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Ian Edmundson UNTRUTHS

UNTRUTHS
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2023    

January 1st 2023: Up and about before 11am. I loaded my gear into the house first thing, rather than hanging about and doing it later on. My throat still isn't good, but I have some time to get my voice back working again. Graham kindly gave me a bottle of mouthwash last night to gargle with. Nice of him. No Sunday jam today. An evening of TV and Youtube. Lynda went to bed quite early.

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January 2nd: Up VERY LATE. Lynda was up early and then came back to bed, so I stayed put. An amount of computer work and then a lot of TV. Lynda went to bed early again.

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January 5th: Looking seriously at changing our car, which is just another cause of stress that I don't really need. Our current car has a couple of issues and it's 10 years old now and we've had it for about 8 years or so, so time for a change. It will eat badly into our savings at what is not a great time, especially after paying out for a new roof this time last year. Finding a car with enough boot space at a price we can actually afford is going to be interesting.

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January 6th: My throat is not good, yet again. A day of doing some sorting of images for the next Slade book and some TV.

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January 10th: My throat is a little better than it was. I wake up every morning with a blocked nose and a rough throat these days. Probably down to cat allergy and I usually have one of our eight within a few feet of me at all times. At night I am normally covered in them. A couple jockey for position under the covers next to me and I often wake up in the middle of the night eye to eye with one or other of them on my pillow. The weekend was mainly a couple of gigs - the last with our drummer Graham for a short while, as he's having some surgery later this week. We have a deputy drummer who is going to help us out and he's very good. I am back in 'writing mode' for the 'Slade on 45' book. This will consist of a collection of repaired colour images in an 8.5" square book (possibly a two-parter). Photoshop is my friend at the moment. Other books have been doing well recently, which is good. I had the car into the garage for a quick repair yesterday. It cost me almost twice what I was initially quoted for the job, but there was no real point in arguing with them about it.

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January 12th: I got up very late today, though I was awake between 7am and about 8.45am. I managed to go to see my mate Dave in hospital. My throat was good enough. Lynda's still not well enough, so I went alone. He's not much further along than he was; still no voice and his right hand side pretty much of no use - though he can waggle a finger on his right hand a little, which is a promising improvement. I don't know how he isn't going insane in the hospital. It says a lot about him that he is still mentally in one piece. His physio has been cut down, and it was doing him so much good.  I spoke to a venue afterwards and got us in there in July. TV in the evening.

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January 15th: A bit of a catch-up.

Friday saw myself and Lynda out in the evening to watch Raspberry Glam at our local pub. They were really good. They do some of the same songs as us, but maybe a bit more faithfully to the original recordings. The landlord Ian said he'd sort a gig or two on Saturday if I called in at 6. I only got to sleep at 4.30am, after having gone downstairs til 8.30am, as I just couldn't get comfortable in bed.  As a result, on Saturday, I was up late and exhausted. I did some last minute prep for our evening gig with Ryan depping for us on drums. I called in to the local as requested. Ian wasn't downstairs yet at 6.15, nor was he down at 7pm. At 7.25, I had to ask for the van blocking our drive to be moved, so I could get my car out. The driver was apologetic and said he wouldn't do it again. Someone else will, though. Ian still wasn't downstairs, so the band isn't booked there. Our evening gig was a good payer and we now play on a ground floor stage, rather than up on an awkwardly raised mezzanine area, so it is now much better for us and for the crowd. The parking at the rear can be very awkward, but with some thought it is manageable. The load in and out is very much improved with the new stage, though the space on it is slightly tight. We played ok, despite the handicap of a stand-in drummer, who did really well. We do our own versions of some songs, so I think he was (quite naturally) a bit thrown off-balance at times. He read us very well and came back to where he should be quickly. We went down very well and are arranging some return gigs there. Home for 12.30am.

I was up at 11.15am today, as gigging really takes it out of me these days and I am often really pooped the next day..

The Three

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January 17th:
Yesterday (Monday) I met friends for lunch and we exchanged stories about past colleagues and I was surprised how many old names came back to me after 30 plus years, with hardly any effort. It brought my mortality back to me, as we spoke of quite a few people we have lost. It was nice to meet up with them. We talked about a lot of different stuff and that was great. Book work in the late afternoon.  My first wife Julie's birthday today. She would have been 61 today and about to retire from work. She only got to be 24 years old. I still have trouble with all of that. It's just unfair. After I lost her, I was totally bitter about how my life was going and didn't want to carry on anymore. I had visions of driving a car into a motorway bridge - a method of doing away with myself ignored because of my natural cowardice. That was followed by a fairly bad second marriage and apart from having my children, I simply shouldn't have done it.  I ended up with more semi-suicidal thoughts, only put aside because I had two children to consider. I have been unbelievably blessed since I met Lynda, even though I haven't always realised it and probably haven't been good enough.  I met Mike for lunch today (and was totally blanked by someone ignorant that I worked with for a few years, ending up with me dumping him on Facebook) and afterwards did a quick shop and an amount of book work. Some TV in the evening..

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January 19th: An afternoon totally wasted. I went to see my mate Dave in Salford Royal Hospital and when I got there he was asleep. I waited around for ten minutes in case he woke up and then gave up and came home. Bearing in mind how important ANY sleep is when you're in hospital and in pain, I didn't want to wake him up, just to pay attention to me blathering on at him. I drove home via the M602, intending to get on the M60. Now, I never usually do that because it's always a traffic jam - and of course it was a really bad one again today. I stayed on the M62 and went most of the way to Warrington, turning off to come home through Risley and Glazebrook. It took ages. Absolutely AGES. TV in the evening.

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January 20th: Up not so late, for a change. We had a coffee then went to do the weekly shop for all twelve of us who live in our house. I refrained from buying any beers while we were in Tesco and I told Lynda I was going to do 'a dry February'. Well, it's the shortest month, you see... Let's see if I manage it.  I spent the afternoon catching up on some of the first season of Below Deck. I haven't seen the earliest ones as I started watching at about season 7. It's a fly on the wall documentary TV show about the crew on a luxury yacht. They do short cruises for groups of guests with too much money. One of the current stewards is on anxiety medication and when she has a drink she turns into an unattractive raving idiot. She even argues with the Captain about not being allowed off the boat and is currently setting about alienating the rest of the crew.... except one of the guys who takes advantage of the fact that she gets ridiculously horny as a result of being so out of control. She's mentally incapacitated and it almost looks like rape to me. The guy should have left her completely alone, for the above reason, but also because you really wouldn't want to wake up with her in the morning. But hey, the cameras are rolling, and so are the crew.  I took a bit of time out to do a new poster design for the band, which doesn't eat up too much printer ink.

Our gig in the evening... We were playing in Leigh and I must confess to being more than a bit tired out before I set off. I was quite comfortable on the sofa watching Classic Coronation Street, replete from my evening meal and not bothered in the slightest about moving. At about 7.35, I pulled myself together and got my posh frock on and was on my way out to the gig at 7.45. I got there at 8.15, 15 minutes later than I usually would.  I gave the landlady the new posters for our three other dates there later this year and she checked them against her diary. A date in August was messed up. I had my 2022 diary with the dates written down from when I took them. It was not MY mistake at all. Fortunately, we were available the next day (as another venue had messed us up), which was when she had us in the diary, so I simply changed the date. This means I now have to fill an awkward Friday. I wasn't impressed, but at least we didn't turn up and find another band setting up, like we have elsewhere in Leigh. It was nice when some of our friends turned up to watch us.  Our drummer Graham had missed last week's gigs, so he was well and truly in the mood to hit his drums (plus he was raving about having seen The Lion King stage show and about the tribal drumming in that).  We played a slightly over-long first half, with an amount of tribal drumming dropped in, as we were enjoying ourselves and we mixed it up a bit, dropping some odd stuff in to the set.

Poster

The second half wasn't as good for me. One of our friends decided to get up uninvited and sing on Highway To Hell, after we had started playing it. I was a bit upset by this. DON'T EVER GET UP AND MESS SOMEONE ELSE'S SHOW UP. I wasn't even consulted at all and I was doing the singing. When the inevitable messing up of the song happens and they don't know our arrangement of the song, you can rest assured that I am not then going to jump back in and rescue the song. You've messed it up - you can deal with fixing it... or not. It just makes everyone look stupid. I'm sorry if the person who got up spotted that I was annoyed and felt bad afterwards. It was just rude to interrupt our set and mess our second half up. I dropped some posters in at another venue on the way home.

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January 21st: Up around 10am. My son Paul came round to visit us and drop off our Christmas gifts. He wasn't well over Christmas, and it was just brilliant to see him. I sent him on his way clutching some nice old Beatles, Bowie, Buzzcocks singles, as he is building up his vinyl record collection. An evening of TV, plus Philadelphia and Ritz crackers and an early night, as we weren't gigging.

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January 22nd: I woke up before my alarm went off at 10am. I was totally hemmed in by cats and dogs. You'd think it was THEIR bed, not ours. I did some web work and general dicking around. In the evening we did our jam night. Good fun as usual.

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January 28th: I went to see Mike in town on Tuesday. Shopping on Wednesday. Picked up Lynda's medication. I visited Dave in hospital on Thursday and I'm still amazed that he's actually counting his blessings, comparing himself to how bad some others around him are. He went through a 45 minute therapy session while I was there and five staff helped him to sit upright, so he could hutch his bum a little to the side and back again and to bring his right hand back and forth a few inches. That utterly wiped him out. He's fighting this with everything he's got. I'm not sure I would have that strength and determination.

I got a very helpful tip-off about where to to order a copy of the just-released Thin Lizzy - Live And Dangerous 8CD box set at the right price. Let's see if my order comes to pass. It's sold out absolutely everywhere and is currently fetching twice the RRP on Ebay. They did a second print of the Rock Legends box set, which I missed out on initially and got later, but I am not sure they will do that again.

Friday was a day of solid book work. I am working on two books at present. My Who Discography book looks like I can't devote more time to it until June or thereabouts, which is annoying. It has an ISBN and shows up in my page where I go to check my Amazon sales, every time I visit it. It annoys me every time I see it.

I have taken the decision to make all four of the Collected Slade Newsletter books available until up until the end of March. Plugging them takes up an amount of time that I simply don't have.

Up at a reasonable time today, despite sleeping rather badly last night. Very tired. Went to local pub and booked us a date in for September. Updated the PCS site that I do admin for. I took Tom for a walk - hoping to get a good hour or so in, then it started raining as I went around the corner from our house. More book work and some re-design web work on my Slade webpage. 

Only the jam night to do this weekend. I was expecting Graham to have just had his operation, so I left the diary alone, so as not to make it too much for our deputy drummer. Graham has now got a new date for his operation, so here's hoping.  My appointment to do a Zoom chat with another author has been moved from Monday to Wednesday. Not really an issue.  We had a take-away curry in the evening.

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January 29th: Up earlyish (10.15am). Book work. TV. A nice long bath. Packed the car up for jam night.  The jam night was interesting. Someone came along who I usually find a bit demanding, to put it mildly. He plays sax and is always that his vocal and the sax are quite loud in the monitor and the PA and he wants lots of reverb on both. He has someone out front who always tells him he's not loud enough, until he is blasting well above everyone else. For a semi pro musician who owns a sizeable professional PA, he has a really unusual attitude to onstage sound. I should just get off the stage and let him whack it up to 11 and make him pay for the resulting speaker damage. I should also maybe put the mixing desk out front and let them get on with it. At one point early on, the sax player let rip on his sax and my head nearly split in half (my eyes hurt and I actually instantly felt sick) as I caught the direct throw of the floor monitor. 4 Zapains did nothing at all to clear the resulting headache up (unless it would have been a lot worse). I felt like I'd been beaten up.  The headache would persevere to the following morning and I would actually worry that I was at risk of a stroke.

Another couple of chaps who come to the jam night have hearing difficulties and so they want their vocals made even louder through the PA and monitor, simply because they can't hear them. One of them gets his guitar set at death metal volume, so we can all still hear it the next day. I get some rather disapproving looks from them whenever I say they are loud enough already. I am tired of having to get people out front to join in the inevitable debate and back me up and save me from being the bad guy.

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January 30th: Up early-ish. I went to collect my Vox guitar amp which has had a repair and service. TV. Lynda has been decorating and she doesn't let me get involved in that at all.

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January 31st: Up early-ish today. My Zoom chat has been moved back again to Friday. It's a highly regarded professional writer I am dealing with, so I'm quite tolerant of the shifting demands on his time. I went to drop some posters off and talk to a couple of venues, which weren't open when I called.  An afternoon of TV - mainly catching up on season 3 of Below Deck. I got a cancellation email and refund for the Thin Lizzy box set.

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February 1st:I managed to order a copy of the Thin Lizzy box from Ireland. It was more than I really wanted to pay (£91.00), but the available seats on the Sparks tour presale were rubbish and well-overpriced, so I saved on that and decided to spend on a box set. I've already decided not to waste money on going to see Noddy Holder do a chat show in Manchester, talking about when he used to sing with Slade 40 years ago, as I was there at the time, and my band could be out gigging instead.

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February 2nd: 'Dry February' has fallen by the wayside. Stress everywhere I look. I took a load of stuff to the tip on my way back from Bolton this afternoon and apparently the wooden parts of a kitty tree are not wood if they have fabric on them, so I had to retrieve them and take them to another part of the tip. When I got to the other part of the tip, the chap who pulled me up at the first part I went to told me to put what I was carrying in 'number 6' which is where I was walking to. I informed him of this gently, instead of doing a bit of road rage on him. I got home and Lynda was busy putting wallpaper up. This involves the movement of some furniture, including a bookcase. Various options were discussed, none of which suit Lynda and she got a bit heated about it, as her OCD was beginning to kick in because of the chaos in the back room. I got out of the way, as I could feel a migaine starting if I wasn't really careful. Tom started barking at everything he imagined was anywhere within a mile of my house and I started to boil over.

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February 3rd: Shopping during the day. Had a very enjoyable two-hour zoom chat with a well-known author, who is working on a Slade book for Omnibus. Can't wait to see it. A nice soak in the bath in the afternoon, before setting off for Atherton to play at the Bent And Bongs Beer Bash. This was the busiest that we have seen it and the crowd were well into what we were doing. One of the best gigs we've ever done. Good beer too. Nice to see some friends come down to watch. Came home buzzing.

The Three

The Three

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February 4th: I got up and there was a message from our drummer Graham's wife saying he wasn't well enough to play this evening. Get well soon, Graham. Fortunately, our first reserve Ryan was available. I got on with some web work and put up a couple of videos that I was sent from last night. The gig in the evening went well enough.

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February 5th: Phone call from Graham. He is thankfully feeling a lot better and will be up for playing with us this evening. The jam night went quite well. We went through a number of things we haven't played for a little while. Lots of players and some great stuff played by them. I actually got complemented on my musicianship again this evening, which was nice. I tend to keep in the background when I am not singing.

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February 11th: It's been a rather fraught week. I'm currently working on three books at once and so I losing the plot with all of them as a result. I should prioritise things much better, but what to put first? It will find it's own level. I've been full of a cold and feeling unwell all week and my voice has been going, which worries me for the coming weekend.

I went to the hospital on Tuesday and saw my Oncologist. My CT PET scan hadn't come through, as there is a shortage of tracer fluid. She organised a MRI scan and that came trhough for Thursday, and now I have another appointment for a CT scan on Sunday morning.  Cancer is uppermost in my mind at the moment. I am worried what will come back from these scans. It's there, whether they can see it clearly or not. I am worried about the idea of it spreading within my body.

I spent some of Friday afternoon with Rachel and April. I thought of how my Mum had missed out so badly by never seeing Rachel and now not seeing April.  Our evening gig at the Comfortable Gill went very well.

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February 12th: Up at a RIDICULOUS HOUR so as to be at the hospital for a CT scan on a Sunday morning,. I last had one in 2016. Apart from having the dye injected, it wasn't that unpleasant.  I felt a bit insubstantial later on, but hey ho, you don't find out what's going on in your body without looking properly. If it's in my bones, I guess I am a bit screwed. Hopefully it isn't. Results in three weeks.

A bit of an end of an era - I sold my Cloud guitar (Edwards ESP version). It's gone to a good home and will be used during an Arena show later this year. Oh well, promotion for the guitar if not for me. I had a good play on it before it went and there's sometimes a bit of seller's regret goes on. I won't get another guitar like that again, but I've had my fun with it. Someone else's turn now. It's gone to a good home in Rotherham and will be played onstage at Sheffield Arena later in the year.

The evening was, shall we say, eventful.  The jam night went quite well. Afterwards, I had to load out of the venue. This is where the evening went a bit askew. I brought my car up to the venue entrance, so that I could put my gear in it. I approached the door at a really slow crawling speed, I mounted the kerb slightly, as there's a bottleneck for traffic there. I am not a bad driver. I've done this maneuvere perfectly safely every weekend for six years. As I did pulled up, I spotted this guy watching my car intently as I drove up  - and I as a came near the venue door he visibly poised himself to throw himself at the side of my car. I could have jammed my brakes on, stopped five feet short, and he would have gone flat on his stupid face. I wish I had done that, but I wasn't expecting a chancer to have a go

He screamed at the top of his voice that I had 'run him over', but I knew that he was just taking the piss to see what he could get. You read about these lowlives, who make you crash into their shed of a car to claim off your insurance. Here was another Tyldesley tw*t trying it on in my workplace. He held his leg and tried to look hurt and his mate verbally harrangued me quite agressively and threateningly, accusing me of having had a skinfull of beers. Not after the scan made me feel wonky.

I rang the Police immediately. Once I had finished with them and they had ordered an ambulance, I continued to load my car, as the venue needed to close its doors and the guy's play-acting was just getting on my nerves. If I had run his leg over, he would have been screaming like a girl, instead of watching for people to take him on and feebly going 'ow' occasionally, to see if anyone is taking notice.

IF I HAD RUN A VAUXHALL ZAFIRA OVER HIS LEG, I would be in deep trouble.
He would have been in the worst agony imaginable (** apart from childbirth, according to my wife).

I said he was caught play-acting on CCTV and that I had nothing at all to worry about.

This sad pantomime went on for a short while, until he realised he wasn't going to get me to offer him anything. The landlady told him that he was taking up an ambulance that someone who had really been hurt would need far more than him, and that if he didn't pull himself together, she'd get her car and run him over properly. Eventually he decided that he was wasting his time on me, as I wasn't at all apologetic, backing down, or going to give him anything, becuase I knew what he was up to. He sort of mumbled that he could now walk and wouldn't shake hands to close the matter.

Eventually, he and his low life mate skulked off to the nearest chippy. I have footage of them actually doing it. Bloody chancers... At least I didn't pay for their chips. The one in the dark jacket is 'the injured party'. Notice the lack of a limp. He's just pissed. Thanks to a friend for the footage.

I will go for them. Hopefully the Police will take the matter forward properly.

I didn't sleep well, as I was hyped up after the 'fun' at the pub.

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February 13th:
Well, the CCTV from last night totally backs me up. Karen, the pub landlady has seen it and she very kindly let me know. I want a copy of the footage to distribute, though the police will naturally also get it. I updated the police incident online and added details of the people who could identify the two guys who were taking the Mick.

I want them prosecuted.
Let's not have them do it to someone else.

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February 14th:
Up early and off into Bolton to join the PCS picket line outside my old office, in support of their ongoing pay dispute. Nice to catch up with my real friends who I miss greatly and to get a golden opportunity to chew the fat about some real lfe stuff, instead of garbage internet shite. Home mid-morning and I spent time doing some band admin and updating this blog.

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February 19th:
Wednesday was a day of book work. I did set off to go to see Dave in hospital but got a call to go back home while I was on the way.

My Thursday hospital visit got bumped by Dave's wife wanting to go instead. I was offered the opportunity to go on the Friday, but I was going to be working. Thursday is the day I usually plan to go. If it gets moved, then I can't go. Graham had his operation on Thursday and texted me to say he was comfortable. A great relief. I spoke to the chap from Wigan Council about the CCTV footage. Again, he said it was as plain as day what had gone on.

The first thing I did on Friday was get up early to go on the picket line outside my old offfice again. Then I went for breakfast with Mike. I thought of going to catch a friend's band locally for an hour on Friday evening, but plain forgot to go.

My Saturday was spent doing book work, after I got up a bit late. My days seem to just merge into a long blur. I sometimes don't know what day it actually is. I want the weather to get better so I can do longer walks with Tom. Lynda just takes the boys on our local park.

Tonight is our jam night and I have been dreading it, in case the two idiots show up to start more trouble, or in case my car gets damaged. I have been dreading it all week. Not a very good way to feel.

When I got to the jam, I spoke to the landlady who told me that the so-called injured party is called Johnny. His mate who was so aggressive and in my face is a former Bolton Wanderers player. Obviously down on his luck if they thought they could extort a few bob from me. They had been trying to get hold of the CCTV footage (no luck) and my name (no luck), so they could take the piss out of me on Facebook. I think the so-called injured party was staring in through the window at me partway through the evening. I had parked my car out of sight, around the side of the venue. There was no trouble, but I was on edge all evening, especially when loading out. I had a good chat with Ryan, our reserve drummer about a number of things before we went home.

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Wednesday 22nd:
Monday was mainly book work. I do enjoy it and get a bit of a kick from filling a book up, prior to publishing. An evening of TV.

Tuesday was a meet with my mate in town at lunchtime. A little shopping then more bookwork when I got home, up 'til about 7pm. An evening of TV.

Wednesday was book work again and a trip out to the supermarket. An appointment has come through from the Christie hospital to go to have a CT PET scan next week. An evening of TV.

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Monday 27th:
Awake at 7am as Oscar was outside and barking because he couldn't get back inside. Went back to sleep a bit after 8am. Up late. Unpacked the car after last night. Lynda isn't well again. She's a bit flu-ey. She's down anyway because of all of this estrangement business with her daughter, which is really depressing her and affecting her badly. It's noon as I type and she's retreated back to bed, really upset. This has been going on for seven or eight months and she's in pieces and I can't see it getting any better. I don't know how I would cope if it was my children doing this - it is unimaginable.

The back end of last week was a bit of a blur, with ongoing book work. We went to see Dave in hospital on Thursday. No gig on Friday, so we just stayed in and watched TV. On Saturday evening we went out for a curry in Bolton with some good friends.

The jam night that we do on Sunday was good and fortunately quite uneventful from the scrotes. Hopefully they have forgotten about me now and have moved onto something else. The Police have shown no interest in the crime.

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March 2023

Sarturday 4th:

This last week has been a bit of a mire of frantic book work.

Mike was on holiday, so I didn't go to meet him on Tuesday. It's a fair old hike to Lanzarote.

I was commissioned to put together a limited-run photo book for a small group of Slade-related people, which will be very very collectable at some point. I can't say exactly who it's been done for at this point. I managed to get it all done from scratch, including the cover art, in one day. Focussed, that's me.

I got bumped again from going to see Dave on Thursday. Again, I was offered Friday by his wife.

I work on Fridays. I told her this yet again and hopefully she will remember this time. I couldn't have gone this Friday, anyway, as I went to Christies cancer hospital in southern Manchester for a PET CT who body scan.

Parking is usually a bit of a nightmare there, but I went on the North Car Park and was pleased to find there was no mechanism to pay parking. I wandered into the main hospital, slightly pleased with myself about this, but with a lingering suspicion that some Parking Entity would be in touch, despite the absence of pay machines at the car park.  I went and found my correct department to go to and let them know I was there, then went off looking for toilets and something to eat. I was not nil by mouth as I had been told, so I decided to get something to stop my stomach rumbling. I got a sandwich and a drink and a packet of crisps and went to sit in the huge conservatoty that nests in the centre of the hospital. It was my peaceful place where I could get myself together and relax when I was in there for my operation and I always look the place up when I have to visit. It's a very comforting place.

The Christie

On my arrival back at the correct department, I was injected with some radioactive dye and, after a two hour wait in a fairly comfortable isolation area for the radioactive dye to be absorbed into my system, I was stuck in a huge radioactive polo mint. I felt a bit odd afterwards, mainly due to my not eating anything after 6pm the night before. I should hopefully find some stuff out about what the prognosis is next week, or the week after.

The Saturday evening's gig was a nice, relaxed affair in Whalley, where we played on New Year's Eve.

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Sunday 5th:
The jam night was interesting, insofar as there was a heated discussion between two singers in a band and one was told by the other that his voice worked well for harmonies with everyone else's.... but not with his. Go figure.

I was assuming that the clowns who were involved in the pretend incident in Tyldesley on February 12th had forgotten all about it. But no. One of them, who didn't actually witness what was alleged to have happened on the night, as he was inside the pub at the time, walked past as we were putting gear in my drummer's car. He suddenly remembered the incident and decided to loudly announce to all of the people with him that I was the guy who had run his mate over. He then got in my face and announced that his mate's ankle was wrecked and they would see me in court, also that my band "will be finished, it will go bump". AND now they want £5000.

Bingo. The idiot chancer was holding his leg, not his ankle, on the night.
I told him that he obviously hadn't seen the CCTV.
£5000 eh? Now we're getting to the point at last.

When they had finally wandered off to another pub to get even more pissed, I went home and did some detective work on Facebook. I found the name of the lad who was bugging me and also the name of the lad with the pretend wrecked ankle. His catastrophic injury wasn't mentioned at all on Facebook. He talked about Valentine's day watching football with his girlfriend and going away watching football at Wembley stadium. It must have slipped his mind - or not have happened?

Anyway, having done this detective work, I added all their details to the Police report.

Monday 6th:
The Police rang me first thing in the morning. They'd read all the bits I'd added and they were ready to go find the two pillocks and lock them up a bit, for public order offences, harrassment and fraud, seeing as money had now been mentioned. I said I'd rather hang fire and see if they bug me a third time, rather than go for them now. There's more chance of a proven pattern of actual harassment if they come at me again. And a chance to video the conversation as more evidence, though I had witnesses last night. The whole thing is just getting on my nerves.

I have possibly arranged two gigs for a festival on May 7th today.

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Saturday 11th:
I only seem to get to write this blog at weekends.
Oh well, now I have to try to remember what's happened this week...

A proof copy of the private photobook that I did last week turned up during the week and my full copy will appear possibly Monday.

I met Mike on Wednesday.
I went to see Dave in hospital on Thursday. Not the longest visit as the physio turned up to work on his arm and leg. I was back home in 20 minutes as I totally missed all of the rush. Unbelievable.

Lynda's not well and Edward is off his food.

