Friday, July 29, 2005

Memories to Music

Isn’t it great how songs can transport you to another place and another time? I’m sat at work right now, listening to my MP3 player, and Dave Matthews and his band have just come on singing The Space Between. For the duration of the song, I was no longer sat in my office threatening to stick my head through my computer screen, but back in Virginia, where I worked on a Summer Camp for 12 weeks back in 2001. The song and album had just been released, and it was EVERYWHERE. As soon as that introduction starts, I can visualise the green trees, the blue sky, the tents, and all my friends. I can feel the unbearable heat and humidity, (which makes a change from the once again rainy England!) I can hear the kids laughing, enjoying being kids! Then when that trip down the lane of memories is over, I am transported to a club in Derby and it’s heading towards the end of my last year of University as Incubus’ Pardon Me (acoustic version) plays through my head. We go the Open Mic nights, and in a previous post I wrote about the old days. There was an elite, and some of them played this song. I can see them on stage, with the lights shining down on the stage surrounding the players with a bright white light, the crowd captured by the rhythm of the guitar, and harmonies, my friends are all around, some chatting, some watching intently. There is a pitcher of beer on the table, half-drunk – but still half-left! Then crowd applauds as the song draws to an end. At last I’m back in the office, but only for a swift moment as once again I’m travelling down and away from this florescent lit, silent room and I’m 8 years old sat in the back of my parents car in San Diego. A song comes on the radio by a male singer who I do not know, and he’s singing about some kind of a vessel, and a river. I later find out that this song is called The River by Garth Brooks. I fall in love with it, the words, the ideals, and the melodies. This song will be a great turning point in my life as I become one of the biggest Garth fans in the world (frowned upon by my friends up here, apparently he’s cheesy!!!!). From hearing The River we buy Ropin’ The Wind the album from which is it taken, and our collection grows from there. You know how they say that people have a theme tune; well I think that one is mine. It was the first song I learned all the way through off by heart, and if ever I’m bored or lonely with no music, it’s the first song I sing in my head. It has got me through so many times, good and bad.

Memories are one of the most important things in my life, as I have had so many experiences that I’ve loved beyond belief. And now the only thing left of them are the memories. Also, because I have such an active imagination, the memories replay themselves in my head like a movie. I can lose myself completely in them, and get away from the totally monotonous routine that is my working life. I love the fact that I have music to help me along too, I think without it, I WOULD have gone completely and utterly stark raving mad by now!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Art of Poi

When I was in Georgia on Spring Break back in 2003, I had a few lessons in Poi - The Art of Fire Spinning. It was something different that I had never even heard of before. The woman who was teaching us (I can’t remember her name anymore) was amazing. She had entered into many competitions and won a few, I think. As we were only there for 1 week, I only really mastered the basics, but I bought a set of Poi from her and went back to college and kept practising. It was so much fun, but as I didn’t know very much, it got quite boring after a while. So as so many things do, the poi got shoved into the back of a drawer to become friends with the spiders and dust. Then as I was sorting through my room last summer to redecorate, (oooh, that’s just reminded me of another post I could write!) I came across them. I took them out into the garden and had a go, I could remember pretty much everything that I had been taught, and managed to impress my parents with my very limited skills! I figured I might as well bring them back up to Derby with me, and have a play around when I get bored, and boy am I glad that I did. We have just recently met this guy called Iain, who is incredible at poi. I haven’t really met anyone else over in England who had heard of Poi, let alone able to do it! It was so exciting. The other night he came over, and we had a bit of a mini lesson out in my recently patio-ed back garden, and he taught me so many new moves. I had forgotten what it was like to have a teacher and trying to learn out of a book, or off the Internet. It always makes things so much easier when you an actually watch somebody doing it. He taught me the basics of how to a ‘Backwards Weave’, which I was struggling with and couldn’t get my head round. But that night, it just wasn’t working, so I gave up on that one. Then last night, I was a bit bored, and needed something to do to get rid of the excess energy I had. I picked up the Poi, determined to figure out the ‘Backwards Weave’. So I stood there, and played around and then after countless bruises to my back, ribs, hands and yes, even my ears, I DID IT!!!!! It was incredible! There are so many more moves you can you once you know this one. I was so excited, and just kept doing it over and over again! I didn’t want to stop, in case I couldn’t do it again! But I tried doing some other moves, and then went back to it, and I could still do it. I am proud of myself for sticking with it, and overcoming the urge to just give up, and I’m proud of Iain for showing me how to do it.
As I sit at work and write this all I want to do is go home and play some more! Only 6 hours to go!

