Personal Stories

Rejection And Rejoice

Whilst sorting out some old boxes that had been stacked and forgotten about I came across a treasure trove of old memories that had been forgotten and left to languish in cardboard limbo. Before I found the box I was being ruthless and throwing things away that were no use to anyone, stuff that had only been kept out of pure desire not to throw it away.

My names Paul and I horde stuff.

When I opened this box I started casually piling things into a throw away pile and a keep pile. I soon noticed that the keep pile was growing much faster than the throw away pile. Suddenly I happened upon a white envelope that was addressed to my childhood home. It had a London postmark on, I was curious.

Carefully I opened the envelope and pulled out the letter that was inside. As I unfolded the letter the letter head told me exactly what the letter was and what it said. It didn’t matter that it was over 18 years old.. I will NEVER forget what that letter said.

Rejection Letter From RADA Drama School

Click for a better look of The ACTUAL Letter

I think when I got this letter back in 1994 I must have been heartbroken. Despondent even, but the fact of the matter is that Today I look back and all I can feel is pride. Pride that a short fat oik from a council estate didn’t give two shakes of a shitty stick that he didn’t “belong” at THE Royal Academy Of Dramatic Art. Every year there is a new batch of actors that get taken into drama schools around the country and all of them have that special someone from a “Working Class” background who will rail against the system and become the next Richard Burton. I took a chance and it didn’t work out.

Looking back, I am glad I took a punt on trying to get into a Drama school. It was an experience just trying. If I had succeded my life would have been so very different, and I am not totally convinced that it would have been positive. Not wanting to sound all hippy trippy, but I am blessed to be in the position I am in now. Obviously there are some things that I wish were different (having some money would be a start) but I am making my own path in life and I have overcome some tough obsitcles that would have put some others flat on their backs. If I hadn’t had these rejections earlier in my life, who know what would have happened to me as life moved on.

Until Next Time…

(This post has been languishing in my drafts folder for far longer that I care to admit.. time to let it see the light of day)


Carpe Momentum

Quite recently I have gotten in touch with a very old friend with whom I had pretty much given up on ever speaking to again. It’s great to find friendships from years ago that could pick up in moments as if no time had passed. This got me to thinking though. There is no visual history of our friendship from back then. There are no photos of us together, there are no videos of the madcap stuff we used to get up to. I know that if videos had existed then we would be You Tube stars in a week.. at least that is how my memory places my past.

I have a message for Parents and Kids.

First the Adults, Make sure your kids know about the need to document their lives. I don’t mean make them sit down and write a daily diary, but the big things and the small. Give them the option to have a Camera. It doesn’t have to be the biggest or best with all the features David Bailey uses, but a little point and shoot. If they have to have a mobile phone, make sure it has a half way decent camera on it. They will thank you in the future when relationships reignite after the last flush of youth has flown.

Now to the kids reading, If you have a camera, USE IT. Use it for good, use it to remember the good times. Make sure your SD card is always needing emptying, but it will be a lifetime of regret f you can’t relive those memories when time passes and you are older, it takes five minutes to transfer the pictures off of a card. Take pictures of your friends.. have friends take pictures of you, get a random bloody stranger to take pictures of you and your friends. You will never regret having to many memories but you will regret the missed chances that you can never get back 20 years down the line.

My youth was never conventional and I so regret not having a few pictures of the late night concerts we used to put on in the Library Park, (even the night we were moved on by the Police Lady that seemed to be following us around). I regret not having a picture of My Best Friend sitting on my shoulders as we watched Iron Maiden at the Assembly Rooms in Derby. Those moments are gone, take my advice and Seize The Moment whilst they are still in the moment.

Until Next Time…

Music and Me

Over on It’s Just A Ride I made mention that I had started the process of embarking on a few new creative things. Mostly this involves writing as my efforts at visual art (outside of my stuttering photography) is poor to damnable. I am pulling together a few ideas, but the one thing that is playing a big part in my creative thinking is Music.

