Wikipedia

Suddenly

**MUSICAL INTERLUDE**

No wonder Mr Anderson is angry, so would you be if you had his dentist.

I wish I could stop watching TOTP 1988 on BBC Four. I was watching it last night and watched Angry Anderson perform his one and only hit, propelled by the popularity of an Australian soap opera.

I always had the subtitles on when watching classic Top of the Pops, so that I can enjoy the lyrics being sung. I usually end up catching on to one particular line from a song and correlating it to my own life. I don’t know why I am admitting this, but I am. Last night, I found myself  wishing that somebody would read my Open Letter and “suddenly see me, just the way I am”.

It was with this profound thought that I finally fell to sleep, but not before I found out who was keeping Anderson off the top spot. Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan were at number 2 with Especially For You but I should never have stayed up to see who was on top of the charts. As soon as Caron Keating announced that week’s biggest seller I began to grab for my remote to switch the TV off. Unfortunately, my fumble fingers are too slow to react so I had to endure thirty seconds of the awful earworm that is Mistletoe and Wine by Cliff Richard.

*** 

I know this was back in 1988, but my worry is that I have never trusted the British public whatsoever as I always seem to disagree with their opinions. This is particularly concerning ahead of the most important General Election in a generation.

It is difficult to gauge what exactly is going to happen on Thursday, as it is impossible to trust the nonsense that is being peddled by the mass media. I am preparing myself for the worse possible scenario, but at the same time I have faith and belief in Jeremy Corbyn and his Cabinet.

I am growing ever more anxious as we edge ever closer to the General Election. I am doing all I can to get the Labour message out there, but due to my disability this is largely confined to sharing stories on my blog and social media. I have also got Labour posters in my window. This would have more of an impact if I didn’t live on a cul-de-sac, but it is a bit late in the day to be moving house to a more prime location. If I could do more, I would, but circumstances dictate.

My friends and neighbours who receive Xmas cards before Thursday will be reminded on the envelope to Vote Labour while I am also giving a poetry reading at Glyndwr University on Tuesday, dressed in a Vote Labour t-shirt. Every little helps…

#VoteLabour2019 #JC4PM2019

 

The Search for Happiness

One of my guilty secrets is a passion for watching soap operas. I like to think that I actively watch them and don’t just waste a couple of hours everyday mindlessly staring at the goggle-box surrounded by empty pizza boxes and bottles of Diet Coke.

For example, the title of my first book – Every Silver Lining has a Cloud – was taken from an episode of Coronation Street. There was a scene set in Roy’s Rolls in which Roy Cropper’s mother – Sylvia (Stephanie Cole) – uttered the negative take on a positive line. This appealed to me and I stored it away in my memory bank as a potential title that sums up my particular brand of humour.

I was watching Eastenders the other night and I heard a fantastic quote from Callum “Halfway” Highway (Tony Clay) who was in an ambulance talking with Bobby Beale:

`”Listen, I’ve spent years not accepting who I am. Fighting all this stuff, but it’s my stuff.  And there ain’t no point in fighting it any more.  You’ve got to find a way of accepting yourself, all of yourself. Even the bits you’ve spent ages telling yourself you don’t like. If you’re brave enough to do that, then you’re brave enough to do anything.”

This is such a strong statement that spoke to me personally and made me consider whether or not I am brave enough to accept who I am in my entirety.  I want to reach such a point where I am happy and confident in myself, but the difficult thing about living with Ataxia is that it is a progressive disease. Therefore, I have to constantly re-evaluate the situation that I find myself in and learn to accept my place in society all over again.

I am sure my readers can understand that things aren’t straightforward, but I remain determined to find the door that leads to something known as happiness…

It seems like an impossible quest at the moment. All I know is what doesn’t make me happy. At times this seems like a never ending list of inaccessible activities, or hostile locations without suitable toilet facilities cut off by flights of stairs. Don’t get me started on the arrogant attitudes of many who should know better. It seems that the goal of inclusive community remains a distant dream.

I have some interesting telephone calls and potential plans in my diary for the coming weeks. Hopefully I will be able to reveal more soon, as I try to discover what, if anything, actually make me happy.

The following information was taken from Wikipedia:

Steven Patrick Morrissey (/ˈmɒrɪsiː/; born 22 May 1959), known mononymously as Morrissey, is an English singer, songwriter, and author. He came to prominence as the frontman of the rock band the Smiths, which was active from 1982 to 1987. Since then, he has pursued a commercially successful solo career. Morrissey’s music is characterised by his baritone voice and distinctive lyrical content featuring recurring themes of emotional isolation, sexual longing, self-deprecating and black humour, and anti-establishment stances.