Friday saw me going to The Lowry in the afternoon, to watch a pantomime with my daughter and Ste, and granddaughter April. The evening saw The Three at The Dyers Arms in Littleborough. I struggled with the words to a couple of songs. I will make a point of getting them right tonight. We finished just after 11pm. Magic.

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Friday 17th:
Edward is eating for England again - or should I say Bosnia, as he is really a Bosnian national?

Lynda is still down with what she reckons is a virus and not interested in help from doctors. I have told her if she wants to die, it's up to her. She thinks I am being a bit dramatic.

I got two calls from Urology regarding my cancer situation. The scans have unearthed 'a small suspicious area' to the left of my pelvis. That's hopefully where the prostate gland was with the bad cells. I'm being discussed in their Friday meeting, to decide a way forward.

I didn't go to see Dave on Thursday, as there's a fault with my car, which turns out to need a new clutch. Damn. At least that will be fixed today.

No gig tonight. Graham is looking at coming back playing with the band next week.

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Saturday 18th:
At 4am Lynda announced that she'd like to go to hospital plaese. So I rang an ambulance. To cut a long story short, they turned up in under 10 minutes and dealt with her beautifully and she was taken straight into A&E. She has fluid on her lungs, because of a degree of heart failure. They kept her in.

The evening's gig was in Morecambe and, despite my mind not really being on the job and having struggled with getting any sleep, we played really well and went down like heroes. I was home before 2am and was happy not to come back in to carnage in the house, thanks to our 10 unsupervised pets.

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Sunday 19th:
Mothering Sunday and also my mum would have been 92. I lost her when she was 58.

Lynda's daughter is probably basking in her own motherhood, but sadly, she has dispensed with us as being surplus to her requirements. I'm sure she is aware that her Mum is in hospital, but has made no sound whatsoever. Poor, and rather sad behaviour.

I went to see Lynda in hospital. She's more comfortable and bearing up. The fluid is being got off her lungs with the help of some strong IV meds. They are looking at doing a cardioversion, where they stop / start and reset her heart to a more normal beat.

The jam night was a good laugh until we came out and some fuckwit decided that he wanted serving after the bar had closed and decided to attack the manager who told him the bar was closed. Twice. He'd also been thrown out of The Railway pub for violent behaviour. He's now barred. I'm beginning to get fed up of Tyldesley and not feeling safe.

Home. Gear unloaded. Bed early.

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Monday 20th:
Up early enough. Fed the managerie. Macmillan rang me to tell me that my cancer has spread to a lymph node. I have an appointment on April 11th to decide next steps. I will worry about this when I am told to. I told a few people who need to know. Nobody reads this blog. Click here to tell me if that's not the case.

Went to a clinic appointment with Urology at Bolton Hospital mid-morning. Nipped in to see Lynda on the ward afterwards. She's much better than she was, but in no shape to come home yet. Went back a while later and Rachel and April came to visit too. Nice. Oscar is sulking at Lynda's absence. He just lies on the bed, looking properly fed up.

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Friday 24th:
Lynda MAY be coming out of hospital later today. Maybe not. Oscar is now properly fed up. I'm properly fed up.

On occasion, a couple of evidently stupid people have, for some reason beyond me, come out with the odd cack-handed comment to me about a shirt I sometimes wear on stage. It's dark brown with an inoffensive pattern on it. They can't work out what sort of band we are from it and it confuses them. Duhhhhh. Morons. I put a post on Facebook muttering about these sad people and lo and behold, my guitarist joins in the witchhunt. IT IS JUST A SHIRT - DON'T PANIC. Idiots.

Bent And Bongs Beer Bash

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March 24th:
Lynda's out of hospital. Catching up a bit of sleep at present. I'm tiptoeing around the house. Oscar is a different dog again, now that she's back.

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March 29th:
A catch-up.

Graham is back with the band and played with us in Blackpool on Saturday. He was rewarded with a lot of stairs.

The jam night on Sunday was ok. No trouble afterwards. Graham has cancelled being 'not available' next weekend, so I'm now expected to get dates in the diary. Well, I can but try.

I was up very late on Monday. Went to do our shopping, as Lynda is not up to walking around a supermarket. I was just exhausted.

On Tuesday I dropped Lynda's prescription off and made sure they'd got her new one from the hospital. The Urology team at the hospital rang me again, to make sure that I know that my appointment on April 11th is face-to-face and not over the phone. I'm getting rather resigned to the fact that it is not going to be great news. Things are going to have to be done. It's just slightly worrying as to what they can actually do now. I'm hoping my options include surgery. If that's possible, it will disrupt band activity, but that's the least of my worries at the moment.

Wednesday was a bit of a blur. I didn't meet my mate Mike, as he was away again. In the evening, our reserve drummer Ryan came round to ours and we gassed about The Who for a while. A pleasant visit.

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March 30th:
Thursday... Up late. Very tired. Before lunch, the weather looked promising enough for me to take Tom for a good long walk. While I sat down with my lunch it rained.

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March 31st:
Tom got a longer walk. Not the full walk, but long enough. The weather was overcast and it was cold, plus I was tired and regretting how far I'd gone when I was at the far end of the walk, and I then had to walk back. I don't know if I am a bit out of shape or if it is the cancer wearing me out. Probably both. I'm tired a lot recently. I called in at the GP surgery on the way back, as Lynda has been summoned there for a blood test. I've asked for someone to come out and do it as Lynda is currently something like housebound and not confident to go to the GP surgery, even in the car.

A non-stop afternoon and evening of TV. Caught up with Married At First Sight Australia. I quite like Sandy and Claire (who is getting a lot of stick for kissing this repellent slug called Adam).

Sandy

Claire MAFS

The Bay is on again and we are also still working our way through Below Deck. The nastiness and bitchiness of Kate Chastain (the chief stewardess) is horrible to watch. While I admired the Captain, surely he watched the show afterwards and saw what a total grade A bitch she was?

Cornonation Street is a total time warp at present, flicking between old and new. Charlotte Jordan, who plays Daisy, will probably scoop a mass of awards for her excellent and disturbing storyline where she narrowly escaped an acid attack by her deranged stalker. I love her acting and thought she would be great in the show from the second she appeared on screen. All of the cast have been superb in this storyline, which does highlight the need to deal with stalkers properly.

Charlotte Jordan

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April 1st:
Up at 10am. I made a coffee and did a bit of web work, waiting for Rachel to ring about us all going for a walk up Rivington to the Pike. Tom will get a bit car sick on the way and that will be a bit of a stress, but the weather is passable enough and he and I could both do with the walk. Probably a bit much for Oscar.

The walk happened and it was lovely. The evening was a night off from gigging.

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April 2nd:
Up VERY late. 12.50. I had been awake for an hour 8.30 - 9.30am, but went back to sleep as I was totally exhausted. It was no different when I got up. I was still wiped out. I did some editing / revision work to A Glittering Career In Music with a view to possibly making it available again at some point. I spotted the time at going on for 5pm and had to hustle to get my gear in the car to go to the jam night. I was still exhausted. A few regulars were missing but we still had a good night.

A St Helens venue promoter had been in touch with us about a midweek jam night. I'm used to his utter bullshit.

They said they didn't want Thursdays as there are too many jam nights on a Thursday.
We didn't want to do 4 gigs on the trot every week either - money or not.
I suggested Wednesdays to him. He said it was no use.
I said we are out Fridays / Saturdays and Sundays. That leaves Mondays or Tuesdays.
He then bottled out altogether. Bloody Amateur.

Another venue which is more local to me really wants us on a Wednesday, but say they don't have the budget to pay us very much. I can't ask our guitarist to travel to the far North side of Bolton from St Helens for any less than I asked for. So it won't happen.

I am loath to advertise us as available to do a Wednesday jam in case I have to drop out of things for a while.

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April 3rd:
First thing after I got up, I paid over the January book royalties for January to www.kidneyresearchuk.org, as they have just credited to my bank account. These are for the 4 Collected Slade Newsletter books. The royalties are paid two months in arrears, so there are a couple more sums to go yet. The books are about to be taken out of print.... after lots of warning.

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April 4th:
An odd day. Up later than I would have chosen, but hey ho. I was awake and reading til after 2am - BLOW THE BLOODY DOORS OFF by Michael Caine, seeing as I got a signed copy. Once up, I did some chasing around, replying to messages.

I have sent all of the venues we are our posters for April and May. Two of them denied all knowledge of us being booked to play for them, on the aforementioned dates. So I went back through the same messages with them and took screenshots of them actually agreeing to the dates and sent them back to them. They both saw their glaringly obvious mistakes. Despite that, neither venue kept us on for the gig we were rightfully booked in for. One venue immediately apologised and gave us another date. The other venue, however - after much to-ing and fro-ing offered us some financial compensation at two rates - a lower rate if we take it now, when we need it, and and a higher rate in November (still less than the fee we have lost). Bastards. We took the higher rate which we have to wait until November for.

More book work. Also a shedload of tax Admin work and accounting. Tortuous. Mileage and sundry expenses. Strings. Reciepts. It never ends. I should do it as I go along, instead of digging in the desk drawer where I drop everything and making sense of it later on. Fortunately I have devised a brilliant Excel spreadsheet which does a lot of the work for me.

In the afternoon, I took Tom out, and we went for a particularly long walk. The long walks are a good chance for me to think a bit and clear my head. With my current cancer situation, thinking is probably not my best option, as today I really got bogged down with thinking about how long I might have left and the grim reality of the situation. I'm normally good at pushing these things to the back of my mind and sticking them away in a box and ignoring them, but on April 11th, my life might turn completely upside down.

They have rang me a couple of times so far and told me to ignore any letters or texts that I might get saying it is a phone interview. No.... this one is face to face, as we are dealing wirth serious shit today. It will be all earnest expressions and hopefully a couple of decent options. So today I got another incorrect text, telling me NOT TO TURN UP AT THE HOSPITAL.

I can see an obvious interruption to the band if I have to have surgery. BUT make no mistake, I will go down whatever road will get me the best result, regardless of what effect it has on my work life. While the band is important as it is what I do for a living and I have to protect my earnings and try to keep it together, my life is more important.

Keeping on living is far far far more important than anything else. When I took time out from Wizdom for my major cancer op, I just resigned myself to it. They took the chance to get someone else in who didn't have any ideas and eventually whittled themselves down to a duo, so they didn't have to pay a bassist.

Am I scared? I'm trying hard not to be, but I do get a bit jittery. I can easily picture me being told bad news and an end date and having to be brave for people around me - and I have actually imagined my death many times over this last couple of weeks. BUT they might give me options that will do a lot of good too. Wait and see.

A bit of good news. My writing partner and myself have been entrusted with a 7" vinyl release project for a known artist, from a million-selling group, to be dealt with as soon as possible. So I did an A-side record label for it today - the front sleeve cover is already done. I did some research and made some contact regarding getting a couple of hundred 45's pressed up. We will see what happens. As long as I don't lose money, I'm happy. While I am still here, I am not going to slow down.

Except for the purposes of lounging in front of the TV in the evening: Yellowjackets season 2, Married At First Sight, Unforgotten, Below Deck s7 and many more...

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April 5th:
Up at about 10.30am. The first thing I did was edit yesterday's blog entry. I said EXACTLY what I thought in a couple of paragraphs and thought better of it being online this morning. So, one slightly watered-down blog later, I sat down and did a B-side label design for the single and tried for some more prices on record pressings.

Some TV in the evening. Below deck, Unforgotten, Coronation St, Question Time.

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April 7th:
Bed at 2am. Awake at 8.30am. Up at 10am. I was covered in cats and was therefore trapped in bed until I eventually HAD to get up. I did a poster for the replacement gig for tomorrow night and sent a covering letter pdf along with it which mentions the booking agreement page on our website. A legally binding contract.

I got a reply from Italy about disc pressings which was extortionate.

Went to the supermarket with Lynda to do a full shop. Called at the pharmacy for Lynda's meds and they were shut, as it is Good Friday. Duh! It's been a lovely sunny day, but I'm too tired to take Tom for a long walk. l fully intended to get him out for a walk on the park near us, as the weather was really nice, but I got absolutely bone-tired - probably because I lost some sleep last night - and so I went back to bed for a while. I had a read, finished the Michael Caine book and decided to have a little sleep, seeing as Mary was back on my chest and it seemed rather churlish to move her. Lynda took Oscar out alone, as she's not confident enough to manage both dogs at the moment and Tom worked out they'd gone out and howled the house down until I reluctantly got up out of bed and took him across the road as well.  After that, I went back to bed for an hour. Then I loaded the car up for this evening's gig in Leigh. Still nothing sorted for tomorrow night.

We had our evening meal and watched some Below Deck, then at 7.30pm, I scooted off to Leigh. Graham was there and loaded in when I got there. I told him off for carrying the bass bins in. I would have done that, he really should have waited.

The evening's gig was ok on the whole. We could have played better, though. It felt a bit rusty and ragged in places somehow. I was exhausted. We had sound problems because a bass bin was feeding back to the PA system through my mic stand, causing a problematic low hum. Once that noise was gone, the sound was noticeably thinner, but at least I wasn't looking at the mixing desk all the time. We played Purple Rain for the first time in ages and got a reasonably nice version of it out.

Home. Bed. Sleep.

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April 9th:
My son Paul is 31 today. He called round to see us yesterday and it was a lovely visit. The evening was spent at home, as our Warrington gig didn't get replaced and so it was TV and a takeaway curry, so Lynda didn't have to cook.

I was up near enough to 11am today, as I am sleeping for England at the moment. The jam night today was fairly good. Some good players came along. One new guy was just murmuring quietly into the mic and nobody could hear him. Everyone looked at me and started saying 'turn him up' - like it was MY fault. I KNOW HOW TO RUN A MIXING DESK. I had his mic as open and as loud as I could before the PA started feeding back. It's not tactful to shout 'he's f***ing whispering' as it tends to put people off.  I did say 'sing up a bit' to him as I walked past him and he sort of got the idea. Problem solved.

Home. Blog and a beer before bed.

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April 11th:
I slept really badly last night. Just couldn't get to sleep, probably until after 3am. Too many animals on the bed. No room to move, too hot, the works.

So... After god knows how many phone calls, text and written prompts that my appointment today with my Oncologist would be face to face, she rang me early, getting me out of bed and I had to pull myself together and learn how to form words. Probably to save me the trip and because she had read my notes so could handle it quickly on the phone and get it over and done with.

I asked about them whipping the cancerous bit out.... No. The lymph node is so tiny they'll never be able to find it, so no chance of surgery. Too much scarring from last time etc. Being referred to The Christie for radiotherapy. They will compare the radiotherapy sites between now and last time, to make sure that they can do it. She thinks they will be able to. That will hopefully very accurately zap the cancer. There's also an option of hormone treatment to follow on. Next appointment with her is in 6 weeks, as a keep in touch while my referral goes through.

I didn't get to ask about why her idiot colleague Neil Harvey cancelled my CT PET scan last year. I want him to be employed flipping burgers at McDonalds.

I went on a walk with Tom (half an hour each way) to pick up Lynda's prescription. It turned out to be two items short. So I rang the pharmacy, who had said something about a 'new medicenes' sticker on the prescription, when I was in there, but did nothing about it. They said the surgery hadn't sent the new meds through. I have a text on my phone stating clearly that the surgery had my wife's new medications in hand and the new meds can be ordered when required. I couldn't get through on the phone, so I got in the car and set sail for Stonehill. Who decided that they couldn't talk to me about Lynda because of data protection.

I said "Fine. Here's her discharge letter. Here's the text saying that her meds would be right on her next prescription. Here's her next prescription showing two items she didn't get this time. Don't talk to me about it - can you just get it done, please?" We can't.

"Who do I complain to?"
It's Data Protection.

"So.... I can call her ambulances, collect her from hospital, drop off her prescription request and also collect it from the pharmacy, but I can't talk to you. NO. She can't come down to the surgery. You have her down as housebound. Here's the text about that on my phone. I don't want ANY information about her. I want you to do something FOR her."

I rang home from the reception counter and Lynda ignored the call, as it meant her trooping upstairs, which is not that great an idea at the moment. I took a form to fill in, authorising me to speak to them on her behalf. The receptionist passed on my request to the meds team to get it dealt with urgently. Lynda has to call to ask about them. The authorisation form is completed and will be dropped off tomorrow. I've got a headache.

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April 16th:
A bit of a catch-up...

Thinking about whether to change the car or not. Do I lash several thousand pounds out on a newer car, when I have the health problems that I do and may not be able to continue in a band and therefore not need a large capacity car? Do I get myself a nice economical Mini, which would be my ideal car, but which won't fit all the current band crap in it??? Decisions...

NHS NEWS: I've got a consultant appointment at the Christie on the 25th, followed by a planning scan for my radiotherapy. It's nice that I'm back with the Christie. They take these things seriously. Lynda has to have a 24 hour ECG that same week. My mate Dave has been in and out of hospital from the care home that he's currently in.

I've been struggling with a bad chest infection during this last week, and it took most of my voice at one point. My throat is working at about 70% now and it's very irritable. I'm gurgling if I breathe deeply, so I don't. I occasionally cough my guts up. Not funny.

Last night's gig was really a case of having to use mind over matter. I dropped a couple of songs, as I knew they'd wipe my voice out if I sang them. I felt really hot and light-headed for an amount of the gig and I just shut my eyes and got through it. We had a packed crowd, hence the heat.

I had the others looking at me to fix the persistent PA sound problems and it was really hard to do it. I have singing and playing to do while we are mid-song. So we stop and nobody is making any sound, at that point, the PA doesn't have anything feeding back, but I'm still expected to fix it. Even with the bottom end rolled right off, the PA started to have a low rumbling feedback. I turned down the right hand bass bin, as it was causing the trouble, as my mic stand just conducted the bottom end in a loop. The stage was a total bass trap and, of course, it was ALL MY FAULT. An instant fix was demanded, so on the next song, having being informed that my bass was causing the problem, I just left my bass alone and just sang. And with no bass noise, the problem still occurred. I stopped altogether after a few songs and I just dismantled my bass rig and raised it right off the floor on a suitably square pub stool, designed for the much bigger Wigan gentleman's arse and cut out the right side bass bin. Next time we play there - it will be raised bass amp / no bass bins. The second half was a bit better. The sound problems were comparatively minimal.  I tell you what, I absolutely hated the first half of that gig with a passion and I was wishing I had just cancelled it. I bullied myself into doing it by imagining the faces if I didn't. Never play if you are not fit to.

Putting some jam night videos from last week up onto youtube today. It's taking an age. I have felt so ill, earlier this week, so I just didn't feel like hanging over a computer. I'm still coughing some horrible stuff up. My throat is a right mess. We have the jam night later on today and I am really dreading carting all of the gear I have ended up having to carry, setting it up and having to play bass all night. I don't think I will make it all the way through, so other bassists are going to have to join in, or it's going to grind to a halt. I'm going to look after myself a bit better.

The jam night went quite well, and thanks to a poster image asking for bassists, I was able to pass on some bass backing duties to Andy from Medusa and get a bit of a rest.

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April 18th:
Monday was spent doing a supermarket trolley dash and resting and watching TV. During the day, I wrote a contribution to a forthcoming Slade book and supplied a few photos, for use with an appropriate photo credit.

Tuesday was up at 10.15 and sitting outside in the back garden as it was quite sunny. I don't get to do that as often as I'd like to. There is an amount of fun and ganes going on at present with a vinyl record that we are looking at pressing up. A newer remix has taken place, which the artist thinks transforms the track. We have been promised this for the A side of the vinyl 45. Deep joy


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April 20th:
The aforementioned deep joy totally evaporated when we got the 'new' file. The date on it was prior to the activity to tart it up. It was far better quality than what we had, but it is NOT the new version. I am losing heart with the whole project.

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April 21st:
So, the artist's management has made some helpful noises to help us get the finished track.

The band played with our reserve drummer Ryan to a decent enough crowd near Rochdale. He had immense problems finding the place. The postcode took him elsewhere. My chest infection was crippling me during the gig and I forgot some words as I felt so ill. I was told that my bass had gone up by the guitarist, so I just turned it further down to avoid the argument. I hadn't touched the volume at all, but never mind.

We're performing at two venues during a day of music in Tyldesley on May 7th. The organiser has hinted at the two venues concerned and I've been asked to get in touch with one of the landladies.

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April 22nd:
After much faffing about, it seems that we now can't have the newer version of the artist's track for some reason. The artist's management have intervened - to very little avail - to try to get it passed to us, which makes me wonder how they ever released anything themselves and we are now disappointingly going to have to resort to a single track CD. If we press 200 up, that may be more than there is demand for. It has to at least break even. I am far from happy. I will ring the plant regarding turnaround times and then sort it out on Tuesday.

The music day is going a bit awry. I spoke to one of the landladies as requested and she has said she thought we were providing the PA for the day. We are playing two places, not one. None of us want to be tied to a venue for the whole day anyway. I have put it back to the organiser to sort out.  She is going to book whatever is needed at the venue for the day. We still have no idea of stage times. One of the landladies is going to try to sort this out too. If we don't hear in good time, I'm not going.

The evening's gig was in Southport. We played quite well, despite me not being 100%. We lost an amount of crowd to two competing bands in the area, but still had a good, receptive crowd....

Ship N Anchor

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April 24th:
I've been doing a bit of thinking about what I want to do with various things in The Future. I interrupted my deep and serious thoughts and musings for a trip out to the Christie Hospital. I will be back there again tomorrow to have some things done. Once again, the parking was free.

I ordered a batch of CD singles for a project that will see release shortly. The mastering on the track needs checking, but the artwork is all done and dusted and the CD label is also completed. It should see release in about 3 weeks. It is not my own recording.

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April 25th:
7 years to the days since I had my prostate gland removed and I am back at The Christie hospital, to see a consultant and have a planning scan for radiotherapy to try to halt the spread of the cancer.

The Consultant was very very nice, and she knows my local Oncologist well from the sound of it, and she answered all of my questions and made sure that I understand exactly where I am up to and what can possibly go wrong, after the treatment - like I have a choice.

The scan itself wasn't that unpleasant, except for being uncomfortable all the way through it, which means I will probably have to be uncomfortable for the duration of the actual treatment as a result, as I will have to exactly replicate my actual posture.

As I left the Radiotherapy Dept, I was handed my treatment schedule. You don't quibble about what the traffic on the M60 will be like at whatever time on those days... you just deal with it.

Later on, I informed the band of my exact treatment dates (MAY 16, 18, 22, 24, 26) and so, as if by magic, I am informed that we are now available on those 'not available' dates that fall inbetween my actual treatment dates (MAY 19, 20, 26) due to a change in holiday plans. I was considering getting bass cover in for the jam nights on those two weekends and getting myself some proper rest over those two weekends, as it is going to be a tough process. No response to my idea, though everyone read the post.

However, in the interests of world peace and keeping people in cup-a-soups, I have advertised the band as being available, albeit 'with a temporarily radioactive bassist'. If I find myself feeling unfit for anything, including the gig booked on the 27th, the band will just have to field a reserve at short notice - jam night or gig. I am starting not to give an actual fuck, as nobody else seems to.

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April 26th:
I got up at about 10am and dithered around doing a few things. I checked the master for the CD single that is coming out that I got sent from the pressing plant via wetransfer. The mix on the track is what it is. It's what we got from the artist, notnot my master or my mix. There's a probability of us doing something else for them later in the year, so if another mix ever arrives, then it can be the B-side of that. The track is in the top ten of a chart at the moment.

I went to meet Mike in town and we had a couple of beers and pored over my current woes. I don't do feeling sorry for myself as I find that pathetic in people. Nobody has said I'm going to die, so as far as I am concerned, I'm not. Shopping and home.

I did some web admin, took a gig in Bolton on May 20th - smack in the middle of the radiotherapy - but not far to travel. An evening of TV.

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April 27th:
A day of web admin, book work etc, which gave me a migraine. Another gig came in for May 19th. So much for any rest and recuperation during my radiotherapy. It's my own stupid fault for not speaking up. I just hope I make it through the two weeks in one piece.

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MAY 2023     

IAN'S RADIOTHERAPY BLOG

If you are (quite understandably) wondering what this blog is actually about, apart from cats and guitars, click here. All will be revealed. As I often say, boringly and repertitively, GUYS, GO AND GET CHECKED.

May 1st:

I decided to start the blog off before the actual radiotherapy sessions take place, because it's not just about those two weeks. The whole thing is a pretty rubbish package and not having what goes on a bit either side isn't being real about it. So here's the minutae of my month. If you're really unlucky, it will go part-way into June. You are not obliged to read it.

After getting in feeling just shattered from the jam night well after 11pm last night, I just got my guitars in and left the rest of the gear in the car. That can be dealt with tomorrow morning, in broad daylight, after coffee and such. I have big solid gates that even I can't get past them, so it is safe and certainly secure enough.

At one time, we engaged a local fencing firm (whose name strongly suggests they are from the locality and that they do fencing) to do some wooden gates and they just fell apart within a couple of weeks. That was a battle royal. We didn't get our money back from them, so they occasionally get dropped into conversation with people we know. You do a good job and you get a recommend / you do a bad job and everyone knows you're bad. We decided never to have rubbish fencing or gates ever again. We don't have wooden fencing anymore either, as it just rots. The bordering fences to us have some wooden panels in and they are now disintegrating. Those neighbours don't really seem to care. I can see us having to replace those panels too. Better than having big holes there and the dogs getting out that way.

At 5.55am I am woken up by Mr BarkBark (Oscar, our Romanian rescue dog) woofing repeatedly every five seconds or so. He's gone outside and he hasn't worked out yet that that big cat flap that he goes through opens inwards as well. So I carefully disengage myself from the mess of cats and dogs that surround me in bed, troop downstairs and let him in. If I can hear him, so can the neighbours. I don't want to be interviewed by anyone about my dog barking: "Tell your dog to stop barking." "OK, I will have a word with him." Nah. I pay the bathroom a quick visit, seeing as I am up and about and I give Silver a quick tickle as she is perched on the bannister at the top of the stairs and go back into the bedroom. Oscar decided to try to steal my place in the bed.

This is not YOUR bed.

I quite like this time in the morning. It's light, there's nobody about. I can deal with that. I hardly ever see it, though. I manage to reclaim my spot in bed somehow, with a bare minimum of Oscar growling and we have to repeat the entire performance at 8.30am. This time I beat Oscar to my place in the bed, but Edward, our big white cat, has decided to get under the covers next to me and he had decided I need scratching. I resist the urge to murder him. Just.

I wake again at 9.30am when my alarm goes off and stop it. Back to sleep. Tom licks my face at 10.30am to tell me I am being idle. I am well aware of this and apart from the odd bark when he looks out of the window at a nearby park area, I am undisturbed until around 1pm. Slack living. I sleep when I need it. I don't work to a timetable.

