Marmiteboy - Urbane Warrior.

Monday, January 30, 2006

I Started Something I Couldn't Finish.

"Now why couldn't I have thought of that 10 minutes ago. Doh!! Too late now...she'll be long gone and anyway IKEA is not the kind of place to do this kind of thing is it?"

No I haven't started talking to myself (I've been doing that for years), I am just giving myself a bit of a telling off for not continuing a conversation with a real live woman yesterday when the opportunity arose in the IKEA canteen.

I'd gone there to buy myself a new lamp which, as luck would have it, was out of stock. This is a bit of a bugger cos it's a nice lamp. I already have a green one on my desk but thought a blue one would go well in my bedroom. Anyway, I've distracted myself with all this talk of lighting.

Rob, Jim and me had settled down for a smorgasbord of Swedish Meatballs and chips, when a a young woman sat down on the table next to ours. She had her son, who was about four with her and not only did she have the most beautiful ice blue eyes, she wasn't married either (well she wasn't wearing a ring at any rate). As she sat down she said to her son that she had forgotten to get spoons for their afters (jelly, one red, one lime green). After a bit I realised I had forgotten a spoon for my afters too (Dutch Apple Pie) so as I was getting up I asked her if I could get her some spoons (see the age of gallantry is not dead, it may not be slaying dragons but it isn't that far off). Later she asked if I would be sitting at the table for a while longer as she had to take the little one to the loo and would I mind watching her table. Now this is where I fucked up. When she got back she said thanks etc and I didn't cease the day and start chatting!! It was down to my usual problem. I didn't want to seem pushy, or the type of bloke that chats up women on their own. As I went she even said goodbye to me so I'm sure it would have been okay to chat with her. She even had her son with her so I could have started by asking him what jelly he was going to choose (I thought of this at about 1 o'clock this morning, which you will agree is a tad too late).

Hopefully, I won't be such a scardy cat next time. At least I started a conversation, even if I couldn't finish it.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back.

So Big Brother has ended. And surprise, surprise the so called non-celebrity has won. The fact that in the weeks that Chantelle Houghton has been in the house certain lads mags have been printing pictures of her topless has nothing to do with any agent of course. I, myself as a non-celeb has an agent looking after my affairs, as I'm sure all you do too. How else would those carefully taken pictures of my secret assignations with Hollywood starlets get in the papers ;-)

I don't believe the voting patterns either. Now I don't really watch BB but I do keep up with what's going on. I think we have been manuipulated even more than usual here. I believe that the programme makers know who is going to win before the show starts. I'm not saying that Houghton or anyone else in the house is complicit in this deception, but I think we don't really get a true picture of what is going on. We are being manipulated in my opinion.

Which leads me to the main reason for this post. Big Brother has been going for six seasons now with about 70 people being involved. Why haven't there been any crips involved? We had black and asian contestants and gay and straight contestants. We've had men and women contestants.And we've had Pete Burns!! Why have there been no disabled comtestants. It can't JUST be because the Big Brother House is the most inaccessible house in the country can it? There must be some other more sinister reason.

There must have been, by the law of averages, some disabled people who have applied to Big Brother. Have any of these been interviewed or auditioned? Why hasn't there been a wheelchair user, or a blind person, a deaf person, a mobility impaired person or a diabetic in Big Brother. Is it because the production company doesn't want to show how a disabled person lives their life day to day? Maybe it would be too much trouble to adapt the house if the need be. Maybe they don't want to give a disabled person the opportunity to be in the game. Maybe BB really is a reflection of society and the opportunities denied us in the real world are reflected by Big Brothers continued refusal to have a disabled person in the house.

Or are we just too clever to get involved in this maniplulative nonsense. I hope this is the reason we haven't had anyone taking part rather than any discrimination. I fear I might be wrong though.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I Guess I'm Just A Little Too Sensitive.