Monday, July 18, 2005

What a Week!

It’s been a while since my last post, in case you hadn’t noticed! I’ve been a busy little bee! First of all, however, I would like to put out my condolences to the families and friends of those involved in the London Bombings. The whole country was in a state of shock, followed by complete amazement at the speed in which the emergency services and others got London back up and running. It was incredible.
Last week my friend Eddie who I met whilst at KCS came over to visit. It was the first time I had seen him in over 2 years. It was just so much fun. Everything was a little tainted by the events of the Thursday before, but we were both just so glad to see each other. When we were at Keene there was a small tight knit group of us who were always together. We would eat breakfast together if our class schedules allowed us, we would meet up again for lunch, and then we would ALWAYS have dinner together. Any other free time we had in between was usually spent with each other, playing cribbage, chatting or as usual, giggling! I will get around to writing more about my time at Keene here at some stage, for me, if nothing else, so that I have some sort of record of it. This was Eddie’s first trip to the UK, so we wanted to make it special. He came over for 2 weeks, and spent the first week in Hemel Hempstead with Beck, another of our ‘group’. Then last Saturday, I surprised him by turning up in London and we presented him with tickets to see the long running show, We Will Rock You, the Queen Tribute musical. He had wanted to go and see this, but we told him that the shows were all sold out and we wouldn’t be able to make it! Little did he know! J Now, I wouldn’t exactly call myself a Queen fan, I knew all their main songs, and most people do, but I don’t own any of their albums, but this show was absolutely heart-stoppingly amazing! It sends shivers down my spine just to think about it. The story was clever, but a little silly in places, it didn’t matter though, because the actors and singers were incredible. The first solo was by the lead character, Galilleo Figaro, who sang I Want to Break Free with the clearest, most haunting voice I have heard in a long time. He broke out into song with no note of a warning, and you could almost hear the audience gasp. From start to end we were captivated, losing ourselves in the story, egging on the protagonists, and booing the enemies! One of the last songs to be sung was We are the Champions. During which the entire audience had their arms in the air, with the exception of Eddie, who was in too much shock, so could only hold his hands about level with his ears, not really too sure what to do! Beck and I had to grab an arm each and hold it up for him. The look on his face was the highlight for me, because he was totally blown away by the whole experience. It was awesome.
Then the three of us ventured up to Derby on the Sunday to begin week 2 of Intro to UK! The weather in the first week had been less than nice, in fact it was downright miserable. It was grey, cold and rainy pretty much every day. We were so hoping for even the slightest bit of sunshine to show Eddie that we DID in face get some sun over here! Thankfully Sunday pulled through for us. The sun came out, and made everyone that little bit happier. You gotta love the sun, eh? It was almost too hot actually, but having complained all week about the rain, we didn’t feel we could complain about the sun too. When we got up to Derby after a 2 and ½ hour train ride we were ready for a drink (or many as it turned out!). Eddie had his first taste of what was to come, as many an hour was spent in the Derby bars! We fell into the house and pretty much collapsed that night, ready for some sleep. Nope, didn’t happen…it was just far too hot, and with three people sharing a room, it was even hotter. My window does Nothing whatsoever, so the night was spent complaining, with some chatting in between! Monday was just as hot, only this time we had the humidity added in with it. Yey! We spent the day lazing around, then going down to the park to teach Ed how to play Cricket. Now, I’m not sure if anyone reading this knows the rules of the game, but they are extremely complicated to learn. Once you know them, the game is simple, (like everything else in life!) so about mid way through, we got bored and turned it into baseball with a cricket bat instead. Huge amounts of fun! On one day in the week we took a trip to Nottingham, our nearest big city, to go to the Castle, which was built in the 1400’s. We wanted to show Eddie some structures that were older than the modern culture of the States! He was stunned by it, until we got inside and discovered that it was a museum. We wanted it to show how the rooms would have been were it still a castle, but no, there were modern lights, carpets, cabinets full of bits and pieces that really had nothing to do with castles. There was even a Noah’s Ark on the wall, with little doors which children could lift up to find the animals. Now tell me please, what does that have to do with 15th Century living in Nottingham? We were most disappointed, especially as we had paid to get in! However, we made up for the disappointment that night when we hit the town once again, and went on our very own haunted pub-crawl. Derby is reputed as being the most haunted city in Derby, and there are many haunted pubs and buildings around. It was a lot of fun, and luckily (I think) we didn’t get accosted by any ghosts. We ended the night with a trip to Bluenote, a rock club, where they played decent music all night, and had drinks offers on. So the three of us drank and were merry for a good few hours, made all the better with the thought that we didn’t have to get up for work the next day! The whole week was just a great deal of fun, and I miss them both terribly already, and it’s only been 3 days! They left on Friday afternoon, and when we got back the house, it felt empty and very quiet.
But I was only there for an hour before I had to go and catch a train and head down into the Westcountry, to Somerset, where I went to my first boarding school. We were having a mini reunion. I say mini, because there were only going to be 4 of us there. My friend Louise, who I have kept in good contact in the 10 years it’s been since we’ve left. Heidi who for the first 3 or 4 years after we finished, would meet up with us for a week in the summer. But then I lost contact personally, and only heard how she was doing through Louise until a couple of years ago, which was also the last time I had seen her. And Gemma who I hadn’t seen since the summer after we left in 1995. It was so exciting to catch up with people again. We headed to Burnham-on-Sea, where we went to the pub for some lunch, and had a good old catch up, reminiscing about the old days! Then we went for a walk along the beach, all the while chatting away, there was no awkwardness whatsoever, the conversation flowed easily. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, there was hardly a cloud in the sky, but there was a gentle breeze to take the harshness of the heat away. After our walk we drove to our school, we were so excited! Even though we knew that the school had closed down, and that some of the grounds had been built on, we couldn’t wait to explore what was left, and look through all the windows into the old house. However, when we drove up, it was surrounded by boards and behind them was a new structure, half built with scaffolding all around it. Our fabulous school, so full of history and memories was gone, the old chapel, which was tiny but so full of meaning, the hall, the fields the adventure playground, the tennis courts, the small wood at the end of the field where we used to make dens, and horse jumps. The place where I had spent 5 years of my life from the age of 7 to 12 was just obliterated. They were building new houses on it, and it broke our hearts. None of us knew what to say we were so close to tears. We wished we had never gone back, and kept the memory of the old ivy covered house in our minds. I couldn’t believe it. I am going to write a letter to the housing company who is building on it, just to let them know what I think about it. I know its it’s too late to change, but I just want to tell them that I don’t agree with what they’ve done. Before it became a school, it was a house, which was used as a hospital during both World Wars, the history in that building went back a long way, but more importantly (to us at least) it was the memories attached to it that felt like they were demolished. I was so looking forward to showing my grandchildren (if I have any) around, because it was a real quaint little place, that in hindsight, we all loved.
The week on a whole was fantastic, and I hope you’ve enjoyed my rather long winded rendition of it!
Hope all is well with everyone.