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot

I have found a new hero.

John Callahan is someone to admire and revere. I have only just been introduced to his work, through the film ‘Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot’, which was sent to me by my friend Ted Eames.

After sharing this with my followers on Facebook, another of my good friends, Brian Hilton, alerted me to the documentary ‘Touch Me Someplace I Can Feel’. This is a magnificent slice of reality that allows me to relate to the cartoonist in so many ways. I found myself being filled with inspiration and fresh new ideas that will no doubt be highlighted on this blog in the coming months.

Who can fail to be inspired by quotes such as the following from ‘Touch Me Someplace I Can Feel’ ?

“Giving up is one of the best things you can do. Just finally give up. Trying to manage is just ridiculous really, because you just drive yourself crazy with your thoughts. I think surrendering to your real true nature, then, I think you have peace finally.”

Or cartoons like this:

28callahanimgB-jumbo

For now, I will just provide further information and details of the films I enjoyed so much over the past couple of rainy days.

***

The following information has been taken from Wikipedia.

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot is a 2018 American comedy-drama film based upon the memoir of the same name by John Callahan.[4] Gus Van Sant wrote the screen adaptation and directed the film. The cast includes Joaquin PhoenixJonah HillRooney Mara, and Jack Black, and follows a recently paralyzed alcoholic who finds a passion for drawing off-color newspaper cartoons.

The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 19, 2018, and was released on July 13, 2018, by Amazon Studios.

***

The following summary of ‘Touch Me Someplace I Can Feel’ has been taken from IMDb. 

This is a documentary about the provocative American cartoonist John Callahan. At the age of 21 Callahan got involved in a serious car-accident and was paralyzed from the waist down. Drawing cartoons has become his way to express himself although he can hardly use his hands. With a raw style, pen clutched between his hands, he draws cynical and ruthless observations of mankind. His work is praised and criticised. Callahan has provoked protest-marches and receives many angry letters. He was fired at The Miami Herald journal after drawing a cartoon in honour of Martin Luther King Jr. Day; a little boy with a wet spot on his pyjamas saying: “Mommie I had a dream”. Callahan does not understand why people get so upset about his work but he admits at having been an angry young man for a long time, trying to point the hypocrisy of people. Callahan also writes ànd sings songs. He likes to play the ukulele, something that is very hard for him to do. Of course the songs are no lullabies, lines like “Life is like a box of hand-grenades” and “Something always keeps me from committing suicide in the fall” reflect his way of thinking.

Touch me Someplace I Can Feel’ can be rented via YouTube. 

You can read all about John Callahan on his Wikipedia page.

 

Captain Courageous Keeps Up the Fight

I was shocked and saddened to read about Fernando Ricksen and his battle with Motor Neurone Disease.

The former Glasgow Rangers captain featured on an ITV News report that I found very difficult viewing due to his admirable determination in the face of tragic injustice. 

Of course, this situation causes to me to think of my own condition, and while I do not want to measure my circumstances against the unfortunate positions of others – it is not a bloody competition – I can’t help relating and empathising in some small way with Fernando.

This is not the time, nor the place, to discuss the frustrations of living with Friedreich’s Ataxia, but I wanted to send my love and support to Fernando and his family during this tough time. I do hope that the world of football can help to fund research into MND and give hope to future individuals suffering from this cruel condition.

I encourage all readers to donate to MND Connect and help Fernando make a difference during the precious time he has left. The work that the Dutchman is doing now will be of greater value to society than any of his achievements on the football field.

Keep fighting Fernando…

FernandoRicksen1006a-2.jpg

This image is used without the permission of the owner. It was found on Google images and I am taking absolutely no credit for the image above. If the photographer comes forward he/she would be fully credited for their excellent shot. 

Great Tastes of America: The New York Stack

DISCLAIMER: The following blog is written totally independently from McDonald’s Corporation. Great Tastes of America is a registered trademark and I am not associated with the product line in any way. I am not seeking to promote or disparage the American fast food giant in any way, shape or form. All opinions expressed below are personal to me and my Socialist background. I should add that anything written on these blogs should be taken with a pinch of salt – sachets available from McDonald’s counters.    

In the first of a new series, I will be eating and reviewing the Great Tastes of America range of burgers from popular fast food chain, McDonald’s.

I am unhappy about this for a number of reasons – from calories to Capitalism – but it is a good writing mechanism for me to hang my anger at modern society upon. I will be forcing fast food meals down my fat face for the next 12 weeks (one every fortnight) while discussing everything that I find unappetising about the modern world we live in.

