Random Facts

Another busy Yorkshire motorway…

Here is a completely random fact for you. If this was like one of those fine old Roman Roads, and just kept going ‘straight as a die’. Well if you kept driving straight, in just over an hour, you would get to where Chris Rea was born. I’m not sure this would be the Road to Hell he was talking about. Add another few miles on in that direction and you get to where mum was born. She had a few Chris Rea cd’s.

Sorry, this is what happens when you play with the newly found compass and direction finder on your mobile. Especially when your stood waiting for Captain Chaos to finish off his morning constitutional. It takes a while…..

It’s also happens to be nearly 2 miles to the nearest dog poo bin. Deep joy. Spookily 2 miles in the same direction as Chris Rea.

Actually thinking about it, I could also have picked the Free and Bad Company vocalist, Paul Rodger’s birth place. That would have been ‘Alright Now’. Then again I could have gone for Captain James Cook, but I’m not sure what his Rock Music credentials are like.

It’s nice to be thinking about other things for a few days. Even random things. Schooling was really getting me down. School definitely feels like somewhere between the Road to Hell and Another Brick in the Wall, but let’s worry about that next week. Back to random facts.

This road leads you to the actor Richard Griffiths birthplace, thars the actor who played Harry Potters Stepdad. Go a few more miles down this extended road and you get to Ridley Scott’s birthplace. Alien, Gladiator, Blade Runner.

Random Facts……

Music and Concerts

The sun sets on another day.

Back in summer Hawklad asked if he could have something to aim for this year. Something fun. Anything other than a potential return to the classroom. So we agreed to take a punt on some concert tickets for December. Back in July, December seemed a long term goal. Now with weeks to go, it’s unremittingly approaching with pace….

There is still time but that concert still seems like a mighty step too far. He is still struggling. Still struggles to touch alien surfaces. Close contact with people is wracked with anxieties. He still can’t venture into shops, even for just a few moments. Inside with a thousand other people, very hemmed in, doesn’t seem practical or achievable yet.

But we always live in hope.

Tomorrow is a new day, yes it is (sorry borrowed that line from WWE wrestling….)

But we are lucky. We still have the open spaces of the Yorkshire countryside. We still have a quiet garden. Today we took our mind of that fast approaching target by thinking about a musical challenge we have seen others do online. So here goes Hawklad’s take on the questions.

First Concert – Hollywood Vampires (Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper, Joe Perry), The Darkness, The Dammed

Last Concert – The Darkness

Best Concert – Iron Maiden

Worst Concert – some bloke painting pictures on stage before Kiss…..

Loudest Concert – Kiss

Seen the most – Alice Cooper, The Darkness

Most surprising concert – Lynyrd Skynyrd

Next concert – The Darkness ???????

Wish I had seen them – David Bowie during the Ziggy Days

Top of wish list (can still see them) – Journey

Hawklad got two positive things from me. His eyelashes and his taste in music….. Ok time for his Gnarly Old Dad to have a go…..

First Concert – Whitesnake, Samson

Last Concert – The Darkness

Best Concert – can’t choose Tin Machine (David Bowie), Whitesnake (City Hall, Newcastle), Iron Maiden, Rory Gallagher, Pink Floyd, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Scorpions (supporting Deep Purple at Knebworth)

Worst Concert – Meatloaf with a broken leg, that bad he got bottled off stage. To be fair seen him twice more and he was really good.

Loudest Concert – Motörhead

Seen the most – Whitesnake

Most surprising concert – Tina Turner…. Ok that’s a big bad fib…. I took Hawklad’s Mum to see Ronan Keating (twice), whisper it, he was not bad at all.

Next Concert – The Darkness ???????

Wish I had seen them – Led Zeppelin or Leonard Cohen

Can still see them – AC/DC

Music

Sometimes all you can do is shake your head and sigh.

I was searching online for some new noise reduction earplugs for Hawklad. He needs these in settings with lots of background noise, like school classrooms and dinner halls. It’s not really about loud noise, just lots of competing sounds. His old ones are too small for him now. Problem is that he struggles with the feel of most of those you can get hold of.

So I did a search on if any particular brands of earplugs had been used successfully. See if any of the review sites had any tips. And here’s where I sighed.

The search brought up this little gem of a question on Quora.

“Why do people with Aspergers not like music……”

There are no words.

Well I bought a few earplugs which Hawklad can use when hopefully he sees the following bands in the next year or so.

The Darkness, Hollywood Vampires, Aerosmith, Deep Purple, Blue Oyster Cult, Ozzy….

And for no particular reason here are Hawklad’s favourite songs that he listens to virtually every day.

