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Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Chapter 6 - A story about changing the world and being romantic

Can someone please explain to me where the start of this year has gone? I know that I’ve written about a lot of stuff and that a fair bit has happened…..but it certainly doesn’t feel like we are a month and a half into the year. I wouldn’t normally panic about things like this – but this year I turn 30 years old and as much as that shouldn’t phase me – I had my hair cut by my Iraqi friend last week and I couldn’t help but notice a worrying amount of grey hair falling down my body. So - either I’m going seriously grey – or the Iraqi man was attempting to be funny by dropping grey hair on me at the same time. On top of that – my wife (despite being a bit older SHHHHH) looks a fair bit younger than me. It all adds up to one simple truth. I’m getting older and no part of me can still argue that I’m in my mid-twenties. One thing I can guarantee though is that I’m not going down without a fight (even if I require a walking stick by the end of it). Until this point I never believed the people who said that life began at 30. Whereas now I just hope that rumour wasn’t created by a greetings card manufacturer…….
Still – I’m lucky enough to be excited about an awful lot at the moment. Welcome to Chapter 6.

I thought I’d start this week by answering some of your questions / some questions that I’ve been asked this week)…..

Do you have a set list? (Asked by new band member Joe in advance of playing in Bristol)
Initially I laughed when I received this question – before realising that I should try not to scare new band members through what could initially be perceived as me being disorganised. After all – asking for a set list in advance does seem like a reasonable question…..So I responded. And sent on a set list (which I actually nearly stuck to. Sort of)

What inspires you? (Asked by Terry over the Twitter)
This is a question which you would think would be answerable instantly – but I have had to think about it as I didn’t want to launch into a massive list without providing any explanations…..

  • The world. It’s hard not to be inspired by a world that contains such beauty but also contains Slough.
  • People. You will inevitably find that people around you (or that you see on the news or read about etc) inspire you in one way or another. However whether it is in a positive way (as in agreeing with their stance on something) or in a negative way (like thinking that their viewpoint or actions are wrong) is always down to you.
  • Friends. I’m lucky enough to be able to count my friends as people that inspire me – I like to think that I’ve opened up more to what they have to say in the past year or so as well. A lot of my friends can say some things which may seem amazingly profound yet in truth are incredibly accurate. The more your relationships with people build – the more you will discover about their heart. The better you know someone – the more they will open up – and this in turn means that they will be more confident in speaking into your life – even if it is just in passing conversation. There have been countless occasions in my life where my friends have said something to me that hasn’t just been inspiring – It’s been life changing. What they have said might not have been directed at me – but what they have said has hit you like a lightening bolt. They just might not have realised that what they said in that moment carried so much weight (note to self – tell them). As a test of this – think of your closest friends and try and think of your most memorable conversations with them. I’ve just done this and realised how much of a positive influence my friends have had on me.
  • Films and TV. I love both of these things – so to suggest that they don’t inspire me and that I’m not influenced by them would be crazy. I love the journeys that I’m taken on by Films and TV shows and I adore being transported to another place to see life through somebody else’s eyes.
  • Music is an amazingly powerful tool that has the ability to inspire more than anything else as it can convey emotions without someone needing to understand a specific language for it to make sense. Music crosses language barriers as music IS its own language. 