*** 

The first Taste of America burger is The New York Stack. This is a burger made up of two 100% beef burgers with bacon, pickles, cheese, tomato ketchup, chunky coleslaw, mustard and lettuce in a sesame seed bagel.

Screenshot (3)

This was a very nice burger. I am not going to go over the top, but the pickle in this burger did remind me of the time I enjoyed in Tom’s Restaurant, New York City back in 1999.

The exterior of the diner featured in popular TV sitcom, Seinfeld. Inside was a traditional NYC diner and a massive, greasy burger was polished off, no problem. It was helped by the fact that it was served with a massive gherkin on the side of the burger and fries, that added acidic sweetness to compliment the mountain of meat I had been served.

183628_10150110533461363_4463073_n

It didn’t compare to my experience in ’99, as the meat was not as substantial and there was no romance after trudging through an anonymous town in  North Wales, to get my hands on the same burger that was being peddled across our bland, identikit nation.

As I am trying to eat sensibly, I only opted for the regular sized burger, and fries while managing to resist the Nacho Cheese Wedges and Aero Peppermint McFlurry. I don’t want to totally ruin my health and my taste-buds while writing this series of blogs. Instead, I want to use these reviews – of what are ultimately unsatisfying mouthfuls of future faeces – to lead me into a discussion of all the unappetising aspects of modern life. There are many, and the only question I need to ask is, ‘where the bloody hell should I start?’

*****

I’m alone, depressed and angry. I’m abandoned and left to struggle without the support needed to live independently, despite campaigning tirelessly for four years to help others.

I won’t go into detail ATM as I am without typing support and am both hungry and thirsty – I can access water bottles, but can’t drink as my urinal is three-quarters full of steaming hot piss and needs emptying before being used again.

Instead, I want to share a bible story with you all from the little known book of Nathan, pose the question “Who is my neighbor?” and ask YOU if this is the kind of selfish society that you always dreamt of?

***

In the Gospel of Nathan, the parable is introduced by a question, known as the Great Commandment:

Behold, a certain person stood up and tested him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to become a decent human?”

He said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?”

He answered, “You shall love all people regardless of gender, race, religion with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.”

He said to him, “You have answered correctly. Do this, and you will live. You may want to draw the line at Tory cabinet members and hatemongers such as Farage, Trump and Robinson. I think that’s fair enough.”

But he, desiring to justify himself, asked Nathan, “Who is my neighbour?”

— Nathan 10:25-29, 

Nathan replies with a story:

“A certain man was going down from Stansty to Rhosddu, and he fell among Conservative and Independent councillors AKA robbers, who stripped him of mental and physical well-being, leaving him half dead. By chance a wealthy banker was going down that way. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side. In the same way a Welshman also, when he came to the place, and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a certain Cestrian as he travelled, came where he was. When he saw him, he was moved with compassion, came to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. He set him on his own animal, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two quid for he was last of the big spenders, gave the coin to the host, and said to him, ‘Take care of him. Whatever you spend beyond that, I will repay you when I return.’ Now which of these three do you think seemed to be a neighbor to him who fell among the robbers?”

He said, “He who showed mercy on him.”

Then Nathan said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Did he listen? Did he fuck.
— Nathan 10:30–37
With thanks to Wikipedia.

“Gimme Shelter” – #SaveWILG Version

What my #SaveWILG campaign is in need of right now is an updated theme tune. At the moment, WILG recipients find themselves in a state of limbo without any clear direction on the way forward. Local authorities are of little support and the onus seems to be upon the Welsh Government to push through their new policy – that will replace the Welsh Independent Living Grant – ASAP.

I have received several encouraging emails from the Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services and the civil servants who are responsible for creating a new policy from scratch. I am confident that the work is going on behind the scenes, but it is really frustrating that there has been little progress since the Welsh Government announced that they were listening and protecting WILG recipients, back in February.

Leanne Wood AM has been calling on the Welsh Government to publish a timetable for the WILG transition process. she asked the Welsh Government, when the warm words of support they have given will be matched by deeds?

It would help a number of us who are really struggling at the moment to have an opportunity to plan for the future. I have spent the last two Christmas periods chained to my laptop and unable to join in with family celebrations due to the pressures of this campaign. Will I have to spend a third Christmas in such a way?

I hit upon the idea for this blog while watching the Rolling Stones Story at Glyndwr University on Friday night. This was a really good gig and an excellent tribute act to the ageing rock band. All of the hits were played in familiar fashion with an energetic “Mick Jagger” giving an excellent performance which married supreme confidence with a camp as Christmas performance. One of the many highlights of the show was the performance of the classic Stones hit Gimme Shelter.

