Monthly Archives: September 2014

A Surreal Music Filled Friday Night

It’s been a while but the “rock mum” came out to play this past weekend.

I’ve come to the conclusion that concert tickets are like buses – none for months then BANG the diary is full and the credit card is smoldering. I’ve got tickets to seven gigs for between now and mid-December with another two for 2015 booked (OK – Girl Child is going to one of them with her Auntie Fi instead)

The first gig on the list was a little bit different and, as it transpires, a big bit special.

For those of you who don’t know, as well as writing this blog and working on my bigger “creative baby”, I also write music reviews for a friend’s website –http://phoenixmusiconline.org

Friday night’s gig was the first one I’d attend where I’d written a review of the band’s debut EP and was also to be the first gig review I would write for the webpage. Add to the already mounting nerves, I was also to catch up with the band after their set.

The band in question here are an amazing up and coming hard rock band called Crobot from Pottsville, Pennsylvania USA. This was their first UK trip and they were playing the support slot for a UK based band.

Girl Child drew the short straw and agreed to chaperone me for the evening.

Having taken the train to Glasgow, met up with the Big Green Gummi Bear for a quick hello and a coffee at his office before he headed home to Boy Child, we set off up the hill to the O2 ABC in the city’s Sauchiehall Street. We arrived at the venue ten minutes before the doors were due to open to be greeted by a suspiciously short queue – ok two suspiciously short queues and yes, we did join the wrong one! Eventually, after a circular tour of the former cinema, we found ourselves in the right room. It’s safe to say that Glasgow’s O2 ABC 2 is an “intimate” venue! (At a guess, I’d say it would hold 250-300 max, perhaps a few more)

When we entered there were perhaps thirty folk there. Gulp!

Girl Child drew me a withering look and retreated to stand near the back of the room, leaning against the low wall that bordered the raised lounge seated area. Sensing that she was best left alone, I wandered over to stand in front of the stage. The “barrier” was already lined with music fans- all 12 of them- and a handful of people were gathered behind. I joined them.

Bang on time Crobot walked out onto the smallest stage I’ve ever seen and, appearing totally unfazed by the distinct lack of audience, launched into a storming six song set. Right from the off, they performed as though they were playing to a sell-out crowd. Kudos to them!

A quick glance round told me that Girl Child had retreated even further back and was now curled up on a velour covered seat in the raised area. She was messing with her mobile phone. Definitely best left alone!

Standing among such a small audience made me feel surprisingly self-conscious. I almost felt as though I was intruding in a bizarre kind of way.

As Crobot started their final number audience numbers had swelled and they left the stage to an audible round of applause. Considering the situation, those guys did an awesome job out there.

With my ears ringing, I went in search of Girl Child who reluctantly admitted they had been ok.

A few minutes later I went up to the bar and spotted two of the band members standing chatting to some folk near the merchandising stall. With slightly shaking hands, I went back to where Girl Child was sitting and declared it was time to take the final leap of faith and introduce myself to Crobot.

Any of you who know me well will fully understand just how far out of my comfort zone this was taking me! “Rock Mum” persona was firmly painted on as we approached the band’s front man.

I needn’t have worried.

The band’s singer turned to face me, his face lit up as the sight of a familiar FB face and he embraced me like a long lost friend, declaring warmly, “You made it.” My nerves vanished. He then turned to Girl Child and hugged her too. The look on her face was priceless!

A few moments later the bass player joined us with a high five and a friendly if mischievous grin.

Two nicer more friendly guys you couldn’t hope to meet.

With the ice broken we chatted for a few minutes, struggling to hear each other over the headline act on stage, and posed for the obligatory photo (Yes Girl Child messed up the first one!)

The venue was now about two thirds full but the star act of the night had been and gone and done it. All those latecomers will never know the talent they missed.

Quietly Girl Child and I slipped out into the night in search of some dinner, leaving the headliners doing their thing. (I’ve never left a gig early before!)

A slightly surreal but wonderful experience!

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Oh and what do you talk to two heavy rock stars of the future about? Why – their trip to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and the fact that you have actually been in and around their home town back in Pennsylvania. Small world!

Tonsurephobia confessions

After a week of working away, the Big Green Gummi Bear came home late on Saturday afternoon and, after greeting me with a quick hug, practically his first words to me were “You’re going grey.”