I was hypnotised again on Tuesday as part of my psychotherapy session. I was asked to relax and picture a flight of ten stairs leading down to a door and was told that behind this door would be a room of some kind. I remember having trouble relaxing this time. My mind was really wandering for some reason, anyway I was told to picture myself at the top stair and that we were going to descend the stairs one by one very slowly. As Holly started counting me down the stairs I could feel myself falling into some kind of relaxation. It was a bit like whan you are falling in a dream and because of that, I found myself fighting it to begin with. Gradually though, I did relax and had the same kind of detatched (but fully aware of where I was) feeling that I had last time.

I was asked to enter the room and then describe what I saw. The room was light and airy with floor to ceiling glass doors along two walls. It looked out over a beach and the sea. This was a very vivid image. The room itself had a big bed and stripped pine flooring. I was asked to sit down and found a big bean bag that I made myself comfortable in. I was told that there was a box in front of me and to decribe that too. I saw a shoebox, the kind of shoebox that I got my Dunlop Green Flash in, it was all very clear to me.

I was told that in the box would be a memory that had caused me distress in the past and that I was going to address it. I opened the box and saw a picture of a young woman I once new and was extremely fond of. There had been an incident between us that I have never been able to understand. I won't go into details because it's all a bit complicated but needless to say that I was seriously smitten with this person and what happened really fucked me up because I never understood what had gone wrong between us. I hadn't had a relationship with her at all but nonetheless the way our friendship ended without much explainantion has dogged me ever since. I strongly believe that a lot of my current anxiety is because of this problem. I'm not saying it caused it but it was the straw that broke the camels back.

Anyway, I was asked to have a conversation with this person and to then explain why I thought what had happened had happened. Which I did. Afterwards I felt really good. I felt light and relaxed and refreshed. However, when I woke up on Wednesday I felt really shit again. I suppose all the emotions from that incident and how it had made me feel for months and months afterward, had been stirred up again.

I'm still not feeling very good today either so I'm off work again. I do know that I will have low periods whilst undergoing psychotherapy so I'm not particularly worried that there has been a reversal. I have to understnd that this is going to be a long process.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Shoplifters Of The World Unite.

I fear I have a criminal living under my roof. I have always taken a very moral stance about common thievery. I have never, ever stolen anything ever. This is more because I would be too scared of the consequences of getting caught than anything else, but I do have a healthy regard for other peoples property too.

Which brings me to the distressing events of this evening. I had just eaten my tea whilst watching Masterchef Goes Large (I'm a sucker for cooking programmes) when I thought I'd better go and do the washing up. As I walked to the kitchen I spotted Marmite, my tabby cat eating something in the hall. Now this usually means that some poor mouse or bird has been needlessly culled and brought in to show both Twiglet and me what a big brave lion Marmite really is, and not the big daft brush he actually is.

Today was different though because it wasn't a deaded animal, it was a piece of raw steak!! This can only mean one thing. Marmite has snuck into a neighbours flat under the cover of darkness and nicked it before it could be bunged in the old frying pan. I destroyed the evidence before the kitten police knocked on the door and carted Marmite off to kitty prison. He wasn't happy to lose his ill-gotten gains and has sulked off into the garden and remains disgruntled with his horrid daddy.

I really don't know what to do with him? You bring your kittens up to be good children and then they indulge in this kind of nefarious activity.
I'll have to ground him of course and I might have to stop his pocket money too. What a naughty kitten ;-)

By the way he has just come in looking very sheepish. He skulked past me trying not to be spotted. The tyke.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

I Got Sunburnt Waiting For The Jets To Land.

