I iz an indie kid me

Daily Prompt: What role does music play in your life?

“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.” Maya Angelou 

I sing badly. I want to be a drummer. I wish would stick at the guitar. I used to write very bad lyrics. I was in the choir. I was also in  the orchestra. I played the flute. My past boyfriends are guitarists. My pink headphones go everywhere with me. I need to go to more gigs this year.

Music is always around me. I cannot imagine life without it.

Like the cast of Glee, I find it easier to express myself through music. This doesn’t mean that I break out into song when I’m upset, ecstatic or frustrated. I lose myself – I sing, dance, cry to it (not always at the same time, I might add).

So, without further ado, here’s some songs and bands who have featured in my life:

Before Busted, before McFly, there was The DumDums:

Reminds me of my friend Kath who copied the album to tape back at school:

No – it’s not because of the X Factor. I loved this song way before then. Waayyy before:

One of my favourite Manics song:

I still love you Tim from Ash:

‘Phonics:

I interviewed the lovely, lovely Feeder on their Comfort in Sound tour:

THE song that gets me thought the tough times:

I’ve only just discovered these guys:

What songs lurk down your musical memory lane?

Writing Challenge: the Devil is in the Details

This week’s writing challenge is to focus on details:

No matter what you’re writing, whether it’s longform non-fiction essays, poems, short stories, novels, or memoirs, your powers of observation are critical to creating a scene in the reader’s mind, setting tone, and evoking the mood that helps to tell the story.

Your challenge this week is to practice your powers of observation. Take any person, place, or event, and write three paragraphs describing your subject in great detail:

A boy plays in his front yard. You have three paragraphs to help us imagine this boy. What country are we in? Which details help communicate this? Is there an elm tree or an olive tree in his yard? Maybe there is no tree at all. How old is this boy? What color is his hair? What is he wearing? You get the idea.

James sat cross-legged on the grass and took out his iPhone. No text. He angrily stuffed it back into his jean pocket. What has he supposed to do? Text her? No. She can text him. He went back to his football and continued to kick it against the side of his house. He’d already been out for the past half hour. The heat of the sun was making him feel slightly faint but he was agitated. Bloody, bloody Laura.  He could feel the sweat trickling down his back, his blond hair sticking to his face. He felt a mess, but he didn’t care.

The blood coursed through his veins. Actually, it was more than coursing. It was pounding through, like an angry river determined to destroy everything in its path. He glanced down at his arms. The scars were starting to heal. The shame washed over him. He didn’t know why he did it – the pressure of the exams, Laura, his best friend – or rather – his ex-best friend. His only friend. At 6’4, he stood out like a sore thumb. He hated that. He wanted to feel… normal.  He didn’t want to feel awkward at gatherings. Words usually failed him. He would stand there feeling like a lemon – the girls looked at him with pity him and the boys, well, the boys at school are arseholes.

He kicked the football harder and harder and harder. Bang, bang, bang it went against the brick wall. His black Green Day t-shirt stuck to his back. Maybe he should change out of his jeans. They too were sticking to him and they felt heavy in the sun. ‘Fuck it,’ he thought, picked up his ball and walked to his back garden. Standing on the patio, he took off his black Etnie trainers, his black socks and dark blue jeans and started to run with the ball, barefoot in his Superman pants, onto the cool grass. ‘Man of Steel’ was written on the elastic. He was a man of steel. Nothing could knock him down. Not even bloody Laura. He thought about taking off his t-shirt. He kept it on. He didn’t want the neighbours to think he was completely crazy. Besides, he could deal with sunburn on his pale legs – he could slap aftersun on it. Sunburn on his back? He didn’t fancy a painful night’s sleep.

He heard the sound of a text message from his jeans.

HTC phone

Waiting for *that* text message sucks

Everything changes

Daily prompt:

When you were 16, what did you think your life would look like? Does it look like that? Is that a good thing?

These eggs know their fate.

I may be small and fragile, but life will not break me

Life at 16 takes me back to a socially awkward, shy, insecure, ugly ducking of a teenager who fancied Gary Barlow way before he made a come back with Take That. Boys were a reality – I could actually touch them – (unlike Gary) and marks the start of the never-ending disappointment and heartache from the opposite sex. I’d already been kissed and saw the start of my first proper relationship where I fell in love for the first time. I started college and held my first proper job, earning around £2.70 an hour at Tesco. Oh the days before minimum wage.

My ambitions were simple. By 16, I had decided that I wanted to be a journalist. That dream never did quite get off the ground – although – miraculously did find myself working for a national paper recently in social media. Little did I know that my early dealings with the interwebs would create a career for me.

I also wanted a degree, a husband, the start of a career, a family and to be happy – all by the age of 21.

Did I mention I was naïve? I was probably as naïve as naïve could get. I was desperate to unravel the cotton wool that was lovingly wrapped around me by my parents. I was late starting my ‘rebellious’ stage – not that I was exceptionally rebellious. I was the same as any other teenager, only less cool.

Although I didn’t have a plan as such, I’m glad I didn’t settle at 21. The degree happened, as did the career, although that’s very much faltering right now. The path decided it had other ideas and gave me different options. I wouldn’t be the person I’d be had I’d followed it faithfully and actually, I quite like myself. At 16, I didn’t think this was possible. I thought the self-loathing would stay forever. I have, however, swapped my lack of confidence in myself for the lack of confidence in my abilities. A few pats on the back will hopefully sort this out.

