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Saturday, 17 August 2013

Chapter 18 - A story about New Wine, love songs and tactical dumps

Well check me out! This is quick succession! And there is a very good reason for that – and the very good reason for that is that I’m going to be coming across so many people in the next few weeks that I can’t (and don’t want to) have a massive backlog. So if anything – it’s pushing me forward with turbo writing figures. Or perhaps fingers laced with Red Bull. Anyway - I’m really excited about introducing you to a few people in this chapter but I will get to that in a bit. First up though……..

Album Update
Basically as I said in the last chapter - IT’S COMING! But what I can now reveal is that the album will be released on the 26th August – and shortly after the album is launched you’ll start to see a few cosmetic changes to the 10 Resolutions website to reflect that (lyric and chord sheets etc). There will also be a bit of a live album night at some point as well…and I’m sure more details will emerge about that shortly. But please (if you haven’t already and erm - obviously if you want to…..) - pre-order the album. It’s available from my BandCamp site. And as an extra little incentive (as I’d love you to use BandCamp rather than iTunes or Amazon to get the album) – if you use the code “BYHISSTRIPES535” at the checkout – you’ll get 25% off. But this code runs out on the 25th August……

What did you want to do when you grew up?
I’m sure like many people I had a number of different dreams for what I wanted to be when I grew up (as I’m sure my mum would tell you). But there were a few stand out ones………

My earliest memory of “what I wanted to become” was an astronaut because, well let’s face it – it’s probably very high on a lot of people’s lists. Space is cool. Rockets are cool. Why wouldn’t you want to be an astronaut…? (Bar the idea of having a reactor’s worth of fuel directly beneath your arse (what could possibly go wrong?). But you don’t think of things like that at a young age…. I loved Star Wars and Star Trek and erm Buck Rogers…. – and the closest real thing to those shows was to be an astronaut.
Fireman / Paramedic – Quickly ruled out due to hating the heat and being remarkably squeamish (I still am and was asked to leave a class at school for being sick IN CLASS).

Architect / Builder – I briefly tried the second option here and those of you that know me well will probably agree that I shouldn’t be anywhere near DIY or construction (unless it’s with Lego)

Lead Guitarist – A dream dreamt up after watching far too much California Dreams and Pugwall (remember those shows?) and listening to far too much Bon Jovi. 

And that actually leads me onto a question that I’ve been sitting on for a few weeks....

Did being a musician help with the ladies?
The short answer is yes. And I used it to my advantage. Obviously I was a charming, handsome rogue anyway - but being a musician definitely helped along the way. I don’t know what it is about being a musician – but there is definitely something in it (I’ve probably now inspired a truckload of young people to become musicians for completely the wrong reasons...........oops).

I also have a small confession regarding this whole musician thing (that I’ve been sitting on for a while). I worked out very early on that girls liked having songs written about them. Unfortunately writing a different song about a lot of different ladies within a short period of time gave me a bit of writer’s block and a bit of a headache. But luckily I had a brainwave. My ex’s didn’t know each other and I very rarely split up with anyone on good terms (act surprised) so my mind started formulating a plan. I crafted a song which although sounding personal was actually quite general. I left a space in the song to insert a girl’s name. And hey presto...each girl from that moment on had their own song. There were some exceptions as a few did genuinely get their own songs (not necessarily a good thing as a couple of songs were about me hurting – and yes I probably did deserve it)....but as a general worked a treat. Until I got confused in one set and said the wrong name. It’s fair to say that the game at that point was up.....(If I was still in touch with any of the ex’s or girls that I used this on then I’d apologise - but I’m not. But if by chance you were one of these girls and have now stumbled upon this blog and you now want to kill me – Please know that I’m sorry.......)

Now that’s not to say that I didn’t learn other things along the way. An example of which is DO NOT get into a relationship with someone that you have asked to sing with you at a week-long conference. Wait until after, or if you get together beforehand – change the plans for the conference. Because after a set one morning – this is the conversation that I had:

Andi (Addressing whole band): “Well done guys, that was a really great set. You all played really well!”

Band: “Thanks Andi”

(Bla Bla conversation continues for a bit and comes round to plans for the evening set)

Andi (Addressing whole band): “I’m going to give a few people a break this evening to keep you fresh for the rest of the week. So *Bassist*, *Guitarist* and *Girlfriend singer* I’d like you just to sit out this evening as I’ll need you even more that the end of the week”.

Girlfriend addressing Andi: IS IT BECAUSE YOU DONT LOVE ME??????!!!!!!!!!!

(Girlfriend storms off)

So yes, being a musician did help with the ladies. But I wish someone had told me about the pitfalls!

And moving swiftly on (sortof)...
As this chapter moves on though – I’d like to go back and talk a bit about the actual conference that I was part of in that story. It’s something that I’ve been involved with for close to 20 years (in various different roles) and it’s called New Wine. Every year around 25,000 Christians over the course of two weeks gather together on a showground in Somerset for teaching, to worship together, to build relationships with those around them and to generally do life together. I love it (obviously or I wouldn’t have been part of it for so long) and over the years I have learnt so much about myself and experienced so much in those small periods every year that it’s quite hard to describe. At some point in the future I’m sure that I’ll jump into more detail about some of that stuff and those moments (some good stuff, some bad stuff, some great moments, some funny moments, some awkward moments and some completely life changing ones as well) - but in this chapter I’d really like to focus on a few people that I caught up with last week at New Wine - people who at some point have had a massive impact on my life (whether they realise it or not).

