Monthly Archives: June 2015

“It’s just another Manic Monday”.

Yes,to me,it has been a Manic Monday.I woke at 5 and have just finished writing my last school report.

Life as a teacher,on paper,appears quite a breeze.However,appearances can,and are,deceptive.

True,I don’t work down a mine,or fish for a living like my ancestors,but teaching isn’t as easy as those lovely people who write their own Polemics of us would have you think.

Teaching,is,and always will be vocational,and an awful lot of good will is involved.

It saddens me that so many leave the profession,burnt out,fed up,used,dejected and finished.

Governments past and present tend to perpetuate the myth that teacher could work better,that parents must have choice that anything is possible “if you just apply yourself enough”.

When members of the Teaching profession deliver their counter narrative,they are often labelled as militant,not progressive,and negative.This,I feel ,is then stoked up in the media to a point where many coal face teachers are just walking way before retirement.This isn’t a happy profession for many.

My conclusion is that there are weak teachers,but they are a tiny minority.So,why demonise a the whole bra use of the few.

If society wants good schools,then society needs to become involved too,and give teachers your support,not the constant drip,drip,drip,of negative comments.

So,as we near the end of another academic year,let’s hope that more teachers stay in their posts,as that will be good for our children,and our country as a whole.
I have to say that having taught music and religious studies over many decades,I know just how tough it can be.Yes,I’m tough,as I come from a childhood of Poverty.Over the years,I have had abuse,verbal and physical from pupils and parents.Im still in the job,but sometimes I wonder how,I’m just lucky I suppose.

Many new teachers with great potential do move out of the profession.Not because there bad teachers,but because they can’t cope with the nature of the job.Its like that .

Yes,the sun will come up tomorrow,I will be up again at 5,and I reckon you might be too.All I know is that when we mutually respect each other as professionals,then things have a habit of being so much much more rewarding.

Our country has a culture of negativity that has to be fed,and is often perpetuated by the media.Thats so sad.Real life isn’t scare stories,it’s about people doing their best for one another.

     

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“Why has the trained stop,I have an appointment”.

It started off like any normal day for me along with countless others on our Train bound for London.

You sit in your carriage,grateful not to stand,pretending to read a paper,cos that is what you do.Your aware that you in a bit of a mood with your wife this morning,you sort of send her a half apology by text.After you click send,you think a bit about your kids and why you were short with them too.Thinking is one thing,but doing something about it is another.

It’s 7 23 ,and your really tired,you wonder why,it’s Monday morning.Maybe it’s those extra pounds that you’ve put on these past few months.You think about that Gym membership,you rationalise that if you cut back a bit on lunch then maybe you’ll feel better.Your eyes are getting heavy,almost too heavy to stop from closing.Your almost to the point of surrender when…………………..you feel the Train coming to a crashing halt,your almost catapulted out of your seat.

For what appears an age,you think that the train has derailed.You think it has.You don’t know.No one tells you.

People around begin to try to find the guard.Impatience can be tasted among commuters

You don’t want to think too much about what has happened,that can be dangerous.

Someone has found a guard .The concensus is that someone has jumped in front of the train.

When mortality is at stake,it’s like all life is,all meaning is suspended.

Now,instead of justifying your mood to your wife,your children,profound emotions rush into your head about how fragile life is.

You can’t do anything ,you see.Your impotent.
It’s a salutary lesson that life is tough,and for some it is too much.We can not judge,and we are fortunate to have a family and a home and a job.

A few days later,he reads his newspaper a see the terrible statement about that poor human throwing themselves in front of a Train.His Train.

      Treasure the good that we have,have love for those who are mentally ill.Be patient with our love ones.

Playing for Money.

We all have to do something for a living.My method is playing and Teaxhing the Piano.

Having been doing this since I was 13,I know how to make a living at it.Yes,there have been times when I’ve lived from hand to mouth,but I can honestly say that I have been very lucky to do this type of work.

I’m playing the piano for a a Cornet exam in around 10 hours time.This is something that I have done on numerous occasions before.The little guy doing this is about 10.Its his first exam,and he’s doing his grade 3.Hes the youngest of 3 siblings who all do music,so I think that he feels that he should do it.It should be a good experience for him,as we have done quite a lot of prep for it recently.

I quite like accompaniment and the process of making music together is a pleasing thing to me.Am I privileged to do this.Absolutely.When I think of my family,I was the first ever of my cohort to get to a college of higher education,so that was a big thing in my family.