Monday, July 04, 2005

A Plea for Help!!!!

I don't know if any of you are familiar with a TV show called Ed, but it is one of the best things on TV!!!! Well it used to be, I'm not sure that its on any more. But this post is a plea for all people who had even a vague interest in the show, and even those who didn't to please follow this link and put your e - mail address into the box. By doing this you will be requesting to be informed when a DVD will be available, but more than that, you are demanding a DVD be made! The show apparently does want to produce a DVD box set, because they would have to pay out too much in music rights. Now, if enough people sign this to show their interest in the show, therefore making it worth their while to produce the DVD, we may be able to sit with Ed on our TV's worldwide! Please please please please sign this!!! For me if not for yourselves!!
thank you guys!
Happy 4th July to you all!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Keep at it...

One night last week, I was stood outside my back door on one of the clearest nights we'd had for a while. The plethora of stars out astounded me, as I live in the middle of a city, so usually, the only ones visible are those of the major constellations. However, this night they were out in abundance. I was determined to find a satellite, as I normally do when I'm out star gazing, no matter how long it took me to find it, I was not going back in until I'd seen one. So while I was contemplating 'Life, the Universe and Everything' staring up at the distant life that could be, I was unaware of time slipping past. Stars totally baffle me, I just can't comprehend the distance them, and the time. Also, who's to say that there's not a set of planets similar to our circling endlessly around one of those stars looking at our sun as part of a constellation, as we look at theirs? Then just when I wasn't expecting I found not one, but two satellites, continuing their lonely journeys around the earth, exploring and reporting. They were both going in different directions, and just as their paths crossed, a huge bright shooting star shot across the sky! As soon as I saw it, I made a wish, (as you do on shooting stars!), then I started to think about how if you want something hard enough, if you believe in it happens for long enough, it will invariably happen and not only that, but you'll get an added bonus with it. So, never give up your dreams, keep believing and good things will happen. It was just what I needed right then, as I was (and still am to a certain extent) having a minor crisis about what to do with my life! But it spurred me on, never to give up, to keep going no matter the cost, and the sacrifices I may need to make, I WILL keep at it, and one day I'll get to where I want to be.