Monday, 20 November 2017

25/10/2017 Gary Moore album launch and Q&A @ The Gibson Guitar Studio

Due to having a broken wrist I wasn't able to get out to any gigs in October, but I was invited to an album launch playback and Q&A session to promote the forthcoming Gary Moore box set and new album 'Blues And Beyond' at the Gibson Guitar Studio.
It proved to be an interesting event - and yes, there was free booze! I found I wasn't the only member of 'walking wounded' present as I also spotted a certain well known rock DJ hobbling about on crutches after a recent accident - but he'd been thrown from a horse rather than a motorcycle! Things started with a presentation from various figures involved with the late rock/blues guitar legend. Among these was his former guitar tech Graham Liley, who had some interesting information about Gary's guitars.
Also talking to us was Harry Shapiro - author of the new 'Official' Gary Moore biography 'I Can't Wait Until Tomorrow'. He also had many interesting stories to tell.
We then had BMG's Director of Design Neel Panchal tell us about how the whole design for the new box set's packaging was put together.
The Q&A session at the end was interesting and revealing. For the guitars geeks present (me included) there was also a selection of Gary's guitars on display - some of which where a surprise to me and not guitars that's I'd normally associate with him. Needless to say (given where this event was being held) there were all Gibsons!
The guitars were of much interest to me, in particular the ES-335 and ES-345 models. I didn't realise that my small guitar collection includes three models that were played live by Gary Moore. Also included were some one-off prototype Les Pauls which had been specially made by Gibson for Gary - mouth watering stuff! There was a selection of other Gary Moore memorabilia on display as well as items related to the new box set - which includes new live recordings on CD as well as a new 'best of' spread across four vinyl discs and the new biography - certainly a desirable package for any Gary Moore fan!
Naturally, with this being the Gibson studio there were many of the company's products and those of it's associated brands in evidence although not connected to the event - including one or two I'd certainly like to get my hands on!
Back upstairs there loads more highly desirable Gibson's on display, including one or two models that I already own.
Finding myself in something approaching 'Guitar Heaven' I didn't have much time to enjoy the spectacle as a smartly suited Gibson security man was regarding me with deep suspicion - and slowly but subtly trying to edge me towards the door as the event was now over and I was the last of the guests to leave.
I'd managed to get a few free cans of cider down me, but the booze ran out by the end of the event, so it was off to the pub before heading home - the pub in this case being the former Marquee Club in Charing Cross Road. After many years, I can now finally go in there without feeling the twinge of sadness that used to prevent me going there as I remembered what the place used to be and the bands I saw there.

Starting to get out and about a bit....

So I'm off work for over two months, but not actually able to take advantage of that and go out much. I can't drive at the moment, and I no longer own a motorcycle. My financial situation is uncertain and I could soon be relying on Statutory Sick Pay - which certainly isn't enough to pay the bills and mortgage. Going to gigs that are likely to be crowded doesn't seen a good idea with an arm in a sling and a wrist in plaster - particularly the more 'punk rock' gigs that are likely to have loads of pissed-up people dancing and jumping around. Usually I have no problem taking care of myself in such situations - but with a broken wrist I don't really want to take the chance of drunken idiots barging into me at gigs. So although it's nice not to have to worry about late nights and then having to be up early in the morning, I have to pass on a few gigs I would have liked to have gone to....

My first night out since my prang is actually less than a week after the accident and wasn't really planned. My mate John asks me if I feel like going to a local jam night as he's driving up there to play. Seeing as I am offered a lift there and back I might as well take him up on his offer. It's good to see many of my local muso friends again, even though I am unable to play myself as I would normally be doing at such an event. I'm still on painkillers and antibiotics but still decide to risk having a few pints - having done a little research online on the drugs I'm on and their possible consequences. I am absolutely fine, and I don't even have a hangover the next day.

