James – Out To Get You

My ipod played chose this song at random for me the night before last and it stayed in my head, the way all good songs do (and unfortunately some terrible songs too, which is SO ANNOYING!!).

I’ve been a bit of a James fan since 1989 when Sit Down was released. I was in the 2nd year of high school and I remember it being played at a school disco. Awesome tune!

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The Pretenders – I’ll Stand By You

I loved this song when it first came out back in 1994 (I just worked out how old I was then; now I feel old). I used to sing it all the time in my bedroom, belting it out at he top of my voice (I bet my folks LOVED me!).

Even now, 19 years later, the lyrics still give me goosebumps.

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He

If I’m feeling down
He holds me tight.
He doesn’t ask why
Just holds me as long as I need.

If I’m poorly he comes to me
Holds my hand, kisses my forehead
Drives me to the medical centre at 4am
Then gets me home and tucks me in.

He lets me choose the movie
And I try to pick one he’ll like
But if he didn’t like it he wouldn’t say,
He’d just smile and squeeze my hand.

If I wake in the night
He can always tell.
He pulls me close
Holds me till I’m asleep again.

Liqueur

Is my love for you wrong?
That first sip;
The way you ease down my throat.

I feel the blanket of warmth lower,
Gently taking me
Reassuring me that everything is ok.

My heart rate slows, my worries fade;
This must be safe:
How could anything bad help me so much?

My glass is empty. What do I do?
Time for bed?
Perhaps just one more glass.

The World of Books

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The best thing my gran ever did for me was take me to join the local library when I was 9. It wasn’t long before it became a weekly visit, every week I’d leave laden down with the maximum 8 books, and return the following week, all would be read and I’d be eager for more.

I read about animals, pirates, aliens – in fact, I read whatever I could get my hands on. I read about love, about hate, jealousy and trust. I learned which of those I wanted in my life. I explored desert islands, planets I’d never heard of, make believe worlds of elves and dragons and so many more weird and wonderful places.

To me, every unread book was an adventure waiting to be had. Inside the cover was a passport to another world. One I could visit whenever I wished. And the best thing about it was the world would stay with me long after the book was returned to the library. It was mine.

My childhood was fairly lonely; I grew up in a very small village with hardly any children of a similar age. Books were my refuge. They became my friends. Sometimes during the long days of summer I would get in 10 hours of reading per day. I would immerse myself in the book during the day and then dream about it at night.

Sometimes I was so taken by the world I had entered, that I tried to draw it; to capture it as I first found it. Alas, I’m no artist. But it didn’t matter. As a child it was the best homage I could pay to the creator of my new world.

Even now, I can come across a book I haven’t read for 20 years and reading it again is like catching up with somebody I once shared my life with.

My collection of books isn’t as big as it once was. I’ve tried to slim it down but my favourites will be there forever. There are books that comfort me after a hard week. Books that can give me that sometimes needed slap of perspective. Books that can hold me when I’m lonely.

There are so many places I’ve visited; I’ve seen famines in Ethiopia, genocide in Rwanda. I was in Derbyshire during an outbreak of the plague. I was in Castle Rock when a clown started taking children. I was with Anne Frank on 4th August 1944.

People talk about your life flashing before your eyes in near-death situations. What will I see? Will it be my own life history? Or will I see all the adventures I’ve been allowed to enter? I hope with all my heart that it’s the latter.

And the best thing about books? I will never run out. Authors all over the world are making brand new adventures for me every day. I’ll always have somewhere to escape to.

My one true friend

This post is kind of a tribute to the thing that has always got me through everything. Been there through it all, right from when I was a kid. Held me through the tough times, embraced me through the lonely times. Without it, I’m not entirely sure I’d be here today. I definitely wouldn’t be the person I am now.

The thing I talk about; the powerful friend throughout my life….has simply been music.

When I was 6 or 7 I got a clock radio for Christmas. And that was the start of the most rewarding and honest relationship I’ve ever been in. I soon discovered the sleep button: 59 minutes of glorious music – plenty to keep me going until I fell asleep. Often I’d wake in the middle of the night, and switch it on for another 59 minutes. My local radio at that time was Radio Broadland, and they had a late night show called Love Around Midnight. It’s been almost 30 years and I remember it vividly.

I would lay there in the middle of the night learning what love was from such beautiful songs, like Dean Friedman’s Lydia. That song still gives me goosebumps all these years later. Another Broadland favourite was Guardian Angel, by Nino D’Angelo.

From then on, whenever I was in my bedroom I was accompanied by music. As I grew older I discovered that the world was full of music. So many different sounds. So many different beats. And they all took me to such different places.

I grew up opposite a pub, and used to get the old records out of their juke box. By now it was the late 80s, and the selection was very random: Tina Turner, Terry Jacks, Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton and Madness, to name but a few. I loved them all.

For the next 20 years or do I dipped in and out of most genres. I can’t be defined by one type of music. I have been shaped by so many kinds: rock, reggae, folk, classical, pop, rap, r&b – the list is endless, and each one has played an important part in bringing me here today.

My iPod has such a range of music on it – I know I won’t have to cope with anything alone. I can play Lydia, and feel it’s gentle caress. Then I feel as safe as I did as a child, awake in the night.

So, if you see a kid on the bus and can hear the music escaping from their ear phones, don’t get mad. They just might be taking comfort from the only friend they have.