Right from when I was old enough to hear, music played a big part in my upbringing. At 3 years old I “conducted” my Dad’s brass band in a concert in a Pub beer garden. When I got older (12/13) I started taking lessons in Brass (I played pretty much every Brass Band instrument going.. I sucked at all of them.) I moved on a couple of years later to Drumming. Animal was always my favourite Muppet and banging the skins always appealed to me. I joined a Marching Band in the town I grew up in. I got a good grounding in how to keep time and the basics of drumming. The problem was, I couldn’t remember anything I was taught.. so I made it up and hoped no one noticed to much. For the regimented part of stick work, I made sure I was in time with everyone else so as not to look out of place, but the actual playing.. I drummed to my own tune.

I should have realised then that my musical aspirations were severely limited and I should probably look for a more “suitable” outlet for my creativity. There was one small problem in all of this though.

My Dad.

My Dad was a musician from the age of 12. He was taught music at school by the same teacher who taught me in the same school my Dad went too. My Dad played in the local Brass Band for god knows how many years. It was part of him. I doubt he ever would have called himself a musician, but in hindsight I can look back and say most assuredly, he was. He may never have written an original piece of music, but I do know that he could transcribe music from one instrument to another with relative ease. He was the one that taught me the C scale on the Cornet. He wrote the scale out on a chalk board that I had gotten for Christmas one year. Each night he would sit with me and help me practice for a few minutes before dinner. He did the same for my Brother.

I couldn’t give up whatever form of music I was playing. My Dad had invested too much time in the past to make me want to play. I got kicked of the Brass course at school. I had stopped attending the lessons and I had given up taking my instrument (whichever I was favouring that week) home to practice. I guess the teacher couldn’t be bothered with me anymore… he gave the slot I used to take to someone who actually gave a shit. This left me with a bit of a problem.. I no longer had a “proper” instrument to play. I was a drummer with the Marching band.. but I don’t think my Dad took my wanting to be a drummer all that seriously. I knew I would never have my own Drum Kit, the best I got was a Casio Drum synth. It was pretty cool and it sounded close enough to the part that I could use it for when my Brother and I started a rock band with a couple of friends from school.

I left the band just in time for them to go into a studio to make an EP of some self written stuff and a Jimi Hendrix cover. I was more proud listening to that tape than I have ever been listening to any other music. The reason being, my brother was all over that tape. He was still a novice compared to where he is at now. I have mentioned numerous times before that I am so envious of my Brother because of the ease he seems to be able to do anything he sets his hand too. Music, Design and being a great Father.  It all comes super natural to him (or so it seems.) I am sure if I could find that tape now and played it to him he would cringe and deny all knowledge of ever playing on it… but it was my favourite release if the year.

Once I stopped playing in the Marching Band and with my Brothers band, I pretty much gave up playing music. I would still drum along with my favourite tunes with my hands on my knees, but that’s about it. That’s when listening to Music became more and more important to me.

As I mentioned earlier, music had always been a big part of my life, but after 16/17 years of age, I pretty much inhaled music on a minute by minute basis. I never left the house without my Walkman and a spare set of batteries.

My creativity that had been filled by making music, quickly shifted to working in the Theatre (you can read about my Theatre exploits in the Limelight stories here here here and here .. it’s an unfinished masterpiece that will probably never get Working in a Theatre there are a lot of hours where you are in a dark room painting things black or hanging curtains and music (and coffee) helps to pass the time.

It was in one theatre on what was probably a very boring Tuesday evening that I first had a proper real exposure to the band that had dominated my life ever since. Pretty much for the past 17 years Pink Floyd have redefined how I approach music and how I hear the world around me. That boring Tuesday evening was like a beacon on a hill that shines bright. The album in question was The Division Bell. I thought that album was the best thing I had heard in years. That stayed the case for a couple of weeks until I managed to lay my hands on the topic of my next post…

The Wall

Until Next Time…

Manifesto for 2012

This year was one of change in the broadest sense of the word. Everything gradually changed, slowly for the most part, but change was inevitable.