David Bowie – Space Oddity

Black Sabbath – Paranoid

ELO – Mr Blue Sky

Alice Cooper – Poison

Iron Maiden – Can I Play With Madness

Kiss – I was made for loving you

Europe – Final Countdown

Bonnie Tyler – Holding Out For a Hero

AC/DC – TNT

Frozen – Let It Go

And his most favourite

Alter Bridge – Metalingus

Yes music. Lots of people love music.

Singing

A lovely day to spend time in our garden. If you take the time there is always things to see. Always things to fill the heart. All things to be thankful for. A time to think and smile. Time to hum and sing a little. Sing a bit of KISS.

Rock and Roll All Nite……

“Dad please stop….”

Don’t you like my singing

Is that what it is”

My voice is a thing of beauty

No it’s not Dad. It’s like 2 nuclear bombs going off in my eat drums at the same time.”

Distinctive then

More like painful”

My voice has been passed down the generations. Millions of years of evolution has honed it to what it is now.

A weapon Dad. That’s what it is. So yes millions of years of evolution. Survival of the fittest. That type of weapon is going to guarantee survival.”

Leaning

One of the first things you notice living in the hills is that you don’t get many poles that are straight up. There is always a bit of a lean to them. Nowt wrong with that. It feels like I’ve had a bit of a lean for years.

There is a really apt song line that Roger Waters wrote a few years back.

You lean to the left but you vote to the right.

This morning I read a work email exchange. One guy was saying that he had voted for Brexit because it seemed cool but hadn’t voted for higher food prices and more expensive import taxes. He certainly hadn’t voted for the nightmare it had become to own his time share in Spain.

Ok…..

Maybe its just me. 😳

But I guess we all do a bit of that lean to the left but vote to the right thing.

I’m not immune to that. As a kid I fell in love with football. What an exciting game it could be if I picked a great team. I then picked Newcastle United to support. If I liked football so much why did I pick that bunch of numpties.

Then there was a time when I was a fully paid up member of CND. Proud owner of the ban the bomb T-shirt. I picked what look like a really interesting University option. All went well until I found out where my option was based. The National Atomic Weapons Research Facility…… I’m not making that up. How on earth did I get through the vetting.

But it goes much wider. I wanted desperately to be a parent but not sure I would have initially voted to be a single parent. Definitely not this way.

So I guess there are times when things are out of our control. Life happens. But there are times when it is down to our decisions, our actions. If that happens you just have to own the consequences….

Back then

Hawklad is a cheeky one. Every time we watch something on TV that refers to a historical incident he always asks ‘you were there Dad so what was it really like….”. Last night he said it when the programme mention the American Civil War. What was it like Dad….

Every so often he catches me off guard with a different line of attack.

Dad has your musical tastes changed with age. What are your favourite 5 bands now…”

Ok that would be

Whitesnake

Pink Floyd

Shinedown

Iron maiden

Blue Oyster Cult.

Ok Dad what were your 5 favourite bands when you were young…”

I think they were

Whitesnake

Blue Oyster Cult

Iron Maiden

Black Sabbath

Scorpions

So they hadn’t changed too much.

Was that pre CD times Dad

Yes it was, not invented yet.

Not much point inventing CDs back then when you were a kid as they hadn’t discovered electricity yet. Are you sure it wasn’t Beethoven you were listening to back in the medieval times.”

Jim Morrison

Definitely been one of those mornings. One of those French mornings…..

It’s taken us 8 weeks to work out that class has been accessing a learning resource that we didn’t know about. So two months later Hawklad finds himself behind. I guess it was one of those things that was discussed in class but not passed on. Deep joy.

I can officially say that this subject has become a disaster.

Anyway I think the time it would take to catch up would be better spent on other activities. Maybe even playing with a non school sanctioned language app. Let’s see if we can find one that works for him. That would be a start. At least it would start to give him the basic skills and bugger the school tests in this subject.

I must admit that this so mirrors my time at school. I so struggled to learn French. Just wouldn’t stick. In the end sitting my final French exam was a bit of a Hail Mary Pass. Not much hope.

But strange things can happen.

Half the exam was the expected shambles. A series of random guesses really. Then the final question accounting for 40% of the marks. Read a long French newspaper article and answer questions in English. I should have had zero chance. But unbelievably the article was about Jim Morrison and The Doors. OMG I know every answer without reading the text.

Two months later I received my certificate in French. I had scraped a PASS. Must have got a perfect score on the final question and winged 10 marks from my other guesses. Yes I owe my French Qualification to Rock Music.

2020 the year music stopped

2020 has been some year. Is it really only August. Time seems to have so slowed down. Many things have just stopped. Live Music most definitely.

Looking back to the start of the year it all seemed a bit different. We were looking forward to a fantastic concert year. I had worked my socks off and secured a whole list of discounted tickets. It was on paper a great year of gigs and some top bands.

