Sunday, 18 April 2010


The basic chain of thought for this post started with the sun shinning through the window of the carabanger,waking me up at about 8 a.m.It's so nice when you wake up and think about what you've got to do that day and the answers-nothing really.It afforded me with the pleasure of drifting off to sleep til about midday,drifting in and out of sleep ,sampling snippets of a parrot incessantly whistling in a van on one side,and the world according to Sheffield(bloke who gets in this car to drive 100 yards to the shower block-but makes for entertaining eaves dropping)on the other.When I eventually got up,I decided to check out some stuff I had briefly read before about 'The Slow Movement'.This all links up with my quest for simplicity and basically advocates that people are too obssessed with getting things done fast and having busy lifes.To be busy is looked upon as admirable,while having nothing to do is viewed as not.The benefits of having nothing to do are numerous,but,one great one ,is that then you can do choose to do something,but there are no constraints on time.It seems that peoples obssession with speed is similar to most peoples attitude to work.Why is doing something fast so important?Why is being viewed as a'good worker'looked upon as a positive personality trait?Don't ask me.

Basically I knew today would be a 'slow'day-take my time,enjoy the sun,have a mid afternoon kip if desired,and enjoy the day without any prearranged plans and no constraints on time.And so far its been nice.

I eventually got ready to run about 3ish.The past two days I had planned for 2 x 2 x 2,but due to my right calf playing up(had major problems last year) I decided to revise it to 1 x 2 x 2.On the 2 hour jaunt today(actually 1 hr 45-just felt like I wanted to go hard after 10 mins or so)I started thinking about honesty.Strange thing to think about for most folks,but not me.I had recently read interviews with John Grant,who used to front The Czars,and was impressed by his honesty-then listened to a song by The Beautiful South,where someone had commemted that on the particular album that this song was on ,Paul Heaton was too honest for his own good.It set me thinking'Can someone be too honest?'I like to believe that I'm pretty honest,but sometimes,for example,when people say'Why do I live in a caravan?',I'll explain its temporary,I've just split up from my wife'etc,etc,etc.I do that because I'm scared in a way of peoples reactions,like'Oh hes a failure' etc.But then I question why I,ve done that.I chose to live here and I chose it because I thought I would be happy here-and I am-its just somewhat out of kilter with what'normal' people aspire to.Anyway that got me thinking to other areas of my life where I had not been completely honest.

From as long as I can remember I've wanted to be the best at things.At primary school I wanted to get the best marks in class(nearly-always beaten by my twin brother) and the fastest(I was).That passed on to secondary school,where again I excelled at sports and ,through sheer hard work,was good on the academic side of things.I eventually went to university to study Sports Science,with the long term aim of becoming a PE teacher.However university changed my mind.I got to a place where I was distinctly average,mostly in terms of athletic ability(Birmingham University is one of the premier sporting universities in the uk)and that got me questioning myself.I had sacrificed so much,in terms of socialising etc,and for what?I was still no good.The seed was planted and the partying began.I found if I couldn,t be the best runner,I could become the best drunk-it was easy!Dead easy!At all the athletic club does I would put on my customary performance and people would love it.Life and soul of the party!I left university with zero plans to get a career(in hindsight,perhaps, an inspired move).The last year of university involves what is (or was!)known as 'The Milk Round'-where companies come round trying to attract graduates.I attended none.I was fed up with sport,running,everything to do with commitment-all I wanted to do was Mcjobs-earn abit of cash and travel.

I did travel-Indonesia,Thailand,Austrailia,America,Canada and enjoyed it-but still wanted more.When I returned to England in 1989 the rave scene waas just kicking off.It was exciting-a chance for me to fit in-and again this was done by excess.I floated around for a few years-still doing jobs with little responsibility and then ended up in Nottingham.I knew no-one in Nottingham,but through my sisters husband at the time,became friends with some of his friends who were at Trent University(still good friends to this day).This was great-late 20s,knocking about with students-cheap drinks,fun and laughter!By this time I had started working the markets,but could easily handle 3/4 nights a week-get in at 3 blasted-then work at 5.

Things changed forever(!) one night in Loughborough in 1996.I had burnt the candle at both ends for too long-I was living with my ex brother in law,having moved from notts,due to having my van broke into numerous times.This night we overdid it,and I went to bed feeling wierd.Not a new experience.The next day I woke up feeling wierd.This was a feeling that would stay with me for over two years.When it happened,I turned back to running.I remember running round a park in Loughborough and I couldn't think-there was too much going through my mind-as if every fact was competing for space.I moved back to Skegness.I needed some familiararity.Those things were scary.I,d try and tell close family and friends how I felt,but as I was telling them I'd think'You sound mad!'.Then I'd tell them and by the look in their eyes I knew they were freaked out.I wanted someone to say that they knew how I felt-but no-one did.

Things started to get better gradually.The day I was on eastgate and I looked at the volcanic eruption and actually thought it was real ,not an illusion,was a turning point-but I had been on the market 6 months before that point.Rather than slow-I needed things fast.I hated winters when I didn,t have to work-but loved summers-I was so busy-and felt great.Gradually,through abstinence,normality returned-running returned-life returned.Now I,ve felt great for about 6 years-its nice to run-nice to be able to relax-and nice to actually think that was a lesson learned.

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