Friday, 2 August 2019

Who Are Ya Now?

Do you ever look back at photos and laugh or cringe at what you were wearing ?  It was just the times and the latest crazes that made us feel untouchable eh?   I felt right gangsta in my Crombie and Doc martens when I was finally allowed to get them, 

 used to smoke too, all the cool boys smoked  Marlborough, they were proper adult ciggies and then us girls discovered the equivalent in Sobranie multi-coloured cocktail cigarettes and there we were, a bunch of council estate kids feeling posh and sophisticated. 
One look I'm not proud of and  certainly wouldn't want to revisit is the ginger perm, it was a white persons equivalent to an afro that we really didn't rock. It was meant to be bleached blonde of course but never quite got there, apart from the eyebrows that went so white it looked like you didn't have any.

It wasn't a holiday unless you went to the pavillion to see The Black & White Minstrels, TV programmes included Love Thy Neighbour and it seemed every comedian started a joke  with " An Englishman,  Irishman, Scotsman and a Pakistani walked into a bar" ?

As you walked passed a building site, workmen would whistle down from the scaffolding they clung to, and if they didn't you walked passed again just in case they hadn't seen you the first time.

Times however have changed greatly, what was once acceptable is no more, but that's what happens when you  evolve, not only as a collective but also as an individual, as we grow older most of us  change, or Life changes us?  our views, our ways, the only difference is back then we didn't have a public recording of our growths and faux pas whereas now there's social media.

I often get spooked when I get a notification to say someone has liked/commented/shared a post from 2006 because it means they've sat there scrolling back to somebody I used to be, it immediatly sparks a mix of intrigue and panic " What did i say in the post?" What was I doing in the photo? Would any of it be acceptable now or could it spark social media outrage?  People could find out where I live, drag me out the house by my ankles and crucify me on the nearest lampost for my sins? 

I always feel sorry for the young whippersnappers that get their first sniff of appearing on TV only to have it publicly snatched away  because some saddo individual has scrolled back to when they were pre-pubescent  and said or did something they probably shouldn't and don't even remember?  I often wonder if employers do the same thing when weighing up a  candidate for a job?  

With all that in mind and the mind-set of better to be safe than sorry  I thought it was a good idea to wipe out any potential  dramas and just keep the social media postings to approx 3 months.....then my heart and belly sank, oh hang on...I think that's  due to the fact that while writing this I ate the last chocolate revel without realising and when i did realise, they came out in solidarity at my disappointment? 

Anyhow you'll be pleased to know that after some research I came across  Tweet Delete  for those on Twitter, It's Free and so easy to use, with one hit I wiped out 5 years of tweets, so just in case my  prodigious personality should soar to Stardom status ? there will be no poop to be foundπŸ’© Ha. Although Police records on the other hand might still list my court appearance for being part of the Poll tax rebellion, not a crime as such,  more a mini revolution of which I stand proud.

Unfortunately  facebook isn't so easy and alot more time consuming as you can only delete 50 posts at a time, but still worth the effort.  To do this go to your profile and underneath where you  write a post you will see: Manage posts, List view,  Grid view. Click on Manage posts and click the first 50 you want to get rid of and then click delete, and then repeat for as many times as you need to.  Instagram pretty much has the same set up as Facebook if you want to delete multiple posts.

I think most of us would like to think we change for the better, learn from past mistakes  and keep on maturing like good cheese, just not as stinky?  But if we publicly record our journey in social media posts and comments there is always the possibility that the past could come back to bite us on the bum, everything is so PC and the world and it's people seem so snowflakey in comparison with yesteryear, and it's not always easy to change as quick as is needed , all we can do is try our best to keep up and in the meantime have a regular clear out of posts  so as to stay in control of what we're putting out there as we go forward? 

                                                             Til next time, stay blessed
                                                                      Back Before Elvis

Friday, 19 July 2019

All Change ?

Well there's been a change that I wanted to share with you, so grab a custard cream ( Never too early.....or too late ) and i'll spill.... 

