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Friday, 9 August 2013

Chapter 17 (Part 2) - A story about encouragements, births and office family outings

After 17 chapters – I still haven’t realised how long it takes me to physically write a chapter. I probably should have learnt by now and the information probably should have hit home - but unfortunately it hasn’t. Not that I’m complaining – because I know exactly what I want to say – but it just takes a while to type it up. I even tried using a dictation app to try and make the whole process less typey this week…but that failed as the app failed to understand my mockneyshire accent and I spent longer re-punctuating and amending everything than it would have taken me to write anything in my finest handwriting in the first place. So I gave up doing that after a paragraph and here we are - back to normal.

And after that ramble – welcome to the 2nd half of Chapter 17 (The first half is here).  And I’d like to properly kick off this half of the chapter by continuing from something that I started speaking about at the start of part 1 - A simple message of encouragement from a friend. Have you ever noticed that something really simple can make or break a day for you? Well last Monday - a message I received set me up for not only the day but the week that followed. And I wish that I still had the message on my phone to show you – but unfortunately thanks to a “minor” accident at the wedding the day before my phone needed to be replaced. But very simply the message went along the lines of “Thankyou so much for writing your stories and thankyou for being in my life”. In my half hungover and probably over emotional state of last Monday the message bought a tear to my eye - because despite having an amazing weekend – I just needed that little push. I went back to that message later in the day after recovering from my stealth hangover* and was hit with a somewhat overwhelming wave of thanks for the timing of that message and replied again to the sender explaining how much the message meant to me. Big gestures are great but little ones can be just as powerful - which (as you can now probably imagine) is why I was pretty much ripped to pieces after all of the amazing messages and great bits of feedback from you all after Part 1. Which leads me onto saying (in the least soppy way possible) – thank you all for supporting 10 Resolutions, thank you for reading these stories and thank you for being part of my life. I hope that in some way you find little sparks of encouragement within these words and that when you need it most - a friend will help pick you up. 

*Stealth Hangover. This is something that I should probably explain. But I’ll give you some context first. You’ve been at a wedding and you’ve been drinking beer and wine. It’s a lovely combination – but a combination that (you know from experience) will come back to haunt you the next morning. The thought jumps into your head “I could stop now and then I might be ok?” but then in 99% of cases that thought is instantly dismissed by a new thought “I’m too far gone now anyway so I’ll just keep going / slow down”. Most of us will be able to relate to that situation. The drinks I’ve selected for my example don’t make that much difference (replace them with your normal options) but you just need to understand the context. Anyway – the next day comes and you are fine. There is no rational explanation. Your head should theoretically have a tribe of African drummers constantly beating away – but they aren’t there. You feel great! You smugly smile – convinced that you have beaten the hangover and you start getting on with whatever it is that you need to get on with. Then 4 hours later (and out of nowhere) it happens. BANG! 


Forget the tribe of African drummers. This is something different entirely. This isn’t a tribe of African drummers. This is every single drummer in the known universe each playing a different rhythm at once in your head combined with a selection of the loudest car stereos in Blighty each playing their loudest most unimaginative tune whilst part of your brain is in front of each speaker. Now you want the next few minutes to pass quickly – but it’s a bit like your hangover hasn’t got the memo. You move into action. You find the strongest painkillers that you can and combine them with your soft drink of choice (sparkling water or Coke Zero are normally mine). You agonizingly wait for the painkillers to kick in and at some point in the course of this you utter a very well known phrase “I’m never drinking again”.
And that my friends – is the stealth hangover.

I’m going to carry on bringing you up to date and introducing you to people in the same way as I did in Part 1. I’ve got a few great things to tell you about – as well as a preview of something JUST FOR YOU. So here we go….

My night in the big smoke

The night before the epic Chris and Sam wedding event I left Wifey with Naomi, Sam and the Twins and headed into London to catch up with John Zwanzig over a few beers and a meal…..

John Zwanzig
John was my music teacher in secondary school and is someone that I can safely say has had a massive impact on my life. Most of us have a teacher or a couple of teachers that we will always remember from time at school. Who are yours? John Zwanzig was one of mine. He was a great teacher. He completely inspired me and was willing to let me develop my skills at my own pace and adapted the way he taught to the way that I learnt and took in information. He also occasionally helped me get out of double Science – and that is something that I’ll be forever grateful for! (Incidentally and perhaps controversially – I think that Science should only be a core subject until the end of Year 9 – but that’s a conversation for another day).
Anyway – fast forward a few years and through the land of Bookface John and I got back in touch and have met up a few times over the last few years. Now I can’t really describe the moment when you first meet an old teacher – because for a few moments it’s just a bit odd and you feel like you might be back at school. But after that? John has now become a really good friend and it’s lovely to be able to spend a bit of time with him when we both have the chance.

After saying goodbye to John, I popped in to a gig venue briefly to say hi to another friend – who it just so happened was playing that night.

Tom Lynam
I’ve known Tom for a number of years now as I first met him in the Faction years.
And despite him being one of the busiest men on the planet – we’ve kept in touch along the way. Tom is without question one of the most talented musicians and songwriters I’ve ever come across and is also one of the friendliest people you could ever meet. I’ve sat down for loads of beers with him over the years and I think the overriding feeling that I’ve walked away with is that he is just a lovely guy. He also has a lot more depth to his character than he will initially let you see in person or until you get to know him. The place where Tom bears his soul though is on stage and as a little plug – why don’t you check out his EP as it’s awesome! He’s a cheeky little scamp – but you love him for it.