I do work though - two or often three evenings a week with the band and also I am working hard on a number of book projects for several hours a day and I've just done the grunt work (sleeve and label art for a single release - not mine, one that will break even). I keep myself rather busy in office hours. I've always had a fairly constant work ethic. Stop sniggering at the back if you worked for DWP, I got my stuff done there, too.

I'm selling a limited edition book in an Ebay auction to help finance a limited edition Slade-related project. The auction ended on May 8th.  (It sold for £208).

FOR SALE

I get up and make some strong coffee. Lynda is watching a series of a version of Below Deck that I haven't been watching. I don't have the will to watch various seasons of this, so I came upstairs to write this blog. There's loads of stuff I thought about during my earlier periods of wakefulness that I have missed out of the blog, which is frustrating. Proper writers have notepads and such to jot prompts down. I go back to sleep.

The whole cancer thing - which is largely the point of me doing this particular blog - has been a right royal pain from the start. If you've looked at the other pages, you'll get my drift.

How am I doing at the moment?

My body core-temperature has been out of whack ever since I had some hormone treatment with my last radiotherapy in 2018. That's why I have a fan onstage. It is NOT to theatrically blow my hair around and to make me look like a rock god of some description. It blows my hair in my face and really annoys me, but it's better than over-heating and falling over. I get very very tired and I don't have a way out of that. I can sleep forever and still feel tired. The latest recurrence - it has spread to a lymph node in the left of my groin - is worrying. I get some alarming twinges in my groin. Are they because of the cancer, or are they something else?

The Christie in Manchester will be doing 5 SABR radiotherapy sessions with me later on this month.

My weight is more than I would like it to be at present. I was 5' 10" and 12 stone when I was weighed at the hospital the other day. I eat when I feel like it and help myself to the contents of my beer fridge near my recording gear when I feel like it, though I show an amount of restraint these days.

Someone asked me last night how I am and I said I'd tell him later, but he left before I had a chance to talk. That happens at the jam night. I get caught up in the whole thing. I do spend most of the time sat alone, instead of in the main group, as I don't have the immune system that I would like to have and so i still have to isolate to a degree. That's a hangover from covid19. I'm prone to colds and chest infections and have too much trouble with my throat. I spoke to a couple who are regulars at the jam night once and they said that they had thought I was being aloof and stand-offish. That's not really the case. When both Lynda and I were vulnerable, I religiously kept my yards. I'm also currently on the back end of a nasty chest infection that has been wrecking my throat. The last couple of weeks have been pretty hairy at times, because of that and I have wondered if i'd actually get through the gigs. One night, the other week, we were in Wardle near Rochdale and I felt almost faint and was forgetting words to songs. I wanted the earth to open and swallow me up. I got through it though. I wonder how often the punters ever notice, unless I make a total hash of something? The work ethic we have between us in the group is that the show must go on, unless we are absolutely dropping. In which case, the show still goes on sometimes and we tough it out. I will only ever cancel gigs if my voice gives up completely and then all bets are off.

It's 1.50pm on a Bank Holiday Monday. It's overcast and not too cold. Typically crappy Lancashire Bank Holiday weather. Tom's on our bed, barking at something. Bum in the air, head down, tail going round like a propeller. Woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof. Shut up.

I had some toast and then Lynda and I took the dogs to the nearby park for a walk. That woke me up a bit, but I still feel pretty drowsy at the moment. I'm going to give myself a day off from book work today. Although, saying that, I have just sat down for half an hour and done my tax spreadsheet for book sales for the last month - as I do religiously this time at the beginning every month - and I have also worked out how much will be going to www.kidneyresearch.uk.org from sales of the Slade Newsletter books from February. It works out at £113.68. The royalties are paid to me two months in arrears and so I can only use the royalties estimator on the Amazon site today to get the current exchange rates close, etc. I have tallied up the book sales figures for March and April, but those royalty figures won't be due for two months.

We put season 10 of Below Deck on TV. It's hidden away on Hulu or somewhere daft like that, accessible through the Amazon video app on Sky. Watching it while our trial is still in place. At about 6.15pm, while Mary was eating her food, shut alone in our front room, without the dogs around, I steeled myself to unload the car and put the PA and my bass gear away. Oh what fun. This is the bit I feel like I am paid for. Not the actual playing.

We spent the evening in front of the TV, watching quite a lot of season 10 of Below Deck and got to the end. I was so impressed with Hayley. She managed to avoid getting caught up in all of the foolishness and bad feeling that went on. And she is a bit of a Godess. Brits often distinguish themselves best in that show.

Hayley

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May 2nd:

I woke up early, but was really tired out and so I stayed in bed until almost 11am. Once I was up, I got a coffee and started doing some book work. I have two things immediately on the go now, book-wise and it's a toss-up which I decide to go to on the day itself - as there is a LOT of Photoshop work involved, as one is a picture book.

Lynda came up with an absolutely delicious plate of wraps and shortly afterwards, I got a migraine. I don't know if it was the cheese, the screen, or the lack of sleep or all of the above, but 4 Zapains and a lie down and I was up and about again, though I felt a bit muzzy for doing screen work. I had added quite a number of images to the forthcoming 'SLADE ON 45' book and had roughed out a cover image. I'm fairly pleased with it.

Slade On 45 book

There's been a fairly nice reaction to the announcement of the new book. I expect that someone I won't name will kick off, as they usually do everytime a new Slade book or product comes out, saying what a ripoff it is and bleating pathetically that everything has just been lifted from the Discogs website. They contribute NOTHING AT ALL to the Slade World, while I have some big-time collectors contributing scans of their amazing collections. Discogs is good for verifying the origins of some variations, but I'm not sure if I have ever taken half a dozen images from there - I am currently over-faced with images to put in the book.

We took the dogs out on the park and Oscar had the best time playing with an over-enthusiastic and playful little girl puppy called Luna. Tom always stays on his lead when we are outdoors, as we don't trust him not to run if he sees another dog. I normally handle Tom is he is 'the unruly dog' and we consider Oscar to be 'ruly' as he is quite well-behaved. His hearing was a bit selective, when we tried to call him back today though.

I did some more book work and had a video chat with my writing partner Chris about a few business matters.

After our evening meal, we settled down and watched some TV. Gogglebox and one of the last episodes of married at First Sight Australia. Gogglebox nearly had some spoilers in it. Blue Line is about the Police force in Northern Ireland and graphically illustrates how terrible a time it was there and how being a Poilce officer marked you down for execution and would have had you living in fear. Imagine checking under your car for bombs every morning. Unthinkable.

Lynda went to bed at about 10.30pm and I went off to do some more book work, while I'm in the mood. I've been sent a lot of images, like i said above and every one of them has to be manipulated to make it suitable for the book. Cleaning scribbles off rare labels and sleeves, fixing damage, cropping to just labels and sleeve detail.

Current listening:
'The Train Kept A-Rollin' by The 'N Betweens. Currently #6 on The Heritage Chart.
Vote for it here.

The 'N Betweens

It's 1.15am and I should really think of going to bed. I have a few things to do tomorrow.

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May 3rd:
I finally got to bed at going on for 3am. I kept finding things to do, which I know for sure that I will forget if I don't do them right then - which probably means they don't matter anyway. My sleep cycles are right out of whack at the moment. My alarm went off at 9.30am and I kept snoozing it and had a few dozes. I got up before 11am. My lunch meeting today is off, so I'm getting a few things done.

I volunteered my services to take my friend's wife to the hospital in Oldham tomorrow. He's been away from home since he had a pretty catastrophic stroke on his brain stem last July. It's cost him use of his right hand side and his swallow reflex, which has meant a tracheostomy, that has silenced him speechwise. I was going to see him most Thursdays when he was in Salford Royal hospital, but I haven't been for over a month. I understandably got bumped one week when there was a planning meeting for his future care. The next week, he was moving to a care home in Bury. Then the staff there got covid, which cut two weeks out, then I got a chest infection, which cost two visits. Now I can't go tomorrow as he's in isolation with an infection.

It was brought to my attention that a certain person is already slagging off the 'Slade On 45' book. Anything positive that anyone does gets routinely attacked by him. I've actually seen a spike in sales when he has a go at THE NOIZE, so he just makes me laugh out loud and helps to line my pocket. The Police are involved in his dealings with certain Slade fans. I'm not saying anything more, except he's probably sacked as our unofficial Press Officer!

I went to the supermarket, as we were getting perilously low on cat food and we can't have eight pairs of eyes suddenly looking accusingly at us, so off I trundled. On my way there, I saw that the demolition of the local Century Mill - to make way for a lot of new houses - is now well underway. I had hoped to get te relevant permission to enter photograph the inside of the mill before they got into it, but it's past the point now where it would be safe to go anywhere near it. Oh well, he who hesitates is lost. But there appeared to be no way to find out who I could gain access from.

I did consider stopping into my local Sam Smiths pub, The Bridgewater, for a pint of their lovely bitter, on the way back from Tesco, but they have a strict 'no use of mobile phones' policy and I had forgotten to bring a book with me and though I looked, I didn't fancy any of the newspapers today. I resolved to have one at home instead.

I got home and did a solid few hours work on the 'Slade On 45' book. The project has been hanging in the air for so long and I haven't felt able to do the work like I should have. The band and the attendant admin take up my time, three evenings a week and various other times too. I have other book work which also competes for my time. And, after a fairly good session today, in which I realised that the book is going to take two volumes and so I put a couple of book cover designs together, I suddenly realised a fact that has for all these years totally eluded me....

MY MIGRAINES CAN COUNT TO FOUR.

Yes, they really can. I was quite enjoying myself doing some nice draft artwork designs, and all of a sudden, I started to get a little shimmering ring of fire in the centre of my vision. That means a migraine is coming on. The best way to deal with it is to get in a dark room and take 4 Zapains, shut my eyes properly and wait for it to be gone. I took 3 Zapains and it was not subsiding very much at all, more like it was getting worse, so after about 10 minutes, I took another one - no water, just swallowed it and stayed put. A while later, the migraine effects had subsided, but when I got up and went downstairs, I still felt rather muzzy, like my thoughts were coming to me through a thick soupy fog.

I am pleased with the two designs, though... In a couple of months, both books should hopefully be on sale.

Slade On 45 Vol 1Slade On 45 Vol 2

Lynda and I had our evening meal and watched some TV. It's 10.30pm now. Lynda's in bed and I'm going to try to be in bed before midnight tonight. Famous last words....

A big tiring weekend of local gigging coming up. I hope I get through it.

Jam Nite  The Three  The Three

Current listening: Ian Hunter - Defiance Part One - Sun Records.
Current reading: Brett Anderson - Coal Black Mornings.

If you are (quite understandably) wondering what this blog is actually about, apart from cats and guitars, click here. All will be revealed. As I often say, boringly and repertitively, GUYS GET CHECKED.

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May 4th:
I got to bed at 1am and was woken up a bit after 8am by Edward loudly fighting his way into the bottom drawer of my bedside cabinet. That cat is going insane and he's taking me with him. I checked my phone, so that I didn't just go back to sleep and got up and started shambling around the house. I missed a video call from Mark, who must think I get out of bed at an ungodly hour. I have tried calling him back, but he's not answering. Perhaps he's gone to bed. We will catch each other at some point during the day, no doubt.

I've dealt with the latest royalty payments from the Slade Fan Club Newletter books this morning - £113.68 more has now been sent to www.kidneyresearchuk.org. My good deed for the day. More info on the book donations are on my Slade site here. I've updated various pages to let them know about this. The royalty payments are made by Amazon to authors 2 months in arrears, so there will be 2 more donations made. The last one is only a couple of days worth of orders before the books went out of print, so I will probably just do the two months payments all in one go next month, to get it over and done with.

It's nice and sunny outside, so I might get a walk out later. I did manage to sit outside for a little while with a nice glass of stout. Makes a change from staying indoors all day and avoiding the sun, typing away at books. We've had our dog Tom for five years today, so he's going to have a special tea. I took this nice photo of him.

Tom

I had a good video chat for over an hour with Mark. We took the dogs for a walk on the park near our house again and afterwards, I walked to the chippy near to us for our lunch. Curry and chips each. Nice.

While I'm out, I get a photo or two of the mill that is slowly being demolished. I don't like seeing history wiped away and forgotten, though the disused mill is really scruffy and has served its purpose and it's maybe time to move on and replace it with houses full of screaming kids, which the chippy must be looking forward to, as it is across the road from where they're going to be.

Going going

Going going

I have a nice long over-hot bath and a read while I am in there - Brett is talking candidly about his breakup with Justine Frischmann. I've never been able to talk about my own break-ups. I've only had a couple, really. That's how it goes, I guess...

I got out of the bath and had a lie down and slept for an hour or so. Mary woke me up by sitting on my chest, pawing gently at my neck and meowing concernedly and licking my nose. She is very cute in her dismal little tabby way.

I know this is meant to be a radiothrapy blog and that the radiotherapy hasn't actually started yet. I am waiting for that to happen with baited breath and a minor amount of anxiety. I must be more slightly confident of eventual survival than i was a short while ago, as I have ordered the next Ultarvox 6CD and 2 DVD box set for QUARTET, which is due out in July. It's been delayed for a while and I can't wait to see it. The Vienna and Rage In Eden boxes were just superb.

Voxy Music

My order from the official Ultravox store ended up being cancelled as it was £13 different to the cost on Amazon. Let's be real.

I had a brief messenger chat with my business partner about the CD single we are about to anounce the release of next week. It is mainly going to be available as a small batch through one particular channel and it looks like the demand will exceed the supply. I am not at all keen on getting a second batch done. I want to be in and out and for it to be done with. I don't want to be left with a number of expensive coasters. There is very little money in it for us, as we are pricing it realistically and sensibly, just to get it out there. As with the books we have done, I just want a copy for my collection. I don't really want to make lots of money from it. Any small profit will go toward another project, if we do one, anyway.

We did our evening thing of watching some TV and Vicky McClure once again is excellent in WITHOUT SIN, though she is hampered slightly by a rather out-of-the-ordinary hairpiece. There's a re-working of FATAL ATTRACTION which is very good indeed. The mad 'other woman' in it is VERY MAD. Very mad indeed.  There's also a drama about a Policewoman who ends up in Belfast, caring for her grandchildren after her dauighter dies of a drug overdose. I forget the name of that one. We are onto the last two episodes of MARRIED AT FIRST SIGHT AUSTRALIA.

SPOILER ALERT:
I'm going to say what happens at the end now.

MR AND MRS MAD
It was no surprise AT ALL when Bronte told Harrison that they were through at the final dinner party, though I thought she would have saved it for the final vows to tell him exactly what she thought of him and maybe pull a knife on him. He really is a manipulative pig. His smirking face needs a good slap. He is car crash TV personified.

No nononononono

MELINDA AND LAYTON
At the final vows, Melinda and Layton survived their utterly daft communication squabbles. During the last episode, he went off at a daft tangent because she admitted to being in love with him. Layton reminds me of someone I know, whose wires are not properly connected. As she says, she is a 9.5 out of 10 on a bad day. Layton just needs to let his feelings work, chill out and not be so needlessly argumentative. Outside of the experiment, away from the cameras, they will find their own level and be fine.

Mr and Mrs Charming.

ALYSSA AND DUNCAN
They were, of course, visibly totally doomed from halfway through the series. She is a hyper-sensitive American Mormon who was the other woman to a married man at one time, but who also hypocritically called out another person in the experiment endlessly and viciously for the mere blip of kissing someone on a night out (when some people who live in such glass houses would be mindful of throwing such rocks), and then she also acted as an alibi for someone else being where they shouldn't, on nights out. Moral? Nope.

While she should, rightly and correctly, be concerned about the practicalities and realities of bringing a new husband into her child's life, her astonishing declaration a couple of weeks back that she would only be able to see her husband on alternate weekends and the occasional weekday night after the experiment would have seen me telling her 'time's up, luv'. She pulled the unbeatable 'I Am A Mother' trump card and aggressively belittled Duncan at every opportunity for not being able to understand that her child was her first priority and then she kept him at arm's length with her appalling moodswings and nonsensical tanturms. She was painful to watch. A grown man actually cried in that apartment. At one point on the home stay, she got a couple of her Smug Mother's Group friends in to sit facing him, with stony but smug expressions and to gang up on him and side with her, saying how useless he was and how he didn't understand motherhood. Painful to watch again, and tantamount to bullying.

Every mother's child is quite naturally and obviously her first priority. Every man with half a working brain knows that. He went into the experiment looking for his soulmate and when his potential soulmate came with a child, he was totally willing to do his best to adapt and fit in, because it would be a fairly simple case of them adapting and managing as a family, but she couldn't see or allow that until it was far too late. She just put up opposition and barriers. She asked him how he felt about her at various times and, if he actually managed to get a few words out of his mouth, she interrupted him before he could get a full sentence out, then took everything he said as vicious and bitter criticism and went to lie down for a couple of days.

He was very mild and polite about it all. I would have told her she needs to be fitted with a flashing red warning light to keep men away from her. I'm really surpised that they got past the first few weeks. She, quite surprisingly, gushed her undying love for him at the final vows ceremony, as she had realised that she is doomed to never ever do any better than him. He is sort of a perfect bloke. She is anything but. Sadly, she is a bit messed up.

Then she had to stand there facing him, while he basically said that he was now so battered by the whole experience that he couldn't see any possible future for them at all.... and how he managed to stop himself from saying how really badly he had been treated, is beyond me. She wandered off and sat down and had a really good sob, several yards away. Being a complete and utter gentleman, he hung around and looked embarrassed and hopped from one foot to the other anxiously, looking as if he very badly needed a wee, until common sense told him it was time to leg it quickly, and so he did. And he lived happily ever after.

The Doomed

I got to bed very late and had trouble getting to sleep.

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May 5th:
Up at 10.30am - awake earlier. An overcast, but reasonable-looking day, weather-wise. A bit of me wants to get Tom out there on a long walk. He adores his long walks. I'd end up wondering why I was doing it part of the way around the circuit, at the moment.

Eleven days until my treatment starts. I am not looking forward to being burnt for 90 seconds, five times in an exact spot. I get the feeling it is going to be quite iuncomfortable - even painful - and that the side effects are going to be difficult. Of course, the side effects of doing noithing are that the cancer will kill me, so I have no choice to get on with it. Every now and again I pick up the timetable of the treatments and have a look.

16.5 at 3.40pm
18.5 at 4.40pm
22.5 at 2.30pm
24.5 at 1.30pm
26.5 at 12.10pm

All quite do-able, though the traffic on the return journey from the Christie at Withington might be a bit of a pig for the appointments later on, as soon as I hit the Trafford Centre area on the M60. I've had a couple of kind offers of lifts to and from the Christie hospital, which is very nice. Last time I had radiotherapy, I was quite able to drive myself to and from The Christie at Salford for the duration of the 20 treatments, but this course of treatments seems to be very aggressive and  I might need the help. We will see. I will make a judgement after the first one. Salford are not geared up to do this kind of precise treatment. I find that very reassuring, though my consultant didn't really radiate confidence (pardon the pun) when we talked about the process.

The main worry that I put on the form that they probably don't look at very much (the one about my overall concerns) was that the treatment wouldn't be effective. I'm in their hands and they know what they are doing..... though they did a lot of damage to my mate Dave, during his radiotherapy, as his spinal tumour was not reacting the way they expected, so instead of prolonging the number of sessions, they simply increased the dosage and did damage around the tumour, which has had catastrophic results. This is not just Dave's opinion, the surgeons who dealt with him have actually written 'radiotherapy damage' on reports and have discussed it with him.

Not long to go.

I blogged this until nearly noon. Now, what to do with my day?

I spent most of the afternoon trying to fix a problem that exists where my media player software (MediaMonkey) has stopped talking to my Kindle Fire, which I use with the band onstage. Not to much avail. What is on it will stay on it. I'm trying to figure out how to get something to fulfill that function and am quite worried that I may have to resort to Itunes, which is pants and dig out the Ipod Touch.

This almost made me late for the jam night. We started at 7.30pm, with very few in. But they are our good mates, so hey, we're ok. Doing a jam night on a Friday when most musicians are out working is not what I would have thought of doing, but we are obliging. We had a good enough night, despite the sparse attendance. I think I did my throat a bit of harm when we did Feels Like The First Time, which is in a killer key (high G) on the chorus.

Home pleasantly early for a Friday. Lynda was already in bed. I had a can or two of beer and did this blog update and pondered media players....

I got an email back late on this evening from a young lady who is organising the musical entertainment for Bolton Wanderers. Sadly the dates we have been given either clash with travelling to gigs, or with my radiotherapy. I have asked for us to be considered for next season.

An agent is trying to get us a New Year's Eve gig sorted.

I'm doing battle (that is entirely the wrong term for it, I know) with the new Ian Hunter album, Defiance Part One. I am playing it a lot and trying to love it. He has collaborated with a lot of guests and let them do a lot of work on the tracks. I miss the cohesive sound and feel of The Rant Band. It sounds in a lot of places like Ian singing on some other people's albums. It's entirely up to him what he puts out, but I feel that it's a bit late in his career for him to make what I consider to be such a massive concession to other people.  Some of the sings are sticking and some are most certainly not. I will persevere, because I absolutely love the guy and want his next few albums to be the highlights of his career, regardless of which stellar names are on them.. After everything I have said, it's still better than a lot of things that I have heard these last few years. It wasn't what I was expecting and so it just takes a bit of getting used to.

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May 6th:
An historic day, which I missed the first part of, as I have disabled my alarm at weekends and so I slept in until going on for 11am. I saw a little bit of the Coronation happening on TV. Did I pledge allegiance to the new King? Not telling. They do a lot for tourism and other countries have respect for the Monarchy. I think we would lose something if we didn't have them in place and Charles has trimmed 'The Firm' down quite a bit. He got the job because he lost his Mother, which doesn't probably inspire him to look anything but miserable on the day, which he does. He's looking old now.... and he is old. 74. Imagine starting a new job at that age? No, thanks. His son must have been sat there, thinking 'I'll have to do this one day' with an amount of dread in his heart. I was disappointed to see that toad Boris Johnson sat within plain sight of the event. I now that former Prime Ministers have to be invited, but does that apply to ones who are forcibly removed? He was the one person in the whole bunch that he was sat with who didn't bow his head or anything as the new King walked past him. I suspected, looking at the TV, that none of the people in the Abbey would be able to get a toilet break, as movement would be absolutely verboten and would probably get the Security Services coming into the open and pointing their machine guns. Probably why most of them looked so uncomfortable. Either that or the seats.

I had another chat with my writing partner about the forthcoming CD. I've been getting a couple of advert images together and we are hoping to announce it officially on the 15th May. I'm reasonably excited about the project and a possible follow-up that is very much up in the air and which remains a remote possibility at present. There is a chance of a very small custom run of vinyl 45's to go with this CD, but that still remains to be seen.

We sat down and watched the final episode of Married at First Sight Australia. The results for the final couples were pretty much as I predicted, though one couple could have gone either way...

LINDALL and CAMERON
After a promising start, these two were doomed from the very point where the totally Unreconstructed Ozzy Bloke (note that bloody haircut) told her that he would be going back to his job on the other side of Australia from her, where he disappears to work remotely in the outback for prolonged periods. She started to feel that, as well as being unresponsive romantically and emotionally, he would be pretty much unavailable to her at the end of the experiment. At their final vows, she went first, and basically said how he had wasted her time and she didn't let him respond with what he had prepared on peper. He was outraged by this and stomped off, with his statement discarded angrily on the floor. She went off and posed theatrically for the TV cameras, stretching in the sunshine, while we saw his back retreating into the distance and viewres could tell that he was absolutely fuming.

MAFS 2023

OLLIE and TAHNEE
The obvious 'golden couple' of the experiment  They went into it straight away, from their very first meeting, with the right constructive attitude. There was never any real controversy, just two people who really wanted to meet the right person. The 'Experts' who match the couples have got it so very wrong so many times, but these two (despite Ollie's murmourings to the cameras that long distance was no good to him) sailed off together, still happy and contented.

MAFS 2023

EVELYN and RUPERT
A name like Rupert has to be a severe disadvantage. That, coupled with his obvious awkwardness (this was his first real relationship) at being coupled with a model who believes she is stunning, and he was not going to argue with her, which comically rendered him almost incoherently speechless at their 'wedding', saw him struggle for a short while to relax and be able to talk to his bride. They seemed to be getting on fairly well, but she started to complain she had to ask him to take her out on dates, etc and that he didn't really think about it. He sort of bumbled along in her wake willingly, but was not driving anything. Late on in the process they consumated their relationship, which must always please the producers, who must wish they could get it on camera. When what is known as the honesty box turned up at one of the group dinner parties, Rupert was put on the spot and said he didn't know if Evelyn was sexually attracted to him. Bearing in mind their recent activity, Rupert's comment outraged Evelyn and their relationship sank. She too didn't want to hear what he had to say at theri final vows and left him stood awkwardly as she flounced off enigmatically, fuming away, into the distance. She didn't ever look really happy. He always just looked confused.

MAFS 2023

There is one further episode where all of the couples come to one last dinner party, which was filmed three months after the end of the experiment, where we will see who is still together and who isn't and no doubt the whole thing will turn into some sort of bunfight and the winner will be the last one left alive and standing, or someone who leaves before blood is shed. There will, of course, be tears..

This last week has seen me equip myself with a beard. Bloody horrible stuff. I will probably get the lawnmower onto it soon enough.

Bearded bugger.

The evening saw us playing at the Comfortable Gill pub in Glazebury. It's a lovely pub, run by two excellent landlords. We've played there a number of times now an we always go down very well. The crowd really liked us this time, especially the second set. A couple of the ladies there were absolutely exceptional. We have been rebooked for AUGUST 26TH and NOVEMBER 4TH. Cannae wait, laddies and lassies...

On my way to the gig, a friend of Lynda's rang me, talking about dropping a foster cat off with us This was discussed with me first, and I did have a little bit of a say in it. Rodney is quite elderly, from the photos that I have seen and hasn't been at all well and it is fairly obvious that we are going to end up keeping him. When I got home, I had a quick look around, but I couldn't find him anywhere. Lynda told me that he was locked in the top floor bedroom, so I will see him in the morning.

If you are (quite understandably) wondering what this blog is actually about, apart from cats and guitars, click here. All will be revealed. As I often say, boringly and repetitively, GUYS GET CHECKED.