So first up, the Bands/Artists  that I support and feature under Eargasm Feat  has a brand spanking new name and banner and will now be known as Runnin With My Rhythm 
it will still  be bringing you outstanding talent by those producing great music and continue to hopefully introduce you to people and tracks you'd otherwise not hear. There's  also a Runnin With My Rhythm Spotify playlist of all those featured so far, so  it would be cool to see you there and have you follow. At the moment I'm particularly on the look out for some dynamite sounding unsigned UK Rap/Hip-hop bands/artists to feature, so if you think you have what it takes, or you know of someone that does, then send over the links and i'll check it out. 

Most of us like listening to music, some of us all day?  But we rarely think about the actual realities of making music, It's tough being an independent  band/artist , so as well as downloading  please don't forget to follow them, share, RT, and  continue to show them your support. 

                                                           Cheers, Stay Blessed
                                                              Back Before Elvis 

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Swapping Mozart For Stormzy ?

So I woke up to the headlines that a youth Charity headed by Myleene Klass is urging Schools to add Stormzy to the curriculum instead of Mozart to engage kids that would otherwise fall by the wayside, and I wholeheartedly agree, Hallelujah , about time. 

Everyone is different and I believe it's an adults responsibility to tap into what makes a young person tick and then use that to show them their potential.

Back when Dinosaurs walked the earth and Stormzy hadn't even hatched and I was at school, it was  something I put to my own music teacher. At 11 years of age I didn't get classical music, I hated the fact we were force fed Mozart, Beethoven and a host of others. As a music lover I knew I'd probably "Get it" one day when I was older but at that point in time it wasn't relevant to me. So thinking of a compromise I asked the Teacher if we could combine classical with modern, be set a challenge like writing a rap or lyrics  over a piece of classical music? It would mean we'd have to go away and listen to some classical music to pick the one that felt right for our words, which would maybe help us to also engage and appreciate classical music a bit more?  Sadly it didn't go down too well, she didn't have a cane in her room but if she had I think she would've bent me over the desk right there and then and  whipped my butt as red as her angry face. Instead she called my parents up the school due to my "Disrespect and impertinence"  of her teaching.  This just added further to my  dislike of teachers and  anti- school mind -set .
I hated music lessons and was so disappointed because it felt like a missed opportunity, thankfully I also loved acting, and Drama was my favourite lesson, Mr Tim Phillips was everything you'd want in a good Teacher, he treated students as equals, he didn't speak down to you, he praised you and encouraged you to fulfill  your dreams. Unfortunately he was in the minority, as Drama was frowned upon in the school by a lot of the other teachers who saw it as  "A class for lazy people that didn't want to work" 

Being a teacher's tough there's no doubt, it's a lot tougher today than back in my day when a teacher could just give you a good beating if you weren't towing the line, but the essence is still the same. If a child is a great storyteller then encourage them with English and Drama, don't try and turn them into a Mathematician, if a child shows a real love and flair for cooking then guide and support in that and don't chastise them for being crap at history? 

We have to treat children as individuals, tap into their talents and help them hone their skills,  every single child has a talent, most from disadvantaged backgrounds just don't know it ,or don't know what to do with it, and whether it's to become an astronaut or a rapper they all deserve the same chance to shine. I have to also add that it's never too late and we as adults can support, praise and guide other adults who missed out. I've seen many an adult discover their talents later on in life, a few kind words and a bit of support costs nothing but can have a massive impact, so come on, let's get supportive?  

                                                  Til Next Time, Stay Blessed
                                                          Back Before Elvis

Friday, 17 May 2019

My M.E LIfe Of Riley

After 29 yrs of living or should I say lingering with the horrendous condition known as M.E (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) I'm never quite sure what to write that hasn't already been said, but as it's M.E awareness month I feel I should say something.So in response to some recent ignorance I came up with "My M.E Life of Riley" and thought I'd record it to video, unfortunately being at the receiving end of such ignorance is nothing new when you have M.E or other chronic conditions I'm sure? But social media is a great educating platform to address it.