*********

The Who

Whitesnake

Foreigner

Europe

Aerosmith

Wayward Sons

Ozzy

Saxon

Deep Purple

Blue Oyster Cult

Hollywood Vampires

Killing Joke

**********

On paper that’s how it will remain for this year. All cancelled some pushed into 2021. So yes something potentially to look forward to. BUT…….

Has the concert zone closed for us. It was always a delicate balance for Hawklad. His enjoyment of the music, the spectacle, a chance to see the bands he loves to listen to. Balanced against his social anxieties. His fears of strangers and crowds. The positives just outweighing the negatives. As a result he could get himself to concerts. Yes it would need his hoody pulled up until the lights went out. But he was ok doing that as he felt that rock crowds were easy going and accepting of all kinds of looks. This was confirmed on our first concert trip. Dad wore the most embarrassing T-shirt he could find. Hawklad was reassured to see that I didn’t get one single strange look and was never asked to leave.

But now it’s a different world. Hawklad definitely sees it differently. Heightened fears and anxieties. The ‘is it ok to attend concerts’ calculation he would perform has got a different answer now. The negatives outweigh the positives. I know the medical advice is that this new world view could become a semi permanent switch in his Aspergers. A dynamic which won’t automatically switch off when the pandemic finally goes. It may take years. May never switch back. We just don’t know.

So maybe that’s it for our concerts. If so then it’s kinda fitting that three of the last bands he got to see just happened to be his favourites. Alter Bridge, Kiss and Alice Cooper.

So let’s enjoy the memories. It might be the year Live Music stopped for us but it doesn’t mean that music has stopped. Most certainly not.

Heartfelt songs

Roman berries

Small and a beautiful berry. Not great to taste raw but apparently you can make great marmalade from them. I will leave them for the birds.

These 6 weeks tend to be tough for me. Your probably bored of me saying this but here I go again – me, me, me – in 2016 I lost my mum at the end of July, the week after the funeral I found out that my partner was dying and she died at the end of 6 week period.

Since then, this part of the year is tough. Best not make it any tougher.

I love music. It’s always been a special part of my life. Some would question my musical taste. I do like a bit of Leonard Cohen. Partial to a bit of classical music. Enjoy traditional Scottish music. But mainly it’s Rock. Often heavy Rock. Even some Mongolian Metal. But during these 6 weeks I have to be careful. It’s a fine line between smiles and tears. Let’s not have too many tears. With me music has the power to send me both ways. So for the next few weeks it’s a filtered playlist. No sad songs. Absolutely no sad songs. Zero heartfelt songs. No songs about death, dying young and lost love. Queens – ‘Who wants to live forever’ is just a big fat NO. The soundtrack to ‘Love Story’ is an even bigger, fatter NO. Don’t even start me on Terry Jacks – ‘Seasons in the sun’.

So it’s time for those songs about dragons, monsters, cars, highways, parties, card games, fun and high spirits. Yes love sounds but they have to be happy ones. That’s my playlist. Absolutely NO heartfelt songs.

Kinda

One of those weather days. Kinda sunny, kinda cloudy, kinda windy, kinda warm, kinda chilly, kinda dry and kinda wet. I guess it’s a kinda Yorkshire day. Rather excitingly I walked to that Tree today and back. Keep it quiet, Hawklad doesn’t know. He was too busy watching a Sherlock episode. It was funny as I had just finished my fitness programme for the morning. Definitely slightly out of breath. Probably not the best time to try and sing The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music. Probably better trying to sing in the more deeper tones of four fine Yorkshire born Rock front men, Joe Cocker, Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company), David Coverdale (Deep Purple, Whitesnake) or Joe Elliot (Def Leppard). Better off probably dressing like them as well, rather than Julie Andrews. That would kinda make more sense.

I’ve now got this bizarre thought in my head. Monty Python skipping over that hill, signing that song about The Alps, all in a deep Yorkshire accent while wearing wellies and a knitted handkerchiefs on their heads. That’s kinda disturbing.

Changing the subject rapidly. I was doing today’s workout outside in the garden when that Tree caught my eye. I thought about it being months since I ventured there. I decided it was kinda time to revisit there. Sit a few minutes under the branches. Well I did. That’s where I noticed that I was slightly out of breath. But I kinda have an excuse. It was straight after my workout. A slightly longer one.

I have this silly little ritual. Every year I add on one more minute to my exercise sessions. The thinking is that yes that’s one year older but my body is coping with one more minute of workout than it did last year – so I must still be improving. Rather than getting older I’m getting fitter. Kinda getting better, still improving. Well that’s the thinking anyway….. Kinda makes sense to me.