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May 7th:
Well, we DO have a elderly foster cat called Rodney living with us. He came to our house last night while I was out, and I missed meeting the apparently entrancing Cat, who brought him to us. He's living in the top floor bedroom and is not overly happy to see any of us as present. He's been a street cat and, while he is acquainted with a litter tray, he's mucky and  a wee bit pongy at present. No doubt he will settle down and take us on a bit more. Can't wait.

I got up at about 10am after a truly horribly disturbed night's sleep. I came downstairs at about 3am, as there was no way I was going to get to sleep in bed. I had got dressed again and come downstairs and settled down on the sofa in the front room. Bella kept me company and kept me awake. Not a good night's kip.

After a nice warm bath where I finished off the first Brett Anderson book, I gathered the band gear together that I would actually need for today's two 'smash and grab' appearances (as I have dubbed them).

An internet Slade dullard emailed me, complaining that I have mentioned him on the forum, because he has been taking pot shots at myself and two other people. He's determined to be the most argumentative shit on the internet and I am still not sure why he comes back to me.

I forgot the wrap that Lynda made for me when I left the house. That would have staved off the hunger while I was out. I did eat it when I got home. My daughter and immediate family have been round parts of Scotland and had a nice time. I have loveed to see the photos. So very very touched to see they did Greyfriars churchyard in Edinburgh and saw the memorial to Greyfriars Bobby - something I shared with Rachel when she was very young. I got her a book about him and was so very plaesed to see a photo of the statue again.

We turned up early for The Half Moon festival appearance and did a mixed rock set, at Graham's suggestion. Some things that we don't usually do. Good fun. A decent turnout. Tilwalds was heaving when we nipped in inbetween our slots, as there was an Oasis tribute on, The people of Tyldesley are easily pleased and they know what they like. We only managed to get set up a bit late at the Union Arms, as the dup before us over-ran a bit. They didn't know we had arrived. Now, bearing in mind my shirt and Graham's, it was just a wee bit obvious. Hey-ho... It should have been us form 6 - 7, but the drum kit provided was falling apart and the PA system was an issue. We started 15 minutes late, did a mainly glam spot and did an hour, finishing with our two big Cheap Trick numbers (I want you to want me and Surrender), as requested by The Boys In The Corner. I love those guys, always such solid support and great mates. Always really lovely to see them. There was a bit of scrappy playing in both sets that day, but again, we went down a storm. Great to see someone in the crowd who knew all of the words to Surrender. Well done that man, whoever you are. Sorry we didn't do Freebird, but I do have a limit. Special shout out to The Girls In The Corner. I love them too. All their chaps have face fluff. They love my face fluff and momentarily molested it. Possibly not enough cause to make me keep it, though.

Home. Lynda went to bed early and I ate the wrap and 3 bags of crisps and several cans of beer. I popped in to see Rodney and give him some chews.

I watched a documentary on The Jam on YouTube and once again cursed Paul Weller for dissolving what was possibly the greatest UK band since The Beatles, when he should have just have done a solitary mediocre solo album instead of a set of them with The Style Council. God, they were comparatively terrible.

Looking at going to bed shortly. It's 01.12 and the Police helicopter is flying over the area.

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May 8th:
As days go, this one is being terrible. Lynda saw a photo of her granddaughter on Facebook this morning. As her daughter chooses not to speak to us, we have never met the granddaughter and are completely deprived of any contact with the grandson. The photo broke Lynda's heart.

I had a phone call from a friend this morning and that is causing all sorts of complications. All sorts. I was going to watch a Rod Stewart tribute act that I know as he was playing locally, but I just didn't feel up to going out.

More emails to deal with. You can't negotiate with a terrorist.

The CD release that I have been working on has been officially announced today. It is an official release, featuring Jim Lea dn Don Powell of Slade, plus John Howells and Mick Marson, original members of the band that Jim Lea auditioned for in 1965, which later evolved into Slade. We should be able to ship copies next week.

CD single

After this, the day's been a bit of a blur of miserable nothingness, really. I did a quick pop to the supermarket to get some cat food. I popped in to site with Rodney in the top bedroom. He doesn't seem overly happy to see me. The food or whatever, yes. Me, not so much.

My computer is playing silly buggers, so I have finally done the deed and ordered something newer from Amazon. I am frantically backing stuff up that is in my documents to external drives.

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May 11th:
A busy couple of days, during most which I have been a bit stressed out. My computer played silly buggers more and more until my file manager wasn't really working at all. I downloaded the Opus file browswer, which did the trick and I think I got all the stuff I needed to save backed up.

I can't go to see Dave in hospital on Thursday as he has three infections going on and is in isolation at present. It's ages since I have been able to see him and I bet he thinks I have deserted him. Not the case.

I mer Mike on Tuesday and he listened to my woes patiently. He might come along to our gig on Friday evening.

We watched the final two peisodes of the recent season of Married At First Sight Australia and it was predicatable recriminations all round at the dinner paty and then on the couch, facing the experts.. They didn't show some of the couples chats on the couch,

Email: The CD singles land with Chris on Thursday. There is a plan to collect hopefully some on Sunday, while we get some of them signed.

I had ordered a PC from Amazon. When it arrived, it had no HDMI slots, so my monitor wouldn't work with it, so it was sent back withink 2 hours of it landing and I bought a new Dell Inspiron 3910.

That arrived today and iIt has no mic inputs (just a speaker output) so I am hoping an external USB dongle-type sound card will do the trick. It had Office 365 installed and I look on the net for what to do. I had to delete that and then download a tool to fully get rid of the 64 bt version, so I could install my genuine Microsoft Office 2013. I have email again and spent an amount of time this evening sorting out my spam filters. I get a lot of junk mail and fortunately, it's quite simple to stop it by putting a just a few easy rules in place regarding my actual email addresses and keywords. Immediately that I put the rules in place about only specific email addresses being allowed it stopped a torrent of utter rubbish.

Reloading my large digital music collection could have been a whole lot worse, too. It was all backed up and tagged ready to be indexed again in Moedia Monkey.

I also reinstalled My Adobe CS3 for Dreamweaver and Photoshop. I am determined not to fill up the computer with garbage, so the number of programs installed will now be just those I actually use. It's running on Windows 11, which I've seen for the first time today. That takes a bit of getting used to, but I'm getting there. The base unit is smaller, so I have got some desk space back.

I had fun setting up Dreamweaver to talk to my webspace properly, but got there in the end, as I had the settings I needed in use on the laptop.

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May 12th:
I didn't get to bed until well after 2am. Watching a new computer go through all of its inevitable updates just fills me with anxiety. All appeared to go well, though.

Marvin has been snuffling very noisily and looks quite ill. We rang the vets early on and I had him there shortly after 9am. I was shattered an not far of incoherent. I did not want to drive, but Lynda is struggling with her blood pressure at present and gets very breathless very quickly. Marvin came away with broad spectrum antibiotics, Metacam and I came away with a bill. I was coming out at 9.30am and my phone alarm went off. I had to laugh. Marvin is going to be under house arrest in the catio, or in the cat playpen in the front room, until the infection clears up. He is too weak to go gallivanting.

I teased a photo of the single label on Instagram.

 

A post shared by The Noize (@noize_slade_discography)

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May 13th:
Yesterday morning a very dazed Ian took Marvin to the vets as his breathing was terrible. Of course, because he was stressed, his breathing was very shallow, so he wasn't snuffling like he has been doing. Broad-spectrum antibiotics, metacam and a bill. I brought him back home and he was under house / catio arrest until he kicked up so much of a fuss that Lynda finally gave in and let him go out. It's nice and sunny so he's probably as well out there as anywhere.

Last night we played in Todmorden. A PA system is in situ, so I could take two mates along with me - Mike and Steve. We played well. Just the odd mistake, but a very focused performance on the whole.

The Polished Knob, Todmorden

Mike said the place was 'full of swingers'. I didn't spot that, but what do I know? A good gig and I gave Steve a lift back to Whitefield afterwards and then Mike to the west of Bolton, Bed at 2.30am.

Up at about 10 this morning. Our foster cat Rodney is quite unhappy. Trapped in a top bedroom with occasional visits from us. He is miserable and Something needs to be done. We are gigging tonight and then I have to be up VERY VERY EARLY tomorrow, as I am going to Wolverhampton, something to do with the CD release.

The evening's gig was at The White Horse in Heath Charnock. It's in the process of changing hands. The manager there doesn't have access to their Facebook page, so couldn't advertise us. I was relieved when I got there early (like I do) and Graham was already inside setting up. The last thing I needed at the moment was a spur-of-the-moment cancellation. Another focused performance. Our next booking is ok and a bike club offered to book us to play there between Christmas and New Year. I wanted the time off, to be honest, but he was so nice about it that I buckled.

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May 14th:
I woke up at 7.10am and decided to get up, as I had a heavingly packed car of heavy equipment to unload and a long road journey to make. I got up and thought hard about whether the trip was really that good of an idea. I could just go back to bed. I persevered and got dresssed and washed. I laboriously unloaded the car and once again had the same conversation about going back to bed with myself. I was knackered. Again, I persevered and set about it with a grim and very tired determination. I had the cold air blower on full blast, as it was lovely and sunny - so hot that the TomTom sat nav kept overheating and switching off - and I had Smooth radio on very loud. Radio 2 was rubbish and Radio 4 was trying to sell me God. Smooth played me Paul Young and I approved. I stopped at Sandbach services and got two of the worst cold pasties I have ever eaten from Greggs. Back on the road and headed to Walsall. I changed my mind about using the M6 toll road when I saw it was a whopping £8.40 to use it. I farntically adjusted my sat nav and went on the appropriate and free A roads. I landed at my destination in Aldridge with time to spare. My genial host Chris put the kettle on and we examined the discs for our release had a relaxing brew and a nice chat, before taking the scenic route past a mass of Slade-historic sites. It's a really lovely area. As Chris said, the Black Country has so much greenery and open space.

We landed in Wolverhampton town centre and parked up near our destination and meeting place a little bit early and it wasn't open yet - not 'til 11am. I went for a walk to the main Church in the hope of finding a toilet. I was over-tired and feeling a bit wonky. My stomach was therefore a bit off and I felt slightly sick (possibly the pasties). Once inside the Church, the helpers there looked annoyedly at me for the crime of walking in. I said I just wanted a look as I love Churches. They said I could come back after the service, which was starting in 15 minutes. Like I was really going to disturb anyone by looking at the architecture inside. I was made to feel as welcome as a fart in a phone box. I didn't have an upside down cross on or anything. I was wearing a suit jacket and shirt and looking quite tidy actually. But THEY OBVIOUSLY SENSED THAT I WAS A BAD PERSON AND NOT ONE OF THEM THERE CHRISTIANS..... I walked back towards our meeting place, no longer feeling any great urgency for the loo. The building opened up and after a couple of moments, all was well.

We were meeting the artists who appeared on our CD release to get some of the copies signed. I watched the delight on their faces when they saw the finished result. It was like when Chris passed a few to me at his house and my jaw had just dropped at the finished result. It looks great and I doubt anyone who gets one will be disappointed at all. We had a couple of hours of relaxed chat about a lot of things - I got a lot of questions answered and just a few of the items from my collection signed. I had become slightly reluctant to get them out, as quite a bit of autographing had been done already and I felt slightly guilty about it, but they were happily signed. I did say all the times I had stood and talked to him, years ago at afternoon sound-checks, when I certainly had lots of chances, I didn't bring stuff to be signed - so as not to be a pest and wear out the welcome that was regularly extended. It was a great shame when we had to get back in the car a couple of minutes before our paid parking expired. It was all very positive indeed. We had done some very good work and it was appreciated. A lot got done and I think everyone came away very happy. The two hours sat down just flew past. I did do a slight fanboy thing at the end of the meet. I explained that I had seen the group about 50 times and used to chat with them at soundchecks many many times. I didn't take things to be signed, so as not to be a pest. Then they stopped touring... They were signed very good-naturedly.

Signed

The Train Kept A-Rollin'

One of the people we were meeting has dealt with prostate cancer and I am pleased to say he's had a very positive result indeed. We compared notes and war stories, including what I have coming up this next couple of weeks.

We went back to Chris' house and on the way we saw the spectacle of a remote-controlled caravan, not attached to a car, being backed down a step slope onto a drive by remote control, while the traffic watched and waited foe the main road to clear. Robot Wars gone mad. That and the tin man near Brownhills were smashing to see,

After a short stop back at Chris' house, where I met his lovely wife and we had a nice chat, I was really obliged to set off back on my way to the M6, once again avoiding the toll road. Smooth radio found some more Paul Young and I was happy but very tired. I was bak 'ome at about 3.30pm and loaded the car up for the jam night. I took the dogs out on my local park and we had a nice half hour or so. I was able to set off for the jam night a bit later than usual as there was a function on at our jam night venue. I video-called Chris during the evening and he told me that the track that we have released on the CD single is at number three on the Heritage chart. Hoorah. That was the icing on the cake for the day.

The jam night was basically like all jam nights, but slightly different in that a lot of people from the function earlier on stayed for the duration and they were just great and had a great time. There was a little bit of stress about the vocal balance out front, which I did my best to sort from behind the speakers. Working this hard while being this tired isn't good for me. Other people besides me are capable of using the desk, instead of just complaining to me. I did do my best to sort the sound problem.

I've been examining my bass playing recently and am going less-flowery / more-functional. There is always some arsehole that will pick holes and moan. They are the ones that deserve cancer. Take it from me. Please.

Home at a reasonable time and I typed this blog up. In bed about 12.45am. I will sleep. Yes indeed I will.

If you are (quite understandably) wondering what this blog is actually about, apart from cats and guitars, click here. All will be revealed. As I often say, boringly and repertitively, GUYS GET CHECKED.

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May 15th:
We were awake before 6am, as Marvin And His Terribly Loud Breathing came upstairs and settled on my chest. He stayed put and I stroked him for a while. If he's comfortable and purring, that will do for me. Lynda nipped downstairs and put his meds in one of the cat yoghurt thing he loves, which he devoured, still on my chest, almost nose to nose with me. He wasn't for moving, and though I was bone-tired, I was not going to shift him, so I just thought, oh well, I will get some sleep later. After a short while, one of the dogs shifted on the bed and disturbed him, so he went to find a much sunnier spot on the window sill. I went back to sleep, batted away my alarm at 9.20am and had almost another hour..

Lynda asked me to take a photo of Rodney for Facebook. He's still 'the prisoner in the attic', doesn't like me and tolerates Lynda as she feeds him.

Rodney

I did some quick Photoshop work, starting on another CD project that is in the offing. More about that one nearer to the time. I have a few project-type balls to juggle in the air at the moment. A couple of books that i should spend more time on.

My next two weeks look utterly daft. I had two weeks where we had a break as our guitarist was meant to be away. Then he said he wasn't. I advertised the band as available and what happened? Some cheeky sod venues ring us up and book us. Damn. Serves me right. Victims of our own success. I have been advised to rest up during my radiotherapy sessions but it's my own fault..

TUES 16.5 at 3.40pm - The Christie Hospital for Stereotastic radiotherapy.
WEDS 17.5 - Marvin to vets 9.45am. Meet Mike for lunch 2pm. Shopping.
THURS 18.5 at 4.40pm - The Christie Hospital for Stereotastic radiotherapy.
FRI 19.5 - The Bridge Hotel, Horwich STAGE TIME IS 8.30pm.
SAT 20.5 - The Old Man And Scythe, Bolton
SUN 21.5 - Tilwalds, Tyldesley - Jam at 7pm
MON 22.5 - Visit from friend to collect a 'N Betweens CD. / 2.30pm - The Christie Hospital for Stereotastic radiotherapy.
WEDS 24.5 at 1.30 - The Christie Hospital for Stereotastic radiotherapy.
THURS 25.5 - Possible hospital visit to see Dave. I may not be able to go because of my own procedures. Or lunch with Mike.
FRI 26.5 at 12.10pm - The Christie Hospital for Stereotastic radiotherapy. No gig yet, but knowing my luck...
SAT 27.5 - Lane Ends Hotel, Burnley

In between all the things listed, there will be shopping and many hours of book work, plus day-to-day-life type crap,.

The radiotherapy really bothers me, because last time, it was only 20 second bursts. This time it is 90 second bursts. The Christie really f**ked up my mate Dave, by overdoing his radiotherapy and turning the heat up because it wasn't getting the intended results. Now, I must say they know what they are doing, but I look at the damage done to Dave and I could cry. This is hopefully a rather different process and I have no choice but to trust them. I can look forward to a potential swollen leg, amongst ther side effects. Not looking forward to that.at all. Better than being dead though.

I'm currently thinking of every day as a bonus now.
I'm partly resigned to an early exit, but don't want one.
Dramatic, maybe. Maybe not.

I had a good read of Justin Currie's entertaining tour blog from a couple of months back. I wish could write descriptively like he does, but he does seem to have the luxury of being able to jot things down as they happen. I don't. I'm too busy doing things.... and then I posted a 'complaint' at https://justincurrie.com/ - let's see if he answers this one. I'm listening to Fatal Mistakes, the most recent del Amitri album, which was accompanied by a second separate disc of equally brilliant out-takes. They really are great and that's the kind of music I'd love to be playing now. Not that there's anything wrong with the clungey old rock music that we batter people with, week-in, week-out. People love those songs. I'd love the group to record an EP or an album, but that costs money for the studio and then to get the CD's pressed. I don't think there's the enthusiasm for that.

I go away from my desk and Edward pinches my chair and lies in a sun puddle.
I chug a few cans of Brewdog and my typing gets worse. It seems that of regularly becomes fo, etc.

I can't get used to a PC that takes 30 seconds to boot up and down. Windows 11, I love you. I don't care what they say.
I ordered another 8GB of RAM to add in, to stop a couple of things being clunky.

I managed to get a review sample of an 8 channel mixing desk that costs about £200 for nothing and that arrived today. It looks very good and so I put it in the place where my older Soundcraft desk had been.

Listening to a live Del Amitri show from Toronto and it's horrible. Didn't they have monitors??? Whoever shared the audio of that show should be locked up,. 6.45pm... It's lovely outside. I should be walking the dogs. Laters...

I took the dogs out and the guy down the road from me had his two white huskies with him. He was saying how he let them out for a pee at 2am and they chased a cat (fortunately not one of ours) and they disappeared for an hour or so. He was understandably frantic. At least they came back. I worry about the cat.

An evening of TV. I spent some time voting for the 'N Betweens track on the Heritage chart, while watching. It was at number three on Sunday and we want it to get to number one.

The CD single will sell out, as we have not got enough copies for the demand. Chris is putting all the names into his computer and it will randonly draw 150 names. He will message the lucky ones with instructions and he will be sending out the discs. All they have to do then is send the correct amount for the CD (and the postage to where they are) to Chris via Paypal (using the friends and family option). Of course some people don't use Paypal. Some people want two discs. Not fair if it deprives someone else of one. The good thing with this project is that we will actually recoup our costs. We're not out to make a fortune and we certainly are not out to lose one either...

We lost some money on the batch of freebies that quite naturally went to the group members, but hey, they gave us the track for free to use and we can't complain in the slightest about them wanting copies. There are a couple of discs reserved for competition prizes and Chris is going to auction at least one copy for a charity. Oh, and we have two each. Not unreasonable. That leaves only 6 spares, above the 150, which will also go to people in the draw.

I put the CD on Discogs (not for sale, just its details).

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May 16th:
TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF RADIOTHERAPY

I suppose the blog really begins properly now. Up at about 9.30am. I still haven't unloaded the car from the weekend. It's quite safe enough, but it needs to be emptied as a supermarket 'wall of death' trolley dash is coming today. I did some of this blog and tidied up my email contacts as I imported them to the new PC. I am a number of people missing, but if they email me, I will have them back.

After we hit Tesco in Farnworth, I went for a bath at about 1pm, as Rachel was picking me up at 2.30pm to go to The Christie. I lay in the bath reading Brett Anderson's confessional account of the back end of his time with Suede, before they disintegrated. He admits that lot of the band's problems were due to lack of focus, a decision to go with another producer to make the next albums and, perhaps most of all, his substance abuse. I have seen cocaine demolish someone I cared about. It is God's way of telling you that you have too much money. I've never seen anyone actually flourish through drug use. I've smoked some grass when I was younger and it got me a bit mellow, but I have thankfully never gone near any harder stuff. I have seen people tripping off their faces on stuff, spiked with LSD and turned paranoid and into temporarily rambling idiots. No thanks. I don't like anything I can't switch off and be clear of in a moment or two. I can't smoke anything now. It would be a slap in the face to the people who are doing their best to rid me of cancer.

Rachel arrived and we had a little bit of time before we had to leave. I showed her the CD single and unfortunately, Rodney is not sociable enough for a visit yet. Lynda picked up a nasty bruise on her wrist, at an encounter yesterday.

We set off in Rachel's car and it was just so nice to get to spend some time with her. The traffic on the M61, the M60 and the M56 behaved well enough and we were there in plenty of time. Rachel didn't much like the look of Northenden, which has a slightly scruffy-looking main street, but we were soon passing genteel golf clubs and expensive houses.

The multi-storey hospital car park on Palatine Road still doesn't have any pay machines installed, so once again we got free parking, but the entry barriers are now working, so it probably won't be long until someone is rolling in it again. But hopefully I will be done with by then.

We visited the relevant Department where I was being treated and I checked in. Christies is divided into Deparments, and the entrances on the four main corridors are all numbered to make them easier to find. Some of the Radiotherapy area reception desks were not manned, so there was a bit of shuffling about from place to place to do the actual check in. They went through my appointment times and one next week was moved back ten minutes. We were early enough to go get a coffee. Having something else to do helped me keep a bit calmer. I really have been dreading this.

We took our coffees back to the Department and sat down. I posted about where I was on Facebook. At the exact time of my appointment, someone came out and advised that I should go just over there to the loo to empty my bladder. There's no point in having anything unrequired in the way and being uncomfortable when you have to stay as still as a corpse for a prolonged period.

I was collected a moment or two later and went nervously into Suite 3, leaving Rachel sat wih her laptop in the waiting area. She's being very positive about all of this and so am I. I think we are both worried and I can't say how much I appreciate her being here with me while this is done. I was supposed to be in Suite 1, but it was still busy and they could get me into this othe one quicker. I suspect I will see all three suites over this next two weeks.

I was faced with this beast:

The Christie, Manchester

The Christie, Manchester

Click on the images to see the full, horrifying detail.

Last time I had radiotherapy at The Christie in Salford, I was faced with a somewhat less techno version of this gadget. I dread to think what these machines cost, but I'm so damned glad they have them.

The room looks like a big store room. It isn't at all glamourous. The machine takes up most of it. Suites 1 and 2 seem to be more bright and airy. It's not that brightly lit.

Before they started on my treatment, they checked my name and address and date of birth. They gave me a brief but complete chat about the potential side effects of this treatment. As my cancer is in a lymph node, zapping that could cause a leg to swell. The surrounding areas to the actual node could be affected, so I may have a bowel problem afterwards. It is not that close to my bladder, thankfully, as I pee enough as it is. Too much info? Go and read a paper. This is education, kids. I was asked if I have any questions, or worries. I know the drill with radiotherapy. I told them that I am happy that they know what they are doing. They said to put my hand up if I was getting weirded out. They could see me on camera and would stop the process.

It's scary.
You don't feel a thing.
It can cause as much damage as it can cure.
I will be really tired for some time. No change there, then.
You have to keep still while they are doing it.
I have no choice. I've taken the deal.
It's better than the alternative.
Don't be so soft, Ian.

I lay on the bed section and dropped my trousers and underpants and lifted my shirt... and my 'interesting bits' were covered with paper. At one point in my life I would have been rather self-concious of this bit of the process, but now I care as little about dropping my pants as the hospital staff. If the piece of paper blows away, it's not like they haven't seen one of these before. I've been poked and prodded and tested everywhere down there.

They looked carefully at the recent small tattoos on my body, which are there to help with positioning and nudged me gently into the desired position. Just to the right in the lower photo above, there is a screen with all of my co-ordinates of how I was laid out last time I was scanned. They matched my position precisely. Yes, I was vaguely uncomfortable again. I lay with my arms across my chest and of course, I got an itchy nose and moved an arm to scratch it. My body stayed absolutely still. A thin green laser light went the length of my body, not quite touching it, but not missing my nose by much. It's un-nerving, no matter if I've done this before.

Then they scanned me again. It took a couple of minutes. The huge component parts whizzed around me and I watched in mute horror as one large and rather bulky part of it lined up with my face and I could see a slot which revealed a red light. Another component was a flat plate and I nearly laughed out loud when I saw a sticker on it, showing a man sat on a flat plate with a red circle and and line through it, advising you NOT to do that. Like you'd try to sit on a panel on a multi-million pound piece of equipment like this. Thinking about it, it has possibly happened somewhere at some time. I'll return to this on Thursday.

The machine stopped moving and a moment or two later, the bed I was lying on clicked and whirred slightly and moved almost imperceptibly into a slighty altered position. Then it all went quiet. I waited.

There was a lengthy pause and then the actual treatment started. The huge parts moved around me and rotated and whirred and blooped with a sound a little like the keyboards on a Kraftwerk album. Humm, brrrr, bloop, ping, beeeeeep. It won't sell. Don't bother recording it. Things moved slightly and pointed at my middle. 90 seconds of this, with me lying there, thinking of what damage was being done, rather than what good was being done.. Pointless. I looked at the dull ceiling and waited for it all to be over. Then it was.

One of the team came in and said brightly "You're done." I asked her if people ever had panic attacks over this treatment. She thought about it for a moment, as if she'd never heard this question before. She said that people who have to wear the protective plaster masks, which are moulded from scratch to their face, sometimes get upset. I mentioned my friend Dave had a massive panic attack when his mask was being made, but that he was a lot better when the treatment was being done, even though he still had to actually wear the thing. I don't need one, as the left of my pelvis is the affected area.

I also asked her about the re-scan they do. Can they see the actual cancer?
Not really, but the area to be treated is clearly visible. That will do for me.

I will do doubt think of further odd questions to toss their way. I got permission to take the two photos on the blog and made sure that she wasn't going to be in them.

I got dressed and walked back to Rachel, who was really surprised that I was back so soon. She thought it would have taken a lot longer. It was good to get away. We gathered ourselves and our belongings up and made our way out into the sunshine.

Once we hit the M60, it was rush hour carnage. The traffic moved, crawled and crawled again. I told Rachel I am quite Zen about queueing or waiting for anything in hospitals, or on motorways and about how long it takes to get to places. I make sure set off early enough and allow myself enough time to get where I am going, without working myself up about it. As long as I am not late to set up at a gig, or letting someone down by being late, then I really don't care.

