Tuesday, 30 October 2012
We have friends in Lancaster, Philadelphia. When I say friends, we've met once. Dublin, May this year. We were on a travel package to see Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. So were Bill & Liz. They had combined it with a European trip. We were sat together at a fantastic gig and then stayed up in the hotel bar, for hours. You know when you just click with people? That was it. They flew back to the States, we flew back to London. I found Bill on LinkedIn (the only use I've ever found for it) and e-mailed him. Since then we've kept in touch quite a bit. Last night, watching the devastation of hurricane Sandy on the news, I suddenly had a horrible feeling of impending doom. I e-mailed Bill and got a scary reply. The town was being evacuated but they were staying put. They'd boarded up, sand-bagged, all the things we would do. They have a beach house on the Jersey shore which was being hit at that moment. I sent him our best and went to bed. Which just looks crap when you read it like that. I e-mailed again this morning and several more times today. Slowly, his replies got more hopeful until, this afternoon, he explained that, incredibly, they and their house, were fine. Even the Jersey house looks to have survived, although the water in the town is 12 feet deep in places. I joked back, told him how pleased we were, and signed off with a line that I have tried to live my life by, in the past few years. I used to worry about everything. I mean really worry. Then, 18 years ago, something happened which changed my world. By the time I got through it, my outlook had changed. We met Bill & Liz for 9 hours but I couldn't be happier that they and their family are safe. I don't know what that means but I shall raise a glass tonight. The sign-off line is the title of this blog entry. It's from this Tom Petty song, Crawling Back To You. Stay safe everyone.
Sunday, 14 October 2012
My wife and I went to see the musical Let It Be last week. It's actually a live gig by The Beatles. No, really. Four lookalikes and brilliant soundalikes rock their way through just about every Beatles song you could want. It's a proper loud, live gig. I got caught up in the atmosphere and the whole feeling of being that close (third row) to people singing these great songs that I have loved almost all of my life. At one point Paul, George and John sit for Blackbird, Two of Us and then In My Life. I wept, quietly. Beautifully staged, crystal clear sound, the four actor/musicians play brilliantly. George's solo in While My Guitar Gently Weeps was wonderful. I had a really, really good time. My Dad used to work for the electronics and defence side of EMI. This meant that, through something called Staff Sales, he got early access to Beatles records the week before they came out. He would bring them home on a Friday night and for the whole weekend, my brothers Kevin and Phil and me would be The Beatles. Tennis rackets for guitars, (I was Paul so I had a left-handed tennis racket) and singing the new songs so much that, by the time we went to school on Monday, we could sing the new Beatles record before anyone else in the playground had even heard it. Let It Be was very, very good. For some of it I was 10 years old.
Sunday, 7 October 2012
Back from a wonderful trip to Ireland, heavier but happier. My birthday was on the Sunday, a week ago, the 2nd day of the trip. We got back late on Wednesday, spent Thursday feeding the washing machine and slobbing before a couple of great days in London. My wonderful wife had tipped off the hotel that it was my birthday and they made a fuss, which she loved. We had lunch at The Wolseley and she had primed them, as well. The point is that she loves to make my birthday last a week, if she gets the chance. Birthdays never used to mean much before I met her. In the fifteen years of my previous marriage they were never a big deal. So, to find someone who just wants to make them as special as possible is fantastic. My life has changed so much in the last 18 years. When JB and I met I was a wreck, not looking forward to the next day, let alone looking for a new relationship. We'll have been together 17 years soon, 12 of them married. So, a week is a long time in birthdays. Long may it last.