Monday, October 30, 2006

Musical Monday

I woke up this morning, and the sun was actually streaming through my bedroom blinds. As I got out of bed, I felt a smile play across my lips and I realised that I really am happy at the moment. Not that fleeting happiness that goes as quickly as it appears, but a real feeling that I'm in a good place. It's not a place that I've always been, and I don't need to be told to appreciate it.

Bea and I were chatting on MSN/webcam last night, but after looking at her face on my screen for a while I had to speak to her properly, and hearing her voice was what I needed. We talked about London, and she told me about the jumper (!) and boots that she'd bought earlier in the day. And we both know that something... important is happening right now. It's scary, but it's also exciting.

My track this week is from one of those albums that - whenever you put it on - it sounds... right. I've copied this from Wikipedia...

"Eagle-Eye Cherry (born 7 May 1971 in Skåne, Sweden) is an American-Swedish musician. His sister Neneh Cherry, father Don Cherry and halfsister on his Swedish side, Titiyo, are also musicians.

Soon after he was born, he moved to New York with his father, where he began acting and playing music. After his father's death in 1995, Eagle-Eye moved to Stockholm with his girlfriend, and began to focus on songwriting. He recorded Desireless, which was commercially successful in Europe and was released in the United States in 1998.

Cherry found commercial success with the song "Save Tonight". He released his second album in 2000 (Living in the Present Future) which was remixed for the American market (released as Present/Future), but did not sell well. His subsequent album (Sub Rosa), as a result of the prior album's sales, was not released stateside. He remains very successful in other countries.He was also featured on Santana's (Supernatural) album."

There you go, then. And this is "Worried Eyes", from the album Desireless.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Random thoughts

Sometimes I think that my children are even funnier than I am (really, I mean it!). Livvy (that’s “O”, by the way) talking to Bea on MSN this afternoon...
“When you come over, will you take me to my bus stop so I can show you to my friends?”
I’ve spent the day cleaning the house from top to bottom, and tonight I’m rewarding myself with dinner. I’m actually seeing my friend Michele, who I’ve written about in the past as someone with whom I’ve been happy to share a bed on many an occasion (we both maintained that we were completely terrified by the “R” word. Clue – it has four syllables.) Anyway, tonight it’s just going to be dinner and a spliff, because I’m not into fucking around when I’m seeing someone. And anyway, I’m in... (Ha! Got you!)

I looked at some new cars yesterday, and was seriously thinking about trading in my beauty for the new Alfa Brera 3.2 litre. But I was chatting later to a friend of mine, and subsequently decided that I’m going to save as much as I can over the next year, and then try to give myself the option of moving to a slightly bigger house if all goes well. Or maybe buy a little place in Spain if things really do take off with this European project I’m working on. That said, I’m only dreaming really... but the point is something is telling me not to waste money on a car that I don’t need. It’s interesting, because it’s a while since I allowed myself to even begin to make any plans, even fairly tenuous ones. I’m going to have to be very, very careful, I think...

Have a great weekend, all of you. I’ll stop by tomorrow and see what’s going on in your neck of the woods. Or necks of the wood... no, that sounds completely ridiculous, doesn’t it?

Thursday, October 26, 2006


I miss the beach, and the sun. I seem to have got myself into a kind of mind-set where I expect to work for three weeks and then holiday for one. I have a suspicion that it’s not sustainable, however much I enjoy it! Instead, then, here’s a photo of the beach in Tenerife, to make me feel better even if it doesn’t mean that much to you... Actually, I’m having a quiet month work-wise, just putting the foundations in place for November onwards. I do keep thinking about Moscow and Milan, though - and counting my lucky stars... oh, and I have a couple of bids out there, one of them for an enormous project in Dubai which I doubt I’ll get but which is exciting to think about anyway.

It got me thinking about how easy it is to get in a rut... not just with regard to work, but with regard to life generally. And we can sit and dwell on it, or we can try to do something about it. When you’re pissed off, or depressed, being positive can take what seems to be a mammoth effort, but it’s an effort that has to be made. Change isn’t always good, but it’s inevitable, and we can influence it – or maybe manipulate it – if we're determined enough. If we want something enough.