  • Games. I’m also inspired by games and I completely agree that games should have age restrictions as some can be completely immersive.  I don’t however buy into the fact that games can be solely to blame for some of the violence issues being experienced around the globe (please note the word solely). A short investigation into the media outlets that first reported this theory in the UK will show you that they (one in particular) quickly followed up their console slating reports by starting Friday articles reviewing new games that were being released. Games can be violent – but isn’t it funny that this is the information picked up by the media and not the fact that in so many games now you are actively encouraged to be a character with good morals that will stand up against injustice. Characters like this inspire me and further more they encourage me to stand up for people that the world treads on and calls unlovable. I do however have the occasional urge to attempt free running up walls……
  • My wife. Without much doubt the person that inspires me the most is my wife. She’s so gracious - and despite all of my faults still loves me. She takes the time to understand me even in the moments when the focus of my attention changes more quickly than British weather. Her patience and grace astound me – even when I do wind her up. She is nothing short of amazing and I’m blessed to have her in my life.
  • My faith…..without question my faith. But for more on that - see the next question…….
I find it hard to have faith. I find it hard to believe in anything. I used to believe but now after so much tragedy around me I don’t know what to think. Do you truly believe that God has a plan for us all? And how do you know when he wants you to put that plan in to place? (Asked by Lisa over Facebook)
Oooohhh. Hardcore question! Ok. I'll answer the end bit first...Yes I truly believe that God has a plan for us all. I've found that quite often when I need to be reminded of this I look back at some of the most difficult situations in my life and how the situations have resolved. More often than not these situations have been resolved in ways that I could never have imagined and although I might not have realised it at the time - I've pulled through stronger.
As far as you putting the plan into place? You don’t do it. It can be frustrating not to see what is happening but when doors start to open for you that you wouldn’t expect or when things start popping into your mind randomly - you begin to glimpse at what the plan may be. That’s actually how I ended up moving here (Gloucestershire). That’s how I met Cass. That’s one of the reasons why I started writing 10 resolutions. All have been little sparks that have made me more aware about what is going on.
There's a story which goes like this:
An epic flood hits a town. A car drives past a house where a man waits outside on his porch. A person shouts out of the car "Jump in - we will rescue you". The man in the house replies "Don’t worry, My God will save me". The car drives off. The flood continues. The water rises so much that a boat goes past the front of the house. Seeing the man (now in the house) he shouts "jump in - I'll rescue you". The boatman replies "Don’t worry, My God will save me". The boat leaves. The water continues to rise and as the man climbs upon the roof a helicopter flies overhead. The helicopter drops a ladder down but again the man refuses aid. "Thanks. But my God will save me". The helicopter flies away. A few minutes later a massive wave hits the town. The man dies.
The man gets to Heaven and asks "Why?? I had faith. Why didn’t you save me???" God then replies "I tried to. How many chances did you need?! I sent a car, a boat and a helicopter!"
How many times do we look away from obvious help? We look for a divine intervention - yet at the same time we have no real idea what a divine intervention is. A lightning strike? Or given what we know already – wouldn’t God use people to help us along our way - whether they knew it or not?
Faith is what it is. It's Faith. It's believing without seeing (at least initially). But it's like a relationship - the more time you spend with someone - the more you understand. I believe in Jesus and I believe that he saved me and has rescued me countless times - whether I can see how or not.
For something further on faith – give this a read (whether it happened or not is up for debate – but it still serves as a great explanation of faith).
If you have a question that you would like to see me answer - ask away on the Facebook page or email

The Cast List

Flik Hargreaves

Great fun to have around – Flik has an uncanny ability to make me smile and is highly proficient in all forms of banter. Flik has an amazing heart for others and also has an astounding voice (and is growing in her confidence using it). Flik is a regular member of my band and will also be featuring on my album. Interestingly – Flik is getting married in April (Congratulations) at which point her surname also becomes Foster. We haven’t quite figured out how to explain that on the CD….the current suggestion is writing NOT RELATED in brackets…..give me a shout if you have a better idea……that doesn’t involve the entire history of the name Foster

Jon Munson
I’ve known Jon for over 10 years (since he became part of the Faction at the age of 16) and since then he has without doubt become one of my closet friends. He is one of those friends that you have so many memories with that you could simply write and write about them without stopping. A favourite memory however is getting him to eat a daffodil in exchange for me buying him a pint. Now that might sound like exploitation…..but it was quite funny and he (eventually) found it funny as well
(it took more than one pint………….)
Jon will always have my back - and no matter how long it is between us meeting up I know that he is there for me. Hopefully he knows that I’ll always be looking out for him as well….and if he didn’t before - he does now. And in a reference that only a few people will get – “What it is to burn”.

