Monday, March 22, 2010

Paper Roses

I'm incredibly busy recording music at the moment. Frantically trying to get stuff done before we go on holiday. Instead of wasting time writing here I thought I'd throw in a comment I've just posted on the delightful Abysmal Musings....

"Overconfident, hilarious, facetious, bad attitude, the funniest person I have ever met, the nastiest person I have ever met, friendly, over-familiar, hostile, passive aggressive, intelligent, superficial, an arsehole"... as an adolescent I fell into the role of court jester. It was an easy role to play. I forgot who I was, I still don't know. Actually I don't think I was ever anybody, I think I probably just invented a personality for my vacant mortal coil.

Occasionally I think I am that confident arsehole. However, mostly I know I'm not. It doesn't matter. People expect the joker and presume animosity if I don't perform. I can hardly try and explain "Oh don't be offended, the past 40 years have all been an act, I've been living a lie my whole life, I'm actually a very miserable twat". What's a phoney supposed to do?

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Hey you crazy muthas... things is much betta in the land of mo... sleep is now down to around 6 hours per night and music is high on the agenda. I am feeling much better and much more active, I was asked to contribute an old song of mine to a local charity CD. However, after listening to my original version I thought it was shite, so spent the past couple of days recording a new version. I say a couple of days but it's taken me a week to get it right. It's such a pain having to record everything in individual tracks, part by part. I wish I had session musicians, I could do everything in a few minutes rather than days. Anyway, I've finally got it done and dusted... it's not perfect but fuck... it's only a bedroom recording.

I've had a few anxious moments during the past few days when I've got quite worked up. Some days I've taken chlorpromazine (Largactil/Thorazine) to calm down, some days alcohol. The chlorpromazine gives me palpitations, the booze gives me mouth ulcers and diarrhoea, so I switch between the two. Thank fuck the shrink isn't in the picture at the moment, she would put the cart before the horse and stupidly tell me the booze caused the anxiety. They always get it wrong and see us as neat little diagnoses (or dual diagnoses) that fit snugly into cute little boxes. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) I don't think I fit any of their boxes. It's such a great relief not having any medical intervention at the moment, it always freaks me out. Thankfully I don't see Dr Moonstone again until the end of April. I still dread coming into contact with any fucking "carers".

Why do I do it? I have never sought help or treatment. I have always been badgered into it. I only participate to please my wife. I continue to take the pills but ever since the driving licence charade when the shrink betrayed what I had said to her in confidence (and relayed all to the DVLA), I no longer confide in her. Discussing my feelings and personal issues was always an alien experience anyway, it never felt right. I had been brought up to be tight lipped and forbidden to express anything that wasn't positive and upbeat so it's good to put that behind me.

I'm back doing the community radio show again and once again I'm perplexed as to who I should be. Mr Confident? Part of me wants to be quiet and introverted but after spending 40 years masquerading as a superficial, loud mouthed fool, it's so easy to fall back into the role of the court jester. This comes easy in the safety of the studio but on the other six days of the week if I ever venture out of the house I wear a baseball cap and pin my eyes on the ground avoiding all contact with the human race. This is in sharp contrast to my previous gregarious personality and surely irritates the good people of Smalltown and ensures their annoyance of me and increases my alienation.

But hey, this started out as a positive post and positive it shall remain. I am really well at the moment and next week we go on holiday and I am determined that Mrs Mo shall have a good time (even though I hate fuckin' holidays, I am a real homebird). I have downloaded numerous audiobooks for my MP3 player and even if I don't want to do the holiday thang I will happily stay in the room , lie in bed and listen to the books and snooze.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


"My life runs out like sand" (Nelson)

Another hour, another day, another month and yet another year. It was 50 years ago today, Sergeant Pepper taught th.... no, it was 50 years ago today that I emerged from a cosy, warm womb into a cold, damp tenement. Apparently I was quite a surprise... my 41 year old mother had initially thought she had entered the menopause rather than pregnancy. I've just realised... if she were still alive she would be 91. Now that would have been a record breaker for our family. All my grandparents were dead before I was born. My dad died at 54, right on target for a man from Glasgow's east end. Sorry if I'm sounding morbid. I guess I should be celebrating life and making the most of it but like that tired old cliché, I still feel young. That seems to be the way for everyone no matter how old they are. Time is a strange beast. It seems like just a few days ago I was in my twenties, the best decade of my life; independent and optimistic.God I sound fuckin' ancient, soon I'll be reminiscing about how things were back in the good old days when children played in the streets, learned to read and write at school and respected their elders... and of course caught diphtheria and TB. All swings and roundabouts I guess. 

Although I've done little over the past couple of weeks, haven't been doing the radio show and barely been out, I'm actually feeling better now. I can feel a shift, a change. The past couple of days I have only slept for about 7 hours and got up around 9am instead of my usual lunchtime waddle out of my scratcher. That is definitely a good indicator. I also did a bit recording yesterday. Hopefully things are on the up and I'll soon be boucing around like a spring lamb.