We came off the M60 and took a detour through Urmston. I mentioned a New Year's eve gig I did there with my friend Kee and Barry on drums and Danielle singing, as we passed the club. I thought it was going to be chaos, but we did ok. We rejoined the M60, having dodged around the congestion, thanks to Google on Rachel's dashboard. Very techno. I still have a CD player in my car, not that I have ever put a CD on it. Another detour took us through Worsley and Walkden, as I knew Kearsley roundabout would be a total clusterf***. I didn't fancy queueing on Watergate Lane at the next exit either.

Rachel popped in to see Lynda, then nipped off home, in search of food. I went around the corner and retrieved Marvin from someone's garden, as I had seen him in one of his favourite spots as we drove past. His breathing still sounds a bit rough. He's at the vets in the morning.

I set some files copying from my old PC to a pen drive as they had failed to copy and I was a lot of photos missing. Some new RAM turned up for the new PC and I slotted it in, but I still have to get the other data backed up before I get round to restarting the new PC, as I only have the one monitor that attaches via a HDMI cable. First world problems.

An evening of TV. Lynda went to bed at 10.30pm and then went upstairs, I did some more backing up of data and I wrote this blog. It feels a bit attention-seeking as I check it, but what the hell. It is meant to raise awareness about the prostate cancer problem.

It's now 00.40 and I want to be in bed soon. Goodnight all.
Not that anyone is reading this...

If you are (quite understandably) wondering what this blog is actually about, apart from cats and guitars, click here. All will be revealed. As I often say, boringly and repertitively, GUYS GET CHECKED.

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May 17th:
We took Marvin for his follow-up appointment at the Vets at 9.45am. He's very congested and looks properly fed-up. The vet has kept him and they are going to put him under and check for obstructions etc, and take a proper look at what ails him. That's £700-800 down the tube, but we can't let Marvin soldier on uncomfortable.

I installed Nero 12 onto the new PC. I had a brief moment of panic when the installation asked for the serial number, but it was on the inside panel of the DVD case, hidden behind the booklet.

I had a video chat with Chris about the CD's. They are now being allocated to people. A lot of people are saying there should be a lot more discs, as they haven't got them. We were not confident to get more than 200 pressed up (of course the 200 discs is less the copies that went to the group) as we were not sure if people would actually buy them. We didn't want to get left with a load of copies. This has been an experiment to a degree. We are not going to get more copies made. We said 150 copies would be available and those who have bought the disc so far would have every right to be upset if their 'exclusive limited edition of 150' suddenly became 'a limited edition of 350'.

If we ever get to release anything else, we might possibly be confident to bump the production numbers up and maybe even sell them via an Ebay shop. That is some way off and I'm sure we will talk about it a lot.

Some think Ebay is evil, like Paypal and that will put them off. One guy on the forum said that he doesn't use Facebook or Paypal and I told him to ask someone to help him, or get someone to buy it for him. This evening, I spotted a post from him saying that he would buy it if he could get it through the forum. How do people buy anything or do anything if they don't trust the internet? The odd person who has been selected to buy a disc has backed out. That £9.95 is a lot of money. Well, if they don't want it, at least someone else does. They have until Friday to complete their transaction with Chris, otherwise, other names will come out of the hat and those people can have them. Chris has taken on a lot of admin work and is getting an amount of flak that is not required or even sensible.

The question has arisen of the possibility of some people putting their copies on Ebay for profit. We have no control at all over what anyone does with their CD once they get it. They can play it, melt it, use it as a frisbee, use it as a weapon, or re-sell it. It's not up to us. I think 99.9% will hang on to theirs with a grim determination.

Others have asked about a 7" single. We looked into getting some pressed up. They were prohibitively expensive and there would have been a long wait to get them pressed, and once again, we were not sure if people would buy them. Getting stuck with a load of those would be an absolute disaster.

We made a finite number of discs and they went to people effectively drawn out of a (computer) hat. Apologies if people's names didn't come up.

The Vet rang at 11.30am. No obvious signs of objects or tumours. His nose was flushed out and nothing untoward was seen. He's had a steroid injection and a stronger antibiotic. I can ring about collecting him later on and there will be another appointment next week to see how he is doing..

I drove into town for 1pm to meet Mike for lunch. I saw a text message saying he had gone early with our other mate Steve and they would meet us there. Our friend Caroline was there too, and it was - as always - very nice to see her. I had one pint, as Mike was heading back. I'd come over tired and had a couple of things to pick up, so I wasn't much good as company really. My short-term memory is really poor, so I rang Lynda for a reminder of what the things to pick up were and went to Sainsburys, where I'd parked, to get them. I got home and they were the wrong type of Ryvita's and two packets at that. I decided to go for a lie down, seeing as I was tired. Then the Vet rang, saying Marvin had been examined at great length and with much process. No great news, except that he's having two injections - one anti-inflammatory steroid, and an antibiotic. I went to pick him up (calling in at Asda on the way for the correct Ryvitas) and while collecting Marvin I got a Vet bill for £806.00. Ouch.

I got our very valuable cat home very carefully.

And then I took the opportunity to go and have that lie down that I so badly needed. I slept for an hour or so, then came down and helped lynda to finish off assembloing the huge cat cage that we are hoping to get Rodney into..

Caged.

I also set about backing up a lot of photographs and videos saved from the old computer onto discs.- 2018 to date. I ordered some more DVDR's from Amazon. I want to back up all the band videos and photos to DVD storage. That will free up a lot of computer space.

We watched some TV and I kept popping upstairs to change the discs. I also spent a good old length of time clicking away on my phone, repeatedly voting for the 'N Betweens track on the Heritage Chart. Lynda went to be and I caught up on last Thursday's Question Time.

I remembered that I should really install Power DVD, so I dug that out and got on with it. It didn't like my old PC that much because of the graphics card. Hopefully the new one won't upset it... It won't download the patch file that gives it a few extra features - instead it now wants to to hire Power DVD 22. Nope.

I went to bed in the early hours. Marvin was hanging around outside at the front of the house, looking expensive, and he refused point blank to come in. Lynda will see him at breakfast time.

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May 18th:
Up at around 10am. Out to the shop as the milk is rather out of date and I really should have thought of that when we were in Tesco the other day. I got a cheese pasty from the shop while I was there. Very nice.

Chris and I had another chat about the CD single. A bunch of people are complaining that they haven't got one. At the same time, a bunch of people who got through the draw to buy one haven't done anything about paying for theirs yet. We agreed that a deadline should be set to get the payments out of the way, so anyone who hasn't paid by that time will then lose their copies to other people. We don't want to be dealing with the admin on this for a long time. We want it over and done with. We are now adamant that there will definitely not be any re-press of this CD single. I'm now having some second thoughts of even doing a 300 run on any next project. We don't want to be stuck with a bunch of expensive coasters.

I played bass along to some music, to keep my fingers working - I chose some Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello stuff. My band would never touch this stuff because people don't know it. You have to be a bit of a jukebox when you go out with a band. Well, you do if you want to work, anyway.

A Facebook message came in, offering us an afternoon slot at an all-dayer in Leigh in July. I checked with the guys by message and text and we're ok for it. Just needs the details firming up and then it will be announced.

116 gigs booked in this year, not counting the couple that venues double-booked us on. I don't do diary that badly.

I went for a soak in the bath, taking the second Brett Anderson book with me. It ends with Suede recording their 'A New Morning' album, which they (well, certainly Brett) disowned to a degree later on. Neil Codling had left the group and they were a bit defeated and deflated by everything. They started with an American producer who they were'nt really compatible with, musically, and that work ended up being scrapped at some considerable expense and the tracks reworked for the nth time, until they were bored with them and simply tired of working on them. They removed some excellent typical Suede tracks and put other things on that they now have no feeling for. They had no choice but to release the work. I really like the album, but my perspective is totally different to theirs, as a listener. they wanted to challenge their audience's expectations, but were unsure what to do. Asking themselves 'What would Suede do? ' and then doing the opposite sounds like a stupid plan to me, but I am not in those shoes.

The book doesn't mention their later reconvening in any great detail at any point, as that is another tale. Thank God they have done so, with a new enthusiasm that was so missing from that time. I hope for another book from him. We will see.

Rachel came and picked me up and we whizzed off to The Christie. We were there in plenty of time.

I do get a very warm and reassured feeling every time that I enter the place. Our trip to the ward takes us past people on beds, in various states of repair from ok to really not ok. On Tuesday, it was a small child being wheeled asleep or sedated, from one place to another and Rachel and I both recoiled at the unfairness and sadness of it all. You get to my age and you expect that things might start going wrong, but children don't deserve cancer. Not in a right world.

Radiotherapy reception told me that I would be dealt with in Suite 11. I didn't know they had 11 suites. They have a LOT more. Now I know.

The Christie

I lay down and the machine did its work. I lay back and waited for it to be over and / or to feel something.. All I felt was the slight breeze on my middle from a fan as it burned its target.

The staff there are just great. They asked if I had any questions beforehand. No question is too daft - believe me, I tried.... I mentioned conversationally afterwards that I thought the sticker on the square plate on the huge radiotherapy machine was amusing. Who would sit on the plate on a multi-million pound piece of equipment? She looked at me and said flatly, "Oh yes they do." She touched the rear side of the plate incredibly gently and it beeped, as it knew it had been microscopically interfered with. The plate and the large bulbous thing opposite it do the CT PET scan before the treatment. The perfect position of both is absolutely imperative, so they can communicate with 100% accuracy, so I can be placed in exactly the right uncomfortable posture to get zapped with high dose radiation. So DON'T even begin to be tempted to sit on one, folks. I didn't ask to take another photo, as the room looked pretty much identical to the other one and they were cleaning up and there was no way I was going to interrupt them.

We wre out quite quickly. The Department runs with an astonishing efficiency, unless, of course, a machine breaks down. They build in regular servicing, so that's rare. The machines get hammered. They look after them properly.

I took a photo of the pay station in the multi-storey car park for posterity.

No pay.

The drive home was the usual rush hour traffic, but it could have been a lot worse. I'm so grateful to Rachel for taking me.

Three more sessions to go. I think I felt some effects from the radiation during the evening. We spent an amount of the evening watching TV. Swarm (I've missed a bunch of episodes of that, so I was almost drifting off while it was on), Corrie, Classic Corrie and Question Time (an episode dedicated to Scottish squabbling). Difficult to tell them all apart.

Doing the blog and listening to A New Morning by Suede before bed. I can maybe see why Brett Anderson wasn't pleased with it, but I'd have been more than pleased to make a record that was anything like it.

Heading for 2am. Time for bed.

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May 19th:
Up around 10am. Not much to do today until I go out to gig later. I checked out the new mixing desk and caught up a lot of Amazon reviews.

Andy Rourke from the Smiths has passed away, aged only 59, from pancreatic cancer. That makes me feel rather mortal. I only grew to like The Smiths after seeing them on The Old Grey Whistle Test (that's an old BBCTV music show from when they used to do them, for those of you who don't know... I'll start rattling on about Top Of The Pops if you're not careful). I had disliked Morrissey's singing intensely until I reluctantly watched them perform Vicar In A Tutu and Bigmouth Strikes Again, while waiting for someone else to come on. All of a sudden, I got the Smiths joke..

They were / are a bit Marmite for some. You like them or you don't. I have revisited their songs and quite like most of them. Rourke's contribution can't be underestimated. His bass parts were flawless and in isolation almost sound illogical, playing against the guitars brilliantly, out of time, out of phase and all over the place, but right on the money for what the songs needed. God knows what he's been doing all of these years, but he was great in The Smiths. I saw him and Mike Joyce in Sinead O'Connor's band when she supported INXS at the Apollo in Manchester on their Kick tour. They played her bizarre stuff perfectly.

My bowel started playing up a little during the afternoon. That will be because of yesterday's radiotherapy. I really don't want IBS as a result of this treatment. No no no no no.

It started raining, so Oscar and Tom didn't get walked. I spent ages backing up videos to DVDR's, until I got bored with it and came downstairs and settled in front of the TV. That threw up a slight risk of me falling asleep.

After our evening meal, I set off for Horwich. I was there for 7.30pm as we had an 8.30pm stage time. I didn't have a wooly hat in the car, so I got a bit wet, as it was still peeing down. The venue is a large refurbished pub / hotel, which I have not been in since beffore the refurb. It looks really good now. It's gone from faded grandeur to funky modern space. The crowd were a bit subdued, though there were a couple of very animated people there. There was one Scottish bloke who kept talking to us. We needed an interpreter and there wasn't one around, so we just nodded and grinned in the right places. We went down well enough. Perhaps it's where the band is playing from. A good space, but not lots of visibility from the main seating. Some friends came along to watch us. I'm always pathetically grateful to see some people that I know at our gigs. We played ok and it was nice to see our friends. We were loaded out at 11.30pm and the M61 exit that I normally use was closed on the way back, so I had to go 'round the houses' a bit. I finished today's blog, which I will probably patch up when I can remember some extra things tomorrow. Tired out. Aiming to be in bed for 12.30am. A miracle,

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May 20th:
Awake before 10am. I had a look at my phone. There was a Facebook post from our friend Sue about her husband Dave who has been in hospital since July following a stroke in his brain stem that has left his right side and his swallow reflex not working. He had a very very bad day on Thursday, after an operation to remove gallstones, and they called her to the hospital urgently as he was deteriorating. She went and fortunately, he rallied. He described feeling like he had died and had decided to come back. He really IS a man of steel. I don't know how he does it. I'm hoping to get to see him soon.

The weather outside is gorgeous today. Mary is avoiding it all by lying in an Amazon box. She doesn't go out. I think the very idea of 'outside' frightens her. She looks through windows wistfully a lot, but has only stepped a foot or two outside of our side door a couple of times and she has come back in very quickly.

Mary in a box.

The boys get a walk and as I head home I land up talking for a while to a local chap about our various mogs and dogs and we also compare ailments. I win. He mentions another guy that he knew from up the road, who died from something called 'prostate'. I say that's what I've got and wonder to myself if he was actually listening.

I do a bit of messaging and such and then settle down in the front bedroom with a book about Guns'N'Roses, who I have little or no interest in, but which I bet is a decent tale. My reading is soon distrubed by some idiot guy outside on the street making whooping noises at some attractive teenage girls on the nearby park. I wonder if he thinks that acting like he's sub-normal is going to get him anywhere at all? I look at the girls as they retreat. They are beautiful, yes, but the last time I was interested in girls of that age... well, I was that age myself. They are all muttering things into their phones from the look of it. Possibly one of them is ringing their Dad up to come and sort this loony out. He shuts up and, my peace disturbed once and for all, I sulk off and I run a bath. The bath is my happy place and I can spend hours there. It's ten past six and in just over an hour, I will be going out. I can smell cooking wafting upstairs and it smells good. I'm tired. I could do with a sleep. No chance.

We are still waiting for Lynda's cat rescue friend to come round to help us transfer the depressed Rodney from up top to down below. I am on the verge of texting her to ask what the hell is going on.

At about 7.20, I got in the car and set off for Bolton town centre. A very early arrival, but I am mindful of the fact that parking in Bolton is every man for himself and the survival of the fittest. This was proved after I had unloaded all of my gaer into the Man And Scythe and gone round the block and then onto the sloping road (Churchbank) at the North side of the Parish Church. I spotted a space (there were loads) and went past it and turned round at the bottom of the hill and came back up, so I would be facing the right way later on. Another car full of botoxed bloated bints was coming down the hill, so I indicated that I was going to pull into that space on the right. Oh, they didn't like that at all. Inked eyebrows were raised to look even more artificial and I saw several screaming, sunbed-burnt chubby faces shouting abuse at me through their car windows as they went past and parked up, 25 feet further down. It was a wonder the car could even move with all that weight in it.

The Man and Scythe is a very historic pub, dating back to the 13th century. Click here for more info about it.

With all of the gear piled in on the postage stamp-sized playing area to the rear of the pub, Graham was not sure we would even fit in the area, but with a little bit of juggling, we managed it. I had no room on the floor for my effects board (which ended up perched on top of my bass rig) and I had just a couple of feet to spare in any direction. No room to dance about while playing if I suddenly became that way inclined. Ian's guitar amp ended up behind a column, but apart from that, we were all visible and ready to rock. Then we had to move the PA and lighting tree on the left as they were blocking the access to the cellar. Nobody told us that as we set up. But we worked quickly and constructively to sort the minor issue out, I played my first proper band gig in the cellar of The Swan, the pub next door, in 1977 and for some reason I have never played at the Scythe. I have drunk (and been drunk) in there for most of my mis-spent youth. It was nice to close that particular little circle. Great to see our friend Julian Godley, long-standing bassist of this parish, who came to watch us. We had a good catch up. Always brilliant to see him. A lovely lovely chap.

M&S

We had an all-ages crowd in - one was 94 and he's there every week - and we blew them away. They hadn't all seen what we do before, so it was totally fresh to them, which helped us play it with a tad more enthusiasm, maybe. I thought we played with a determination and the right amount of flash - a 95% performance. The Roadhouse Blues medley that we do impresses ME everytime we do it, so it must work for them too. People said a lot of nice things to us between sets and afterwards and the venue really want us back. It will probably be next year now.

After the gig, we were talking to a chap who was there at the start of the gig and made himself known to Graham. He had played with Graham years ago. I vaguely know him by sight and had been busy setting the PA up and wiring it together, so I wasn't paying much attention. I generally get all of my set-up jobs done before I talk to people. He turned out to be the keyboard player from one of my all-time favourite north-west bands, THE WINCHESTERS. They always - without fail - blew me away and any praise from him, well.... I can sleep well tonight. Home about 1am. I wrote this last part of today's blog and was in bed by just about 1.30am. Out like a light.

If you are (quite understandably) wondering what this blog is actually about, apart from cats and guitars, click here. All will be revealed. As I often say, boringly and repetitively, GUYS GET CHECKED.

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May 21st:
Awake before 10am. I looked at stuff on my phone quickly and then got up to do the bathroom and go downstairs to make a coffee. Lynda got Rodney into a soft cat basket by putting his food in it. She zipped it up, but he escaped through another exit in the cat basket that hadn't been checked and was still loose. Annoyed doesn't begin to cover it. The cat-catcher friend who we are fostering him for has vanished into the ether and I am quietly furious. Hopefully Rodney will fall for it again, then we can get him downstairs with us.

I set about correcting the typos in yesterday's rather rushed blog. I usually do it when I am really tired, just before I go to bed and I don't spot them at the time.

Seeing as this is a blog about my radiotherapy, I may as well mention that after just two of the five sessions, I am definitely feeling the effects this time round. This doesn't fill me with joy at all. Not one bit. Ther have been a couple of almost frantic dashes to use facilities, which means I am going to have to plan things when gigging. Hopefully, this is a temporary side effect,

Listening to the new Sparks album, which is out at the end of the month. I have ordered the album, but I got an advance download link, They are to a fair degree revisiting their early sound. Sparks albums grow on you after repeated listens. There is always a hell of a lot to take in.

NEWSFLASH: 12.30pm. Lynda has managed to get Rodney into the cat carrier after much patient waiting and subtle use of treats. We've got him into the cage in the front room. It remains to be seen how he takes to it. Lynda says "he is pissed" at the moment. I sat in the front room with him awhile and he glared at me quietly. Better than hissing hostility.

I went for a sleep in the afternoon and got up about 4.30pm. Lynda came up with our early evening meal and we ate that watching Hell's Kitchen.

I left for the jam night at 5.30pm, arriving at 5.45pm, as usual. There was a function still on in the room, so I went round the block and loaded my gear in through the side door and didn't intrude into the function space at all. The landlady said she had forgotten to tell us the function is on until 6pm, so we could load into the room in half an hour at 6.15pm. I muttered something about having another much-needed half hour in bed. Graham felt exactly the same way. We were then asked what time we would be starting the jam and I said that as we could only load in half an hour later, we might be starting half an hour later. There was a short discussion about how long it takes us to set up.

It's a 6.15pm entry next week too. To be honest, getting there at 6.15pm at the very earliest in future makes a lot more sense to me. I will be able to eat at a more sensible time, for a start. So that's a plan. Our guitarist Ian usually turns up at 6.20pm. He's got the right idea. We rarely start at 7pm on the dot anyway, as the stage is only just about finished being set at that point (from a 5.45 start). With a 6.15pm load-in, we'll be ready to start when we are ready to start.

We had the usual suspects at the jam night and a good attendance. I was on stage most of the evening as there was a shortage of bassists. I also got to play some guitar.

The word came through that the track we released as a CD single has gone down a place to number 4 on The Heritage Chart. I think we have sold all of the CD's now.

As we were leaving, some drunken guy was hassling one of the younger barmaids, as she wouldn't let him in, as the venue was now closed. He was getting loud, abusive and a bit threatening to her and I kept a watch from a slight distance, but was ready to pitch in if he got silly. I wisely resisted the temptation to reply to him when he stupidly asked what the hell was going on when I wheeled my bass cabs past him, as he was constantly blocking the doorway and getting in our way. I've had enough trouble there already with the utter not-rights of Tyldesley. I don't want any more grief with them.  He gave up tyring to get in and went with his two equally stupid-looking mates and they all went and wet the wall down at the side of the venue, before going off trying to get served in another pub.

In the car and home for 11.20pm.

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May 22nd:
So... another day in paradise. I woke up at 7am, and stopped Mary from peeing on my piled-up clothes and trainers, by emptying out, re-littering and bringing her litter tray where she could find it. Rodney has the front room to himself, even though he is in the cage, so her litter tray had to come out. That solved that little issue. I went back to sleep and, apart from an interruption to sort my alarm out, I slept until 11.40am. I feel utterly knackered at the moment. This isn't some sort of pity party, I'm just a bit bushed. Lynda lets me sleep. Tom, on the other hand, looks out of the front bedroom window, sees another dog and loses his mind. WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF, for God's sake, shut up.

A friend of mine called round to collect a disc from me that I had reserved for him, so I got out of bed. A happy bunny. We had a good catch-up. It was nice to see him.

Looking on the net, I fail to be wanting in the slightest to be dragged into the media bloodlust surrounding Phil Schofield and Holly Willoughby that has been going on for a short while now. He has been bullied, maligned and hunted by the UK press, who are seemingly acting as ITV's manic HR department in order to get him fired from their TV show. It's utterly despicable. I don't know the nature or the temperature of his relationship with Holly Wannabe, but it's nobody's business but theirs. I am horrified at some of the bigoted and nasty things that people are coming out with over this. Mark my words, nbow they have disposed of him, she will be next and the press will try to make sure neither of them ever work in television again. The press just make me sick.

A Slade page on Facebook that wants to control and handle all of the Slade members, posted their apparent disdain for our Jim Lea / Don Powell CDs release, because they don't control Jim Lea's Facebook page. Not really very constructive. Ho hum. The utterly pathetic power-struggles attached to a dead pop group. Sad. They won't mention or support a new release featuring half of Slade because they haven't done anything at all towards it...., or anything at all really. The person complaining never even saw the original band live.

Ho Hum.

Rachel turned up before 1.30 and we introduced her to Rodney and had a chat about ivy and other things and then we set off for The Christie. It's a 35 minute drive or thereabouts and it's nice to catch up and spend this important time with my lovely daughter. I am beyond thrilled that she has taken the time out to do this with me.

We arrived with time to spare and headed for Department 39 and a new team of Radiotherapy staff. I still don't now exactly how many suites they have that are working flat out, but I have seen 11. Today I was in Suite 1, which I am booked in for throughout, for the first time. It's like all of the others.

I lay on the hard bed, pants round my knees, shirt to my chin, and with a pice of kitchen roll protecting my modesty, porceeded to listen to the machine whirr and grind as I was scanned, then micro-adjusted to the correct position for 90 seconds of scary radiation. I lie there and mentally write this blog to myself as everything happens and then what pours out a couple of hours later is completely rubbish in comparison. I want to film the rotating plates, asI have never seen anything on earth like them, but I am fairly sure it would kill my phone. This is an Elekta video of a similar machine. Scroll to 6 minutes to see The Beast working.

My son Paul is back in the UK from a spell working away in Finland and hopefully he can join us for the last session of Friday and come for something to eat with us at The Trafford Centre to celebrate me being totally irradiated..

All of this means I have to start using the dreaded Whatsapp, much to Rachel's delight, as Facebook messenger doesn't prod her when I message.

On our way back, the hands-free phone rings and Rachel answers it. It's the nursery that April goes to. She hasn't been picked up. It's Dad's turn. They will ring him. Rachel gives it a moment, then she rings him. He has lost track of time, says a swear word and bolts for his car. The nursery charges £6 a minute if you are late picking your child up. Luckily, he can afford it. Rachel fumes quietly for a couple of minutes, then we talk about Northenden and the stupid location of the Airport Hotel. I was taken there once, years ago, as there was a problem with a plane. We were on the tarmac, ready to board, then a coach arrived and we were counted as we got onto it and it whisked us off to the Airport Hotel, where we were counted as we got off the coach then put in a room with a bar. The drinks were free while we waited, but before I could order a drink, we were counted back on the coach and driven back to the airport and counted once again as we got onto the plane. Bizarre.

Lynda's friend Cat, who rescued Rodney from the street, came round with some worming treatment and it was discovered that he seems to have severe cystitis, probably caused by stress. She bundled him off to get him seen by a vet and she currently has him.

I relaxed with a few beers after coming back from the hospital. I've been given a booklet with dietary advice during and after radiotherapy, which includes only eating part of a carrot, 6 cherries or 6 grapes, and other such mind-boggling things. I had some crisps and chocolate while I digested this advice. We watched an amount of TV - Malpractice, Coronation St, etc.

I fancied an early night tonight. Being toally undisciplined and not tired, I dd some band admin, messaging venues to confirm our June and July dates. it was 2.30am when I finally hit the hay.

If you are (quite understandably) wondering what this blog is actually about, apart from cats and guitars, click here. All will be revealed. As I often say, boringly and repertitively, GUYS GET CHECKED.

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May 23rd:
I was awake at 7am and then stayed awaked until after 9am. Lynda got up and instead of joining her, I went back to sleep for another hour, interrupted by snoozes on my phone.

Urology at Bolton hospital rang me at 11.30am to see how my radiotherapy is going..Three of five sessions down, 'not that I am counting', they said. They will see me in 6 months to monitor my PSA. It will be through the roof for a while because of swelling and internal damage, and because of the radiation. Fabulous.

We went to our friend Suzy's house to pick up a cat tree and some cat paraphernalia, as she has sadly lost her her last cat Thor. It was nice to get out and have a chat.

I took three dates for NEXT year for the band. Now, where can I get a 2024 pocket diary from? And yes, Amazon have provided.

