How Coud I Forget?

Jim earlier asked us about trains. I blasted out the first song I thought of. A good song, don’t get me wrong, but how about train tracks? How about the tracks that separate whites from blacks?

It was 1989, the summer of my finals. The exams were the easy part, backed by sixteen-hour days at the university library. In the middle of a city, I was cut off from the world. I knew it was going well – we do – so I allowed a few chinks of light in. Song For Whoever. Was that The Beautiful South‘s first? And this wonderful new, young, raw American artist, who spoke about all the things we cared about. It wasn’t just me, all my friends had the album too. It was played constantly, one of those albums where every song carried a message. So, to single out one track is unfair. If you’ve time, listen to the album from start to finish. Just this album – her subsequent albums lost their cut – but this first album had all the pent-up energy of youth. I subsequently heard many covers of the songs on the album, but none ever came close. Tracy Chapman, Across the Lines.

Am I allowed to post twice? Well, who’s stopping me? 🙂

Across the lines
Who would dare to go
Under the bridge
Over the tracks
That separates whites from blacksChoose sides
Run for your life
Tonight the riots begin
On the back streets of America
They kill the dream of AmericaLittle black girl gets assaulted
Ain’t no reason why
Newspaper prints the story
And racist tempers fly
Next day it starts a riot
Knives and guns are drawn
Two black boys get killed
One white boy goes blindAcross the lines
Who would dare to go
Under the bridge
Over the tracks
That separates whites from blacksChoose sides
Run for your life
Tonight the riots begin
On the back streets of America
They kill the dream of AmericaLittle black girl gets assaulted
Don’t no one know her name
Lots of people hurt and angry, she’s the one to blameAcross the lines
Who would dare to go
Under the bridge
Over the tracks
That separates whites from blacksChoose sides
Run for your life
Tonight the riots begin
On the back streets of America
They kill the dream of America

Note to self – more haste, less speed.

Song Lyric Sunday – 29 September 2019

Jim Adams – newepicauthor, A Unique Title For Me – challenges us, every week, to come up with a song on Song Lyric Sunday. This week he suggests the subject “trains”. I want to keep this personal, so shall select a song from my own collection, simply, the first one that sprang to mind.

Back in the mid-nineties, I was very upwardly mobile, establishing my business in the IT world. These were the last few years before I met my wife, we had our child, and I became a responsible person. I happened to spend a lot of time in the car visiting one client or another, and of course I ended up listening to the radio. I was listening to chart music, aged thirty, for the first time since I was a teen.

At that time there was this wonderful phenomenon of Britpop. There were obviously the big performers like the Spice Girls, Blur, Oasis, but life was refreshing because of the sheer volume of music from less well-known bands which was bubbling to the surface. For my part, when I heard something I liked I was in a position to buy CDs without thinking twice, and so collected a lot of this music. \Just for these few years, there is a real spike in my collection.

So my choice this week is a song called The Day we Caught the Train, from 1996, by a band called Ocean Colour Scene. I have but this single track of their’s, from a compilation from the time which I later ripped to MP3. Enjoy.

I never saw it as the start
It’s more a change of heart
Rapping on the windows, whistling down the chimney pot
Blowing off the dust in the room where I forgot
I laid my plansin solid rockStepping through the door like a troubadour
Whiling just an hour away
Looking at the trees on the roadside
Feeling it’s a holiday
You and I should ride the coast
And wind up in our favourite coats just miles away
Roll a number, write another song
Like Jimmy heard the day he caught the trainOh oh la la
Oh oh la la
Oh oh la la
Oh oh la laHe sipped another rum and coke
And told a dirty joke
Walking like Groucho, sucking on a number ten
Rolling on the floor with the cigarette burns walked in
I’ll miss the crush and I’m home againStepping through the door with the night in store
Whiling just an hour away
Step into the sky in the star bright
Feeling it’s a brighter day
You and I should ride the coast
And wind up in our favourite coats just miles away
Roll a number, write another song
Like Jimmy heard the day he caught the trainOh oh la la
Oh oh la la
Oh oh la la
Oh oh la laYou and I should ride the tracks
And find ourselves just wading through tomorrow
You and I, when we’re coming down
We’re only getting back
And you know I feel no sorrowOh oh la la
Oh oh la la
Oh oh la la
Oh oh la laWhen you find that things are getting wild
Don’t you want days like these?
When you find that things are getting wild
Don’t you want days like these?
When you find that things are getting wild
Don’t you need days like these?
When you find that things are getting wild
Don’t you want days like these?Oh oh la la
Oh oh la la

Super Song Saturday

Okay, it’s not Sunday quite yet, but I wanted to get in early this week with a favourite song of mine.

I’m disabled these days. I don’t protest, I don’t shout about things. But some of my feelings are every bit as radical as when I was in my teens! This is one of the songs that makes me tick.