This past year saw us settle into a new town and get ourselves established. It hasn’t been easy, health scares have punctuated the whole family. Going into 2012 we are all looking to get through it in one piece.

In 2012 I would ideally like to have a more definite direction about where my life is heading. 40 is creeping up on me quicker and quicker and through my battle with Mental Health problems I have lost my focus and purpose. I tentatively explored a possible plan to help people with MH problems in the local area with basic computer skills. I hope to try and make more of this in the coming year. I have skills that I can use to help people, I just need the opportunity and place to follow through.

I have come to the realisation that I may never be a high flying business man or a high profile anything but I do think I can make a difference to someone.

I need to become more involved with the world around me. There is too much happening in this country at the
moment to just sit back and think that it’ll work itself out I’m the long run… It won’t… People need to stand up an be counted, to make their mark before it’s all too late.

I have started to look into where I can start with this new found enthusiasm, and it’s going to be an interesting ride. I know that what ever I decide to persue there will be people who don’t agree with me and will try and put me down… I will fight back, I will make the most of the infinitesimal exposure I have across my online and real world lives.

So that’s it. Time to stand up and give my all to a cause that means something. This may seem all a little vague and full of rhetoric, now is the hour.

Until Next Time…

Goodbye 2005

It’s New Years Eve and I am sat here going over what has happened in the past year. Some of what has happened has appeared in the pages of this very blog, the majority hasn’t. My breakdown was skipped over in a couple of posts and rightly so, I think. You don’t come here to see and read about my inability to hold a normal life together. You want to be entertained.

I am however proud of myself that I have gotten to the end of another year. There were certain points during 2005 when t all seemed too much and dropping out of life seemed like a good way to go. But, with the strength and love of my family I am still here and getting stronger all the time.

So a quick squizz back at what really happened.

I woke up New Years Day with a hangover and I only had one more drink after that day.

I was asked to leave work and not come back until they were comfortable with my mental health… I was off for close to three months and swore that that would be the last time I would have to be put in the position of being asked to leave the building for the safety of those around me… next time I go postal and be damned with it.

We went back to the States to visit family and have a slight break from normality. We took Mum with us to let her experience the great American dream for herself. She like me didn’t want to return. Seeing my Mum’s reaction to life in America even for just the short time we were there was an eye opener for me. All her life she has been stuck with a caregiver role and now she got a chance to live for herself even for a week, it did her good. We all look forward to our next trip which hopefully won’t be too long in coming. I know my mum is reading this and all I have to say is BOB EBANSSSSSSSSSS)

We said goodbye to our landlord and close friend Robin this year. Goodbye mate and keep on rocking.

We said hello to an old friend returning to our lives.. DOCTOR WHO is back and he gets better with every episode.. mind you I still don’t get why Christopher Ecclestone left after only one series but judging by the recent Christmas episode David Tennant is going to be a classic Who. I will have my sonic screwdriver in hand in the spring when the new series starts.

I went back and started writing my memoirs of a theatre bod. It was an eye opener to see how much people enjoyed those posts and when I get the time I plan on writing more of them.

Live8 happened and was a blast to watch at the time, but for some reason there were only two or three real stand out moments for me. Things that I would look back on the recorded version and watch over and over again. U2 and Paul McCartney doing Sgt Peppers, Madonnas full song and dance routine, The Who and PINK FLOYD reuniting . Considering that this show was on for over 10 hours there should have been more than 4 stand out moments.

Well that’s my BRIEF and NOT comprehensive look back at my year. I am sure there was more to it, but at the moment I don’t remember.. so they couldn’t have been too stand out.

Check back tomorrow ( I mean it for my look to the new year)

Until Next Time…

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