Chris has put a sample copy of 'N Betweens CD with a signature sheet on Ebay and it's doing well. All of the money raised will go to a local care charity..

Rolf Harris has left the building and at one point, this would have been the cause of national mourning. I don't think that anyone cares now. It was so sad that he behaved the way that he did and blew his reputation to pieces. I used to have an office manager who was his absolutely uncanny doppelganger (to the point where people used to stop him on the street thinking he had his didgeridoo concealed somewhere about his person) and he was a nasty, horrible bully to his staff and a lot of his lower managers - the first of a few of that kind to manage the Bolton office.  A pile of vomit in a suit. As a Trade Union rep who dealt with him face to face far too often, I thought he was an utterly despicable excuse for a human being, so it is quite easy to imagine that Rolf Harris was totally unpleasant to some people too.

It's a nice day out. The temptation to give Tom a nice walk is strong, but I just feel like going back to bed at the moment.

I sat in my work / studio room, coaked in semi-darkness and did a couple of hours working on some alternative artwork for a new project, which looks like it may be the version that gets used. My photoshop courses have really paid off. I lose all track of time when I get into Photoshop work, as well as book writing.

The two volumes of the 'SLADE ON 45' books that I am working on are very Photoshop intensive, Lots of repetitive and not very exciting tasks. It will be great to read, but it is a swine to put together. I've had a couple of weeks off from that while doing the 'N Betweens single project. I got quite a few migraines while doing the On 45 books and it put me off a lot, as they were quiet debilitating. I will be back on the case with the books next week, though - as I have had a hell of a lot of contributions, making the book turn into a 2 volume set. a massive work.

Apart from that and some urgent band admin, it has mainly been a day of relaxing and listening to music and watching TV.

It's 11.46pm and I've just put Who's Next by The Who on  to listen to. I can't wait for the mega box set of that to come out. It has been significantly delayed by Pete Townshend being in the USA with The Who, among other things. There's a lot of discussion on an intelligent music forum that I frequent and the scope for material to include is immense. I can feel my credit card melting now. I have spent quite some money on catching up with their other fabulous super-deluxe box sets: My Generation, Sell Out, Tommy, Live At Leeds, Quadrophenia and Pete Townshend's Lifehouse Chronicles.

I play Super Challenge Freecell on the computer for a while and get to bed after 1am.
I am still astonished at a PC that boots up and has me logged in, in under a minute. What will they think of next?

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May 24th:
It's turned daylight. The house is suddenly alive with the sound of music. The dogs are going crackers. Whatever tune it is that our doorbell plays, I don't want to hear it at 8am. I open my eyes after a struggle, go into the bathroom, pull on a bathrobe and hurry to the front door. I am thrilled to see that our visitor is a stern-looking blonde nurse. All my Christmasses have come at once.... No, I jest. She looks at the dishevelled heap in front of her with quite well-concealed mute horror. She is here to see Lynda, as Lynda's heart problems tend to confine her to our home to some degree. Being a good, caring husband, I arranged home visits for check-ups because of that. She is primarily here to make sure that Lynda is still breathing, to weigh her and extract copious amounts of blood. Once I have moved the rather excitable dogs who want to look at her, out of the way, she is shown to our living room. She sent Lynda a text to say that she was coming. Lynda stopped using her mobile phone some time ago, much to my disquiet, as when I need to get hold of her sometimes, she won't go upstairs and answer the landline if it's in the charger. She's not keen on answering if the handset is next to her downstairs either. I go back upstairs and go lie down and browse Facebook for a while. I'm tired, but I'm not going to get back to sleep. Everything has obviously gone satisfactorily, as she hasn't bundled Lynda off to the hospital in an Ambulance. Lynda mutters to me that she has had enough blood taken and has been weighed often enough without people coming waking us up and getting us out of bed.

I come up and start writing today's blog thing. This. The car is still packed full of stuff from yesterday and I really could do with going to the supermarket. The stuff that the car is packed full of prevents that.  I've no idea where it is all going, but if it's the top floor, I can see a lot of lying down in my future. A cheese toastie arrives, with a nice fruity relish in it, and my day is complete, but not over yet..

Another lovely sunny day. My radiotherapy treatment, this afternoon, is at an slightly earlier time, so the traffic won't be too bad, going to and from Withington.

Lynda reminded me that I had said we had best go shopping, so she had emptied the car while I was tapping away at the first part of the blog. We went to Tesco in Walkden and stocked up on this and that and filled the car up with petrol. On the way back we had the pleasure of watching a motorcycle courier on the A road undertaking vehicles, weaving pointlessly in and out between cars and on a junction he sped past a car turning right on the nearside to it. It is quite possible that somebody is scraping him off the road somewhere by now. I've never seen anyone on a motorbike so reckless. https://stuart.com has nowhere to report bad riders like that. He will cause an accident soon enough.

Soon after we got back, Rachel arrived and after a brief chat, we set off for The Christie. The drive there was no problem. It's just the right time to be doing it. The weather is glorious.

I checked in at the reception desk for Suites 1-4 as usual.and was quickly taken in to be put in position for treatment. I forgpt to take my shoes off and got lightly scolded to take them off. My bad. Quickly done. I lay there and they checked my details again and got me into the correct position. I think they line me up with laser spots against the tiny tattoo spots on my hips and middle groin. Then after a bit of maneuvering and folding me into the final position, absolutely identically uncomfortable as before, they exit the room and  tell me to keep perfectly still. I do scratch my nose and hopefully that doesn't throw anything out. They scan me to make sure my position is correct and a slight adjustment is made to the bed position by remote control. Once it clicks into place, I wait. It takes a few minutes and they come over the intercom to say they haven't forgotten me.  Then it starts. The large parts of the machine do their little dance around my middle. and it's hard to tell when anything is actually happening. There's 90 seconds of me being lasted in a specific spot going on, but I see that the main lens that does the work is moving around the bed, so it's doing it from different angles. At one point in the proceedings, there is a sort of juddering noise. Probably nothing to be alarmed about, but when you are lying there in the middle of all this gear, with deadly radiation going on, you tend to notice the odd crenching noise as things rotate around you.

Then it's over. They come in, the lights go back up and I relax. Not that I wasn't relaxed while I was lying down. If I hadn't been concentrating so hard on keeping still, I might have fallen asleep. We make small talk about the band and they say Rachel and Paul can have a look at the machine on Friday, without me asking  - which I was going to do. Lovely people.

I get dressed, grab Rachel and we're off again, down the road to the M60, onto the M60 and we make a stop on the way back at Tesco in Farnworth. They have boxes of Brewdog Black Heart stout (a bit like Guinness) at £10 clubcard price. It's £12 at Walkden. I pounce on two boxes and pay. Rachel spots that they haven't deducted the clubcard discount, though I have got the points. Off to customer services. The offer has just expired, but I have bought 2 boxes according to the displayed offer price, so I get a quick £4 refund and off we jolly well pop in the direction of home. Mission accomplished / target achieved. We discuss possibly doing something on the coming Bank Holiday Monday.

We get to mine and I leave a box in the car for Rachel and Ste. In the house and I sit down with a can of Neck Oil and get blogging. With it done up to this point, I debate whether to get an hour's sleep or not.

They told me that the radiotherapy would take it out of me, due to the high dosage. I ended up having three hours of really good deep sleep and waking up with a nasty crick in my neck. I came downstairs and we had our evening meal and watched TV.

I put the diary dates for the band in next year's diary. This kerfuffle all usually starts with everyone doing a mad scramble in September. It seems a bit unreal. Nice to be wanted, anyway.

I read that we have just lost Tina Turner and am just heartbroken for her family. Her troubles are over. I've got the Private Dancer album on now and it's been followed by her Break Every Rule album. She was always great. Even when they did their damnedest to make her look as mad as a box of frogs in the Tommy film when she played The Acid Queen brilliantly.We won't see her like again. Don't say Beyonce. She isn't even a speck of dust compared to Tina Turner. I watch Beyonce with the sound off. I listen to Tina Turner.

Simply. The. Best.

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May 25th:
Awake early and up before 9am. Another lovely sunny day. Marvin has to go to the Vets at 11am, so now he's been fed he has to be kept in, instead of him patrolling the next few gardens. He's a very determined mog, so he will try to muscle his way out of the house somehow. He seems much better. He doesn't have that rattle as he breathes now. I don't know if his treatment did the trick or whether he would have got better like this as fast on his own. We couldn't have him sounding like he did, though.

I was given a booklet by The Christie on Monday, when I mentioned my mildly irritated bowel. It has been the source of much hilarity between Lynda and myself, concerning the timy measures of anything that I am allowed. We have laughed ourselves silly at what it thinks a human being can live on. I'm tucking into a huge bowl of Corn Flakes at the moment. I'm pretty sure they aren't in the booklet.

9.45am... there goes my alarm. At 11am, we are at The Vet's and Marvin, who has been kept prisoner against his will, is checked over. He is less than chuffed, because he was taken to The Vets in a cat carrier that is only just capable of holding him. Our usual carrier is currently with Rodney, elsewhere, while he recovers from his Vets trip. Marvin isn't breathing noisily anymore and with just another steriod injection to make sure and a long-lsting antibiotic already in place, we escape the Vets without paying a lot out this time. The main thing of course is that Marvin is ok. We get him home and give him some more food to make up for the terrible trauma we have subjected him to.

I spent some of the morning and early afternoon working on the A and B-side label detail for a possible limited short-run 7" vinyl single project. The labels are looking really good. I will get round to doing the main work of applying them to templates next week. I still have to master the b-side track to a suitable .wav file. We have to work out who would actually get the 20 or so copies that we intend to have made. They are not at all cheap to do. I only want one copy for myself, though as it is officially sanctioned, I may also get one to put on Ebay. I can't show the labels at this point.

I took Oscar and Tom for a walk early lunchtime. We walked round past the nearby Century Mill, which is fast disappearing and I am still kicking myself that I didn't find out who to contact to gain permission to access the building before it became a hard hat zone. It was a longer walk than Oscar likes, so when he got off his lead as we went around Dixon Green Lodge, he didn't half dawdle his way around.

Century Mill, Farnworth

All things must pass.

Back home, I had a lie down for a bit and checked some sites out.

I have a good video chat with Chris about the various book projects that we have lined up, some new ideas and a running order for doing them. We did a good brainstorm on the 'SLADE IN FLAME AT 50' book too and have come up with some good new ideas for it. So good that I started with a migraine at the end of the chat. It cleared up quickly enough.

We had our evening meal and watched some TV, then I gave Oscar a quick bath. He runs around like a little loony afterwards and it's really funny to watch.

TV until Lynda went to bed, then I watched Question Time, to see the Tory getting ripped a new one. Theo Paphitis was on and he was absolutely bob-on every time he opened his mouth. 'Why aren't you answering the question?' he asked the Tory. Wonderful.

Following my brainstorm with Chris, I did some of the writing for the SLADE IN FLAME AT 50 book and really enjoyed it and whizzed the couple of pages that I had written off to him via Messenger.

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May 26th:
LAST DAY OF RADIOTHERAPY

I was awake well before my alarm went off at 9.45. An earlier appointment today, which meant getting up and about and doing a few things earlier on. I had a quick video chat with Chris about some writings I had sent him after midnight for him to look at this morning. We are well into the new idea.

My son Paul turned up and I was overjoyed to see him. He's been away in Finland working for a month or so and it was a joy to have my two children here with me to support me on the last day of my Radiotherapy. When Rachel arrived, we had a few minutes out in the back garden before setting off. Lovely sunshine. Mary has started coming out of the house after about six months of being scared witless at the very idea of 'outside'.

We took the M60 and it was not bad at all. We were heading towords lunchtime and a bit late setting off through chatting, but we parked up with 10 minutes to spare. Coming out of the car park, Paul saw two of his friends from Nantwich and was dropped on that one of them was there for radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Paul looked a bit shaken. I wish his friend the absolute very best of luck. He won't have asked for this, either.

The final session was much like the others. The same music piped into the room while it was going on. I only recognised one of the songs today - the first one, Moving on up by M People. There was a five or so minute gap between the scan and the actual treatment. I lay as still as the dead. I didn't even scratch my nose. After the treatment, Rachel and Paul came in to see the machine. Paul asked how much they were to buy - several million pound each. So when you donate to the Christie, that's what your money goes on. There are ten suites and a private suite. They answered a number of questions. They love their job and they are doing great and very valuable work

I couldn't thank the staff enough. Mere thank you's are not adequate. I did the bell ringing thing (which Rachel filmed) and thanked the radiology team from the bottom of my heart, they are wonderful.

I took Rachel and Paul on a quick Magical Mystery Tour of the hospital before we left, pointing out my landmarks: Surgery in Dept 4. Ward 11 up those stairs, after the op, for two weeks instead of just two days. Dept 39 for my radiotherapy. The summerhouse and garden in the very middle of the hospital where I could practice my standing up and walking and go and try to forget it all for the odd hour with a book after my operation. Whoever thought of that was a genius. I used to walk there in my semi-catatonic state with drainage bags hanging off me iunder a bathrobe. I must have looked a real sight. And everybody there has seen a lot worse. Dept 31 where I had my scans this time around. A couple of other places that have contributed so much to saving my life. Everything apart from the summerhouse is well-hidden off the main corridor. You don't see what's going on in the side rooms, the tears, the despair, the deaths, the joy, the miracles.... Occasionally you will see a small child being wheeled down a corridor and your heart breaks for them and their families. Then they are taken into a small side room off that corridor, out of sight, and they make it or they don't. 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the place is stretched to the end of its endurance. And they are magnificent.

THANK YOU.

The really weird thing about all of this is that I never felt that anything was at all wrong at any point leading up to being checked out. I finished work in 2015 and in early 2016, Lynda had succeeded in making me go to get myself checked out, as she said I was going to pee a lot, after practically being addicted to coffee. I can't begin to thank her enough for making me go to the Doctor. I'd be in REAL TROUBLE now if she hadn't. I might still be in real trouble, to be honest, but I would have had far less chance of surviving this if I hadn't given in and gone for the blood test.

We drove away for the last time for a short while - I have to see my Christie consultant soon and I will have my PSA checked in about 6 weeks.

We went to The Trafford Centre and I treated them to a meal at the excellent Tampopo restaurant. We don't get together too often and it was just joyous to all be together today. I had a Thai Green Curry with rice and a side order of fries to share and a bottle of Tiger lager.

Back to ours and a little bit of time together before Rachel went to see April and Paul went to his grandma's - on hs Mum's side, My mum lost a short one-sided fight with cancer in 1989. Once the children (can I still call them that?) had gone, I settled down to do a little web stuff and relax with a couple of cans of Lost Lager. The physical copy of the new Sparks CD arrived today, too.

Lynda got exhausted and went to bed for a while. At about 9pm, we had a toastie to keep us going - accompanied by a can of Dark Heart stout that Lynda had poured for me - and then we took the dogs out for a walk. On getting back, Lynda said 'why don't we nip for a drink at the local pub to celebrate the end of your radiotherapy?' Those of you who know me at all will know that I am not one to disobey such an instruction, so we nipped into The Grapes for one. After that, we decided to go to The Kings Arms. A pleasant late evening. I watched a bit of YouTube after Lynda went to bed, including a video where someone built a Brian May Red Special guitar from scratch. Very inspiring. Some hours went into that, as well as some incredible skill. The guitar sounded just right. Bed at about 1.30am.

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May 27th:
Awake at 7am. Went back to sleep at about 8am. Up again at 10.45. Lynda was sat in the back garden, as the weather's gorgeous again. One of the adjoining fence panels to us, that another neighbour is responsible for, is in a state of total collapse. Lynda feels like going knocking on their door. I looked at the website where we got our UPVC fencing from and the delivery for 5 of the smaller panels would be £55, making the total price stupid. I looked on Amazon and got them with £8.50 delivery. Prime delivery doesn't apply on this product. I will have to cut them down to size to get them to fit, but they will never rot away.

Seeing as the weather was beautiful, I perversely went indoors to do a bit of web work, with a couple of Del Amitri live shows playing on Youtube.

At 7.15pm, I set off for our gig at Lane Ends in Burnley. I can't remember the last time I was so tired. Lynda asked me why I was going out if I was feeling so rubbish. I said I'd be ok. I tend to get 'a second wind' when I play.

The drive was ok and I got there about 8pm. I helped Graham to load his gear in and then we set up. The gig was good. We played well and the crowd and the pub staff enjoyed it. At one point in the break we were asked if we genuinely play live. That was a bit of a shock to me. Apparently, a glam band who work in the same area as we do don't play live. A bit of a surprise to me if that's actually right. Having seen them up close, I'd have said that they do play live, with lots of sound effects dropped in. Our last song finished at 11pm on the dot, as requested. Graham was feeling a bit iffy at the end of the gig, so we wrapped it up neatly with a shorter song (Do Wah Diddy) and got off and got on our way. I called at the McDonalds that's between Accrington and Haslingden on the way home for a quick fries and shake.

When I got home, I did some quick messing with my Kindle Fire, which I use as a media player on stage with the band. There's a Windows 11 fix that improves connectivity, so I can transfer music in Media Monkey and play it on the Kindle through the PA.

I looked around the house and couldn't see mary anywhere. I put the lights on in the back garden and called her. After a minute or so, she appeared, looking scared out of her wits and barrelled into the house, almost knocking me over as she ran past. Bed at about 1am.

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May 28th:
I didn't really appreciate being woken up by Tom, a little after 7am, noisily fighting his way into some packs of cat treats and scattering the wrapping all over our bedroom floor, while chomping away triumphantly. It woke me up properly. Lynda was up already. I went downstairs got a pan and brush and grumpily picked all the trail of scattered packaging debris up. Lynda got it right. She laughed out loud, resigned to the fact that Tom is Tom.... You can't be mad at Tom. He has food anxiety. Oscar is much more sensible. He knows food will come to him. So here I am at 8.52, typing this blog and chatting to Graham on messenger, to see how he's feeling this morning, as he is up already. I will get an hour's sleep later on.

So, I went back to bed at about 9.30am and went back to sleep until about 12.30. When I woke up, it wasn't like waking up. I was still tired out. I'd had 8 hours sleep.

Some pottering around, watching TV news. Philip Schofield is bigger news than the Ukraine. Ridiculous. It seems to be about two consenting adults having sex, whether they work at the same place is entirely up to them. The only person that Mr Schofield needs to apologise to is Mrs Schofield. The witch-hunters and not-rights of this world are having a blood-lust-filled field day. They're after Holly Willoughby's scalp now... "She MUST have known..." they anguishedly cry, as if he is a BEAST like Savile. He was hiding an affair, so he wasn't going to tell everybody. But the mean-spirited, stupid idiots will insist on as many pounds of flesh as they can get. They are even hell-bent on getting the the ITV morning TV show cancelled and they will be targeting the performance and private life of Dermot O'Leary and anyone near him next. They will probably  get the show canceled and then whine that there is nothing on ITV on the morning. The press are vindictive stupid idiots, who need to get proper jobs.

If Schofield IS guilty of grooming the younger male, then he's deservedly in trouble.

The Ukraine, of course, remains a stupid and baffling stalemate. Putin hasn't got the forces to take and retain any area, while moving on to take others. If his troops move, the area gets re-claimed. Ukraine can only do limited damage to Russia, due to the distance involved. All it is achieving is costing Putin money he is starting not to have from their decimated economy. Putin - to save face - may crack at some point, due to the lack of progress, and start using biological weapons, or limited nuclear attacks. BUT they are hopefully too close to Russia to do that and anything that affects the countries around the Ukraine will result in the rest of the world having little choice but to join in, in which case, this blog and everything within thousands of miles of it will be obliterated within ten minutes of those red buttons being pressed.

There's the odd mention of peace talks, but Putin wants to gain territory and  naturally Ukraine do not want to lose an inch of their territory and would want to get a little bit back that was annexed before the whole conflict started. If the rest of the world had not slept through that happening, we wouldn't have this farce occurring now.

Graham sent to a photo of him to tweak for band posters. It was an hour's work to get rid of all of the background, but I think it works nicely.

The Three

I had a restful afternoon and set of for the jam just after 6pm. That's going to be my set-off time from now on. We all landed pretty much at once. It was again a good, well-attended jam night. I seemed to be the only bass player there - so I never got off the stage, but with the people I was backing this evening, the three and a half hours was a pleasure. We had one nutter who was perving at a young girl who sang a few songs with us. He weirded me out, so he was moved. Later on, he tried to do a stage invasion to get on a mic. We stopped dead and started him out. Then he was ejected from the premises. A few welcome hugs and well--wishes from friends before I left the jam.

I found out during the evening that the 'N Betweens track has gone down to #9 on The Heritage Chart. People have moved on to other things, understandably, so have stopped voting for the track. It doesn't help that the Don Powell Band have just announced that they are putting a track out well in advance of the actual release date, which distracts people.The track features Jim Lea on guitar and these's a video for it.

The load-out from the jam night was good and I was home for 11.30pm. A taxi was blocking my drive when I got home and I employed several sets of sign language and was just going to get out of my car and tell him I wanted to get onto my drive, or else, when he suddenly got my drift and moved his car. I unpacked the car and came to do this blog. I am utterly knackered. Got to bed late as usual.

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May 29th:
Awake at 7am. Bathroom. Back to bed. Didn't really get back to sleep properly. Bushed. We have arranged to go out for the afternoon with Rachel, Ste and April. Heaton Park is a big, lovely space, with animals and lots of grass.

We were slightly late getting there as the car park we arranged to meet on is currently closed, so we had to head back up towards Prestwich and take a side road and meet up in the St Margaret's Road car park, which i have never used before. We had a lovely afternoon in glorious scorchio type weather and Oscar got the walk of his life and Tom enjoyed it too (though he was, as usual, car sick on the way there). April saw a huge pig, an alpaca, a tortroise, various other animals and birds and a donkey. Not to mention a squirrel who got a nut, thanks to a kind local who passed one to April to throw for the squirrel.. The walk got rather too much for Lynda so we headed back home. Tom and Oscar were watered regularly. I caught uop with some beers afterwards. We gave Rachel a pair of cat trees for her impending new arrivals, who April wants to call Wee and Poo. LOL.

Lynda was exhausted after the trip out and ended up going to bed early. I watched some stuff on YouTube and listened to some music.

You'll all think I'm mad, but I simply love this song. The video's great too. If Alice Cooper changed the lyric slightly, he could have a staggeringly massive hit with this.

I think this song is brilliant too..A massively talented girl. Her whole album is good.

So all of you who think I pound my head every day with Metallica or Iron Maiden may be staggered to learn that I don't knowingly have a single record by them in my house.

I did an amount of urgent fixing of images on the band website and got to bed at 2.30am.

The Three

The Three

The Three

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May 30th:
Awake at 9am, though I didn't get up for quite a while. I just lay in bed resting. Oscar is having trouble walking on one of his paws after yesterday. We probably walked him a bit too far in the heat, so lots of rest and fuss for him today.

Mike rang me up asking me to change my lunch day with him from tomorrow. He suggested meeting up today to me at 12.30pm - an hour's notice to drop everything and get myself into town. I was well stuck into my book work and I wasn't going to drop it and lose a day's work. he's not doing tomorrow because he's having a longer lunch today, so it will have to be next week. People seem to think I have a week that can just be changed around just like that. I don't  I won't do Mondays - I'm too tired to unload the car and then go out gallivanting, unless I REALLY HAVE TO, and it's best kept for book work. Either Tuesdays or Wednesdays are good for me. Thursdays will be back to visiting Dave Disley again when I am a bit more up to it. I won't do Fridays if I am gigging that evening. Some Fridays are possible.

I put an Oncolgist appointment in my diary for 8.35am on November 28th at Bolton Hospital. That''s going to be interesting. I have terrible trouble with that time in the morning. I can do it, yes..., but if I don't have to, then it's better for me. Oh well. No doubt i will soon get a ltter asking me to see my Oncologist at the Christie Hospital.to discuss how my radiotherapy went. I expect that to be in about 6 weeks - mid-July.

The whole thing still seems quite unreal to me. Dealing with cancer when i have never ever felt a thing from it, just from the treatment to get rid of it. I could have been happily pootling along with my life with the ticking time bomb getting worse and worse to the point where it was incurable and spreading like crazy.

I did a good few hours of book work today and took the page count in the first volume of SLADE ON 45 up to 136 pages (from 119). That meant doing a lot of quite laborious and detailed Photoshop work on a whole bunch of images. Some were complex fixes and quite time consuming. I am having to take some slight liberties with red Polydor labels as Amazon have trouble printing those red labels clearly. I was absolutely horrified at the terrible print quality on some images in the very first copies of THE NOIZE and took the book off sale briefly, while I took some red out of all the red labels images. I've learned how to compensate for Amazon's shortcomings, but it means making some labels lighter than they really are and taking the level of that pesky red down. It takes ages to do, as well as cropping and cleaning labels by taking writing off them and taking damage and unsightly creases off picture sleeves, so that they look pristine.

My mate Dave has been taken back into hospital today. He's struggling after his operation and he's really weak at the moment. I don't pray, but he's very very much in my thoughts. During the evening's TV, I watched Coronation Street with growing horror at the fact that one of the characters, Paul, has been given a truly tragic Motor Neurone Disease diagnosis. His symptoms are advancing slowly but surely and, after watching one of my most dearly loved friends - Alan Mosiezny - suffer and degenerate with this horrible ailment as his speech and then his mobility and muscle control were cruelly taken away from him, until he could fight it no more, I am dreading watching the programme, as if they do it properly, and I am sure they will, it will be horrific to watch. Viewer complaints are going to soar, because nobody is going to be able to bear it. It is a horrendous incurable ailment and it usually only ends one way.

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May 31st:
A solid day's book work, sorting images out in photoshop and placing them into the right section of the book. I am concenmtrating on Volume 1 of the book at present. I'd like to publish the first volume at the end of June. Just three lines to cover everything I have done so far today from about 10.30 onwards.

Book work.

I was absolutely worn out after doing the book work and went to bed and ended up having 3 hours sleep. That means that I will have trouble getting to sleep tonight. Some TV in the evening until Lynda hit the hay, then I did some more book work, with the Beatles on in the background. I'd forgotten what a great album Magical Mystery tour was. Some fabulous tracks... The Revolver remaster by Giles Martin from 2022 is simply superb, too. Heading for 2.30am. Time to try to sleep.

If you are (quite understandably) wondering what this blog is actually about, apart from cats and guitars, click here.
All will be revealed. As I often say, boringly and repertitively, GUYS GET CHECKED.