Terry Leach
Terry and his wife Lu (more on her at a later date) are like rocks in my life. They are always there for me to talk to in everything that I may be going through. Terry has an ability to always manage to cheer me up and he has a superb sense of humour. He is also (and I don’t say this lightly) one of the best sound engineers I have ever worked with. If musically Matt Mortlock is my right hand - Terry is my left hand. It’s an honour to know him and a pleasure to hang out with him.

Tuesday 12th February
Tuesday was spent in the studio with Matt and Flik. Flik had never been in a studio before and was understandably nervous. But we waited for her to get into her comfort zone and then..... Well then she absolutely smashed it. Not an easy task at all considering that I haven’t done my main vocals yet..... I’ve now got an epic task on my hands to match Fliks' vocals! To congratulate Flik we played her a super secret mix of a track that will never ever see the light of day. Flik laughed at my dancing. Matt just laughed at me....... (In a pitying yet loving fashion – personally I think that he secretly loves the track)

Thursday 14th February
Now for those of you who think I’m not romantic......As well as cooking a steak dinner for Wifey on Valentine’s Day....I also wrote her this:

You say I’m not romantic
But what you cannot see
Is that every day I struggle to say
Just how much you mean to me

I know it should be simple
To say what’s on my heart
But in truth – words come more easily
In times when we’re apart

Yes that may sound crazy
I’m aware of how that sounds
But I find myself just mesmerised
Whenever you’re around

You always make me smile
You never fail to make me laugh
I’m astounded by your beauty
And that is just the start

Your heart burns bright with kindness
Your eyes show deep sincerity
You accept me just for who I am
You bring out the best in me

These words express my feelings
But the as yet unsaid truth
Is that every single moment
I fall more in love with you

We actually had a great evening...and I even got to go round ASDA later than night giggling to myself at the guys running round manically trying to find their girlfriends / wives / dates / blow up dolls last minute presents! For once I could be smug that the last minute husband wasn’t me!

Friday 15th February
Friday night saw me cooking for Cass, Dan and Christine (and yes – they all survived) whilst we all relived memories from the past by watching Kerrang’s “greatest” floor-fillers. I find it increasingly amazing that one song can have so many shared or completely different memories for people. What songs do you associate with different people?

Saturday 16th February
Saturday night saw me unexpectedly catching up with someone that I haven’t seen in far too long – Jon Munson. Despite having regular text’s been ages since we’ve actually caught up. And it was amazing. And for the first time that I can remember – Jon bought me dinner! Jon works for does anyone have (or know of) a part time job opening?  

Sunday 17th February
On Sunday evening I headed down to a youth service called “Kainos” in Bristol with my (quite fantastic and loaded with banter) band (including Flik) and a couple of other people including one of my major partners in crime – Terry Leach to lead worship and to speak on the subject of “Changing the World – One Life at a Time”. I’ll happily make all of the notes available to whomever wants a copy of them – but the message itself is very simple and no matter what you believe is something you can take away. Love your neighbour. That means being there for your friends at all times. It means helping those who need help. It means standing alongside those who are ready to give up. It’s actually really simple – but far too often we drift away from people in the times when they struggle and we are drawn closer to them in the times when they are fine and there are pink fluffy bunnies all around.....Loving your neighbour shouldn’t be part time. It’s should be a long term, full time commitment. It’s a learning process to get to that place – but hopefully I’m on my way there.

Out and About
I've got a few stories to mention this week - so we will start with the idea that to aid electric car sales - the Government have decided to create more charging points around the country (I'm genuinely terrified about how many committee's it took to come up with that common sense idea.....

In something that has got Andy Howson (and most of Gloucester) worked up...check this story out which was today followed by this....

And has anyone else seen that the manager of my football team had a bit of a rant yesterday.............

Right - that's it for this week in what has actually been quite a serious chapter. I'm sure next week I'll make up for it as I'll have spent the weekend in Falmouth....Oh and for those of you on resolution count....I've mentioned 4....

Remember to ask any questions you may have about life, the universe and everything else by emailing – and you can also now subscribe to 10 resolutions by email – simply fill in the big white box above the chapter. Right - I'm off to give myself first aid after having an accident with a wireless keyboard and my head.....Until next week.....

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