There isn't much going on in Marmiteworld this weekend, which is quite nice. It means I can recharge my batteries and not do an awful lot. I have just finished Stuart Maconie's excellent memoir of a music journalist 'Cider With Roadies' and I have forsaken the telly for some serious music listening. Here is my current playlist

Young Team - Mogwai
The Concretes - The Concretes
Last Splash - The Breeders
Keep On Your Mean Side - The Kills
Meat Is Murder - The Smiths
The Queen Is Dead - The Smiths
50,000 Fall Fans Can't Be Wrong - The Fall
Elephant - The White Stripes
It's A Wonderful Life - Sparklehorse
Funny Little Frog - Belle And Sebastian
Clap Your Hands And Say Yeah - Clap Your Hands And Say Yeah
Crisis Helpline - The Beauty Shop
Back To Nature - Fad Gadget
Seven Swans - Sufjan Stevens

The title from this post is one of all time favourite lyrics and is taken from 'Piano Fire' a quite brilliant song taken from the third album It's A Wonderful Life by the wonderous Sparklehorse.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

I Need Direction*

Well, yesterday was my second proper psychotherapy session and although no hypnotherapy was involved and I wasn't made to run round the office doing chicken impressions when someone said 'tea?', I did feel some benefit from it.

Yesterday was all about what my therapist Holly had picked up on the word association we had done last week. Needless to say, and as I had guessed, there were some key words amongst all the food, house, cat, dog etc. I surprised myself in being so candid about things. I am as you had no doubt guessed a fairly open person about what troubles me but I said some stuff about previous relationships that I had never mentioned to anybody before (not even Lady B, and she knows loads about me). I won't go into to much detail here, mainly because I'm still a little embarrased by it and also because it's not really the place to start chatting about such things. I am glad I said something though because my mind has been laid to rest a bit. I have been anxious about this particular problem for a while now and as a 40 year old bloke I thought I had good reason to worry. Holly has told me that I should chill out about it a bit (some clever people may have already worked out what IT is). It basically stems from my last relationship which wasn't the best 7 months I have ever spent and not to put to fine a point on it and being a bit more vulgar than Holly was,it is no wonder I'm a bit fucked up. The girl has a lot to answer for apparently.

This is good news cos I thought (and this is more than half my problem)it was all my fault. Obviously it does take two to tango and I should have stood up for myself and not allowed myself to be maniplulated and treated the way I was. My ex was a control freak who wanted and unfortunately got ALL her own way. From telling me not to wear a certain shirt (because she would be ashamed to be seen with me in it, it was a decent shirt by the way, she just didn't like it), to being told how to cook spaghetti (when I was doing it right and did not boil for half an hour like she did), to being told that I wasn't washing the dishes properly!!! There were lots of other things to that I won't go into but it is safe to say that it did my self esteem, which has never been brilliant, no good at all. Well at least I'm not bitter ;-)

We also talked a lot more about my childhood and how that has effected me too.

I have been aware of all this stuff myself for a long while but none the less it was heartening to hear it from a professional I think that somettimes you need to be told stuff about yourself by someone who doesn't really know you at all, which I suppose is a psychotherapists job.

We are going to do some work in the coming weeks to rebuild my confidence again. Holly is a great one for homework. I've got to continue making phone calls this week. God knows what she has planned later on. I hope I won't have to chat someone up in a pub because that is something that I have never done and I don't think I'll ever be ready for frankly.

*Copywright The Teenage Fanclub

Sunday, January 15, 2006

You'll Never Make It.

I have been thinking to myself lately, whilst watching pop music programmes on TV about just how underrepresented disabled people are. On the face of it there do not seem to be any disabled people having their music played on tv. Except perhaps Stevie Wonder, and even his career is in a bit of a hiatus of late. Ray Charles has also been in the spotlight recently with his death last year and the film of his life winning some Oscars. Though we may not get a lot of coverage in the press there have been several disabled people getting their music out there over the years. I thought I’d remember some.