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June 1st:
Awake at 9.45am, just about... I put a pdf up in a secret location for the contributors to the Slade On 45 book yesterday evening and a couple of comments have come back about a couple of singles possibly being in 'slightly wrong' company sleeves ('1966 single in 1968 sleeve'.type stuff). No doubt a couple of 'experts will demand refunds and slag the book all over the internet because of this, so Chris has advised a degree of caution and is supplying alternate imges from his collection. Having done my research I am happy with the Fontana disc and the two Columbia singles being correct and so they are staying put.

The royalties for March book sales came through today, so I have settled the final donation to www.kidneyrearch.org.uk for March and also the last smattering of Slade Newsletter Book sales in April. I've paid those off early, so it's one less thing to do. Between the book sales and Ebay auction for 4 copies signed by Jim Lea of Slade, we raised a grand total of £1742.59. If my online detractor would like to match that just to spite me, go ahead.

Word has come back from Don Powell that he thinks the 'N Betweens CD single is "GREAT". Good. Another job well done.

Our friends Ken and Maureen came round to see us for a couple of hours and we had a lovely chat. Maureen has been through serious cardiac issues like Lynda has and some of her tales were harrowing. It was still a good evening. We're all still here, despite our variety of health issues and that's what counts.

I've caught a cold (or it's hay fever) and it's starting to affect my throat. This weekend will see me in denial throughout and drinking lots of water to lubricate my pipes.

Some TV later on. At 10pm, the alarm on my phone went off as it does every week and various birds tweet to remind me to put the bins out.

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June 2nd:
My alarm dutifully played whatever awful noise it is that I can't focus on that early in the morning and told me it was 9.45am and I dutifully told it to bugger off and swiped right on my phone to tell the alarm to go away, no snoozes please. I woke up properly shortly afterwards and zipped to the bathroom and performed my morning scrub and brush, etc.

I made a coffee and went to sit out in the back garden for a short while for a relax in the sun. The relax turned into me tinkering with the gap where our neighbours fence should be and sort of putting it back into place as a laughable type of temporary fix. I covered it up with some sheets of fake greenery that make it look slightly like there's a bush there, until you look too closely.Somebody will just look at that section of fence and it will fall apart again. Not long until the UPVC walnut fancing arrives and I can get out the saw and cut it to size and slot it into place. That will then see us out.

That piece of fence...

Lynda's prescription was ready late yesterday afternoon and I saw the text too late to go and get it then. She has a few of each of her multiplicity of tablets left, so it wasn't literally a life or death situation today. I was going to walk it to get some exercise then Lynda reminded me of a few items that we needed from Tesco, so I decided the car was a better option.

I sailed off in the genral direction of Tesco, calling in to get the prescription on the way. Tesco was a breeze, not too busy and I had my clubcard and a £5.50 off voucher, so all was good.

I went to The Bridgewater Hotel on Buckley Lane for a quiet pint of Sam Smiths beer. I was passing, unencumbered by Tom, who would have meant that I would have to go and sit in the outside yard. My mobile phone was on silent, so they wouldn't get the tablets of stone out and lecture me about the place being a totally comms-tech-free zone. You can't use a totally silent Kindle with lovely accessibility options to read your book in there, but you can struggle to read the same book on paper. Madness, A young Chinese-Asian girl served me my pint in an inscrutable sort of Oriental silence, fortunately without any of the accompanying lectures that I usually get from the surly barman who skulks angrily behind the bar, eager to recite the litany of rules and watching like a hawk in case someone tries to sneak a momentary peek at their phone, so he can go into his pre-rehearsed endless lecture on what you can't do in the building. It's a wonder he hasn't ended up wearing some people's drinks. He makes it the most unwelcoming pub in Bolton.

I left the bar with my pint, and headed outside to sit in the sun with my paper. I usually go there to sit inside as it is a really nice old-fashioned style pub. It's been totally gutted and refurbished in recent years, so everything is repro-antique, but I really like it. I am waiting for  the Lion Of Vienna pub to reopen after its own refurbishment (Bolton's other and actually nicer art deco-interiored Sam Smiths pub) so I can go there instead. Just as I was heading through the door, I heard some jobsworth woman telling the barmaid that her hair shouldn't be in a bob, it should be tied back. It's not long enough to tied back, but never mind. This barking of orders from the ugly old trout (bullying the staff instead of the customers for a change) piqued my interest just a little, so I came back inside and found a seat in one of the side rooms. I sat down with my paper, hoping to hear more carping, but the jobsworth had shut up. The barmaid's hair stayed exactly as it was. The surly barman walked in and went behind the bar, glancing momentarily in my direction through the window in the door. He saw a paper and no phone and so he left me alone.

Upon opening the Daily Mail, I saw that Phllip Schofield is still being crucified on a daily (Mail) basis and I still don't see what he has done that is so dreadfully wrong. If, as he says, there is no grooming involved, then he's just quietly had an affair with another member of ITV staff, who was a consenting adult. The newspapers are being totally disgracefully homophobic and are acting like a lynch mob, as are the citizens of the UK's internet, who are posting the worst nonce memes and lumping him in with Savile and the like. It's just barbaric. If he had taken up with a younger woman, they would have all been saying what a naughty boy he was, but in effect patting him on the back and saying 'what a lad.'. He's reached a giddy height and they are just loving taking him down. You could see it coming when he was sent by his employers to view HMTQ lying in state via the press entrance, and then the not-rights of the world, who to-a-man hadn't even bothered to queue themselves, squealed like stuck piglets in righteous indignation at what they stupidly saw as this awful queue jumping over the mortals who had actually bothered. Hypocrisy and bullying by the ill-informed and catatonically stupid unwashed masses.

If Schofield IS guilty of grooming the younger male, however, then he's deservedly in trouble.

I came back past the receding Century Mill. Sad to see a building with such character go, but even I - as a lover of old buildings - have to admit it was left to become a rotting eyesore. Soo it will be a plot full of new-build identikit unaffordable housing.

Century Mill.

Century Mill.

Century Mill.

When I got home, Lynda was a bit baffled as to how some Fairy washing-up liquid, a toastie loaf and a small bottle of milk cost £29.75 after all the discounts had been applied. I reminded her of my box of Punk IPA beer and the box of Dark Heart stout that I was filling my fridge with (that she had reminded me to buy), plus some Ritz crackers, crisps and a Ginsters veggie pasty on top of my three-item shopping list. Oh, and a copy of The Daily Mail to read in the pub.

Lynda had started on a toastie with cheese and a blob of mango chutney for my lunch, so I gobbled that down too. Lovely. She's trimmed the huge woolly mnoster known as Oscar to within an inch of his life. He looks great,

2.30pm. The sun's doing that thing outside, so I am going to go and sit out for a bit. I have a chat with Chris about our online critic saying that the CD single was 'too expensive'. He doesn't know how much it cost us to have it done. £9.95 including packing and postage in the UK wasn't that bad a deal, as far as I could tell. The P+P was around £2.00 for the UK copies. We paid for 200 discs to be made. A number went to the band and their families and we had a couple each plus a couple of copies for competition prizes and a charity auction. Divide what is left, about 150, by what we were charged, and - yes - we did end up in the black, but not by what people might think. Any surplus income after recouping our initial outlay will go to our next single project,

The fence panels turn up. The dogs bark. I get the panels in.

I run a bath and decide to ring the doctor's surgery on Lynda's behalf. They are talking about a medicene review for Lynda, or they will not refill her presecription. I tell them that her heart specialist is the only one who can review her medicenes and he will do that in July. The girl I am talking to isn't having that, so we will let the surgery ring up to be told the same. I manage to get them to do another home visit for the blood samples they require. When I am done, Lynda fumes quietly and says that the doctor's surgery have a letter from her specialist saying he will review her medicenes in July. She has the letter in her hand. It also says on the letter that she is not diabetic. So the review call will be a waste of time and the blood test is as good as pointless, too. Lynda resolves to email her specialist's secretary to alert the doctor to what Stonehill Medical Centre are doing. Hopefully he will sort them out.

We have an amusing few moments changing the duvet on the bed. Lynda struggles with it. I end up turning into DEVETMAN, climbling inside the duvet cover to get it all in place. Something we can both laugh at.

I have 35 minutes in the bath, reading some more of the Guns'N'Roses book. They seem to manage to do a lot of seriously bad drugs - someone overdoses fatally while with Slash and Axl Rose goes round being unpleasant to a lot of people. They pig-headedly put out their first album in a cover that got censored by record stores and which eventually changed for a less offensive design. The album looked like disappearing and they were totally chaotic, yet they got to share a bill with Aerosmith. The author seems to think this is all good old rock'n'roll stuff. There's nothing at all glamourous about someone overdosing on heroin. He is pandering to their more infantile and impressionable fans by saying oh look how bad they are!!

Eloise, who sometimes comes to the jam night, has messaged the band page, asking where the pub is tonight and if it is 'safe'. A question I can never answer for a trans person and rarely ever try to answer. I only think about the question later on, when it's too late to get back in touch.

I pack up the car for the evening's festivities just before 6pm and then I can have a rest before I have to get changed and go out at about 7.30pm. It's an awkward load-in up a side alley, so I want to get there early and get a space quite near the entrance. I am half asleep when the time comes to drive off to Atherton.

I get away on time and get the car lined up with the narrow entrance to where the pub is.  The cars behind me are not happy that I have to do an odd sharp turn and am going up this tiny side street. Hard luck. I get up there without damaging the car by turning in VEEEEEEERY slowly -sorry, not sorry - and get loaded in.. Graham arrives and sails in with no difficulty. Ian carries his gear down a narrow alley from the car park near the Indian restaurant to the rear of the venue. I have too much gear to do that, it would take ages, so I am stuck with using the narrow alley....

You try getting a car up there...
It's exactly as narrow as it looks.

We get set up and have a good gig. I see a message saying that Eloise has decided not to come. Some old friends of ours are there and it is great to see them. Nice to talk to Suzanne about my Urology woes, as she's worked there. When people ask how I'm doing, I usually don't go into any detail and just say 'ok thanks' - Talking to Suzanne is different, she knows the score, so we had a damn good chat about where I was up to in response. An annoyance is that my Kindle Fire, which I use as a media player has glitched and won't load MediaMonkey. No siren in Blockbuster tonight. We close the gig with I Want You To Want me and Surrender, for a change, before Rockin' All Over the World as the final encore. We take a re-booking for early November. I do NOT want to try to negotiate the entrance up the narrow alley in winter snow.

Again, to get the car up the tiny entrance where the pub is, I have to do a wide turn by swinging slightly left on the main road to get into the tiny side street on the right to load out from the pub. This time, a car behind me decides IT HAS TO to overtake me as I am turning right and almost hits the side of my car. This is despite me clearly signalling what I was doing and making the turn slowly and carefully, so as not to hit the bloody walls. This is an excellent way to get killed by some Atherton not-right and I am so freaked out by this that I nearly get out of my car and go to loudly interview him about it. I decide against doing that and get out of his way, get my gear in the car and get home.
I grab a packet of crisps when I get in, which Tom ends up wanting as much as me and go up to my studio room to start furiously messing about with my Kindle to try to make the media player work. At 2am, I give up and go to bed.

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June 3rd:
I am awake before my alarm goes off at 10am. Cats climbing all over me as usual. Dogs all over the bed, leaving me no room. I get up and faff about with the Kindle. No joy. I check if the micro SD card I ordered is still within it's return period, as it no longer works. I print off the return info and head to the Post Office. The knackered card heads back to Amazon. I have a good chat with my mate Mark in Liverpool on the walk there and back.

The Kindle doesn't like the new card I have put in it either. Removing the SD card and using the Kindle's own internal drive works as far as installing MediaMonkey, which isn't showing any playlists.... but the Pro version asks you to install MediaMonkey first (which I have, but goes no further). It's a pain in the butt. I have a larger tablet, but that's not going out of the house.

The iPod touch is back in use for now until I manage to work out what garbage is going on with the Kindle.Technology.... I sometimes think it is more trouble than it's worth.

I fall asleep on the sofa watching a documentary about Brian Jones from The Rolling Stones. Once I have eaten something and have woken up a bit, I am in a better state to face the world, and hopefully entertain them to some degree.

I set off at 7.30 for the evening's gig in Chorley.  I got there a little before 8pm and, as usual, the parking was a nightmare, I parked on some double-yellows with my hazard lights on while I unloaded. Graham was a couple of hundred yards down the road. At one point during my labours, a car pulled away from right outside the pub. I zipped inside and got my keys. As I pulled out, I saw Graham hurtling back down the road in reverse. He'd also seen the space. I let him have the space. He was parked much in a worse worse spot than I was. I was about to reverse to where I was parked before, when Graham said I'd probably get mine in if he backed up a little. It was a tight maneuvere and I had some people watching and shouting instructions from the top of the embankment. That annoyed the hell out of me, as they got critical when I didn't feel confident at one point and came out to try again. OK, they can see what's going on, but it's my car and in front of me is a skip and behind me, Graham's car. I got it into place and finished the unload. Shotrly afterwards, I saw out guitarist ian turn up and drive round for a while, before he settled on the double yellows where I had been, to unload. Then the car in front of him moved shortly afterwards, so I gave him a tip to move his car forward. A couple of people did what someone does at most fo our gigs - asks us what we play and wants to know all of the songs, etc. This happens so often that I just say '60's onwards, you'll know them all' and carry on with whatever important piece of setting up they are interrupting. This bloke got belligerent, saying what a ray of sunshine I was. I ignored him and got on with my work.

Setting up in a small space isn't easy when all of the tables and chairs are still in place because of the receded football crowd- rarely the case, as most venues know to have the space clear for the band in good time. We do not get involved in the moving of pub furniture, beyond the occasional chair. The bar staff quickly and efficiently cleared the space and we got a quite tidy set-up done. The punters had been in all day for football and so they drained away during the first spot. We recognised a big bald guy and his other half from last time. They went ape for us the last time we played there. He filled the jukebox with old rock classics until we went on. This time, we wowed them while we were playing, but they went and sat in a crowd of their mates outside in the rear beer garden at half time and listened to us from outside. The second half was us, a few people playing pool, a couple dotted round the pub and the bar staff. I don't like having to say "we've finished that one" at the end of a song to get a small reaction when greeted with silence, but I did so a couple of times. The atmosphere was absolutely dead. We did however play a pretty good second half, though  In that situation, which is thankfully rare, I play for myself and all of the people who aren't there. I missed some songs out and we stopped dead on 45 minutes, including the obligatory pity encore. The landlady had gone home early and we got paid by the barman.

The M61 was quite clear on the way home and I was back home before 1am.

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June 4th:
My alarm went off and I stopped it and went back to sleep. Shortly afterwards, I was forced into 100% wakefulness by Mary being sick on the bed. I kept Tom away from it, and mopped up as much as was possible. I went downstairs and told Lynda that I was going to beome DUVETMAN again shortly. She was unimpressed.

Blazing sunshine outside.... what to do? Too hot to go out with the dogs. I made a few new playlists for the iPod and PA.

I meant to get a bit of sleep this afternoon, but failed to do so. We watched some TV and that thing happened that never ever does.... They say "if you are affected by issues in this program, you can ring this number". The MND issues Paul is having on Coronation Street are REALLY breaking my heart as it's my friend Alan slowly dying all over again and I just can't bear it. I'm not going to go anywhere to look for support, as it's not real, but it's all I can do not to sit there and cry, watching these actors on their silly little TV show mapping out my really good friend's excruciatingly slow and painful bodily disintegration all over again. Alan spoke to me, while he still had speech working, to say he was very seriously thinking of going abroad for an assisted suicide, as he knew what was coming. He and his wife toughed it out, with his house drastically adapted and her ending up caring for his every need, rather than go down that road, but he'd had enough quite a long time before he passed away. It just makes me so very very sad to think of him going through that.

I can't say a word to Lynda - as understanding as she can be sometimes, she'll just think I am stupid.

I dragged myself away from the horror story that is Coronation Street and left for the jam night at 6pm, arriving at 6.15pm. Someone persistently kept asking me how I was when we arrived, so I told him I see my oncologist at the Christie in 6 weeks and my local oncologist in November, so I will know then. He was rather dropped on. "Too much information", said Graham, sagely. I thought he kept asking me because he's been reading this blog - and he hadn't. He was just repeatedly asking me. Oh well, now he knows. We were all set up and ready to start a little after 7pm. Not a great turn-out of musicians but a couple of welcome new faces. We always have a good time. Someone else thought it funny that I was sitting down a bit while playing during the jam night and ribbed me about it slightly. The alternative was going for a kip in my car, as I was getting really tired.. I gently disabused him of the notion that I was just resting my backside, by quietly saying I've just had treatment at Christies and I'm worn out. It has a noticeable shock value, which wasn't actually my intention. I have no problems with people knowing my condition. The problem is that I look fairly all right, even though I am not. And standing up playing bass for three and a half hours is a bit of an ask at the moment. I got through the jam night and was honestly overjoyed to get myself home.

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June 5th:
Awake before my alarm again. Surrounded by cats and feeling quite like I've got hay fever. Runny nose, itchy throat. My mate Mark in Liverpool has got covid again, which isn't good. At least the vaccines are doing their bit, though we're surely due some further boosters at some point?

My mate Dave is fighting sepsis now and is having a blood transfusion today. How much more can be thrown at him?

I did some artwork alterations for labels and a sleeve for a very short-run demo 7" vinyl project that is ready to roll. Contains unreleased content. Quite pleased with it. I have submitted the sound files and labels for pressing, which is going to be subject to a slight delay. I'm also obtaining a quote for picture sleeves.

Being in a 'doing things' mode, I also get out the workmate and jig-saw and extension cable and proceed to install the new fence panels to replace the old unslightly rotten wood ones.I did a nice job, though I have said it myself. I am going to take the old ones to the tip, as the man over the fence might just try to re-use them.

Causijng a fence as usual.

We take the dogs for a walk and I get some shots of the progress of the demolition of the mill.

Century Mill demolition

Century Mill demolition

Century Mill demolition

Century Mill demolition

Century Mill demolition

Century Mill demolition

Century Mill demolition

Century Mill demolition

Century Mill demolition

Century Mill demolition

The evening is a lot of TV. My writing partner Chris was on a radio show tonight being interviewed. I took part in the online chat box. I also make a mental note that I don't ever want to go on a radio show, talking. I can't stand the sound of my own speaking voice. (Rubbish! I hear you cry). Lynda went to bed at about midnight, then I watched Question Time from last Thursday. Marvin came to lie on my knee. He sounds very snuffly and wheezy again. To bed much too late.

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June 6th:
Awake fairly early. I unpacked the car from the weekend's gigging, gathered a load of stuff together to take to the tip. I went into town early to get that done  - with no moaning from the staff at the tip for a change - and to pick up a few urgent items from Sainsburys.... I called into Wilkos and got some cable ties and batteries. I don't really visit Bolton Town centre as much as I used to and hardly every walk around it like I have today. There are lots of people ouitside of shops, at traffic lights and on street corners holding out paper cups for money.and it's just depressing.

I also went to meet Mike. I met him outside the new Bolton office building on Bark St in the town centre.We went into The Vaults, which was the cellar of Bolton Market Hall until they ruined it by taking out all of the stalls and putting chain stores in. That ripped the heart out Bolton and ruined a number of small traders..I have never spent money in there since they did that. However, buying a beer at a bar in thr new cellar complex is different. They have a Nandos, too.

A nice convivial atmosphere, compared to Wetherspoons and closer to the new office (which is inconveniently sited for absoluitely EVERYTHING). Parking near it is a nightmare. Afterwards, I called into the Natwest to deposit about £400 and the cash machine didn't want to take my money. There was a big queue, so it's a good job my wallet is on a chain inside my jacket.

Back home and I applied the cable ties to fixing the faux bush to our side gates. Sounds stupid / looks great. I had a chat with Chris about the singles.we are having pressed up and I ordered and paid for the picture sleeves we are having done for them. We also discussed a couple of new book ideas which sound good.

In the evening we watched Person Of Interest, For Her Sins, amongst other things. Marvin sounds (and looks) a bit rough again, so it's going to be back to the vet for him tomorrow.

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June 7th:
Up and off to the Vet with Marvin. Two more injections and see how he's doing in a week. So it's a good job the bank didn't want my money yesterday. The Vet did.

Some book work. I did a small re-work on the demo single sleeve, as requested by the printers. Their template is NOT very good for finding the centre fold line. They sent me a revised template and it's looking good.

Tom and Oscar got taken out for a walk.

In the Ukraine, they are up in arms because Russia have destroyed one of their dams and have flooded a really large area. I am of course on Ukraine's side in all this. They now need to get on the offensive and damage something equally valuable of Russia's. Russia have made a spectacularly evil tactical move (and have publicly blamed Ukraine for it, obviously thinking the rest of the world is as stupid as they are) and Ukraine now need to make an equal response. I am just worried that at some point Putin will say that this is all getting rather expensive and resort to the use of biological weapons and render Ukraine not worth winning.

I'm REALLY tired today. It was nice going out in the warm sun walking the dogs earlier, but I just feel like a couple of hours sleep now. The band aren't playing on some Fridays this month and I'm a bit relieved to be honest.

I fell asleep on the sofa in the early evening and woke up to Mastechef on TV. I don't mind that show at all. I wish I was some use in the kitchen instead of 'in the way'. I used to do a small amount of cooking but my involvement now, unless Lynda is incapacitated, consists of an eating role.

A message from Saturday's venue. There's football on with an 8pm kick-off, so I'll get there early to get the gear in place. At least they have warned us. Going on after football means the a lot of crowd will drift off when we start playing and the music crowd may not come in for a 10pm start. Oh well...

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June 8th and 9th:
I spent an amount of the 8th either lying down or asleep. It was a day of relaxing and trying not to do very much. I was very conscious that hay fever means that I have a runny nose and tickly throat and so I am again in no position to safely go visit Dave Disley in hospital. I'm hoping it's just hay fever and that it will go away. I seem to have a cold most of the time. They have cut the grass on the nearby park, so the pollen in the air is ridiculous and I have little tolerance for it. I'm taking antihistomines, but I wake up with the blocked nose and tickly throat, so it's possibly just a bit late to go at the remedies by then...

Up at around 10am today. I've gone into the studio room to catch up on my blog. I didn't feel much like doing any book work today at all. I'm determined that I will try to get a good amount of work done towards finishing off the first 'Slade On 45' book, next week from emails of images I have been sent. I've done a bit today and the page count has shot up.

Tesco in Walkden were graced with our presence today and they took a lot of our money. I did some book work for a while and spent a while in the bath, reading the Slade in the 1970's 'Decades' book. There are some slight minor errors in it, which I would have thought the team of proof readers would have noticed, but on the whole it's a slim, workman-like volume which covers that period of time adequately.

Mary has started going into the garden a bit and has ventured over the fence to next door. This had me panicking. OK she's a cat and she can find her way back from next door's garden (and she did), but I don't want her getting lost.

Our evening gig was near Rochdale. We played fairly well to a crowd who, to be honest, couldn't have cared less about any band that was playing. They would probably have ignored Queen if they'd been on there with their full lighting rig. They were there to be out drinking with their friends and that's absolutely fine. You can't win 'em all. We had a really nice attentive crowd last time we played at the venue, but some gigs turn into perfunctory run-throughs. Tonight's was one of those and I regretted being there for most of the evening, as I felt really dog-tired and rough for most of it and I constantly watched the clock and the time just did not pass quickly enough. I'd forgotten my guitar rack stand, as I'd done a quick repair to it ealier, so I just got one bass out and positioned it very carefully next to my rig when not in use. I called at a garage on the way home and stocked up on crisps for the trip back. That was the highlight of the evening. The trip home was not helped by the M62 being closed in the Westbound direction that I was heading in. I drove on side roads to Heywood and rejoined the M62 there. Home at a reasonable time. Bed.

If you are (quite understandably) wondering what this blog is actually about, apart from cats and guitars, click here.
All will be revealed. As I often say, boringly and repertitively, GUYS GET CHECKED.

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June 10th:
Up at about 10 am. Awake much earlier. I still felt quite rubbish this morning. I read, watched TV and did as little as possible as I could during the day. It was simply scorchio and Lynda said the dogs could wait until it colled down in the evening to get walked because of that.

The evening's gig was after the football, which meant me setting off quite early to get to Hindley. I loaded in and got set up. We had a good space, lights in place and there was going to be a decent crowd if we could keep them. Graham arrived and I helped him in with his gear. Ian (our guitarist) arrived around half time,as there was no point in trying to wander through a huge crowd with gear while the game was on and the weather broke as he arrived and he got rained on. We watched the game in a sort of desultory fashion. None of the band give the remotest toss about football, though when Manchester City beat Inter Milan 1-0, everybody in the pub was happy. We kicked off straight after the football and kept most of the crowd in. We went down like heroes. This quite often happens when we're new to a venue and nobody knows what to expect. We stuck Cum On Feel The Noize in for the solitary other Slade fan in the place. It was great to see some of our friends turn up to watch us. A very good gig and I was home for 1am. Bed for around 2am.

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June 11th:
Awake at around 8.40am. I dithered about getting out of bed. I checked the internet for insults and such and wandered downstairs to make a coffee at 10am. It was too hot to stay outside, or to walk the dogs. Various pets lay in various amounts of shade. Lynda went for a lie down. I watched some YouTube stuff on TV and fell asleep for a while.

The afternoon was spent messing on the computer or watching TV. Lynda was in no mood for the day andonly appreared when it was time for me to eat before going out. She has things on her mind at the moment and I know to leave her alone. Howver, that is no help to her and she gets irritable when she's stressed and that's most of the time at present.

I left at 6pm and loaded in at the jam venue for 6.15pm. We started at 7pm. A thin turn-out, due to the weather, as I was expecting, but the right people, good friends of ours, turned up. I got a break from playing bass after 90 minutes, as some people remarked on later. It was good to catch up and play with our reserve drummer Ryan and compare surgeries and hospital experiences. We mixed the setlist for the jam night up a bit - we usually play some stuff we don't normally touch that often, to keep our hand in with it. There was a notion put forward that some of the songs are 'only jam night songs'. I don't learn stuff to do with the band just at jam nights unless it is to back one of the punters. I treat the songs we don't do regularly as equally important to the songs in our normal set and we should be able to get them in there. Some stuff was played really well - but some of it that we don't play much needs a little work to get it up to standard again. I am suggesting shaking up the setlist a little.

I got home and Mary - who is very new to leaving the house - was over the fence and on next door's shed looking at me insolently. I am not going to worry myself to a frazzle over her. I love her dearly, but she makes her own choices and I'm sure she'll come back soon enough. I need to go to bed, rather than stress over cats. Bed just after 2am. Mary was in the bedroom, trying to sleep on my arm.