Over the next few weeks I continue to avoid going to any proper gigs, but as my legs are working fine in spite of their still healing deep lacerations I start allowing myself to go and see one or two bands in local pubs. It's good to be able to get out and see people again. It's not like I'm housebound or anything - I get out regularly to do a bit of shopping. My usual big weekly shop in the car is out of the question as I'm not fit to drive at the moment, and I wouldn't be able to lift my big box of groceries out of the car. So shopping is now done on foot but little and often - it get me out in the fresh air and I get some exercise - which can only be a good thing as I can't do my usual daily workout at home. What with doing a few odd other local errands as well on some days I walk several miles.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

The long road back...

It's looks like I won't be fit for work for 6-8 weeks. At least. My GP signed me off for 2 weeks to start with... So now I have plenty of time on my hands, but can't do many of the things I like to do in my spare time. I can't ride my motorcycle - at first I'm not even sure if I still have a motorcycle, or where it is, or what state it's in. Is it still at the side of the road by the scene of the crash? Have the police arranged for it to be collected and stored somewhere? Or has it been stolen? As usual ringing 101 for the police is fucking useless as it's impossible to speak to a human being and ask anything. I've informed my insurance people, but they don't know anything about my bile's whereabouts. After a couple of days I manage to track it down to a storage compound in South Mimms where the police had arranged for it to be taken and stored. Probably at an extortionate daily rate. I'm in no state to go out there and deal with it, but I arrange for the insurance company to pick it up. I still have no idea what state it's in, but I suspect it will be written off. In the meantime I am offered the use of a 'Courtesy bike' - there is a slight problem in that I'm physically unable to ride a motorcycle at the moment and won't be fit enough for quite some time! And I certainly won't be needing one to get to work for a while either... In due course my bike is written off as I expected, but I'm not told what the damage was. I realise that I will never see it again. This makes me very sad.

I've had to get used to losing things over the last few years, but this is harder than most things for me. I loved that bike and the freedom and excitement it gave me - it was by far the best bike I'd ever had.

A couple of weeks later I'm on eBay looking to buy a new electric toothbrush. I casually look to see what sort of motorcycle I could buy with the meagre payout I've just had from the insurance company - fully realising there is no way I could ever come close to replacing it 'like-for-like'. I see a few similar models to mine but older. Then I see something that at a glance looks similar to mine but very cheap. Closer inspection of the photos reveals a machine very similar to mine - with a smashed up front end. It's my actual bike! This doesn't do a lot to cheer me up - quite the opposite. But at least I can see how badly damaged it really was. Actually, it looked quite repairable - assuming the frame wasn't damaged, but would need a fair amount of money spending on it even though only the front end was damaged. Apart from the front it still looked nearly new (although it wasn't) and the mirrors weren't even broken - usually one of the first things to get smashed in any motorcycle accident. I'd only recently spent a load on having it serviced and MOT'd as well - it was in pretty good shape overall before the prang so it was really sad to see it in this state. At least the petrol tank was nearly empty - I was going to fill it up on the way home so at least I saved about twenty quid on that! I received a Road Tax reminder about two weeks after the DVLC had written to me to say I was officially no longer the registered keeper. WTF?

Another of the things I like to do in my spare time that I now can't is to play my guitar. It will be some time before I can do that again - I really don't know how long. I've been told the usual recovery time from a broken wrist is 6-8 weeks, but I assume that's just the time before you are able to do basic everyday things again. In the meantime I have to put up with my guitar sitting on a stand next to my desk - taunting me! Eventually I can't take any more and I have to put it away in it's case out of sight. Playing guitar is going to take a lot of reach and flexibility in my fingers and flexibility in my wrist too - I suspect this will take quite a bit longer to fully recover from. I've managed to fuck myself up pretty badly in various different ways apart from the obvious things like the pain and discomfort, inconvenience, and  not being able to go to work. I've lost my bike and probably ended my days as a biker. Not because I won't physically be able to ride, or because I don't want to ride again after this - I'd get back on a bike tomorrow if I was physically able to. I just don't think I'll ever be able to afford to buy and run another bike. Actually, even if I had the money available now I wouldn't buy another bike straight away as winter isn't far away now. Unfortunately my timing was bad as far as the accident was concerned - if only I could have pranged it a month or so later I could at least have enjoyed the last few weeks of warm(ish) dry weather before winter sets in. As it is now I have to sit at home for weeks looking out the window thinking 'It would be nice to be out on the bike today'.... This all makes me very sad indeed - I feel like an important part of my life and also who I am may be over.