You’ve already met some people from New Wine (and mainly a youth venue at New Wine called Club 1) that have become amazing friends (in Hellie, Kate, Varley and probably loads of others) but I’d like to take the time now to introduce you to a few more:

Russ Fletcher
Strong, dependable, faithful, wise, trustworthy and (occasionally) mildly inappropriate are just a few of the character traits that I would use to describe Russ - someone who has become a complete rock in my life over the last 13 years. We clicked straight away and our friendship grew really quickly. After our first New Wine together we promised to stay in touch - and we did. I visited Russ a lot down in Weston, spending a Christmas there one year and just generally going to see Russ to get away for little breaks. 
I’ve got some amazing memories of times we’ve spent together and I’ve also got some memories of Russ powerfully speaking directly (and bluntly) into my life (especially at one point where I was scared and trying to run away from something).  Russ is someone who can break down my barriers within seconds of spending time together and I am genuinely proud to call him my friend.

Dan Graham, Tim Keenan & Megan Rowland (soon to be Keenan)
Yes. You are correct. There has never been a 3 in my cast list before....but don’t forget that I make the rules. And (for the time being at least) – Dan, Tim and Megan very much come as a 3. Dan and Tim have known each other for years and one Club 1 I stitched Megan and Tim up together at New Wine and now they are getting hitched! (Woohoo!) And that isn’t even the first Club 1 wedding! But anyway....
Tim, Megan & Dan
I love all 3 of them so much for so many reasons and despite not seeing any of them as much as I’d like anymore (although I do get to spend the whole week with Dan next week) they have all become massive sources of encouragement in my life. I’ve watched them grow into completely amazing people and I’m convinced that none of them realise the people that they have become and are blissfully unaware of the cool stuff that is brewing for each of them just around the corner (and no jokers – the answer is not a big dump – funny as that may be........)

Chris Lang
I met Chris about 10 years ago in Club 1 and he has become someone that I have an awful lot of time for and really enjoy spending time with. He’s an amazing musician, a great friend and he doesn’t mind doing the jobs that others want to do. One of the things I love about Chris is the fact that he doesn’t take himself too seriously – and the fact that I don’t either means that our relationship has grown through mocking ourselves, spending time together and spending one Wednesday lunchtime every year showing Pizza Hut in Bath what the phrase all you can eat really entails) along with the rest of the Club 1 leaders)

In a “here’s one I made earlier” kind of thing - the video below should explain more about the Wednesday lunchtime. And yes, TD = Tactical dump (All will be revealed)

Tom Johnson
From the first moment I met Tom, I got on with him. He makes me laugh constantly but has an amazing ability to switch from messing around to saying something completely profound and potentially life changing in a matter of seconds. One of my favourite things about Tom though is his ability to look passed people’s flaws and to see the best in them. He’s completely expiring and sets an amazing example like that. He’s also a great musician (and has played on the album) 

Michelle Garland
Compared to other people that I write about in my cast list I haven’t known Michelle for that long. But through her support and encouragement she has had a massive impact on my life in a really short space of time – and the latest example of this came last Saturday at New Wine when in the period of about 5 minutes she took something that I had started to question and changed the way that I looked at it and through it encouraged me beyond belief. I also find myself confiding in Michelle (and sometimes without realising). She’s a great friend and a lovely person and I’m really thankful to be able to call her my friend. 

In one day last week I saw all of these people (and load’s more). I’m fully aware that I’m a lucky man to have these people and everyone else in my life – and if truth be told I probably don’t say that enough – so thank you. And it’s with another couple of people in mind that I’ll conclude this chapter:

The events of Chapter 9 were without question the hardest thing that I’ve ever had to write about. And I can think of no harder situation that I’ve ever had to experience. And whilst Wifey and I have (for the most part) got over the pain now, the memory is still there. It still hurts at times. You can probably understand that. At least I hope you can. It never will be an easy thing to get over and I imagine that it is something that will linger for a while. There is absolutely no point in me putting a tough guy act on when the absolute truth is that we are still healing and at times we still feel the pain. Something that I said at the time (and still completely agree with) is that I wouldn’t wish what we went through on anyone. I wouldn’t want anyone to have to experience the heartbreak or pain of what we went through….Which is why my heart wept a few nights ago as I was told of two amazing friends who have just gone through the same thing.

These friends selflessly stood by us when we needed them most and they were willing (and wanting) to do anything within their power to help us as they set an amazing example of both friendship and love. Now I’m not going to pretend to understand the reasons as to why this has happened to such fantastic people. But what I will say is this:
We love you both. And from the bottom of our hearts we will do anything that we can to help support and love you through this. You have our thoughts, our prayers and our love. My heart is broken for you both of you - and if there is anyway whatsoever that we can help to ease your pain - then we will do. It is a complete honour to call you our friends - and now is the time for us to show that more than ever before.

And with that message, I’m going to leave this chapter. Please continue to ask questions via email, twitter, or Facebook or in the comments section below. You can also subscribe to 10 Resolutions by filling in the massive white box at the top of this. If you’re around tomorrow night (Sunday) – feel free to come along to Seek His Face in Cheltenham and as a final plug....don’t forget the album (last hint...this chapter). Right – I’m off to take a TD before my band arrives (but more on them very soon).

God Bless

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