I spoke to Bea last night, and we’ve made some plans for when she comes over... I’ve organised a bit of a party, in fact, which should be fun. One of the Scottish Sisters from Tenerife (who now lives in Torquay, famous for Fawlty Towers if nothing else) is coming up with her husband, so at least there’ll be a couple of familiar faces for her (she’s very nervous, poor thing). The two of them (Bea and Scottish Sister, that is) went out for dinner last night, as SS is actually in Tenerife with the kids this week for half-term, and no doubt the rather uncomfortable burning of my ears all night was a direct consequence of their little get-together. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall! In any event, I got a message from Bea at 3am this morning saying she was back home, and
You have nothing to worry about. Or do you???

Bea xxx
Hmmmm. I actually knew what she meant. Women have such a perverse sense of humour sometimes!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Musical Monday

Well, I spoke to Mike (my friend who had the quadruple heart bypass ten or so days ago) today, and he's back at home & sounding pretty chirpy. Apparently it only hurts when he laughs or sneezes, and considering I'm reasonably funny and I have a cold I suspect that I'm not the best company for him at the moment. But he and I appear to have a lot of work coming up, and all of it looks like it'll involve overseas travel - initially to Moscow, Milan and Brussels. You've got to love this consultancy lark, haven't you? Anyway, next year is beginning to look reasonably hopeful and my Air Miles account might actually be worth something by the summer!

Mind you, I won't be taking any more holidays for a while now. And anyway, Bea's coming over to stay in three weeks to sample some REAL weather for once. In fact, one of her friends bought her a jumper (that's a "sweater"! Ed) with a matching scarf, hat and mittens for her birthday, which she found quite hysterical. I don't think she's ever experienced weather below the mid-70's (in old money) so London in November should be quite an experience!

I'm going through a bit of a retro phase at the moment, and my track for this week makes me think of Terence Conran wallpaper, swirly patterned carpets and flared Wrangler jeans. It also happens to be my very favourite song to play on my iPod when I'm running, and it seems to spur me on to go just that little bit faster than normal. I should also thank the lovely Mez for the heads-up a few months back, although it subsequently transpired that virtually all my friends have this album in their collections and thought I was completely mad for not having bought it a long time ago.

So... enough mystery then - this is Air and La Femme d'Argent, from the album Moon Safari. And I challenge you not to absolutely love it!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Back to reality

Well, here I am... back in front of my laptop in the office, kids in the lounge watching That’s So Raven, and Lola at my feet crying for (another) lunch. The past few days in Tenerife might have felt like some kind of dream if I wasn’t so tired - the last three nights we got to bed at 4am, 6am and 5am respectively, and I now feel like I could go into hibernation for about a week quite happily. And I have an absolutely awful cold, and a sore throat, so today I’m going to do absolutely fuck all other than watch some football and catch up on the last week’s episodes of 24 and Battlestar Galactica! For a guy, could there be a better day than that? (Errr, yes actually, but it’s not bad as days go!)

If you’d suggested to me a while back that I’d find myself in Tenerife one warm night in October, standing in the middle of a football stadium with about 40,000 screaming Latin Americans watching Marc Anthony on stage with his wife (yes, Jennifer Lopez herself) I’d have thought you were completely insane. But what an amazing experience – and each one of those 40,000 sang every word to every song, with a passion that bordered on hysteria.

Also pretty amazing was the birthday party for Beatriz the night before, with about 20 members of her family, and friends, of who 2 could speak just a little English... although the after-party, with one or two substances of an illegal nature making a belated appearance, was also something of an experience. And everyone went out of their way to make me feel comfortable, knowing that I’d potentially be feeling a little out of place amongst them. Especially as Beatriz’ mum kept asking me what my name was, which was marginally disconcerting!

But now, it’s back to reality for me... and that means blowing this rather red nose of mine again, and then taking more washing out of the tumble dryer. I think I preferred it on the beach, frankly! Well, wouldn't you?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Looking for the stars

So... it’s Sunday morning, the cat’s crapped on the rug in the lounge (I so hate that), and I’ve just had a very strong cup of coffee as I contemplate this strange thing that I call my life. All these twists and turns that just go to show, time and again, how unpredictable it all is... and how things can change from one moment to the next.