Looking back,most of my relatives were miners,or Fishermen,they worked hard and long,and it was dangerous work.

Yes,I work with my fingers,but it’s all very gentile I suppose.

Music,to me ,at least,gives me so much happiness,I realise that so many people spend their whole working life doing something that they truly hate,so I am very fortunate.

Much of my work is now in music Therapy,and in particular,with those young people on the Autistic spectrum.Although,this takes it out of me,it nonetheless,gives me so much satisfaction and joy.

There are many out there who share with the wider audience their pain,and suffering of that ,there is no doubt so much of.Personally,I choose to highlight the good in my life,as I have a low tolerance for self pity.My therapist says that those who have been abused in childhood can often be like this.Its just that I feel that it would be too easy to blame stuff on my abuse.

The fact that I can teach,write my blog,play the Piano,and try to be a good human,is enough for me.

        I welcome polemics from others,as I don’t have all the answers in life,and I want to reach out to others.

                      Thank you for those who take the time to read my blog posts.Its truly appreciated.
          

“I’m talking with the Man in the Mirror”.

As the dulcet tones of Lionel Richie are heard from the Glastonbury stage,it’s obvious that a true icon of soul was among them.

Lionel Richie,along with the Commodores graced the Motown label with some truly great music.I,for one,always plugged their music whenever I could in the inde record shop that I worked at in the 70s.Yes,those days were the gateway for soul and also saw the genre through to the mainstream of modern music as we now know it.

As much as I love the music of Lionel Richie,it has to be said that the very younger Michael Jackson would go on to eclipse him in sheer gravitas as an artist and composer.Jackson would go on to register Albums sales that were off the scale.His album,”Off the Wall”,distributed via CBS showed us the way the direction was going.It went from strength to strength with Thriller,Bad,and Dangerous.

Michael had a live show that you couldn’t ever have conceived before his time,he was a true artist,and one who delivered to his audiences world wide.

Glastonbury due heritage well.With Michael there,their festival would ha e truly reached the stratosphere.His sheer brilliance would have demanded a red hot set,his songs would grace any stage,his genius was there for all to see.

Yes,we have his songs,and we are so fortunate to have had him in our lives.

    Miss you Michael.

“I wasn’t at Woodstock,of the 1970 I.O.W. Festival.

So,what do I know about festivals?Why do I start this post with 2 admissions that put me at the bottom of the pile when it comes to lovers of music,esp lovers of Rock,and progressive.

You see,I come from a time when the injection of music into my consciousness came via Vinyl ,cartridge,and stylus.That was my world.Pretending that it was anything else is living in a fantasy,yes,a very nice one,but a fantasy.

So,I got my insight into fantasies second,or third hand.Not very reliable,you might say,but we are where we are.

What I’m saying is that if our experience of the 60s and seventies was through the medium of Vinyl,then why can’t we just be truthful.

Now,when the old grandfathers of Rock,”The Who”,are playing live we know that maybe recorded music has once again become their Lords and masters.

Playing live to most bands in the 70s was for a different reason than now.Then,you could wait a minimum of a year for an album,or ,sometimes Two.Album sales were through the roof.I ha e lost count of how many copies of Led Zep 2 were sold,let alone “the dark side of the moon”by deep purple.

One Particular album,”The Who,live at Leeds”,sold at such a rate that people came from one end of Cornwall to the other just to hear it in the record shop that I worked.

So yes,I never went to these festivals,but,I knew their music,and helped their careers in a small way by playing their stuff when they first started in the music business,and playing new stuff that we got hold of.

Now,festivals are the domain of people who are willing to pay out huge sums of money to hear these bands.Yes,I’m an old guy now,but I wonder if these super bands ever think about the little guys like me and many others up and down the country who played their music day in day out,who pushed their sounds as a chart shop.

So,I’m 57 years of age,I have been involved in music all my life,but never went,too busy flogging the vinyl.

          

“Saturday night’s alright for fighting”.

Two of my heroes from the musical world are Elton John,and Gerald Moore.

These Two people were born in the same area of North London,Watford.

They are both very talented Pianists  all be it expressing themselves through different genres.

Gerald Moore played Piano at the very highest level.For decades ,Gerald Moore worked as a Leider accompaniment player for the best singers in the World,and became recognised as a master of his art.