In my view the greatest of them all was Ian Dury. To me, he represented everything that is positive about being a disabled person. He never went on about it except when he needed to and some arsehole needed challenging. He was rounded on by the right wing press for daring to write Spasticus Autisticus. They totally misunderstood the message (or maybe they understood it all to well) and the song was banned by many radio stations. He worked right up to a few weeks before his untimely death doing what he loved doing the most, which was performing. Another singer who loved getting up on stage and strutting his stuff was Rock and Roll legend Gene Vincent. Gene smashed his left leg up in a motorbike accident and had to wear a leg brace for the rest of his life. Gene used to leap about the stage like a man possessed and I’m convinced many people never even realised he was disabled. Robert Wyatt was one of the founding members of Jazz-Rock group Soft Machine and in my opinion is one of the best and most original drummers this country has ever produced.. On June 1st 1973, Wyatt fell out of a window at a party and broke his back. He has been a wheelchair user ever since. His music is always inventive, if not a little strange and 2004’s Cuckooland was nominated for the Mercury Prize. Drummer Chick Webb was a bigband leader in the height of the jazz era in the 1940’s. As a small person he had to stand to play the drums his style was all powerful. In fact so powerful was his right foot that the bass drum had to be nailed to the floor. otherwise it used to move forward and fall off the drum stage. He was one of the first people to champion the great Ella Fitzgerald. Kristen Hersch is one of my favourite artists both as a member of the Throwing Muses and solo. She has documented her mental illness right through her career (she is bi-polar) and in The Letter from her seminal album Hips and Makers, wrote one of the most heart rending songs ever as she explains her condition to her parents. Daniel Beddingfield for instance is ADHD and in a recent interview explained just how this condition affects and inspires his music. Although I cannot confess to being a fan I can admire him for using his condition positively. Finally we all know about The Drummer from Def Leopard who when he lost an arm in a car accident just had his kit modified so he could carry on playing in the band. His band mates were very supportive at the time and said no Drummer ( haven’t got a clue what his name is sorry) no band. There are others I could mention like blind jazz musicians George Shearing and Roland Kirk. Deaf singer Johnny Ray had Robbie Williams type attention in the 1950’s and I’m sure Ludwig Von Beethoven was treated like a rock star in his day too.

The point I’m trying to make here is to say to record company A&R men that they should get out there and start signing disabled musicians up and start releasing some records by disabled artists. The view has always been that disabled people could not be pop stars because they would not be accepted by the public. Well the past has proven otherwise with many disabled musicians having success. The industry should stop looking for the body beautiful and start looking for the real talent.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

I Thought I Saw A Puddy Tat.

I did. I saw not one puddy tat, but two. This is of course courtesy of Pete (Mentalas) and his graphic genius. He has designed me a banner for the top of Marmiteboy On Toast featuring my two lads Marmite and Twiglet.

For the those of you who want to know these things Marmite is the tabby on the right of the screen and Twiglet is the short haired black kitten. He has, alas, lost the collar since the picture was taken. It is nowhere to be found.

Thanks Pete for bringing the boys to the attention of the world.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Today Is The First Day Of The Rest Of Your Life.

Well I've been under hypnosis for the first time in my life today as part of a trip to the therapist. I apologise if the following is all a bit of a ramble but I really want to get it all down in case I forget anything.

After a bit of word association (which isn't easy at all!) I was asked to get myself comfortable on a reclining chair, I was covered with a blanket and then told to relax. Now I am not the greatest relaxer in the world. It is something I have always found very difficult. I have had counsellors and even yoga teachers talk me through relaxation techniques before and I have always found that I haven't relaxed properly. I probably stop myself relaxing if the truth be known. I suppose it's about having the confidence to let go.

Anyway back to the consulting room. My therapist started to talk me through relaxation and whereas before I have not managed it, the technique she used seemed to get me as realxed as I have ever been before without either having a shag (steady) or taking pre-meds in hospital.

She then started asking me to think about my childhood. It was all very strange as I saw loads of images from that time whizzing through my minds eye. She asked me to settle on one that had caused me some upset as a kid and I found that I could very easily. It was an emotional experience and my feeling of anxiety really increased at this point. I could really feel my chest getting tighter and felt really scared and agitated. I really felt the isolation and hurt that I had felt at the time of the incident, which involved being made to wear a blazer mended with patches on the elbows to school. This is not a cool image for a 14 year old boy. I doubt even someone as cool as Johnny Depp could carry it off. I got loads of piss taking form my peers because of that and it didn't do much for my self image, esteem or confidence. After another couple of memories that had also made me feel bad I was asked to describe the anxiety in my chest as an image. To me it resembled a hole in the ground rather like a trench with wooden shored sides. It really surprised me just how vivid this image was and thinking back, just how apt it is too. I also had to describe what words I associated with the the hole. Unsurprisingly I was able to think of loads of negative words to describe how I felt. I was asked if I could get out of the hole and at first I couldn't find a way but after a bit I saw that there was a ladder leading out of the pit. This was to be my escape.