Going back to my guitar (or not) there is another way I have fucked myself up pretty badly - also because of my bad timing. Like with the bike - if only I had pranged it a month or so later. I came to grief towards the end of September. At the end of October I was supposed to be playing a gig with my band that was of particular importance to me personally. Not only was it the first gig the band had played in quite a while, but it was also the first at a venue I'd been trying to get into for a couple of years - hopefully the first of many gigs there. Half the usual lineup of the band were going to be either out of the country or otherwise unavailable, but I'd managed to arrange deps with two excellent local musos who are also friends and were really keen to play together - it might have crashed & burned, or it might have been a unique and really fun and exciting show. We were all really looking forward to it. I was hoping to be able to pull something special out of the bag and really give everyone a night to remember - and get us booked there on a regular basis. I was gutted to have to pull the gig - and also possibly lose my chance of finally getting a foot in the door at that venue after all this time. I was in the middle of learning several new songs to really rock the joint as well. Not only did I lose that much anticipated gig with my own band, but I was also due to play bass in a punk band for a couple of gigs in October as well - one at a festival in Guildford, and another at one of my favourite venues in Camden. That band has a gig in December that I'm hoping to be fit enough to play, but playing bass is going to be harder on my fingers and wrist than 6 string guitar so I really can't tell at this stage if I'm likely to be fit enough to play in time. If only I'd smashed myself and the bike up at the end of October instead then the consequences would have been far less severe in so many ways!

Not only did I break the 'wrong' wrist for guitar playing, but I also broke the one I write with! Huh? Yes - although I am left handed I play guitar right handed. I made a point of deliberately teaching myself to play guitar right handed from the very start - to avoid the future difficulty and expense of a lifetime trying to find left-handed guitars or play right handed ones awkwardly 'upside-down'.  I also shoot a pistol right handed, but use a rifle left handed! Yes, I know it doesn't make any sense - but I don't make much sense much of the time anyway.

At home for ages with loads of time on my hands - or one of them anyway. Plenty of time to waste on social media? It's not so easy when you have difficulty typing... Although I can't hold a pen in my hand I can type a little to let people know of my situation, but I am very slow and it's hard work mostly with one finger - so I do very little communicating online. The trouble with social media is that the more you post, the more replies and notifications you get - which you also then feel obliged to reply to. I get fed up of this at the best of times, so I decided to keep a low profile to avoid making more work for myself. 'But you are writing loads on here!' I hear you say? Well I'm writing all this weeks after the accident when I am finally feeling more able and getting more use from my left hand.

Progress with my recovery has been slow but steady. After getting out of hospital I had my wrist in plaster for two weeks before my first appointment at the Fracture Clinic. Then I had more X-Rays before the doctor pronounced himself happy with my progress so far - but decided I had to spend at least another couple of weeks with my wrist in plaster! The first plaster cast I had became looser and more comfortable after a few days when the swelling in my wrist started to go down. The second one stayed tighter and was less comfortable.

The doctor at the Fracture Clinic said I didn't need to see my GP to get signed off sick again as he could sign me off there and then - which he did. For another six weeks, which was a lot more than I was expecting! Still, it saves all the hassle of trying to get GP appointments. In the meantime, I still had to make regular visits to my GP surgery to have the dressings on my legs changed by the practice nurse. I got my flu jab on one of these visits so at least that killed two birds with one stone.

A further two weeks passes before my next hospital appointment. The doctor finally decides I can be free of plaster casts and the sling - but I will have to wear a splint instead. This is a great improvement as it it more comfortable - and most importantly, I can take it off at night and for washing myself. In the following week I definitely start to make faster progress with getting my wrist and fingers working again, but there is still a long way to go.