Some of you may think he was dicing with death by risking such a bold comment. Those of you who know me won’t be surprised to learn that my response was “And you think I’m bothered about that?” or words to that effect.

I truly don’t care if my hair goes snow white. The colour of it has never mattered to me in the slightest….just don’t ask me to get it cut!

Yes, I am terrified of visiting the hairdressers. I suffer from tonsurephobia – a fear of getting your hair cut.

While other friends, both male and female, enjoy a trip to the hairdressers/barbers. The very thought of it brings me out in a cold sweat and fills me with fear. Without a word of a lie, it has in the past taken me six months to pluck up the courage to step over the threshold of a hairdressers.

And the reason for this fear?

Well, it’s rooted back in August 1978 when I was taken for the “back to school” haircut. At that point in time my hair sat neatly in a long pageboy cut that touched my shoulders. (Regulation 1970’s girl child haircut) Back in 1978 “The Avengers” was a popular tv show and the female star, Joanna Lumley, was sporting a shorter than usual style – The Purdy.

Yes, you’ve guessed it – that’s the style I emerged from the local hairdressers with.

I hated it! Coupled with the blue National health specs, I looked ridiculous!

I declared then that I was never having short hair ever again.

Thirty six years later and it is still waist length (it refuses to grow any longer despite a life-long desire to sit on it)

Over the years I have watched friends cut, colour and perm their hair and only once been tempted to try “highlighting” mine. Never again! Torturous experience a few months after the birth of Boy Child that was meant to perk me up. After more than two hours in the torture chamber – sorry a popular local hair salon of the day- I emerged traumatised but with a head of subtle golden blonde highlights. The first time I washed it, I emerged from the shower with a head of hair like a Brillo pad and tangled beyond belief. Cue floods of tears and more than two years of using toddler de-tangle spray daily before normality was restored. Never again!

Two years ago I realised that I had perhaps be a little more mature about things and deal with the straggly dead ends that had been made worse by the hot summer holiday sun. Taking a deep breath I ventured into the hairdressers and asked them to trim off about four inches- a major sacrifice in my book! The girl showed me the amount she proposed to trim off and, quivering inside, I agreed to the four inch loss. Over the next few minutes she cut off not four inches but eight! I was beyond heart broken. My hair hadn’t been that short since about 1981 and I sobbed all weekend, over dramatically mourning the loss of the length.

That was the last time I let anyone near it with a pair of scissors. When my fringe needs trimmed I do it myself; when the ends need trimmed, I do it myself. If it doesn’t sit quite straight – c’est la vie!

There is one mildly humorous hairdressing anecdote from my wedding day. Not surprisingly the trip to the hairdressers- a necessary evil on this occasion- was my biggest fear about the whole wedding day experience. This time the hairdresser was fully aware of my fears and was gentle with me as she washed, dried, curled and “fancied up” my hair. In the background the radio was playing hits from the 1970/80’s and, for only the second time ever, I heard the full length version of a lesser known Rod Stewart song . I started to giggle at the irony of the song title. It was probably the first and last time I’ll ever laugh out loud in the hairdressers. And the song? – “The Killing of George parts 1&2”.

If I’d known at that point where my intended was I could’ve been tempted….but that’s a story for another day.

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A Moments Peace and Quiet Required

Ever have one of those days/weeks where everyone wants a piece of you? When the “to do” list gets longer instead of shorter the more you do? When the only peace and quiet you get is in the loo and even then there’s either a child or a cat wanting in? One of those times when you just want to run away?

There’s been a few of those around here recently.

Not helped by myself, I have to add. I’ve joked with friends and colleagues for a while that I need to get the word “no” tattooed on the palm of my hand and adopt a “talk to the hand” approach……it’ll never happen. Not in my nature. Never will be.

Every now and then though, it is blissful to steal those few minutes/hours of “me time”.

It’s taken me years to realise that it doesn’t make you a bad/weak wife/partner/mother/friend to need time alone. It doesn’t make you selfish. In fact, in the long run, it probably makes you a better wife/partner/mother/friend.

One of my most blissful, perfect, totally alone moments happened about six years ago on a beach in Delaware, USA. It was a misty humid day at the shore and I’d gone for a walk along the sand, leaving the kids with my aunt and uncle. The mist was patchy; the ocean remarkably calm. Gentle waves were lapping in at my feet instead of the usual crashing breakers. I stopped and sat down on the damp hard packed sand, just out of reach of the waves, in a small clear bubble in the midst of the mist and watched the seabirds play in the waves.