After describing the hole I was asked if I could see anything in the hole and I can remember seeing a cut red rose lying on the floor. I was asked if I knew what this signified to me and I remember saying that I felt it signified romance (call me old fashioned). I also saw a blue cup and saucer filled with tea!! Then I spotted a pair of scissors. It ws obvious to me that this signified cutting the ties with the past that would allow me to move forward. There wasn't any time that anything I saw was suggested to me so it must have come from the sub-conscious. When I was asked if there was anything else there I saw a large sack filled with wet sand. It seemed to me that this was the weight that would stop me climbing the ladder and getting out of the hole.

I know we then talked some more about what was about me in the whole and I remember seeing a cat sitting there. It was a pretty indistinct cat but it was definitely there. The therapist then asked if anything had changed and to see if I could lift the sack of sand because she felt it might not be as heavy as I thought it might have been. To my surprise I found it became full of feathers instead and was suddenly much easier to carry. I was asked to gather up all I had found, picking up the scissors last of all (the cat got out of it's own accord) and make my way up to the top of the ladder.

When I reached the top I was asked how I saw the scissors as a way of cutting the ties with the past and how it manifested itself. I clearly saw a shop doorway with a ribbon across the door waiting to be cut. I was asked to snip the ribbon and step across the threshold, taking one last look behind me. I was then asked to imagine writing down all the negative words on a piece of paper and then screw them up and throw them in the hole. Once I had done that I filled in the hole using a bulldozer. (I don't fuck about when filling in holes I can tell you).

Once I was out I was then asked how the tightness in my chest felt. It definitely wasn't as acute. It now resembled a blue plastic football. I was asked to think of lots of positive words and to fill the ball up with them. By doing that the ball became a lot lighter and changed into a red and yellow beach ball. I was asked to visualise this ball everytime I started to feel anxious and to replace the hole with it.

I was then 'brought round'. Thinking about what happened later it all seems a bit strange. The sub conscious is obviously very powerful, far more powerful than I realised it could be. For a good few hours after this experience I had no anxiety at all. It has been a long time since I felt so calm. It is back a bit now but not as bad as it has been. The proof of just how successful the session was will be in the coming week when I try to put into practice what I learnt today. It is the first step along the road and I'm much more confident about it's success than I was before I started. I have already booked up for another session next week and hope that with that I can take my second step along the road to having greater self esteem and belief in myself.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Everyday Is Like Sunday.

I'm not totally convinced by Morrisey's argument that 'Everyday Is Like Sunday'. Even in this 'seaside town they forgot to close down'.

What is it about Sundays that make them so drab? I have never been a church goer (owing to the small matter of not beieving in God), so it has no religious significance for me. Even as a child I can remember hating Sundays. Nothing ever happens on Sundays despite that in modern Britian the shops are open and the telly isn't full of religious programming (well not as much as it used to be).You can even go to the cinema and watch sport. Fun is allowed!! When I was a kid I can remember the authorities not allowing fun of any kind what so ever. Sure, if the mood took you you could go and offer praise to whoever your lord was, but that's not really meant to be fun is it?