I'm supposed to be getting physiotherapy at the hospital too, but I somehow seem to have slipped through the NHS net (not for the first time) and haven't received the expected letter with an appointment. I suspect they sent the letter to my old address - which the hospital somehow had even though I moved seven years ago and told my GP and everything else connected with the NHS my new address. I even corrected this at the hospital but I think they still  sent the appointment letter to the wrong place even though I had already confirmed the hospital now had my current address! I was instructed to ring the physiotherapy dept if no appointment letter was forthcoming - so I rang the two numbers I'd been given, but no one answered the phone even though I was ringing during the hours mentioned in my previous letter! Once again, my faith in NHS administration is failing even though the care I have received on my visits to the hospital has been excellent. The doctor at the Fracture Clinic on my visit said to just go round to the physiotherapy department in person while I was in the hospital if I couldn't get through on the phone. So I did, and eventually got an appointment - in three weeks time - over seven weeks after being discharged from the hospital.  In the meantime I've been doing a little physiotherapy of my own invention - bending and stretching my fingers regularly. After getting the cast off my wrist I am finally able to at least attempt to play the guitar again - it's very difficult but I think also good physiotherapy.

Nearly eight weeks after my prang I finally get to attend my first physiotherapy appointment. Instead of the expected torture it's actually OK and the physiotherapist chap is very nice and helpful. I learn some interesting and useful things to aid my recovery along with being given a list of exercises to do. After eight weeks my feeble attempts to play guitar are getting better too: I can just manage a few chords, but not bar chords. I can play a little lead guitar, but only on four out of six strings. My thumb is still too stiff and restrictive - I haven't got full movement in it, and my fingers don't yet stretch as far as they used to. However, I make sure I try to play guitar every day - and every day there is a slight improvement. Slowly but surely I am making progress....

Friday, 17 November 2017

Back home...


So after an eventful couple of days I wake up back at home in my own bed. It's Saturday, but I definitely won't be going out anywhere this weekend, or probably for some time to come. Now I am faced with a variety of challenges to do even the most simple basic things at home. My legs work OK in spite of having taken a bit of a battering in the prang. Not so my left hand and wrist which are now in plaster. I can get out of bed and get dressed without much trouble. I can use the toilet and have a basic wash, but a bath or shower is out of the question for the time being as I've been told I have to keep my legs dry due to my injuries - I can't let the plaster on my wrist get wet either. In due course I manage to get round the latter problem by taping my lower arm into a small bin liner, but I have to be very careful not to lose my balance in the shower as there is no one around to help me if I fall and further damage myself, break something, or knock myself out - the consequences are potentially fatal.

Breakfast presents new challenges. I can sort out two Shredded Wheat easily enough, but what about my fry-up? Cutting up and frying mushrooms isn't too difficult. Cooking sausages in the microwave/grill combo is no big problem, but fried eggs? Much to my amazement I manage to crack two eggs into the frying pan, cook them, and get them out of the pan and onto the plate without breaking the yolks! While also cooking mushrooms and sausages at the same time. I feel this is quite an achievement with only one hand, but I suspect I'm very lucky to have got away with it without mishap and I doubt I'll be so lucky next time.... Also, I realise that it is very easy to drop things or make a mess while cooking - and it's going to be a lot harder cleaning things up after any accidents. I decide fry-ups are off the menu for the time being. Fortunately making a bit pot of coffee isn't too difficult though. I later discover that opening a can of soup or beans isn't as easy as I thought. Although I have an electric tin opener most tins these days have those big ring-pull tops. I can pull the lid most of the way off after a fashion, but as I struggle to get the lid free it occurs to me that the edge of the lid is very sharp and I could easily cut myself badly - and then what? Stopping bad bleeding from a deep cut and putting a plaster on - with only one hand free - and that's the one with the cut! I decide trying to open tins on my own isn't such a great idea, so that's more things off the menu.

I had one nice surprise when I got back home: I found when I opened the fridge that my sister had very thoughtfully (and without telling me) done some shopping for me before picking me up from the hospital - so I don't need to go out shopping for a few days - thanks again Sis!

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Why I won't be seen out and about much for a while....

So, my life had been ticking over without too much drama. The bills being paid and still in work. Not much money to spare for going out to gigs or anywhere else. Disposable income - what's that? Playing a few gigs to keep my hand in, and several more booked before the end of the year. Like I said, ticking over nicely. Well maybe not nicely exactly, but things could be worse.