Elton John ( originally,Reg Dwight),studied classical piano at the Royal Academy of music,junior dept.Elton is a world renowned exponent of rock music.His songs have won numerous awards,and his world wide album sales are into their multi millions.

So,both men have touched literally millions of lives.Although their chosen musical fields could be said to be poles apart,they are both communicators of their art.They leave a legacy to all that have touched by them.

This post,along with Posts about James Horner this week,reflect my burning desire always to use music as a means to reach out to people of all stations in life.We are all touched by the musicians who give so much to us.

Amazing President.

Sometimes you need wisdom in life to navigate you way through the tough times,through the storms and hurricanes.

Well,this past week,there have been storms a plenty in America.That great super state has had its hurricane “race hate” through its heart,but ,you know,it’s tried so hard as a collective to remove the bullet,and mend the heart.

Tonight,although I’m a Britain,and a trained classical musician,I cried when I heard  O Bama sing Amazing Grace.He did it with sincerity,and truth.America,you have so much to be proud of.

Yes,there are always doubters and detracted in all walks of life.It made me think of a quote from our most famous prime minister Winston Churchill,he said,  “You got enemies,that’s good,it shows that you stood up for something in your life”.O Bama has his enemies,all leaders do,but he stood up for something tonight.He stood up for his friend,he stood up for decent folk.

Yep,he’s a clever guy,but you can have clever staffers to do that,you can only have one guy who will take the can,take the heat,and stand up when it’s tough.
As I said ,I’m from Britain,so I don’t know much about America,but what I do know is that your country is a good one,and I still look to it,because it stands for something.

It inspire me to teach American history ,and to be fair to it,not to be cynical,because that doesn’t solve anything.
                     I wish it well tonight,I really do.

One

   

 One sound ,

                   One voice,

                                    One choice.

                                                       One Ghost,

                                                                          One host,

   One Chance,
                        One Dance,
                                            One Glance,
                                                                  One Love,
                         Sometimes it only happens once you know.When it comes along,grab it with open arms,won’t you?
                                       Once maybe but hopefully not never.
                                               Good Luck.                                                       

                          

The Supreme Court make a supreme decision

As a Brit,living as I do in a country without a written constitution,it might seem arrogant of me to think that I have 

Any place in commenting on the goings on of the United States of America.In many ways,I don’t have any 

Business in this regard.However,this day is special for these 50 states of America.You see,we in Britain have to 

Notice of what goes on there across the pond.To me,it would be the height of arrogance not to take notice.
              You see,the USA have changed the lives of so many people on the worlds stage.It might be popular to 

What we think are some of its negatives,but to be frank,we still look to these lands,we love them in fact.When 

America makes a monumental decision like it has done today regarding equality in Marraige,we take note,and we 

Are happy,happy big time.
               Yes,our 2 countries differ at times,but essentially we have a shared humanity that should never be 

Forgotten.Its decades since 1945 ,but I,along with many others,haven’t forgotten the affect of the USA joining the 

Struggle against Nazi Oppression had at that time.We would not have prevailed without you.

                I hope that you have a great weekend in celebration of this epoch making judgement today.
                              Best to you.

Laughter hides my fear of tomorrow.

Sophie’s smile lights up the room,it enchants all who gaze at her.

Pictures of inward life seem to hold out a bright future.

Dirt and moss inhabit so many others,but not Sophie.

Can life be this easy,so mapped?
My fears for Sophie have been told as my dark fantasy,my projection,

Why,how could she hide an inward harm.?

Who am I to flag such gloom for this bloom?

My childhood sibling,adorned in beauty,formed out of love,destroyed by mental anguish.

My sister so full of laughter,so full of life,life,and more life.
Her laughter was a mechanism of denial,a sonic sad sound of dark matter.
I see it again in Sophie my pupil because I witnessed it all those years with my beloved sister.

Summer heat,difficult to breath,but long sleeves to hold off the prying gaze of a would be helper.

Who can interpret the Laughter,the smile,the pseudo existence.

Would Dante hold the key,would The rage of Yeats open the Sophie for Sophie to heal.?
I don’t know,I don’t know,I don’t know,and I rage,I rage,I rage against the sadness of it all .This repeated prophesy witnessed all those years ago,coming true again in 2015!!!

Our young people,oh how they often suffer and fall I desperation.

What to do?

We have to keep trying,keep being there.Using every person of know how we know to reach the vulnerable ones,to reach those whose Laughter hides a tragic tomorrow.