I’ve always had an uneasy relationship with the word ‘fun.’ Although my general aim in life has always been to make the world a better, fairer and kinder place if I could, the talking up of ‘fun’ that often goes on amongst people with apparently similar aims has often looked like no fun at all.
The forced joining in at social events, for example, has always mildly terrified me and sent me looking for the nearest place to hide. Start up fancy dressing, the conga or that game where lines of adults pass balloons along between them without them touching the floor and I’m gone. Hiding in the kitchen or out the door and on my way home. “It’s just a bit of fun” I get told by people who are obviously a different sort of human from me.
I’m not and never have been one of life’s joiners in.
I’ve loved using this space I have to write more deeply these past few months. To change the balance between words and pictures on here and have more to say. I’ve particularly had more to say during this time for the reasons many of us will have more to say during times in our lives when we are ill or things generally are not going so well. From late July onwards things did not go well for me and I found myself, to my own relief and slight surprise, trying to write my way through my own doubts, illness, depression and unhappiness. It’s turned out I had a lot to say.
Now, come this weekend in early December, things are much better. Through the love and help of friends, the passing of time and perhaps the writing, my life is in a better place. So I’ve decided to write from this better place. For myself as much as for you who might read this. So I will remember, the next time depression darkens my door, that happiness, sometime soon, can always be a tangible possibility. Continue reading “A Weekend in Early December”
It’s late on a Saturday afternoon, it’s yesterday, already dark and already shading into evening, now we are in late November, when I witness this moment of the purest love and happiness.
I am walking along Smithdown Road in Liverpool, not long before I’ll be turning left up my own street, when I see them all. Five figures in an undulating line across the pavement, walking towards me. Apart from the Mum figure nearest the road they look like they’re walking in age formation, the youngest holding her hand, then in steadily increasing ages towards the eldest, no more than ten years old I’d say, walking next to the wall, nearest to the shops.
From a distance they all seem to be talking at once. But as we pass, the Mum contracting the line of them slightly to let me through on the outside, the notes of their conversation separate into this moment of the purest love and happiness: Continue reading “Love and Happiness: A moment”
Recently on here I’ve been writing about being self-employed and the kinds of work I do. About how much I like variety in the work I take on and the stress it caused me recently when I found myself doing too much of one thing.
So when I read this article by Owen Jones in The Guardian, suggesting that a four day working week could be good for our economy, our society and our health, I remembered.
I remembered that ever since I began leaving my day job in the mid-1990s and becoming self-employed one of my objectives in doing so has been to work less. Not that I don’t enjoy the work I do. I do, and one of the big things I’ve always gone on about is finding and doing the work you love. And I have, mostly. But a core part of living the life I’ve had over this last 22 years has been to have more time than I used to have for me.
“I need to laugh and when the sun is out
I’ve got something I can laugh about”
My last post on here was no laughing matter. ‘Shadow Days’ was written at the beginning of what turned out to be the best part of a week of fairly deep depression. A depression that has now lifted and that I was much helped out of by the many comments and good wishes from readers of this blog. So thank you all so much. And to several very close friends too.
So after doing some things I needed to do to deal with the depression I decided I’d take this Friday completely off work. Early on Twitter was telling me it’s 50 years today since ‘Revolver’ came out. So I decided to go into town and celebrate this by getting a copy.
A work meeting for 11:30 in the morning is called off because someone’s sick (get well soon Ann Marie x). So what to do? Shall I fill in the time before my next appointment at 2 in the afternoon with other work or shall I go for a walk in the early spring sunshine? Easy choice, I put my boots on and set off.
So I walk in that general direction, with detours.
Days and sudden spare time like this don’t occur so often that they can be ignored. Living, as I still do, with the attitude of what would I choose to do if I had a year left to live? For all of 2014 I wrote a series of blog posts about this and it quietly changed my life. Read my main conclusions here if you like.
Well then, a year ago this week we turned our mostly static website into a blog. And now, 190 posts later I’m here to ask the question, so what? What has been the effect of all this writing? Of posts covering the spectrum from sweets in the 1960s to getting the truth about Hillsborough. From entertaining, to emotional and back again. Who knows?
Certainly a lot of the writing has been read. On the old website a top day, and there weren’t many of them, would see 30 views. Views on here currently stand at 24,000. This makes me bizarrely happy. But why? What’s been changed by all this? Continue reading “So what?”
Modern life is not, as Blur once suggested, rubbish. But it’s certainly absurd.
People are buying less oranges because they can’t be bothered to peel them. People feel entitled to have whatever they want, because they endlessly want things and therefore think they ‘deserve’ them. And people increasingly believe that they can ‘positive think’ their way into better lives and endlessly profitable jobs and companies. All absurd.
My view? Well yes, but I’m writing about it here because I’ve just read these things in a splendid book that I therefore wish I’d written. It’s ‘The Age of Absurdity’ by Michael Foley. And earlier today I got talking about some of the stuff in it with someone I’d never met before. And it turned out she’d just read the book too! So, convinced by this rigorous scientific research that there’s a mass movement building up here, I thought I’d better let you in on it. Continue reading “The Age of Absurdity”