A year ago, I’d just handed in my notice at a job that was slowly wearing down my spirit, and was wondering if I'd effectively signed my own professional death warrant. But I’m still here, my children have been on holiday and have had everything they need, and it looks like I have work going into 2007. I’m amazed, and just a tiny bit proud of myself – yes, I know that pride is “bad”, but now and again I misbehave. Shoot me.

Not everything is perfect... the ex is being a prize bitch, quite a few of my friends are going through a hard time in one way or another, and there’s still a degree of uncertainty in my life which might be worrying if I allowed it to be. But essentially I’m a very lucky man, and as I pack the last few things in my case for another instalment of this ridiculous adventure I seem to be on, I’m very thankful. If there was such a thing as Gratitude Sunday I might be tempted to play, but I won’t be here on Tuesday and – anyway – it’s the letter L this week. That’s a dangerous one, and best left well alone.

I tried to visit everyone last night, but Haloscan was playing up and I wasn’t able to leave a comment everywhere I wanted to. But now I just have time for a good run, a shower, and a few minutes to relax before I set off for the airport again. I hope you all have a good week, and a positive one. And remember that line from a song by Tindersticks that I quoted on the very first Musical Monday? The one about how we spend our time with our eyes on the ground, looking for the stars?

See you when I get back.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Random thoughts

Well, my friend Mike will have had his operation yesterday. I’m not close enough that it was appropriate to call, but I may do so this evening, just to make sure that everything went well. Consequently, though, it was a strange day yesterday... and just recently, another friend/business associate (who reads this blog, actually) had something of a trauma when his little grandson fell out of a 4th story window. He’s making a good recovery, but when I was listening to the story I found myself crying on the telephone, which was perhaps a little less than supportive. Or, at least, less supportive than I wanted to be. There's so much personal "stuff" going on, everywhere, it seems... and usually we just see a microcosm of each other's lives. Sometimes it pays to remember that everyone who walks past us in the street has a story...

My trip to Brussels was called off at the eleventh hour, as a consequence of some politicking in the client organisation. On the one hand, I wanted (and needed) to go, but it wasn’t good timing for me, and I’ve taken the opportunity to invite Mum over for dinner tonight. She’s 75, bless her, and I have to look after her... bloody shame she doesn’t drive, though, as I feel like a taxi service sometimes. Anyway, I’m cooking lamb medallions, baby roast potatoes and a selection of vegetables, and she can see the changes I’ve made over here since she last came to visit. I’ve also just printed off a lot of my photos, mostly black and white, and hung them all over the house. Now, every room I go in I have the children looking down on me. Even when I’m doing a wee, which is a little disconcerting.

Before I go, I just want to send some positive thoughts to another - special - friend who’s going through a hard time at the moment. Everything will work itself out, I know it will. It always does, given a little time... and, as you know, timing is everything. (Oh, and I hope you all didn’t come here expecting an HNT, by the way... I said I was retired, and I meant it. Check out the archives if you want some flesh – there’s plenty there to choose from!)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Musical Monday

My life has descended into complete madness.

I mentioned my friend being hospitalised (he has heart problems)... well, I spoke to him today and after having had an angiogram to see how severe the problem was he's scheduled for a quadruple heart bypass on Tuesday. He sounded scared, and I'm worried for him, but he's in a good hospital and - luckily - he hadn't actually suffered a heart attack when they took him in. In other words, there's no damage to the heart tissue, and the prognosis looks as good as it can look at this stage.

Anyway, I'm covering his work for him, but unfortunately that involves flying out to Brussels at sparrow fart on Thursday, returning late on Friday evening. Now, normally that wouldn't be too much of a problem, but I'm also scheduled to fly out to Tenerife on Sunday for a few days to see Bea (I know, I know... there's a lot to explain). I have other things to do besides sitting in aeroplanes, and the week is just about unmanageable. But at least I have my health, which is more than some people have, eh? Keep you fingers crossed for him please, and I'll let you know how he's doing later in the week.