Thursday morning. September 21st. It's 7.55 in the morning and I'm heading up the Great North Road on my way to work. It's not too cold for the time of year and it's dry. The bike is running well and the weekend isn't too far away. A minute later I'm lying in the road. My bike is lying next to me - judging from the sounds I've just heard it's in more pieces than it was a minute ago. Unfortunately, I'm in no position to be able to look for myself although I have an excellent view of the blue sky and clouds overhead  A small crowd gathers around me - including the driver of the BMW who pulled out in front of me and who's car I just T-boned. She's in a bit of a state of shock, but fortunately uninjured. I lie there propped up on my elbow. Getting up doesn't seem a particularly good idea, although I'm not in any pain. However, I am concious that my guts have taken a bit of a battering as they slammed into the petrol tank and I feel a bit stiff and odd in that area so internal injuries are a possibility... I get tired of propping myself up and decide I'd be more comfortable lying down and awaiting developments...

In due course the 'developments' include paramedics cutting most of my clothes off as I lie in the road - although fortunately I manage to dissuade them them cutting off my old weathered and treasured motorcycle jacket before scraping me off the road and shovelling me into the back of an ambulance. The paramedics were very good and soon had me on a drip and comfortable in the back of their motor - well as comfortable as you can be lashed to a stretcher with your head in a brace to stop you looking to either side - which also stopped be being able to look at what state my bike was in while I was lying next to it.

The police arrive and take charge of the situation, take details, and direct traffic around me and the other wreckage. Naturally I get breathalysed - it's routine in all Road Traffic Accidents. I'm not bothered and inform them that I only had a single bottle of beer last night before going to bed - so I'm expecting a very low alcohol count. It's not just low - it's zero. I express surprise at the 'zero' count, but a paramedic says after one pint it would normally be zero after only an hour anyway. "Don't tell him that!" says the copper! I don't drink & drive/ride so it makes no difference to me anyway.

I could feel blood trickling inside my moto-cross boots before they took them off - they even cut my socks off! Fortunately, the very heavy duty boots did their job and my feet and ankles seem fine. However, I'm told my left wrist looks like it might be broken. Asked if I want any 'pain relief'? I think 'Yes, I'm definitely up for some of that'. But instead of the hoped for morphine they stick a tube of my mouth and pump gas into me instead. The paramedic said my wrist might be broken 'cos it's at a 'funny angle' - but I'm not laughing. Maybe this is why they decide to pump me full of laughing gas? It has absolutely no effect. I inform them of this and they crank it up a bit, and then a bit more What hospital are they going to take me to? Potters Bar General has been closed and is now a Tesco. The QE2 in Welwyn Garden City has also been closed. Watford is mentioned - I'm not keen on ending up that far from home, and I definitely don't want to go to The Lister as I've heard bad reports first hand about the quality of care received there. Fortunately, they decide to take me to Barnet General - which I have mixed feelings about as my mother died in there - but to be fair the place has been completely rebuilt since those days and is effectively a different hospital now.

By the time we arrive at the hospital the nitrous oxide is still doing nothing for me - on inspection it is discovered that the cylinder is now empty. I am wheeled into A&E on a stretcher and again asked if want any 'pain relief'? Fearing the shock and adrenaline may wear off at any time and real pain might kick in without warning I say 'Yes please'. Finally, they give me actual morphine. That has no effect either. I tell them it's not working and they give me more. And again. Finally, they say they have given me as much morphine as they dare.

So, pumped full of morphine - which appears to be another drug I am immune to, I am wheeled about the hospital and given X-Rays. Lots of X-rays. And a full body CTR scan. And covered in ECG electrodes and wiring for no reason that I can see. It's confirmed I have a broken wrist. Fortunately multiple X-Rays on my knees show they are not broken, although both legs have been badly sliced open in the crash and both my shin bones are visible - a doctor spends quite some time sluicing the cuts out with saline before they get taped up. I try to work out exactly how these injuries to my legs happened as my motorcycle boots appeared undamaged. However, my jeans inside my boots had been sliced right open in the crash and were quite badly bloodstained before the paramedics cut my jeans off. Still, that's the least of my worries. Where's my bike? What happened to it? How badly damaged is it? Oh-yeah - I've got a broken wrist too.