On to the song. Haile Selassie was the emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to the mid 1970s. He is revered as the messiah, by Rastas. If you’re gonna have a religion, it may as well be this. Christians, after all, believe that a messiah came out of Judaism, and furthermore that the messiah will come again. So there is a certain synergy between the two beliefs. It’s no surprise that the singer, Bob Marley, was also a Rastaman.

The song is an almost literal transcript of a speech made by Haile Selassie to the United Nations way back in 1963. I guess intentionally, the music is very background, and the lyrics take centre-stage. Please listen to these words, and marvel that more than fifty years have passed, and so little has changed. The subject might have moved on from race (possibly. Some of my friends would disagree.) but this void has been filled by any number of other prejudices.

What do I Know?

I’ve always got on with people older than myself. Right from the days, as a fresh-faced eighteen-year-old, I would hang out with thirty-year-olds. (They were often married, and alcohol/nightclubs were usually involved, so I’d assume it wasn’t just my sparkling company!)

A fresh-faced eighteen-year-old, what sparkling company!

As I went through my twenties, women older than me were more interesting – they just had more (sensible talk) to say.

When I met the woman who became my wife, she was seven years older than me. Funnily enough, she still is 🙂 .

I remember in my twenties and thirties, married or no, I often got the feeling that I was being viewed as some kind of predator by some women. Certainly, after I met my wife, they needn’t have worried – my job was always important to me and I’m far more likely to be thinking about a computer problem than a woman, so I was perfectly content to be a one-woman man.

Child-rearing is something else guaranteed to douse the flames of passion. Why anybody ever had two children was beyond me!

Over the years it became amusing if somebody thought “I’m going to be wary of this guy, because he’s going to try and make a move on me”. It even happens now a tiny bit, which is funnier still. This grey-haired old fart who can’t use his arm and can barely walk!

I’m sure there must be something in this – these women (some men too, I guess) have probably spent a lifetime fending off people looking for the next notch on their bedpost, so have probably developed an “I’m not available” manner. I’m sure vanity comes into things too.

I do find, however, that as I get older it happens less and less. I must be less of a threat! The people I meet tend to be older themselves. Frankly, a new partner is the last thing on my mind, and probably their’s too – why would I risk losing the partner I already have, who has every chance (if she’s lucky) of seeing me through the rest of my days? Besides, knowing somebody so well is fun. And I’ve – and most likely they’ve – been through the whole gene-propagation phase and breathed an enormous sigh of relief when my child finally did fly the nest, and my wife and I got our home back once again. So, there’s just more openness with older people, less innuendo.


My wife (a nurse) told me yesterday that here in the UK, STDs among post-menopausal women are at an all-time high. They can’t get pregnant, so they go for it, unprotected, and… 💥

Fandango’s Friday Flashback – 27 September 2019

Well, it is Friday lunchtime once again, and I’ve had quite a productive morning. Diem, my Diabetes web site – in nearing completion. But more on that later…

I saw in my Inbox a notification from my WordPress friend Fandango. Every Friday, he posts a “Flashback” post, something that he posted on this day in a previous year. The intention is just to give the reader an idea of what he was up to back then.

So, I follow suit. Rather than just reblogging my old post, I wanted to provide a short commentary, complete with links and formatting, and I haven’t worked out if I can do that yet with WordPress’s “reblog” button.

Earlier on in my recovery, I used to be involved with other stroke survivors in a peer support group. It was a very informal affair – we met in a certain coffee shop at a certain time, and just caught up with each other for a few hours.

Peer support is a big deal. When you first come out of hospital, you can’t be bothered with things like computers and you don’t have the strength to get out, so you just sit there in the chair all day, thinking “I’m the only guy who ever went through this”. And you gradually get your head straight enough to use a computer, and your body strong enough to leave the house, and lo-and-behold you realise you’re not alone. That other people have gone before you.

That’s why peer support is a big deal. You’re meeting people precisely because they’ve had the same experience as you.

Our group was very laissez-faire. You either turned up, or you didn’t. I was somebody who did turn up because I think it is important to be consistent. But this state of affairs meant that several times, I turned up on my own. Even getting to this coffee shop was a five-hour roundtrip for me, and if I was going to spend that time sitting on my own… well, I can think of better things to do.

I don’t want to re-gurgitate the original post in my commentary. Plus, there are other posts in the blog which tell more of the story (same category), if anybody is interested. Suffice it to say that I stopped going a year ago. The group presumably folded. I have the contact details of a couple of the guys who went occasionally, but I’m not really in contact. Sad, but people move on. They moved on. I moved on.

The “better thing I could be doing” is developing my own software, which brings me full circle. With one product released, and another almost there, I guess you could say it has worked out okay. And, I still meet with other stroke survivors, by virtue of the charity work I do at the hospital. If one of them sees me, and thinks “I’m not the only guy…”, then it is worthwhile.

With all this in mind, I hope you enjoy the post.

https://strokesurvivor.me.uk/2018/09/27/end-of-an-era/