Giving Yourself A Break While Fighting The Black Dog

This evening I played the recording of Saturday’s practice back. And, okay, yep. I do think I am probably being incredibly hard on myself.

But… I need to be don’t I? Otherwise how the fuck am I ever going to get any better? Yes?

But… I am so thankful I took the advice of Emily Dolan Davies (click on her name to be taken to her fab website A Drummer’s Guide To) – otherwise I’d believe week after week that I am playing far worse than I am. It ebbs and flows, obviously. On Saturday I was SUPER down on myself. Just felt completely fucked up.

But I really wasn’t as bad as I thought.
YES! I still had my moments. I really did struggle with my hi hat timing and rhythm this week…but…I need to learn to give myself a break.

What makes it harder is when, at the point you are having your kit practice, not only are you questioning why you continue to do it, but you are questioning the much grander thought and perplexity of the existence of the entire human race.

Actually, this week was odd. For once I didn’t actually find myself questioning why I was there practicing. I suppose I felt I had much bigger fish to fry this week. What would be the point of me questioning why I was at drumming practice when I was more preoccupied with pondering why I am even here on the planet at all! Why we’re all here.

I feel the only why to fight the black dog is to suppress his bark. Engage a metaphorical mute button. Put earplugs in to drown him out. When he looks his most vicious…just smile at him. It’s hard. You have to just snap the brain (and this is just my own personal way around it…and thankfully it works most of the time – if it ever fails, I am going to be in BIIIIG trouble!) into that mindset. No matter how delusional it may feel. And it does to me. 100%! I feel I am absolutely deluding myself to put it at the back of my mind and smile and carry on.

The other way that also works is..acceptance. There is no rhyme and reason to us being here. We just…are. So…for whatever way you live your life…however way you live through it…just do it. And just…strive to be the best version of you that you can be.

So…no more about THAT “black dog”…let’s have THIS Black Dog instead!

In Dreams We Are Helpless

I have been sleeping-in lately. Demanding dreams from my subconscious. Every night before I fall asleep, I pray that I’ll dream. Good dreams. Dreams that once awake and I have even just a fraction of lucidity of the dream, that it’ll turn to fruition.

This morning I had dreams.
In the first I was with Jim and Charlie. And we were sitting around, chatting and laughing. I cannot tell you how much I wish for that to be real! Or to continue to dream it over and over again every night.

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The other is a VERY rare occurrence (dreams of Jim – with or without Charlie – are rare enough these days). My mum. I couldn’t tell you the last time I dreamed of her. But this one will haunt me.

It was loaded with metaphor and symbolism. I had been contacted by what appeared to be government authorities and/or health professionals. She was meant to be in care…but she wasn’t. She was on her own in this remote, desolate place completely unfamiliar to me.

She was roaming around outside. I’m not sure how I was seeing this as I was, but these people were showing me video footage of her. Like…CCTV footage…but this place was so remote. Maybe it was being recorded from a drone? I don’t know. Certain things in dreams make no sense.

I digress. She was roaming around outside. Working. Walking around finding weeds and rubbish. She was carrying some kind of tool. Not a light thing. And she look as she did when I left in 2016. Thinner than I have ever seen her in my entire life. When I went home in 2015…I hadn’t seen her for eight years and she had became a shell of herself. I had never, ever seen her so thin. I don’t think she had been that thin since she was a child. The shock of it stunned me for days. It took days for me to get my head around this woman who looked like my mum but was waaaaay thinner than my mum had ever been was indeed my mum!

I digress again. These two people – a man and a woman – showing me her on the monitor (I sensed I was watching live footage, or very recent recorded footage…mere hours old) were saying “She won’t rest. She’s doing too much. She just wanders and wanders.” And I am sitting there thinking “habit of a lifetime, guys. She’s been like this since time immemorial. All the years I have known her.”

Even in 2015/16. Up and down like a yo-yo. Endless retorts of frustration from me “PLEASE SIT DOWN! I’M HERE NOW. PLEASE LET ME GET THAT FOR YOU!” Over and over. Every day. A person too used to being alone. Too used to just having to get up and do it herself. No one else there.

I’m watching her on the screen…and she just looks lost. Really lost. I’d never seen her look lost before. Determined. Focussed. Busy. Pre-occupied. Happy, even. But never lost. Never confused. Never unsure. Somehow still happy though.

Happy. But tired. And lost.
I awoke feeling further away from her than ever.

Limbo is hell.

F.A.C.A.D.E

Put on your facade.
Wear it like a jacket.
Like false armour.
Let it mask your face.

Show your teeth.
Make your most convincing smile.
Never let anyone see what’s really behind it.

Don’t crack.
Don’t falter.
Don’t look weak.
Ungrateful.
Fed up.
Tired.

Keep wearing the mask.
Don’t let it slip!
Catch it before it falls.
Never let it drop.
Always smile.
Stay strong.

Keep acting.
Be Shakespearean in your manner.
Be Academy Award winning.
Have them saying, “Bravo! You always seem so happy.”
Get an Emmy.
A Tony.
Perhaps if you can whistle a tune even a Grammy.