I must've recited the piece 50 times or more in my head perfectly, however, with M.E it's getting it from our brain to our mouth that's the problem, it's like squeezing words from the back of your head through a dense wall of marshmallow in an effort to get them to the  front, by which time we've forgotten which word we were attempting  to squeeze through in the first place.

By my 8th attempt I think i'd recited every curse word on the planet (apologies to my mother........and my neighbour) . Plus I'm having problems with my eyes at the moment, all part of M.E and Fibromyalgia and something I'm used to but it just means my eye muscles keep going into spasm, think extreme cramp but in your eyeballs, so by the time I completed this spoken word it was old Squinty eyes 12th attempt .  
Recently I was having breakfast in my local greasy spoon just a three minute sloth crawl from my house, and while for some that  doesn't warrant fanfares or uploads to Instagram, when you've experienced being  bed-bound and housebound for two years nothing's ever the same again, you appreciate every little thing massively because firstly you know what it feels like to  have the very fundamental things you've taken for granted  taken away and secondly it's the little things that  become your world and you hold on to them in the hope that if you hold on tight enough one day they'll eventually  lead you back to who you were and where you were before illness struck, sun and rain on  your skin, bird song, a flower that's bloomed, hearing people chatting outside, and yes, poached eggs on toast at the local cafe, gratitude for everything is magnified. 

However the other week someone I know popped in to get a take-away coffee, I nodded and said "hallo" he responded with a tut followed by "Look at you living the Life of riley"  while also rolling his head in sync with his eyes  ( Proving that men can  multi-task after all ) 

I didn't respond because i've learnt over time that there's no quick fix for ignorance and often responding just fuels it further , plus where  energy is precious I'd rather use it for something more worthy, also silence can speak volumes, the onus is on the other person at the end of the day, It's not up to us as M.E Sufferers to justify or prove ourselves and our condition to anybody.

Unless someone's in severe M.E mode in which case you wouldn't  see them at all because they would be bed-bound with oxygen tubes, feeding tubes and other tubes trailing from various orifices, or someone's in a bad  M.E relapse meaning they would be housebound, you can't  tell someone has M.E just by looking at them. 
It's a permanent, chronic, physical condition that rises and falls like a mexican wave on loop, and can change day to day, hour to hour, Just because someone's out in social surroundings it doesn't mean they're well, it means that they are at a level of illness where they feel they can attempt something , maybe chat with someone other than family members or carer, have a laugh and taste a little normality for a short while.

You wouldn't see a cancer sufferer out and think they must be cured to be out socialising? or that they must be faking the illness because how can someone with cancer be so nicely groomed and still retain their humour and be laughing ? As i've mentioned before, over the years when i've written articles on living with M.E i've been contacted by those who have suffered from both cancer and M.E who wanted to tell me how they found M.E worse and given the choice they would rather have cancer. 

The first time I received such a call I have to say I was shocked, it's not a competition of course but it's a very bold statement to make, and since that first call I've  gone on to receive many similar calls and emails, which should  inform people to just how awful living with M.E is? 
We don't have a choice when it comes to whatever illness we're dealt, but we do have a choice of how to handle it, and over the years i've met the most amazing people, those with physical illness such as M.E, Cancer, Ms, Lupus, Cystic Fibrosis, Brain injury, C.O.P.D and a zillion others, plus those with mental health issues ranging from depression, bi-polar to schizophrenia, and not one person  has felt sorry for themselves, they have been stalwarts, warriors, determined to live the best life within their limitations, you wouldn't know by looking at any of them that they were ill because they choose not to share their daily struggles and misery 24/7, not everyone is a "benefit scrounger" living a life of riley. So for the well and healthy amongst you please remember that just because you can't see something, it doesn't mean it isn't there, and on that note, i'll leave you all with one word, Oxygen ? 
                                                   Til next time, Stay Blessed, 
                                                          Back Before Elvis                                                                                                                                                                    

Friday, 26 April 2019

I'm Miserable, So What? Now Sod Off!

