Todays Daily Prompt asks when us to describe when we last wrote something substantial by hand.
Wow, what a question! In truth I have absolutely no idea. It has certainly been over a decade since I last wrote a letter by hand. When I travel to gigs and do not take my laptop then any notes I want to write are recorded on my iPad which I clip into a bluetooth keyboard.
Before I retired I would write down the notes of meetings in a book, but as a result that would probably amount to no more than a list of bullet points. I have never kept a journal or diary so nothing to draw on there.
In truth I do not miss long hand writing things. I can type more quickly that I can write, my computer auto corrects any spelling errors and helps with any grammatical errors. The digital world means that you do not have to keep folders full of hard copies and storage is so much easier. There is another reason that I don’t miss hand writing things and it is my deep dark secret! My handwriting is appalling, akin to the wanderings of a drunken spider dipped in ink crawling across the page.
So, no thanks, you can keep your pens and pencils. I will keep my keyboards 🙂
Todays Daily prompt suggests that my computer hard drive is recovered in 100 years time and asks what would be found.
The honest answer in my case would be ‘not a lot’. I use a top end Macbook Pro and it has a 512GB SSD flash drive. As a result in order to keep my machine lightning fast the amount of data retained on my hard drive is minimal.
I download my photographs of course but these are backed up almost immediately to an external drive, to the cloud and to DVD. I have always taken the position that there are only two types of people in the world. Those who are anal about creating backups and those who have not yet suffered a hard drive failure.
That said, I do keep a number of RAW files on my hard drive, these are the ones I want to work on in post processing before saving to adobe’s Creative Cloud, and my own cloud storage. There would also be copies of those albums I m currently reviewing for my website and the other media outlets I write for. They would be almost exclusively, punk, folk, folk rock or folk punk. There would also be a collection of books, mostly books on photography or fantasy novels. Outside of that my hard drive would be a barren and lonely place to explore. 🙂
Todays Daily Prompt asks for an experience that moved me to tears recently.
On Saturday 16th August 2014 I attended one of the many music festivals that I have attended during the course of this wonderful summer. The festival, Beautiful Days is one of my favourites, it showcases Folk, Punk, Ska, Reggae and Indie bands in the main. At 2pm around 8000 people packed into a ‘big top’ to watch one of my favourite bands, Ferocious Dog. These guys play high octane electric Folk-Punk and there is always a huge amount of energy at their gigs. About 20 minutes into the set the lead singer, Ken Bonsall (pictured above) played a song called ‘the glass’. At the end of the song Ken simply kissed his fingers and gestured towards the heavens with tears in his eyes. He then launched into an instrumental called ‘Lee’s Tune. At that point I burst into tears, emotion overcoming me. Why should I be overcome in this way at a punk rock gig. Well as you have probably guessed these two songs have special meaning.
Lee you see was Ken’s son and fiddle player Dan’s brother. Lee had joined the army at age 18 and had served with his regiment in Afghanistan. Whilst on active service in that country Lee’s best friend was killed in a ‘friendly fire’ incident. Lee was badly affected and suffered from Post traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). and was eventually discharged from the Army as a result. The Ministry Of Defence and the UK armed forces in general are appallingly bad at supporting our veterans. Unbelievably most veteran support in the UK falls on charities and as you might imagine many veterans are reluctant and too proud to seek support from charities.
Tragically Lee’s depression lead him to end his own life. As you can imagine this had a devastating effect on his family. The song ‘The Glass’ was written by Ken and Dan when they were informed of Lee’s death. Ken’s simple gesture was a little private moment, a simple gesture that said ‘that was for you son, you will never be forgotten’. It was a moment noticed by those who know the story and many like me were moved to tears by it.
I should point out that, as a veteran myself, and as someone who has had more than his fair share of battles with depression I can understand how utterly hopeless you can feel. I also understand how families despair and blame themselves thinking there was surely something they could have done differently to achieve a different outcome. Unfortunately all you can really do is to offer love and support.
Please remember your veterans, support them where and when you can and if you suffer from, or live with someone who suffers from depression please be kind.
Todays Daily prompt is close to my heart. We are asked to talk about our relationship with a musical instrument.
Today prompt feels almost like cheating to me. After all I mentioned the subject a couple of days ago during the Back of the queue challenge.
For many years I have wanted to play guitar. Music has always been incredibly important to me, I grew up in a family of singers and I have been attending gigs and music festivals for as long as I can remember. In May of 2013 I was at gig with my wife and remarked to her that I really wanted to learn to play guitar. A few weeks later we were watching a friends band perform when I made the same comment.
My wife turned to me and said “you have been saying that for years, stop talking about it and do it”. Three days later I went out and bought my first guitar. A Fender acoustic. Now it wasn’t the most expensive guitar in the shop. In fact there were instruments costing 10 times as much. I tried a few out but when I got my hands on the Fender it just felt right, the lines, the colour, the feel of the instrument in my hands, the deep rich and timorous tone just felt right. This was the guitar for me.
The coming weeks saw me taking lessons and found me spending countless hours trying to master chord shapes and to find a tune. I quickly realised that formal lessons were not for me. Too structured, too focused on grade exams and progress was too slow. I started to work from internet lessons and books and spent a huge amount of time practising putting chords together. I won’t pretend it was easy but with hard work I found that after a few months I could play enough chords to build a small repertoire of songs. Today, a little over a year after starting I find that I can play over 100 songs to a reasonable standard. I won’t pretend to be brilliant, I never will be, but I am good enough to find that my friends and family like to listen to me. My wife now says that she finds it unbelievable that I have improved so much in a year and my best friend just last weekend said that my playing “blew him away”.
I ring my guitar playing, fun, rewarding and relaxing. Now of course I ask myself why I didn’t start playing until I passed my 50th birthday.
Back of the Queue
Todays prompt is to discuss something you always wanted to do but never got around to.
It made me smile to see this! I hope you don’t mind but I am going to cheat (a little).
If you look at the title of my blog you will probably get a clue as to where I am going to go with this. There were several things that came to mind immediately when I read the title. I have always loved music and I mean always. There was always music in my house and both my parents were really good singers. My dad was always a working man but he supplemented his income for most of his life by singing on the cabaret circuit around the North of Ireland. He still loves to sing and even though he is in his mid 70’s he still gets asked to compare shows. My mum could have had a professional career had she not married and had me.
I have always been told I have a good voice though my singing was always limited to karaoke and sing-alongs at home. I have always had a yearning to play guitar so that I could strum along to my own singing. I had no desire to do anything other than accompany myself for fun at barbecues and so on. It was something I continuously said I was going to do but never got around to. No real reason other than something else always seemed to get in the way. A year or so ago I finally got around to buying myself a guitar, nothing expensive, just an acoustic fender. I set out to teach myself to play using books, youtube and a fantastic website (www.Justinguitar.com) To my surprise I took to it like a duck to water. A year later I can play lots of songs to entertain myself and my family and friends. I love learning new songs and find the process really relaxing and rewarding. Of course I now curse myself for not having learnt years ago.
The second thing I wanted to do for years was to buy a camper Van. Its easier to say what put me off this. They are VERY expensive. I always promised myself I would buy one when I retired but had a conversation with a friend a few years ago and he offered some very sage advice. “Don’t put it off” he said. Of course he was right. We all spend far too much time in our lives finding reasons NOT to do something. My advice to people is that if you want something find a way to make it happen. I got around to buying my van about 3 years ago and, aside from marrying my wife and having my lovely son, it is probably the best thing I ever did.
My family, my friends, my dogs, my van, my guitar, my music. Add them all together and you find happiness and contentment.