Without permission, I have took it upon myself to change the words to this popular hit, in order to make it fit with the campaign. Anyway, see for yourself with the video of the Rolling Stones posted below the lyrics, so you have no excuse not to sing along. I have also added a few paragraphs from Wikipedia about the Rolling Stones. I do hope there are no copyright issues over the use of this tune as I am giving the writers full credit and not claiming any credit for myself.

I hope you like my new version.

“Gimme Shelter”

Oh, a storm is threat’ning
My very life today
If I don’t get some shelter
Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away

Hope, comrade, it’s just a WILG away
It’s just a WILG away
Hope, comrade, it’s just a WILG away
It’s just a WILG away

Ooh, see the clock is tickin’
On our rights today

Fighting for our futures
We will not fade away

Hope, comrade it’s just a WILG away
It’s just a WILG away
Hope, comrade, it’s just a WILG away
It’s just a WILG away

Peace, freedom!
It’s just a WILG away
It’s just a WILG away
Peace, freedom!
It’s just a WILG away
It’s just a WILG away
Peace, freedom!
It’s just a WILG away
It’s just a WILG away

The floods is threat’ning
My very life today
Gimme, gimme shelter
Or I’m gonna fade away

Hope, comrade, it’s just a WILG away
It’s just a WILG away
It’s just a WILG away
It’s just a WILG away
It’s just a WILG away

I tell you death, comrade, it’s just a tick away
It’s just a tick away
It’s just a tick away
It’s just a tick away
It’s just a tick away
Tick away, tick away

Gimme Shelter” is the opening track to the 1969 album Let It Bleed by the Rolling StonesGreil Marcus, writing in Rolling Stone magazine at the time of its release, praised the song, stating that the band has “never done anything better”.

Although the first word was spelled “Gimmie” on that album, subsequent recordings by the band and other musicians have made “Gimme” the customary spelling.

The recording features Richards playing in an open tuning on electric guitar. The recording also features vocals by Merry Clayton

 

More Questions than Answers…

It has been an exciting period for the #SaveWILG campaign after we made a huge breakthrough a couple of weeks ago. We are now in a position of working with Welsh Labour rather than campaigning against them, which is a position we are all happy with.

BREAKING NEWS… #SaveWILG

WREXHAM MAN’S DISABILITY CAMPAIGN WILL LEAD TO THOUSANDS OF LIVES BEING IMPROVED.

However, amidst all the congratulatory messages and kind words that I have received in the past few weeks, it has become clear that there is still much work to be done in order to protect independent living for WILG recipients.

While it is clearly a positive that the transition period has been paused and WILG recipients are now entitled to a independent social worker to help decide on their care package, there remains much uncertainty and confusion about the next steps. At the moment, WILG recipients – including myself – are stuck in limbo land between clueless local authorities and a Welsh Government that has to focus on Brexit. 

In the meantime, 1,300 or so disabled people with high care and support needs are suffering. We have every reason to be proud of what we have achieved, but there cannot be any celebration until each one of us are living the lives we deserve to be.

In the days since Deputy Health Minister Julie Morgan announced her new and exciting plans I have received many emails from confused recipients who want to know what happens now. People have been going through stress and worry about the loss of WILG since November 2016 and the confusion remains.

We need a clear timetable from the Welsh Government of when we can expect our reassessments to take place as people are continuing to struggle without adequate support. A timetable would allow people to plan their lives and provide them with tangible hope for the future.

Looking at the statement produced by the Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services on February 12, I personally think that every WILG recipient should have a firm offer of a reassessment under the ‘revised arrangements’ with an explanation as to why this is happening. The onus should not be on the recipient to request a reassessment. Those who have had a reduction or had their care provision frozen should all be reassessed under the tripartite system.

Mark Drakeford’s new Welsh Labour brand, should be proud of listening to the concerns of disabled people and their families and acting accordingly,  but they need to act urgently to put their promises into action and provide us all with answers to our questions. We are doing our best to understand that the wheels of politics do not tend to run quickly, but unfortunately patience is not a virtue that WILG recipients can afford. 

We have written to the Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services and await her response with anticipation. 

Thanks to Wikipedia for the following:

John Lester “Johnny” Nash, Jr. (born August 19, 1940) is an American reggae and pop music singer-songwriter, best known in the US for his 1972 hit, “I Can See Clearly Now“. He was also one of the first non-Jamaican singers to record reggae music in KingstonJamaica.[1]