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.

Forgotten Memory

It’s another one of those cold damp bleak Yorkshire days. Hawklad is sat in his bedroom trying to get his school work done. Or maybe he is asleep…. I’m sat by a radiator watching the incessant rain rattle against the window. Trying to warm up after my really cold morning garden workout. It feels like this will be long old winter. A long winter on many fronts.

I’m listing to an old Opeth cd. Back in the time when they were still a proper dark metal band. A memory floods black. I went to buy this very cd just before the millennium. A time way before parenting reality found its way to me. From a music shop which would eventually sadly succumb to economic reality. With the gatefold cd in hand I went to pay for it at the till. The clearly just out of school assistant looked at the cd and then gave me a questioning look. He said something like

This is one of my favourite bands but it’s very heavy dude. Might not be your thing. I can show you the section with the more mainstream rock cds”

I stopped him before he got they chance to mention The Moody Blues. I pointed out to him that I had in fact all of Opeth’s records. And while he was probably still in nappies watching the Care Bears I was at gigs watching the likes of Motörhead and Black Sabbath. After that we had a laugh and he admitted that when he saw me walk into the shop he had switched the music he was playing from Iron Maiden to Deacon Blue. I admitted that I had seen Maiden but strangely forget to add that I had also seen Deacon Blue as well…..

A happy, long forgotten memory…. A memory which took my mind off winter for a few precious minutes.

The boys have lost things

This is the kind of house that just seems to encourage losing things. Lots of things. Which is remarkable when you consider it’s smallish bungalow. Including the garage and the loft, we only have 8 locations for stuff to mysteriously disappear. But it does. All the time.

The house is the home just to boys these days. That includes the pets. So we can definitely say that THE BOYS HAVE LOST THINGS.

Already today we couldn’t find

  • Hawklads FIFA 20 games disk,
  • The new pack of Weetabix,
  • My bank card to pay for something online,
  • My car key,
  • One of my socks – followed instantly by shouting at the dog,
  • A black pen. Can find loads of other colours but not a black pen which Hawklad needs to do a little homework,
  • My new pack of tea,
  • The laptop – how can you lose a laptop….
  • A pair of scissors,
  • My fitness band,
  • The WiFi passkey,
  • The new pack of batteries I bought on Thursday,
  • My mobile,
  • The book I’ve been trying to read for a couple of months now, frustratingly I only have 4 pages to go. It went missing while I was reading in bed. It has been lost for weeks. Ransacked the bedroom today, still no sign. It’s a rubbish crime story but I just want to find out who did it…..

That’s a typical day here. Boys will be boys….

But at least we found time to talk today. We ended up talking about our lockdown and the stuff that we miss. The things we have lost in our own little worlds. For me it was being around people.

Running in the countryside and walking in the mountains.

Going to see my team get beat. Spending time with the friend I meet up with.

We both agreed on missing concerts.

We also both agreed on missing going to Switzerland.

Hawklad talked about not going to zoos and falconries as much. Not being able to have a takeout or pop in for a real ice cream. Not being able to meet up with some of his friends. Missing out on not visiting the seaside.

Not going to wrestling shows.

And not being able to visit historical sites.

There was more but you get the point. Lockdown does have an impact on all our worlds. It means making sacrifices. But we do that all the time. The worry is that too many kids are losing out of key parts of their childhood. It’s about making the best of what we do have. Still trying to make memories. Remembering to keep living.

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.