What you are about to read is based on observation, feeling, fact and truth, or maybe I should say my truth because everyone is different of course?  It's not intended to be read with orchestral violins in the background, it's not a one stop shop pity party, it's not looking for Likes, Shares or  Hugs Hun πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’– comments, it's simply sharing the fact as the title states: I'm Miserable, So What? Now Sod Off.                           

There's so much pressure in  today's society to be  "Happy" Pharrell Williams sang about it and there's been a zillion books written on the subject from "Unf#ck yourself" by Gary John Bishop to Mr Cheerful by Roger Hargreaves, but the truth is it's okay to be bloody miserable sometimes or all of the time if that's the case ? And we shouldn't necessarily flock to nudge, cajole or bully someone back to "Happy."  

Most  life things have opposites, Life/Death, Light/Dark, Happy/Sad, etc, you can't feel one unless you've experienced the other in some way otherwise it wouldn't make sense, both are lessons, however, due to circumstances and  emotional make-up when it comes to emotions some people can get stuck on one side. 

For those of you that have followed other articles of mine over the years you will know I often refer to people holding onto their misery like a comfort blanket?  Again there are many reasons people do this, for some it's learnt behaviour, others, simply loneliness and needing attention, and then there's those who just don't have the  tools to navigate back to "Happy" and even if they did they would be too scared to use them because misery feels safe and familiar, and trying to drag someone back to the light side when they're not ready will only lead to more stress, anxiety and.....misery, some people are just too darn happy in their misery to change. 

Thankfully, I haven't always been miserable, as a kid my nicknames were things like Smiler, Happy-Go-Lucky and Giggler, and from childhood to adulthood i've always used humour to get by, but Life often has a habit of whittling away at you, and while as a young whippersnapper I may have felt like a mighty oak, today I'm more twig. 

The grief of losing my siblings has left me emotionally crippled and I can't pretend otherwise anymore .  Don't get me wrong, I still do the ha ha, hee hee, ho ho, when needed, business when needed, and be professional,you don't have to share your misery with other people all of the time, that's not fair. When the  grief torpedo hits during the day I can just take myself off into another room, let the tears roll and carry on doing whatever it is i'm doing, but it's the stillness of the night that's the worst, the thoughts and pictures seem so loud that even my sobs can't drown them out.  

I'm well aware of the rationalities of life and death, I know what my brother and sister would want and I know we have to carry on but after 4 years I'm not even a quarter of the way there yet. There's a constant emotional pain, littered with  anger and a crushing guilt, while still having the  need to remain strong for other family members. Welcome to grief on loop. We're all at different levels  of our journey, it's not a competition, none right or wrong, just ours. While people are well meaning, there's no words, pills, potions or head doc that's going to change things any time soon, that's only going to happen when my soul is ready to start letting me heal, the problem with that  is I've always been a lousy healer. 

On top of  M.E/Fibro and  other health conditions, grief is exhausting but  at this moment in time I don't see an end date, and maybe it never ends, it's not a position I've ever been in to this degree, I can only navigate  through each day as best as I can, and I prefer to do that alone . While I appreciate "cheer up gifts"  and cards with  smiley faces  I often wonder if  people  are expecting "Instant Happy" like i'm going to grab a pair maracas  and start shimmying  around the kitchen singing Copacabana?    

Much to people's surprise, I'm not a peopley person, I prefer my own company and that of wildlife, throw in chips, cheese and a yoga mat and i'm as contented as i'm ever going to be...for now. For now I accept miserable because  Michael and Michele were my big brother and sister and I was the youngest most annoying one and  losing  them both has meant I've lost a big part of me, there are quirks and memories you can't share with anyone else but your siblings and I feel totally lost and abandoned without them and it's scary. 

Just as it's okay to be "Happy" it's also  okay to be miserable, there's no law against it. I just can't be "Happy" right now, so hold off on the "Time is a healer,"  "Things will get better,"  "Maybe you need to try harder?" yadda yadda!  It's okay to be miserable, I'm miserable, so what? Now sod off. 


                                                        Til Next Time, Stay Blessed
                                                               Back Before Elvis