Today's tracks are from an album I really love - a compilation called Nirvana Lounge, produced by Claude Challe and Ravin. Claude Challe is heavily involved in the Buddha Bar series, and this album is very similar... eclectic, trancy/dancy and very good get stoned to. And fuck to, actually.

Anyway, the first of these tracks, "Yarada" by Amar, fades nicely into the second - Karunesh and "Punjab". That's why I've posted both of them, and if you can listen to them one after the other I don't think you'll be disappointed. I have to say, though, that as I listened to the rest of the album I could have gone back and changed both tracks for any of the others, because its that kind of album.

Happy Musical Monday

Friday, October 06, 2006

Okay, here's the thing...

A day or two of reflection and things seem different... not quite as important as they did. And I have to say that I'm rather touched by the comments on my ranting apology of a post below, to the extent that I feel kind of wanted. It's nice, and I don't think I can turn my back on all this warmth and affection... so you're stuck with me. Sorry.

But there are going to be a couple of changes around here (he says in his sternest voice). For a start, my last HNT was my last HNT... it was fun, but for now its over. My body is a temple, after all, and giving of it too freely can't be a good thing. Secondly, I intend reverting to the (even more) open and honest style of posting on which this blog was always based. It's who I am, and how I am, after all... for better or worse!

So, this weekend, I'll be visiting you all, and whilst I intend getting round to everyone it may take a while - a friend and business associate has just telephoned me to say that he's in hospital for a few days so I've agreed to take on the work he had in order that he can still achieve his deadlines. It's put me in a fair bit of trouble myself, but I really couldn't say no. Oh, and I shall endeavour to respond to comments... I know its nice to see a response and I've always done my best to oblige. I like to, anyway.

And at least it means that I probably won't have time to bore you with posts about the flights to faraway places I've just booked, but you wouldn't want to hear about that anyway. Would you?

And seriously - thank you.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Bear with me...

Okay, I'm going to have a bit of a brain-dump. I hope you don't mind...

Firstly, I think I have a case of the blues. I'm in a foul mood, which has meant that I haven't posted, commented, or generally been particularly sociable. I'm sorry - I'm not being rude, it's just one of those things. It's partly a kind of post-holiday reality, and partly pressure of work (and, conversely lack of work, which might sound strange). In any event, I've simply not been in a frame of mind that's condusive to sitting down in front of the laptop and playing. And I just shouted at my Mum.

Secondly, I came very, very close to deleting this blog today. There are a whole host of reasons, none of which I want to go into in detail. One or two things, though, have pissed me off and I'm becoming increasingly aware that when the lines that separate blog from "life" become blurred things tend to get... difficult. And, frankly, I don't need to come here for grief... there's more than enough of that in RL, thanks.

I'm not looking for a chorus of "don't do it"s but merely stating that I may have reached the end of the blogging road. I'll take a bit of time to think about it, and in the meantime will post when I feel like it and - for that matter - what I feel like. (It's not Fuck You Friday yet, is it? Shame.) That said, I appreciate the comments from those of you who saw fit to welcome me back... I'll visit you as soon as I can, although tomorrow is a bit manic as I have an interview in the afternoon arising from an unexpected call from a head-hunter a day or two ago; after that I have a friend/colleague coming over to stay in the evening so we can do some work on a bid whilst he's down in London. There'll be no HNT this week, as I can't be arsed (excuse the pun, which wasn't actually intended) and, in any event, I'm not in the mood. Sorry!

You may think this was something of a rant, but believe me if I'd posted what I really wanted to post you'd have been left in no doubt about it. The trouble is, I can't help behaving like a gentleman. Maybe it's an English thing, or maybe it just isn't worth it.

Thanks again to those who stopped by to say hello...

Monday, October 02, 2006

Was that a week? Really?

Well I guess it was... but to be honest I feel like I've been in a time warp. Or in some other, parrallel universe where the usual laws of nature no longer apply. And I have to say that - as weeks go - it was pretty perfect. So perfect, in fact, that I'm going to say very little on the subject, and instead give you a typical day in pictures.

By the way, have you ever heard of a Cuban Makeover? NML would be proud of me.