For those few short minutes I was completely and utterly alone. Not another human in sight. Just me, alone with those little birds and the waves. Heavenly. Good for the soul.

The moment has lived with me and inspired the poem below. Enjoy!

 

Private Bubble

 

As the mist rolls in from the ocean

Casting spirals round in the air

I watch the sea birds at play.

They rush out after the wave.

They run Hell for leather

As the wave rushes in at their feet.

They chatter and flutter.

The waves crash and glide.

The mist swirls and drifts.

Sand between my toes.

Damp misty warmth on my skin.

Not another human in sight.

Contentment.

 

10/9/08

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As my sanity finally slips out of my grasp….

Any of you who either know me in person or who follow my blog ramblings will by now be aware that my grasp on what’s left of my sanity can be tenuous at times.

Lunchtime strolls along the waterfront walkway in front of the “salt mine” are the perfect place to clear your head and, depending on the direction of the wind, to blow away the cobwebs. Many of the photos I take and subsequently post to Facebook are taken during these sojourns. A lunchtime walk needs two vital pieces of technology- my phone and my iPod. (If I forget my iPod, my phone can double up as both at a push.)

One day last week I took a photo of a one legged seagull perched on the railings. I had seen this bird around a few times. At first I had thought it had curled its other leg up as they are prone to doing but, no, this poor wee soul only has one leg. (Maybe I’ve taken this walk too often when I’m recognising the local seabirds on sight.) Anyway, the stark white of its plumage against the grey river scape set a good scene for my photographic efforts for the day.

Happy with the end result, I duly posted it to Facebook.

It generated a few “likes” and comments, one of which sparked my curiosity. A friend commented, “Did you know those can live up to age 30!”

Cynic and doubter than I am at times, I turned to Google and Wiki for confirmation. He was quite correct, with the oldest gull, a Herring gull, having a confirmed aged of 49.

Satisfied that I had learned something, I put all thoughts of the photo and the average age of seabirds to the back of my mind.

Until that was the next day. It had been a long stressful morning for a multitude of reasons that I won’t bore you with. Suffice to say, by midday my mind was fried, my caffeine levels were off the scale and I was on the verge of tears.  Phone and iPod in hand, I set off along my usual route, slowly unwinding as I listened to the not-so gentle strains of my music. Step by step; song by song I began to pull myself to together. By the time I turned into the path leading back towards the front door of the “salt mine”, I was as calm and collected as I was likely to get.

And then it happened!                                                                           

A large seagull was walking along the path beside me. I stopped walking. We stared at each other intently for a few moments then my grasp on my sanity slipped out of reach as I found myself thinking, “I wonder how old you are?”

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An Innocent Cup of Coffee?- there’s no such thing…..

As a self-confessed caffeine addict I am frequently found in my local coffee shop enjoying a “fix”.

Apart from the attraction of the caffeine, the scones, the carrot cake…I could go on and on… the other attraction is people watching.

Perhaps it is the writer or the romantic in me but I like to weave their story as I enjoy my coffee.

The two old white haired ladies sitting with cappuccinos and a scone – are they reminiscing about their youth? Saturday nights spent at “the dancing”?

The four men in shirts and ties – is this a business meeting? The start of a new corporate venture? The key moment in financial success or ruin?

Two young mothers wrestling with squirming toddlers – are they trying desperately to hold onto their sanity over their lattes as well as their children?

A young couple holding hands across the table- first date? Or is he trying to pluck up the courage to propose?

Another couple, perhaps in their thirties or forties, barely looking at each other over the espresso – is divorce on the cards? Is it empty nest syndrome?

Or the large table of teenage girls in the corner, silent because they are all texting on their phones – is this the representation of 21st Century coffee conversation?

Me sitting quietly at a small table with notebook and pen – what am I up to? What am I writing?

What if someone famous walked in and sat at the last empty table? Would you approach them for an autograph? Would you leave them in peace to enjoy their coffee and cake?

 

I’ve sat a few times writing in the coffee shop, medium Americano immediately to hand. Some poems, short stories and blog posts have sprung to life in this anonymous environment.

Was anyone watching? Who knows but next time you see me sitting there enjoying a “fix” remember I may be watching you!