Deep down I’m still that naïve teenager who’s wide-eyed, optimistic and easily impressed. I still haven’t got a clue about where life is going and what I want. I thought I did. But what I do have is a wonderful set of friends. Life is constantly changing and ever evolving. It doesn’t stop – sometimes you’ve just got to go with it.

Of course, I’m still chasing that Happy Ever After. If you know where it is, please point me in the right direction. In the meantime, just bring on the fun.

Writing Challenge: Starting Over

I have emails from WordPress to prompt bloggers like myself to write posts when all inspiration has dried up. This one caught my eye:

For some of us, blogging is personal. Others are trying to educate or entertain; many more are hybrids. Yet we’re all storytellers. Creative Writing Challenges help you to push your writing boundaries, show off your blogging chops, and, hopefully, spark more post ideas.

In this week’s writing challenge, we’re asking you to write a short piece of creative writing (fiction/poetry/prose poetry/freeform mindjazz/whatever floats your boat) on the theme of Starting Over.

This is what I came up with:

I stared down at the frame that I was clutching in my hand. Inside was a picture of two laughing  faces. I remember that picture being taken very clearly. Anton and I had gone to the park to take some photos. As there was no one around, we had put the camera on a timer. At the precise moment the picture was taken, two dogs appeared out of nowhere. The smaller of the two (I think it was a dachshund) decided to hump the hind legs of a golden labrador who didn’t look too impressed but had let it get on with it.

The owner waved at us before bellowing: ‘For god’s sake Trevor. Would you pack it in? Come here, you dirty, dirty mutt!’

Trevor ran over, with the golden lab bounding after.

I put the picture in my special ‘Anton’ box and looked around the lounge. It was weird. It was so empty. The TV was still there as were our settees, but our pictures, our wall hangings and furnishings had been taken away – boxed or sold. This house was someone else’s. Life as I knew it was dead. The happy times, filled with laughter were just hazy, distant, painful memories that I kept locked away in a vault inside my head.

I felt a sob rise up through me. I pushed it down. Today was not the day for tears. Today was a day for starting over. I have a new life waiting for me, just beyond my… the… front door.

I wandered from room to room, checking to make sure that I hadn’t forgotten anything. Anton had moved out a few days before. I watched him go from our bedroom window. He left without so much of a backwards glance. There wasn’t a fight or an almighty row. He simply told me one day that he didn’t love me anymore, and that was that. My relationship of five years, packed into a few boxes.

The almighty row came a few days later when I discovered a hotel receipt for one room, two names. Of course it was his secretary. It was a bloody, cheesy nightmare which goes like this: Husband works nights, wife suspects, unanswered calls, random ‘work’ trips away, the gifts, the smiles, the reluctant sex, the unreluctant sex, the insanity of the wife, the rows, the tears, the apologies, and finally, the proof.

Deep down I knew. I just didn’t want to face up to reality, but here I am. Today is a new day to start over.

I just need to walk out that door.

Broken your new year’s resolutions yet?

The shininess of the new year is giving way to the humdrum of the daily grind. The festive parties are dwindling away (although I do know someone who’s having their third Christmas this weekend) and the cash flow is already starting to ebb away.

It’s going to be a lean month. It’s the same every year.

According to studies, around four in ten of us would have broken our new year’s resolutions within the first two weeks of the year, with 40% of us still keeping them in July. One survey found the top three aims of 2013 were:

1) Read more books

2) Save more money

3) Lose weight

Making resolutions is the easy part. Most people I know think that they are a waste of time because they never stick to them. We are creatures of habits, and habits are hard to break. I, on the other hand, see each new year as a blank canvas and like to fill it up with interesting things to do.

My past resolutions have included saving money so that I could travel the world back in 2006 and trekking to Everest Base Camp. My lists have also included learning the guitar (which I did try, but failed miserably) and learning to snowboard (never even been near a slope).

I tend to make resolutions that I know I have a chance of keeping and with the bigger stuff, I break them down and put little steps into the list. So, for example, going travelling for a whole year seemed a bit daunting and I had no idea how I was going to save. My list ended up being a hybrid of ‘to do’, deadlines and goals. I was going to save XXX by April, decide on countries by XXX. It’s a good feeling to tick things off.

However, if I failed, I didn’t beat myself up about it. The next day was a new day, so I tried again.

I blogged this year’s resolutions at the end of December and I’ve made a bit of a headway. Already been swimming a couple of times for up for my impending London to Brighton Night Ride. The next session is planned for Thursday. It helps that I have a flatmate to kick me up the backside.

The next step is to get my bikes up.

I’ve also started to explore London, but yet to blog about it. I waved goodbye to Christmas with the Lions part Twelfth Night Celebrations earlier in the week. I saw many abandoned Christmas trees in the gutters of London on the way to Southbank. It was a sad sight.

Image

If you’ve already broken your new year’s resolution, don’t dispare or feel that you’ve failed – I haven’t even started on some of mine. You’ve got a whole year to play with. Enjoy that last puff of cigarette or savour that last bite of that chocolate. Tomorrow’s a new day. Start then.