By now I'm resigned to my fate. I won't be going to work today, or probably any time soon. I won't be going home today either. I feel helpless - I am lying on a stretcher and can't get up. I have absolutely no control over what is happening - I'm not used to this. I realise I'm going to have to get used to it - I have no choice. I'm told I need to have an operation to fix my broken wrist. Whatever...

Now I have time to think. A lot of time to think. And a lot to think about. A moment of inattention on the Great North Road earlier has put me in hospital, and off work for I don't know how long. I've probably lost my motorcycle - the best I've ever had by a long way. I may have become an ex-biker at 7.55 this morning - probably for good this time. Also, I'm supposed to be playing 3 gigs next month with 2 different bands - one gig is of particular importance to me personally. I know already that I won't be physically capable of playing any of them. I have no idea how long it will be before I am capable of playing the guitar again....

While I was in the ambulance being stabilised I had asked the police to inform my employers that I wouldn't be making it in to work this morning. This they did - creating a bit of drama when they turned up out of the blue! Consequently my manager arrived to see me later in the morning at the hospital. Seeing the state I was in lying on the stretcher with a broken wrist and my legs covered in dressings at least he could pass the message back that I wasn't swinging the lead and wouldn't be back for some time....

Much hanging around ensues for me: lying about on a stretcher - being wheeled to various parts of the hospital. After loads of X-Rays and a scan my wrist is plastered up and I await my fate. I am told they will probably send me home, and I will have to return for the operation on my wrist tomorrow. I am not keen on this plan. How am I supposed to manage at home on my own in this state? The sister in charge (who is very good and strikes me someone who genuinely deeply cares) says transport has been arranged to take me home. It's early evening by then. More hanging around ensues. Shortly before I think I'm about to be shipped home I'm informed there has been a change of plan and I'm to be operated on straight away. This sounds much better to me! I can only assume that the sooner an operation takes place the better the outcome is likely to be. Bring it on...

I wake up three or four hours later in a hospital bed with my forearm/wrist in plaster and suspended in a sling - feeling much the same as I did before. I managed to grab something to eat - which was nice as it was around eleven at night and I'd had nothing to eat since my breakfast around 6.30 that morning. I'm pleased to find that in spite of my legs and various other bits being bashed about I can still make it to the toilet under my own steam.

The following morning the doctor came round and seemed happy with my progress - apparently the fracture to my wrist had been quite a bad one but the operation went well and I now have a metal plate holding my arm/wrist together. Probably for life. Could be worse - I still have an arm , and in spite of the deep lacerations I don't have two broken legs or any other injuries - apart from a lot of bruising in various places - most of which only starts to show up a few days later...

I am informed I'll be going home later that day. After I'm given the all clear to be discharged and various paperwork is taken care of. Meantime - more time to think. Much more. My surroundings are actually very pleasant - somehow I have ended up in a two bed ward, with the other bed unoccupied. Very nice and peaceful. The medical staff are very nice too - I am well looked after, and even the food is nice! I am very impressed with the 'new' state-of-the-art Barnet General Hospital - now totally unrecognisable from the place I knew before which consisted largely of wartime pre-fabs built to take care of the the overflow from London's other hospitals during the Blitz.

I had an appointment to give blood this afternoon - rather ironic in the circumstances. I guess enough leaked out of me yesterday - I wonder if I was given any, or did they just keep me topped up with a saline drip during the operation? As I'm getting good Wi-Fi lying in the hospital bed I try to go online to cancel my blood donor appointment, but without success.

Mid-afternoon and there is still no sign of me going home. Last night transport was being arranged to take me home, but today I am apparently expected to make my own way home. Maybe because last night I was in A&E they wanted to help me home as quickly as possible because they wanted the bed? Today there seems little urgency and the solitary other bed in the ward remains vacant all day. How am I expected to get home? The bus service is very good, but I don't have my Oyster card and the buses no longer take cash. Then I realise I have my credit/debit cards with me which will work on the bus instead. Also, I no longer have any clothes as the paramedics cut most of mine to ribbons yesterday! Last night in A&E the sister in charge said she could get me pyjamas and a dressing gown to borrow, but the sister in charge of the ward I find myself in today apparently can't do this. She asks me if I can get a friend to take me home? But it's Friday afternoon and everyone is out at work. Also, my phone doesn't work in the hospital for some reason - I can't make or receive calls or even texts - although bizarrely my phone is getting a good Wi-Fi signal and I can use the internet! I realise that probably the only person who can rescue me is my sister - who is also still at work but finishes fairly early on a Friday. But I can't phone her as my phone seems to be blocked or something by the hospital, so I have to get the nursing sister to phone her for me from the hospital phone....

