from the town and our sketches and fundraising in between.

We researched homelessness…

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