Bowling the night away (Office Family Outing)
I’ve said before that I’m extremely blessed to work with an amazing bunch of people and to celebrate 8 of them being given permanent jobs – loads of us went bowling (on half price everything night). Perhaps surprisingly – it wasn’t that messy (for most of us) but as I keep talking about these amazing people – I thought I’d introduce you to some more of them (aside from the ones that you’ve already met like Joe, Naomi & Andy). 

Lania Rokodravu
Naomi, Anthony & Lania
When Lania laughs – you can hear her from the other side of the office. But that isn’t a bad thing because Lania will never fail to make you smile thanks to her completely infectious personality. She might come across as noisy and a bit of a joker but when you get to know her you realise that there is so much more to her personality than that. She’s strong (physically and mentally), funny, kind and basically amazing. 

Anthony Rose
Despite being a Manchester United fan - I really like spending time with Anthony and I’m really proud of him because of the man that he has become. Like Lania, Anthony has a bit of an infectious personality and is a bit of a scallywag (I’m working on bringing that word back). Anthony is fun, confident, subtle as a brick and kind-hearted. He is also a bit of a mischief instigator.   

Steve “Grandad” Silcox
Steve is called “Grandad” because he is one of the “elders” of the office (despite acting a lot of the time like he is still about 25!) Have you ever thought to yourself after seeing someone “Wow – If I’m still like that at their age then I’ll be happy……”? Well Steve for me is one of the people that I base that theory on for myself. Humble, friendly, selfless, reliable, trustworthy and blunt – Steve is well loved - and deservedly so because he will go out of his way to help anyone. Just don’t ever try and get hold of him on his mobile…….

Becky Lane
If I’m in a bad mood, Becky is one of the people that can without fail cheer me up. She can make me smile, she can make me laugh and at any given moment she can catch me off guard by throwing a curveball in there to make me think. Becky is really outgoing and fun on one hand whilst possessing amazing levels of compassion and kindness on the other. One of my memories of Becky is that she wrote us a completely beautiful email after the events of chapter 9 that actually brought me to tears. I’ll never forget that email as it was written from a place of such caring and empathy that it just took me apart. Without any question - Becky is one of the people that I most look forward to seeing when I walk into the office. 
Becky Lane and Amba

Amba Parker
Amba is very simply one of the nicest people that you could ever meet. She has a complete heart of gold and will always put your needs above hers. You can’t help but smile when you are around her (unless she trys to poison you with nuts – in which case you can help but smile because in my case I was throwing up) and she has one of those personalities that you just find yourself opening up to. Amba is absolutely lovely and is a regular winner of our “Little Bit of Sunshine” award. Oh – and if you ever need her to be somewhere on time – give her a time which is 30 minutes before you actually need her there.

Some of my favourite moments in the office (and on work “family outings” have come courtesy of Bex (as have quite a few of the questions that I’ve answered so far in 10 Resolutions). Bex is one of those people that can’t help but care for others and because of that – if there is anything everything ever wrong with her or if someone has hurt her you will become instantly protective of her (not that she needs protecting though). Bex is funny, absolutely amazeballs (a popular Bex phrase), sarcastic, (occasionally) ditzy, cheeky and can banter with the best of them. She also has a contagious happy mood and a “mild” case of OCD whilst being (I’m pretty sure) allergic to the cold. 

Now obviously that isnt everyone that I work with....but if I introduce you to everyone now,,,what would we do going forward! 

Babies, babies everywhere…….
Just before I started writing 10 Resolutions - we had a stage where loads of couples got pregnant - and now we are in the stage of the babies being born…and I love it! Dan and Christine have just had a beautiful baby girl called Amelia (Dan and I had a cheeky cigar together the day after she was born) and my friends Rich (who I saw on the night of the baby being born) and Julie have also just had a baby called James. Congratulations!!!! 

Richard Dunne
I met Rich (through Andy Howson) a few years ago before he started working in our office and he is the person that has probably grown up more since I’ve known him than anyone else in the same period of time. He is loyal, patient, funny, and has an amazing ability to see the best in people and to believe in them. He also listened to 12 different mixes of one of my songs to try and help me work out which one was the best (something for which I’ll be forever grateful)! 

So there you have it – you are very nearly up to date. I could carry on and ramble for ages about the return of football, my preparations for Rivercamp and about the fact that I walked in the other day to discover that Milo the destroyer had arranged a number of covers into a girlfriend shape (in a hint to Wifey and I that he wants a girlfriend?) – but I’m not going to. Mainly because it’s important that what comes next is the start of a new chapter (that might seem cryptic...but it’s not....) 

Please feel free to ask loads of questions about life, the universe, or everything in between on Twitter, Facebook or in the comments section below. I’m off to investigate some luncheon and to try and work out where on earth the TV remote has disappeared to!

God Bless



P.S – I promised you a preview of something...so before anyone else sees it – here is the album cover.....Ohhh. And if you'd like to pre-order the album - you can do by following this link (Please do. Pretty please)












  

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