So, after a fashion I manage to arrange for my sister to come and pick me up. Which involved her having to drive to the hospital, pay to park, pick up my keys, drive to my place and pack me some clothes, drive back to the hospital, and possibly get stung for parking a second time! When I expressed my concern about my sister having to pay twice for hospital parking in a short space of time the head nurse suggested I wait outside the hospital for my sister's arrival. I pointed out that I had no clothes to wear while standing outside in the cold for who know's how long? I asked if a dressing gown could be provided but was told that would not be possible, or even some slippers! It was suggested by the nurse that I could  be lent an extra gown (I was only wearing one of the hospital backless lace up ones) and I could put that on over the other one - but the other way round. I was less than impressed by this idea. Fortunately my sister managed to park, get my keys from me, get some of my clothes, and get back to the hospital with no trouble and without having to pay two parking charges - thanks Sis!

I'd like to thank the paramedics who scraped me off the road, the police who attended the crash scene, and the staff at Barnet General Hospital who looked after me so well - they were all terrific!

So after my prang on Thursday morning I got home on Friday night with my arm in a sling, my wrist in plaster, and facing an interesting time figuring our how to do even the most basic things for myself - now the fun would really start....

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Been a bit quiet round these parts recently....

...actually,  I've been a bit quiet for quite a while now compared to my previous prolific blogging output. There are reasons for this - mainly financial. The recession has begun to bite here at Dark Towers. In fact it's not so much biting as taking a massive chomp out of my bank (in)balance. Maybe I shouldn't have bought that motorcycle (more on this in the next episode...) or all those guitars and amplifiers? Most of the guitars have seen little use, although all have been gigged - I just have a couple of favourites that I use regularly. I have been thinking about selling one or two of them, and I don't need two basses either - although ironically one of them has seen a lot more gigging use over the last couple of years compared to my 6 string razors. Still, even playing bass is better than not gigging at all so...

The simple truth is that the cost of things like food, beer (particularly BEER), petrol, utility bills, etc. has been rising much faster than my feeble income and something has to give. I have a mortgage to pay as well, and keeping a roof over my head has to take priority over other things. So basically I can't afford to go out much any more. The price of a pint at gigs has risen far faster than anything else over the past few years - certainly far faster than my wages, so I have largely stopped drinking at gigs - apart from the ones where beer is around normal North London pub prices. In fact, I have mostly stopped going to gigs at all - apart from seeing cover bands in local pubs which doesn't count. I can go and see a band in a local pub for minimal (if any) transport costs, not have to pay to get in, and enjoy quality ale at reasonable prices. Even then, I'm not out every weekend seeing bands in pubs either - it has to be a band I like and know are going to ROCK or something new that looks interesting and likely to ROCK. Otherwise I'll just stay in and save some money - with being overdrawn becoming a way of life I'm effectively paying interest on every pint I drink so...

I've had to become used to not going to many gigs these days. I don't like it, but I have no choice but to accept it. That's just the way things are now. I've missed loads of gigs over the last year or so that I'd usually have gone to without thinking. I wouldn't even think about whether to go to see a band I like - I'd just go. I've missed bands I've seen many times and would normally never miss like Backyard BabiesDanko JonesSupersuckersKISSAlice CooperTherapy?TerrorvisionThe Darkness and many more. I do miss going to gigs, and although I still have a social life locally I do miss seeing all my rock 'n' roll friends I meet at gigs in town - they know who they are. ;-)

So basically - no gigs means no blogging. Well mostly anyway - apart from the odd rant or bit of other news. However, I have also had one other major setback recently....