As part of my half century celebrations I have decided to open up my blog archives which have been hidden for a while. Aren't you lucky. There is now a link on the sidebar for the old 2006-9 entries for anyone who is bored, nosey or just feels the need for a bit of self flagellation.

Monday, March 08, 2010

I belong to Glasgow

It's been a pretty drab week. I phoned in "sick" for the radio show. Didn't feel like doing much. Despite this I arranged to meet my brother on Friday. We wandered around Glasgow. Drove round the squalid housing scheme where we were brought up. Went for a walk along the Clyde.

We then went to the botanic gardens and pottered around like two old gits. I guess there's no "like", I suppose we are old gits now. It was a relaxed afternoon with no tensions and no family feuds. A new experience for our family. I think it might have been quite normal but not having any sort of benchmark for normal family life, I can only guess.

We drove round the loony bin where my mother had resided in the 1960s. The sprawling Victorian wards in extensive grounds were still there but were now luxury apartments. Strange how things turn around.

Apart from  the day in Glasgow nothing much else has happened over the past week.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Old Man

Old man? Although I expected an old man I did not expect to come face to face with Methuselah. It was like meeting a ten year old Benjamin Button.

I had been dreading this day for quite a while. The alarm went off at 7am, an abrupt change from my usual gentle 11am start with Mrs Mo waking me with tea and toast... oh yes, I know... Germaine Greer would love me, Mr Misogynist... as  Difford and Tillbrook wrote "She doesn't mind the language, it's the beatings she don't need". Soon I dragged myself out of bed, bathed, scrubbed my teeth and repeatedly mouth-washed before I realized... zoiks I've just filled my mouth with alcohol after 3 days total abstinence. What a wally... duh... bad start.

Mrs Mo had the morning off so came with me which was great. She drove. Although I'm dreading losing my licence, the truth is I really don't enjoy driving anymore. We had been supposed to see Dr Methuselah at his home out in the country but when his wife (who the DVLA referred to as his secretary) realised there was blood to be taken she arranged for a room at their local hospital, "if you could be at the Day Hospital for 9:30"). Once at the hospital we found a pleasant and helpful lady on reception (most unusual, not a burnt out, bitter, twisted witch, I presume she must have just started her career in the NHS). Nice Miss Sweet Honeysuckle gave us a huge list of directions like a spaced out drill sergeant "Left, left, right, left, along the long corridor to the end, then left, right and it's on your right". We set off on our expedition. The hospital seemed like the Marie Celeste. We never saw a soul, never heard a sound.  And it smelled like old hospitals used to back in the 1960s and 70s... spooky... brought back a lot of bad memories, haven't smelled that for years. Our local hospital is fairly shiny and new and must use modern disinfectants (or none?).

We got lost a couple of times but eventually stumbled into the day hospital. We waited outside for a while due to the notice that implored us to wait outside for a nurse. After abandoning all hope of the nurse appearing we walked in. We wandered freely around the deserted day hospital. We should have just walked out with the TV and HiFi, ain't NHS security fab.

An elderly man bumbled in, I eyeballed him but he wandered past, perhaps today's first patient for the day hospital? We walked around in circles hesitantly as did he. When our paths crossed again he asked "are you Mr Fudpacker?" (I have changed the name...fnarr, fnarr). "No, I'm Mr Mo"... "bah" he mumbled some stuff then bumbled around again... poor dab. We waited by the door. Eventually he came back and asked "who are you here to see?"... "Dr Methusalah"... "Why that's me" he said "hmmm". There ensued a lengthy and complicated debate, not helped by his deafness. He said he wasn't meant to see me till tomorrow and where was Mr Fudpacker? In the absence of Fudpacker he agreed to see me. I asked if my wife could join us, he looked unsure but hmmphed and nodded and shut the door. There was only one chair. I rolled my eyes then left to go and find another chair, returned and we both sat down. He seemed oblivious to all of this, still perplexed about Fudpacker's absence and faffing about with his papers. It occurred to me he wasn't Benjamin Button at all, he was Ludicrus Sextus from the film Up Pompeii... he was a doppleganger for the late Michael Hordern.

Once in the consulting room he discovered my documents, shuffled them about, dropped them and generally fumbled about somewhat aimlessly. He was very tentative and uncomfortable when asking about my alcohol consumption... "there are some very delicate questions I have to ask you about your drinking" he shifted on his seat as he spoke. He carefully explained an extremely outdated method of calculating units of alcohol (from the days when folks drank 125mls of weak Liebfraumilch or a pint of 3.5%ABV beer). "A glass of wine is one unit and a pint of beer is two units". I did not try and inform him that most serious boozers I know drink Tennent's Super lager which at 9%ABV is over 5 units a pint, nor did I mention my large glass of 13.5% Merlot is three units not one. I simply told him I drank two nights per week and had either two tins of beer or three glasses of wine.... 6-8 units/week in his language (18-20 units/week in the real world). Not that it really matters as it is all lies anyway. He asked if I had any other illnesses apart from "alcohol" and asked for my medicines. I gave him the boxes he picked up the first one and started to write down "enteric coated semi-so...sem.. semi-sodi... errr.. ahh... emm... Depakote... two twice a day" My wife tried to correct him about the dose but I could see he was getting worked up so motioned her to say nothing but let him be. Let's keep him onside. I was then put through a series of sobriety tests that you only ever see in old American Highway Patrol shows... close your eyes and touch the tip of your nose etc.