I have a theory, and although it is yet to be scientically tested, I believe it is indisputable. My theory, which is mine, is that you could sleep for years and years and if you woke up on a Sunday you'd be able to tell, without anyone telling you the day, that it was indeed, a Sunday. Such is the power of the drudge that is Sunday. Mondays of course mean returning to work, so that doesn't come high on the list of days, but at least it's not a Sunday. I used to think it's horror was because Last Of The Summer Wine was on the telly, but it's not on the box 52 weeks a year so it can't be that. Of course this cannot be said of Songs Of Praise but I can't really blame that either because I have never seen a complete episode. Is it just a British thing? Does Mumpy wake upon an American Sunday morning with that Sunday feeling? Does the Melbourne skyline look altogether greyer on a Sunday for Stella? Is it just me? Does everybody else rise on a Sunday with a spring in their step/stick/crutches/wheels? Is it just because I'm a miserable sod;-)

It's now almost 4 o'clock. By my reckoning there is only 8 hours to go until Monday and Sunday will be gone for another week.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Smile Like You Mean It.

I had my first session with my hypno/pyscho therapist on Tuesday lunchtime. I wasn't hypnotherapied this time, my therapist merely wanted to get some background info on me. So I sat there while I was ask all manner of questions about my childhood and how I felt about what had happened during that time. It was an interesting exercise because although I had been thinking about how my childhood had affected my later life quite a bit over the last months it was quite cathartic to actually say it out loud.

Apparently I am pretty self aware, which I suppose gives me a head start. And although it will be hard work trying to raise my self-esteem and therefore putting an end to this anxiety and depression I have been experiencing, I am prepared to do the work. What's more I was given homework to do this week. Not only have I got to smile at people all the time instead of walking round with me head down I also have to ring three people this week for a chat (something I always put off because I don't want to impose on people and because I think they wouldn't possibly want to talk to me), I am to e-mail three people (something I'm better at) and I've got to talk to random people too, (in shops etc). So if you are accosted by a bloke with a stick in Tesco's who is rambling on about what a nice day it is have a heart and be nice. It might be me.

I was supposed to start today at the Health Spa I went to (I don't normally go to Health Spa's you understand, it was a birthday pressie from my sister and some friends). Supposedly I was to chat to people in the restaurant at lunchtime (I was the only one in there) and also chat to people in the various pools, steam rooms etc. I didn't do very well really. I found the whole place a bit scary really. I didn't feel comfortable about jumping in a hot tub with someone (and most of the people there were women) and starting chatting. Other people seemed to have no problem (but they were all there with someone else) but being there on my own I didn't want to invade peoples space and relaxation time.

Still it was my first day and it can only get better. With your permission I'll be recording my therapy sessions on this blog. I'm of the opinion that it will be beneficial to write my progress down as I go, and comitting it to the interwebnet will make me do it.

I tell you one thing about health spa's though. Them steam rooms don't half make you sweat;-)

Monday, January 02, 2006

Rip It Up And Start Again.

Hurrah, not only is 2005 is over but I'n back online again.

It's not been one of my favourite years to be honest. I did have an addition to my family in Twiglet the kitten and I had the somewhat dubious pleasure of celebrating my 40th birthday and having a fab surprise party thrown for me by my friends and family. My great friend Lady Bracknell became North West Disabled Person of the Year, I started this blog and went to over twenty gigs. Apart from that I haven't had much to get cheery about.

My impairment worsened and gave me a lot of pain and my mental state had a blip (although it didn't get as bad as it did in 2004). The later has caused me to really think about what I need to do to alleviate the anxiety and depression I have been experiencing again this year.
Tomorrow I start on an expensive course of hypnotherapy and I feel starting this so early in the year is like starting a new page in my life. Hopefully this year will be a positive one. I know what I want from life but if it doesn't happen I hope the therapy can give me the tools to handle it and not make so much of it. I want to be a person with a lot more self esteem so I can start to feel better about myself. In turn I want to be less anxious about my singledom. Feeling desperate is not a good thing and if I've learnt nothing else this year it is this.

So I'm entering 2006 with some optimism, although sprinkled with a fair pinch of trepidation too. I have seven gigs and one comedy show (a benefit gig for the late great Malcolm Hardee's children) booked already this year so it looks like I might be busy enough.

I'm looking forward to the possibility of meeting some of you I haven't met this year and meeting up again with those of you that I already know.

May you and yours (be they human, canine, feline or in The Goldfishes case a fishy)have a lovely 2006.