Play the part.
Pretend.
Fakery is rewarded.
So fake it.

Fake
All
Corners
Around
Daily
Encounters

Why Does No One Get It?

The drumming thing and what happened yesterday. It has nothing to do with my ability to PLAY but my ability to LEARN!

Telling me “it’s early days”. I KNOW THIS! I am NOT expecting to be Cherisse after three fucking lessons!

But…what WOULD help immensely is a kit set up to my level of comfort. Being able to practice on kits is invaluable but also feels like folly right now, given where I am at financially. I am spending £16 a week having two hours of practice each week. I walk 6 miles each time too…walking to the local train station, and then walking to the rehearsal studio…and back again.

I am dedicating time, money and effort to this thing! I wish I could do more.

Every week there is some kind of set back…crappy uncomfortable drum set ups…cancelled trains that make me late and eat into my practice time…yet MORE crappy drum set ups!

How do I explain it? I dunno. You’ve been asked to run a marathon, but all you have is trainers that are both left feet. I dunno. That’s a crappy analogy.

I’ll watch videos so I can set the kit to how I want it…but no matter what…it’ll eat into valuable learning time. And it alters my mood and it just makes me feel instantly on the back foot.

Another is…CCTV. There’s a CCTV camera in every room. I can’t tell you how much that makes me self-conscious…to know there could be someone watching how crap I am going. I try to put it to the back of my mind…but the reality is is I am a 48 year old woman going into a rehearsal studio on my own and it makes me feel like an idiot.

On weekends the music complex is really busy and that also adds to the self-conscious idiotic feeling. Seeing young-uns come in and just…it’s deflating.

Nothing comes naturally to me. I feel DIRECTIONLESS. I don’t feel like I can “just experiment” and “bash away”. I feel daft! There’s a reason why people have lessons and tutors…FOR GUIDANCE AND STRUCTURE. If I thought I could teach myself?! Great. Not a problem! But at this age? That is highly unlikely. I cannot see it happening.

I’ve booked another two hour slot for Sunday. It’s too easy to give up, I guess. So let’s just keep on squandering money and deluding ourselves this will end up going somewhere, shall we?

Every great drummer started somewhere, right? But most of them started out VERY young. Perhaps one day I’ll hold some kind of ridiculous niche of knocking people out with my drumming prowess by them discovering that I didn’t start learning until I was 48. Pffft. Yeah, I’m not convinced either.

At the end of the day there is a distinction between WANTING to be great, and having the aptitude to BECOME great. I suppose I just have to give it time…time to convince myself that it’s too early to judge now. Is it? *shrugs*

I am so scared that two years down the line what I will see for my effort is, well, nothing. A badge that says “well, at least she wasn’t a quitter”.

Why Lostboy! May Now Forever Be “Missing In Action”

It’s coming up to 9 years since Jim Kerr released his first solo album, under the moniker “Lostboy! AKA”. And it appears as if it will be destined to remain Lostboy’s only solo venture.

There was a promise of more to come for 2011 with a follow up album earmarked. Sadly personal family issues took precedence and a quick follow up was put on the backburner (as was some of the Lostboy electroset tour).

I would seriously love to ask Jim why he thinks the impetus he had and that more prolific period that he found when embarking on the Lostboy! project seemed to fall away, not to be regained (it would seem…well not in as a prolific a state, as he was in SMs early days – on a par with that)? It may be a tough question to answer, as the number one assumption would be the loss of his mum, Irene, playing the largest part of that.

There has been times when he has posted on SMO about the anniversary of the release of Lostboy! AKA and seemed to suggest that he may return. Or at the very least there is still a desire there sometimes to resurrect him.

But Jim has subsequently “stolen” material from Lostboy! for Simple Minds. Kill Or Cure on Big Music is one obvious one – released initially as a Lostboy! track. And last year on the Walk Between Worlds album, Sense Of Discovery was also “reimagined” for Simple Minds.

I do fear poor Lostboy!, with all his drive, passion and enthusiasm (and his potential for proliferation of material) is destined to be a “fly by night”, a “flash in the pan”. To me he held much, much promise. It was a very strong start in 2010.

I don’t get the sense Jim wanted to put him to bed…but he hasn’t really mentioned “The Boy” since last year and the reworking and inclusion of Sense Of Discovery on the WBW album. And he didn’t much register a post for a while before that. Just a fleeting mention, or as I say, and anniversary of album release acknowledgement.

Maybe he is happy to have now “been there, done that” and worn the T-shirt?

Can’t say he never tried in the first place, can oor Jim? (Trying out the solo career.)

I don’t know why…but when I ponder whether Lostboy! will return, I lament that he may never see the light of day again.

Jim On Life In A Day

This is near as I am ever likely to get of interviewing Jim myself, so….in keeping with the current loose theme of the blog and the imminent anniversary date of the release of Life In A Day, here are some words from Jim on the subject.

The interview is nearly 10 years old now. Would be nice to know if he STILL feels the same about it. And to ask some other specifics. Nae mind.