He sounded my chest, checked my blood pressure (after eventually managing to fix the cuff correctly), then tried unsuccessfully to initiate reflexes from my arms and legs. Then came the real problem... my veins. I have small difficult veins that tend to collapse after a couple of mls of blood have been withdrawn and any further prodding causes spasms and pain. Old Methusalah hummed and hawwed and adopted bizzarre postures, putting his foot on my leg then my arm up on top of his leg! I have never seen anything like it in my experience of over quarter a century of phlebotomy. I didn't want to upset him at all and risk my licence but I ultimately suggested that I lie down on the couch and he apply a tournique to my right arm "that usually works best". Fortunately he agreed to try it this way... but he did not want to use the new fangled needles on me and instead went off in search of a good old fashioned large syringe (as he also needed a lot more blood he said!) and a green needle.

A long time passed and then he returned and went straight for my wrist!!!! Surprisingly I never felt a thing and I'll give him his due, he succeeded in getting loads of blood from me in his old fashioned way. In fact he got too much and spilled blood everywhere. He then knocked over one of the containers spilling even more blood all over the forms. Having been brought up in the stone age it never occurred to him to wear gloves or use the red bag for contaminated waste. Nah, fingers, paper towels and the paper bin were fine. And people wonder why we get hospital acquired infections.  God help Mr Fudpacker.

Methuselah was an old, deaf buffoon but quite a pleasant, old buffoon. I roared to him that he shouldn't be doing this at his age but be outside on a nice day like this enjoying his retirement. "I'd love to pack it in but nobody else is prepared to do this"... oh yeah, private doctors are renowned for their kindly work for modest fees. I'm being too hard. He was neither snotty, arrogant or unkind. He was just a nice old man earning a few bob in his retirement as anyone else would do were they a joiner, a gardener or plumber.

Monday, March 01, 2010

The Bug

On Thursday afternoon we got a new memory foam mattress from Argos. Although it was all sealed inside a big plastic bag, I noticed it had a black mark on the underside. We swithered about whether we should return it but hell, we would never see the underside and it was only about the size of a cigarette burn, looked like a felt-tipped pen mark. On cutting open the bag I was almost bowled over by the powerful smell of chemicals... solvents?... glue?... dry cleaning? I immediately started to panic and think that this was a used mattress that had been returned (in God knows what condition) and dry cleaned then resealed. Oh no!

An internet search however revealed that new mattresses often smelled of chemicals and had to be aired for several hours before use. So we left it uncovered with the windows wide open until bed time. The smell of chemicals was still strong and after lying worrying about fatally overdosing on solvents I eventually got to sleep. The smell was more bearable on Friday night but I was still concerned about it. I woke in the middle of the night with something on my face, startled and brushed it off and went back to sleep. I woke again with something on my arm... Aaaaarrgh!... a beast!!!!!!!!

I captured the bug in a specimen jar and convinced we had inherited bed bugs, evacuated the bedroom and slept on the living room couch. Next day Mrs Mo frantically contacted Argos who said there was nobody who could do anything as it was the weekend but they would contact us immediately on Monday to advise. We examined the mattress for further evidence but found no more bugs... but strangely, the black mark had disappeared! First thing Monday morning poor Mrs Mo (who dealt with everything while I sedated myself with chlorpromazine) phoned environmental health, fortunately the EHO (environmental health officer) was a friend who agreed to come over that afternoon. God Bless Mr EHO who examined the beast and immediately confirmed it was definitely not a bed bug nor a flea. He brought in some books but failed to identify it other than it was a species of beetle and that there was nothing to worry about. Perhaps it had flown in when the windows were left open. We were hugely relieved by his advice. I had been so worked up about being infested by bed bugs that the DVLA problem just melted into insignificance. This is the bug...

However, after Mr EHO had left I couldn't help worrying about the disappearing black mark and went searching the internet to track down the beast. It looked like it might be a black ladybird but the closest match I could find was the black carpet beetle. Fuck. Thankfully they don't have an appetite for humans but do like all natural fabrics like wool, cotton, etc. I guess I just have to worry, wait and see. I was already freaking out about my impending DVLA medical but this got me extremely wound up. I didn't want to drink prior to my blood tests so instead of getting pissed I have been popping chlorpromazine on a regular basis, I just hope it doesn't increase my LFTs for Tuesday's blood tests.