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June 12th:
Up late. I did make a quite early start at around 8am to visit the bathroom, but I just went back to bed (I can't run on 6 hours sleep) and stayed there, after killing my alarm. It's blazingly hot outside. Mary is taking advantage of this and going exploring. I've called her quietly and she's either ignored me quietly or just can't hear me. I've got a nagging theory that she's not dead keen on the other cats.

Lynda said at one point that she was out and about first thing this morning. I called her a few times during the day and got no response whatsoever, but I know it was so hot that she probably just found a cool place and retired there to stay cool and totally ignored me. Cats are like that. You can be frantic and they don't care a fig about that. At 5pm, I looked up from my extended burst of book work, sat by the computer with a cool fan aimed at me, and saw her in the corner of our back garden. What a relief. I said hello to her and she shortly afterwards popped over the new bit of fence into our neighbour's garden and stared at me insolently from under a garden chair while I stood getting wet in a short shower. She will reappear when she wants food.

Which was at about 6pm.

Lynda gave me my evening meal and then went to bed. She's more than a bit down at present, due to some family issues that are not resolving themselves and which may not get sorted. All rather sad and needless. I listened to the Tim Daines Slade internet radio show from 8 til 9 and Jim Lea's edited pre-recorded interview. People reacted very well to his radio appearance and thought it was a live call. All good PR. He neatly side-stepped a bunch of questions. An experienced pro.

I turned a band work offer away as it would have meant a 13 hour day (three sets at the first gig, followed by 2 one hour sets in the evening) on a weekend. I'm just not physically capable of that at present. We have a few Fridays off and I am rejoicing, as I have never ever in my life been so tired as I am now.

I spent the evening on the PC doing more book work on SLADE ON 45 VOL 1. It's as near as damnit done now and I am consulting my contributors to see what it needs adding or subtracting or correcting efore publishing at the end of the month. It's now approaching midnight and I'm absolutely bushed. It's still really hot and sticky. Bedtime came a bit early for me.

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June 13th:
Up and about at 6.40am, as Mary was meowing at me to let her do the cute thing  and let her come and lie on my outsretched arm. After a quick bathroom visit,I let her have her evil way with my arm and went back to sleep for a while, while she purred away to herself. A few snoozes of the alarm after it went off and I got up. A little image work in photoshop and then out to meet Mike and Steve in Bolton for a quick drink at Great Ales, down in The Vaults..

The weather is absolutely horrifically hot, so I resorted to wearing shorts and a white t-shirt. Lynda complained about my summery attire when I got home, saying she would have made me get dressed before I went out. I'm absolutely dying here in this heat and she'd have me go out dressed in even hotter clothing? I really feel like being sedated and kept under until it cools down. I'm not at all good with these temperatures. The cats hate it. Lynda hates it.

Took 3 dates for a venue in Leigh for next year. Jan, June, October.

I also spoke to Chris about a record project that we are part way through. I did some accounting work on that and sent Chris the spreadsheet.

Lynda spent most of the day lying down as she spent a couple of days now and it is because of the family problem has now been dragging on for a year now and which plays on her mind a hell of a lot. I am rather saddened by it all and mostly am blazingly angry at the needlessness of it all and the extreme effect it is having on her. Lynda is utterly crushed. She asks how I would cope if it were me who was being treated like this. I have said many times that I simply can't begin to even contemplate how I would cope with it. She's not coping, just like I probably wouldn't cope.

I spent the evening watching a couple of things I have recorded for myself. No point in watching TV we normally watch together.

I haven't seen Marvin since early yesterday and I am worried, though Lynda says he was at home and that he had his breakfast this morning. I've walked around and shouted for him but to no avail. He's usually quite good at coming if I shout.

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June 14th:
I went looking for Marvin this morning and nearly killed myself, climbing around the back of our neighbour's rickety old shed, which is worryingly propped up by a piece of wood on one side. I don't know why he doesn't empty it and get rid. maybe opening the front door would cause it to fall apart? No sign of Marvin there, but as I left the house, I saw him curled up in the shade in the front garden and brought him home. He had a bit of food and drank a hell fo a lot of water and went off for a sulk in the shade in our back garden.

After several months of being afraid of the outdoors, Mary has taken to going over the back garden fence and finding a shady spot in a neighbour's garden. We've been in a blind panic about this as she's a tiny bit flat-footed, but she comes back, so we are relaxing a little bit.

I walked down into Farnworth to see my mate John and once again, he wasn't answering his door. He keeps really really stupid hours. No answer to my phone calls. A neighbour pulled up in his car. He's in hospital for a short while and he hasn't been at all well. That explains a lot. I rang the hospital and got details of which ward he is on and the visiting times.

Late on, I started some book work, as I was in the mood for it - mainly sorting some images of discs and labels and titling the images so I could make sesnse of what I have. That went on past 2am. Stupid me.

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June 15th:
Marvin is doing his best 'how not to be seen' thing this morning (missing breakfast - and he is very much a mog who LIKES to eat) and after getting up late, I went straight out to have a look for him. No sign. It's absolutely scorching out there. He will be snoozing in the shade somewhere, secure in the knowledge that I won't find him.

I got an email from a friend, commenting on recent entries from this blog. It's really nice to get some feedback. I thought that I was the only one who was actually reading it. Maybe there's only two of us.

I did a lot of book work today 4 new book covers for a set of limited reissues in November. How disciplined am I ?!

Graham sent me a message with a post with someone looking for a band to do a daytime gig on a coming Saturday. I sank at the thought of it, but dutifully chased it up. It didn't come off, but the venue want to keep in touch.

At about 2.30pm, I went out and had a look for Marvin again. He was in our neighbour's front garden (where I looked earlier) lay under a bush and I brought him home, which he was far from happy about. He's drinking some water, but he's right off his food and looking a bit thin. He's probably about 15 years old now. It's worrying. We're going to try to keep him in look after him and tonight's meal out with some of our friends has unfortunately had to be postponed. We will try again next week.

I put some dates for next year to a venue in Southport. 3.25pm. I feel like I need an hour's sleep.

I spent a lot of time sat with Marvin lying next to me while we watched a whole bunch of episodes of Classic Coronation Street, an episode of Person Of Interest and the fisrt episode a series called The Detail, with Angela Griffin with an American accent.. He's very lethargic, not interested in food.

Bed very late again.

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June 16th:
Up before 10am. Knackered. Marvin was kept in all night. The story with him today is that he is not interested in eating at all. I went to Tesco and got him some chicken, amongst the mound of shopping I picked up. He sniffed it and turned away from it. We are beginning to really fear the worst for him. He went off upstairs later on in the day and went onto the landing and crashed out there. It's cool and away from everyone. He has a litter tray. We can keep a quiet eye on him. When we went to the vet with him the other day, the vet said that his kidneys felt extremely large. Lynda's still not eating much either and I am fed up of trying to make her eat. She will eat when she wants to, or not.  I went to the chippy to save her the effort of just cooking for me.

Plans to go and see our friend John in hospital have been dropped as Lynda's not feeling well, either.

So I went into the Bridgewater in Farnworth for a quiet pint earlier. People are not allowed to use any sort of digital device, as the landlord has made a rule there about them. They are silent and don't disturb anyone. He could maybe do with a rule about the landlady and her mates not having a prolonged shouting competition which actually drove me out of the pub. I bought a paper so as to sit down quietly with a good pint, then go home. I walked out fuming.

An agent we are loosely associated with put the call out for people to send their diaries in with their free dates. We are only associated with her in any way because we covered for another group at a venue she controls in July last year and tore the place apart - the Concert Secretary there said the agent would get us loads of work. So, we paid her commission for that gig, though the band we replaced had a direct booking with the venue, so she wasn't actually entitled to anything at all from us. We only paid it to get in with the agent and to get some more work. So far we have had absolutely nothing at all. Nothing. I sent our free dates in to her. Let's see what happens.

I watched last night's Question Time and it was well worth sitting through. There appears to be little or no support for Boris Johnson, except from the usual not-rights. He's cutting a rather Trump-esque figure these days. Little credibility, a sort of entitlement to behave badly and to expect no come-uppance.

Marvin's on the landing still, as I go to bed very late on. Today's just been an odd and not very good day and I don't feel like writing a lot about it. Sorry.

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June 17th:
Awake at around 8am. I feel that tired-sort-of-sick feeling this morning. I went out on to the landing and Marvin had hardly moved all night. He got up and used the litter tray, cried a little bit, then went off to try for a sleep in a cat bed under the window. Lynda tried to interest him in a yoghurt and some chicken, but he's had enough of food. He stomped off into the back bedroom. I think everywhere is too warm for him at the moment. It's desperately sad. I ended up going back to bed for a while. He spent most of the day finding cool places to lie down. He's refusing any food and water. I fell asleep for a while, while watching TV in the afternoon. I talked to Lynda about taking Tom to the vet. The problem with that is that there is only one thing they are going to do, which is 'put him to sleep'. A nice way of saying killing him. Neither of us subscribe to that idea, though if Tom gets into real discomfort, then we know we are maybe going to have to revisit the idea.

With all this going on, the last thing I wanted to do was to go out and do a gig. Telling the guys in the band and also the venue that I don't want to play tonight isn't really an option. The venue won't keep the punters in who would be expecting a band, and me being at home is not going to change things. It did take my mind off the situation, though I did end up talking to Jan, our guitar player Ian's girlfriend, about Marvin. Playing was a relief from thinking about it all. We played well to a decent but not massive crowd until just before 11.30pm. At the end of the last song, a guy felt he had to come onstage and stand right in front of our drummer, Graham. The stage invader totally buggered up the big ending that we do on Rockin' all over the world, as we couldn't see each other. What did he want? He felt the need to tell us that our second spot needed some Genesis in it. I felt the need to boot him off the stage, but IT'S NICE TO BE NICE, so I just said they are a band we don't really cover with a forced smile. We arranged that I would send the venue 4 dates for next year, as the band diary is moving along a little now. We are paid by bank transfer by the venue's chain, so I paid the guys in cash, rather than making them wait for it, and I will just keep the bank transfer when it arrives.

We broke the gear down quickly and I left the venue at about midnight and came back via the M61, getting home about about 12.45. It started to rain in a much-needed but maybe slightly over the top absolute Biblical downpour shortly after my return. I did a quick thank you post to the venue after our gig there. The job doesn't stop for me when the gig is done. Lynda looked just about done in. I said I'd sleep in the front room downstairs with Marvin, who'd gone into a corner away from the other cats. I watched a recent short Paul McCartney interview with Conan O'Brien on YouTube and then switched everything off.

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June 18th:
I woke up from a useless and pretty disturbed sleep a bit after 7am and Marvin was lying next to the sofa. He gave a little cry as he lay down. I stroked him a while and told him quietly what a good boy he is, over and over again. Lynda came down and told me to go back to bed for a while. She's not looking very good, either. I made sure she had taken her heart medication this morning, as I don't want to be taking her to the hospital today. She has to look after herself, too. I fed the cats and dogs then I went back upstairs and couldn't go back to sleep. I came down again a little before 9am and tried to face the day again. I got Marvin on the sofa with me, but he went and got in a cat bed, raised up near the window, off to the left of the sofa and he lay down there. When he first moved in with us, ten whole years ago, he came in through the window and went to sleep on a cat bed that was just there. Lynda saw I was still dropping and told me I should go back to bed. A bit after 11, I came down to face the world again and make myself a coffee. Marvin keeps moving around the house downstairs. All exits are blocked. He IS NOT going outside. The catio is available.

Rachel messaged me to say happy father's day and to invite us round to see the new cats at her house, so I video-called her back. I had to break it to her that Marvin is so unwell. It was very hard to get the words out to her, as she is very attached to Marvin and to Smudge. I was sorry to ruin her day. It wasn't much of a chat, as I was just upset. Paul is down in Weymouth this weekend. We will try to get round to Rachel's house later in the week.

I came upstairs to write this blog and send 4 dates to last night's venue. Lynda brought me a sandwich that I feel almost too upset to eat, which Tom doesn't have any qualms about, thanks to his irrational but understandable residual food anxiety from before he was rescued, every mouthful I take is a complete and utter betrayal to him. He gets a last piece, as usual.

It's not as hot as it has been, so the dogs got a walk. Marvin spent some of the day safely asleep in the catio. I brought him into the front room later on in the afternoon and cleaned him up a little, just before another downpour started, so fortunately he didn't get wet from that. He's doing a couple of steps and falling over, which is heartbreaking.

The evening's jam night was just an ordeal for me. With all that's going on, I didn't even feel at all like going out, I just wanted to be at home, but I had no choice. It threw it down Biblically again as I drove to the venue. I was soaked as I loaded in. I was told that a fellow bassist who attended the jam night until recently has passed away from osophagal cancer after a very short fight with the illness. I was utterly dropped on. I spoke to some of our friends and the mood was just flat.

Then we had some severe gremlins with the PA, which nobody else gets involved with, so anything that happens is obviously my fault. First of all, one side of the PA wasn't putting anything out. An output jack connection problem at the mixing desk. A quick cable wiggle sorted it out - that was partly because the desk is raised so that other people can get to it and the cables drag downwards - it will need some contact cleaner. After a good few years, the desk needs some actual maintainance. It's not mine.

The set-up and breakdown at the jam night are the hardest that I do. I have taken too much of the set-up work on. We now have half an hour less to set up in than we did before and I am just stressed out every week. It was bad enough when I was getting there half an hour earlier. We have little or no chance of being ready to start on time and I run round like a mad thing from the second I arrive to get things in place right up to the last second before we start. I don't get the chance to sit down and chat with people, or to get my fingers ready to play by warming up on my instrument. Sometimes the band are ready to kick off the first spot and I haven't even had a chance to tune up. Sometimes I haven't even had time to get my basses out of their gig bags.

We played our opening spot and playing-wise, a lot of it was rather uncomfortable for me. Then we had some microphone trouble and anything that was wrong was my fault. There was some uncalled-for sniping. Some people are just rude. I counted to ten thousand to start to calm myself down. The process might be complete by next weekend. We are not out next Friday, fortunately. Definitely.

Next month and in August we have some afternoon stuff booked and then we have to do full gigs in the evening and I am just dreading some of those days. At least at a couple of them, we don't have to provide a PA system. I was happy enough when we took them,. but that was before my treatment. Next year I intend to reduce my working hours. I work far far far too hard at gigs and on the never-ending and awful band admin and I've decided that from my birthday next year things will slow down a little bit. My birthday present to myself will be that I'm going to do what I enjoy and not do what I don't. We've been doing the jam night at this venue nearly every Sunday since August 2016. I started with the jam night band on May 10th 2015. I deserve a break.

Home. Marvin is still with us and in a terrible state. I had a couple of beers and updated the blog. Marvin is going to sleep in the bedroom in a cat pen. He's not happy about this.

Bed at around 2am. Back up at 3am to do a couple of things..

The radiotherapy blog will probably continue until I have seen my Consultant at the Christie, which should be in a few weeks. I keep a blog anyway, as a sort of online diary, but I am writing in much more detail while the blog is for this particular purpose.

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June 19th:
I woke up at 7am and managed to get the odd fragment of sleep, before waking properly at 10am. Marvin is still in the pen next to our bed and giving the occasional meow to let us know he is there. He's still refusing food and drink and it's oppressively hot again today. I feel so sorry for him.

I pop out to post a CD and single (a competition prize on the forum) to Northern Ireland and get some bread and milk. I also trekked into Walkden to buy a cat carrier.

It's chucking it down again  - an appropriately miserable day - as we have a vets appointment booked for 2.30pm - if Marvin makes it until then. Lynda agrees that Marvin simply can't keep going through this. It is just not fair to him. He will have been with us 10 years this July 1st. We love him dearly. He is our little stray and it feels like a total and utter betrayal to take him to the vet, but he is suffering now and we can't bear that. Sad does not begin to cover it. I don't think there is any 'better place' than with us, but he won't be suffering.

I put Marvin in the new cat basket and was ready to take him, when Lynda came into the back room looking shaken. She'd slipped and had a fall outside. I took her upstairs and got her clothes changed. Though she was in pain from the fall, she wasn't going to miss saying goodbye to Marvin. We got into the car and Marvin protested  a little at being in the car - he's never liked going to the vets. We were a couple of minutes late at the vets and they ushered us straight through. He was taken away for a moment or two to have a cannula put in his paw, then he came back and we said our goodbyes to him, with him cradled safely in my arms. It's not what I would have wanted for him at all, but there was no avoiding it with how seriously ill he was. We came home with an empty cat basket and a feeling that at least he wasn't suffering anymore. We did the right thing for him.

I was quite exhausted by all of this and fell asleep on the sofa and missed an entire episode of Person Of Interest. We watched 3 episodes of Litvinenko, which is a gripping true story of a political assassination in 2006 in London. Great to see the exceptional Joanna Kanska pop up in the drama.

Litvinenko

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June 20th:
A bit of a non-day, as far as writing about it goes. Book work. Mike's away, so I didn't go to meet him. I'm concerned about Smudge. She went into a very low way when we lost Dini 10 years ago. Now we have lost Marvin, she's very angsty again and is not coming in the house. It's like she is blaming us for all of this. I am not feeling too terrible about Marvin, as I am relieved that the visible suffering that he was going through is done with. The dogs got a walk and Tom kicked off at someone else's dog, which was doing nothing to him. He loses it sometimes for no apparent reason - maybe just Oscar being friendly to other dogs, he just goes up and wags his tail at them. - which is why Tom never ever goes off a lead. We watched the last episode of Litvenenko later on. Another good reason for the West to utterly hate Putin, I suppose. You can't send that kind of weapon (which left a clear trail from Russia, right to the venue where it was administered) and get away with it. I caught up the episode of Person Of Interest that I had missed. Lynda sportingly sat through it again. A bunch of Mafia-type gang bosses got wiped out. A good watch. There's quite often a twist in these tales.

There's not a twist anywhere in Coronation St at the moment. Straightforward misery all around. Paul is away on holiday, taking his degenerative Motor Neurone Disease, with him, which is a relief to me. That's an emotionally exhausting plotline for me. Sarah needs someone wise to forgive her sins. I will take her confession. The 'whole Daisy catfish thing' is just about blowing up too. The 'whole who will Stephen murder next thing' is getting rather long and drawn out at the moment. The writers need to walk him under a car. Coronation St is very moral and the bad guy never wins.

Bed at 2am, as I went upstairs to edit a book and lost track of time completely.

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June 21st:
I woke up a bit after 10, having defeated my alarm earlier on, and checked my phone. There was a message, simply saying I had not sent a small promo photo to someone. The emphasis seemed to be on what I was not doing. It must have been mentioned to me over the weekend. My mind was elsewhere, or I was busy doing something else, obviously. I got out of bed and sent three photos - via messenger as a reply and also to a Facebook timeline, so he has a chance of finding them. I then did the Twitter for the coming weekend's gigs and the Facebook posts in a few groups. Bloody admin work.

I tried contacting my mate's Dave's wife by text message about taking her to see him in hospital. No response. More book work. I was happily interrupted by the arrival of my son Paul. It was lovely to spend a few hours catching up with him.

My old Windows 10 Acer PC needs to be disposed of. I had a think about it and took the 16GB of RAM out of it. I also pulled the old hard drive out and found it was a whopping 3TB. I couldn't get it to erase or reformat, because of the issues affecting the computer, so I have ordered a caddy for it, so I can use it as an external drive with the new PC and simply wipe the content.

Some TV in the evening. I did some work on the final edition of THE NOIZE. It won't be out for another two years, but it's an idea to do the work as things go along and become apparent for inclusion, rather than a mass messy catch-up in a rush before publishing. Bed at around 2am.

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June 22nd:
Awake before 9am and then up and about. Exhausted. Fed the cats and dogs. Lynda has a phone chat booked with the GP Surgery about her medication. I am very wary of them trying to reduce it without her heart specialist being involved. That is what some pharmacists actually do in order to save their practice money. Lynda dealt with it. She usually hates talking to our GP, but as I was getting rather annoyed about this, she took the call and told them where she is up to with everything.

I'm on the verge of ringing to see when my appointment at the Christie will be. I was told six weeks or thereabouts, so I should be hearing something about now.... but it's only been four weeks since I had my radiotherapy, so ringing the hotline to chase them up seems a bit hasty at present. That's primarily meant for side-effects and issues after radiotherapy, so I don't really want to take up their time, when they could be talking to someone who really needs them urgently. I will give it another week or so. They are usually on the money when it comes to their admin, so I should really give them the chance to do it, rather than chase them up and waste their time. I imagine it's going to involve further scans and PSA tests, so I am sure they will get everything scheduled shortly. It's just the waiting to hear from them that is a bit of a bugger. I want some good news for a change.

Still no reply from my mate's wife.about going to visit him. I'm not going to go knocking on her door. That would be a bit of an intrusion

. A lovely sunny day. We went to get some shopping and fill the car up.

The 7" vinyl discs have landed with Chris. They look pretty good.

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June 23rd:
I got a reply from my mate's wife - She's had pneumonia and hasn't been to see him for two weeks. I said I will go with her next Thursday. Smudge is still sulking and avoiding us since Marvin went out of her life. She was never the same cat after we lost Dini ten years ago. She's a little old lady now and I don't want her mad with us. Out in the evening to The Achari for a curry with Ken and Maureen. A lovely evening, though I was drooping after three hours. Bed slightly earlier than usual for once.

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June 24th:
Up late, feeling quite rough. I went to get some keys cut and the local place is shut on Saturdays. I spent quite some time in a darkened studio room, doing more work on a book cover. I tried an experiment in Photoshop to get some spiral text onto the rear and it didn't come out at all how I wanted it, so I have dumped the spiral idea for now. Sometimes good ideas are best left for a while. Another attempt often gets a much better result. Currently listeing to the 2009 Deluxe edition of Quartet by Ultravox. The SuperDeluxe edition box set (due 7/7) ships shortly. I hope I live long enough to see the inevitable SuperDuperExtraSpecialVeryDeluxeDeluxe edition!

Slade On 45 draft cover

Our evening gig in Bolton went quite well. Except for the heat. After loading in, I was dripping wet. I was also at some point way beyond tired out. Fortunately, my fan worked quite nicely. Nice to see a few friends I hadn't seen for a good while. I nipped across at half time to the Man And Scythe and Kevin Bates (the singer / guitarist from my first band) was playing there with TVOD. It was nice to catch up with him briefly. The DJ was quite keen on keeping us to playing our two 45 minute slots. We were quite keen to play our sets. He messed us up at one point at the end of our second slot. We were playing Shangalang, which usually segues into Tell Him. He walked in front of us and held up one finger - one more song - so we stopped at the end of that and did our regular finisher, Rocking all over the world instead. Then he said his gear wasn't ready, did the crowd want one more? We'd just done our big finish, so we played Tell Him. We will be back there next year. If there's a DJ on with us, we will have to show him our set, so he doesn't bugger us up like that again  We were off just after 11.30pm. Home for 12.30am. Lynda was quite surprised.

I remembered to check to see if we had been paid for last week's gig near Blackburn. The venue have to go through some website or other to pay us now. I checked my bank. Nothing. I looked at the emails I've been sent by the website that's supposed to pay us. I couldn't log in. The venue set us up with them and i don't have the details. I messaged the venue manager, saying I don't want this hassle every time we play there. Bed.

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June 25th:
Up and about at 10am. Smudge has been hanging around sulking on the catio roof since we lost Marvin, sulking at us as if we are personally and deliberately responsible. She doesn't understand what has happened. She was in the kitchen, so I gave her some mog milk and fussed her a little. We have to get her back onside.

The venue manager from last week was absolutely aghast that we haven't been paid yet and is contacting the people who are supposed to pay us on Monday morning. It's horribly hot again. Brilliant to read that Rod Stewart has been given the all-clear after his experience with prostate cancer. That goes to show that getting tested early sometimes makes a real difference.

I did some band admin work. Graham told me about a site that advertises gigs that he's registered on. I have never heard of it, but I registered us on it and set up a banner and profile image and posted one of our gigs. I also shared our posters for July.

I took the dogs for a walk and the Boar's head in Leigh, where we are booked in at next month rang me to cancel us. I was not happy about this. The owners have told the manager there is no compensation due to us. He's between a rock and a hard place. A friend says other bands have been messed around there. The Laser Monkeys pulled their remaining gigs at the same venue and they won't be going back and I strongly suspect that we won't either. I don't mess up our diary and I don't know how some places manage to do it either. It's not fair to drop a band because you end up with a wedding booking afterwards. It's just called sh***ing on people. Bands won't want to play there.

The jam night was good. We had some new people come down  - the Euphoria Duo and they were staggeringly good. I haven't managed to get up on guitar for a while now.

While that was going on, Elton John smashed it at Glastonbury. I downloaded it. I may end up burning it to DVD. We'll see.

I did some band admin involving a foreign gig listing website that graham has asked me to do something on - allevents.in which seems next to useless as nobody knows about it or looks at it or uses it and listened to some music til very late, while wrangling with it. Bed very very late.

If you are (quite understandably) wondering what this blog is actually about, apart from cats and guitars, click here.
All will be revealed. As I often say, boringly and repertitively, GUYS GET CHECKED.
If you've only just joined in reading this blog, you can scroll up the page to find out more about cats and radiation and stuff.

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June 26th:
Awake at 9am. Up at 10am. Tired out. I've got my Covid booster today. I don't think Lynda will be asking for this one as the last one made her really ill. I also have to go to get some keys cut. Another nice, sunny day. Some cloud hanging about. I went to see my friend John in the Royal Manchester Hospital - calling in at the PMT guitar shop in Salford for a quick and pointless browse on the way.. He's been seriously ill and I had no idea until last week. I was there a little after 2pm and only got home after 6pm because of traffic and a quick stop at Tesco. I was exhausted and started falling asleep on the sofa at about 8pm. Lynda said I should give up and go to bed. And that was me for the evening.

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June 27th:
I think this Covid jab has floored me. Awake and up shortly after 9am. Back in bed at 10am until 1.30pm. I was a bit lifeless during the day and made the mistake of lying down on the sofa. I slept again from about 3.30pm til about 7pm. I felt just wiped out in the evening, so it was just lying around watching TV - Yellowjackets, Person Of Interest, The Detail among them, I was in bed at 12 and after a short read, I slept like a rock/

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June 28th:
I woke up some time around 10am. There was a message to say that we are going to be paid by close of play on Friday for the gig we did the other weekend. I asked how we are going to deal with this going forward? I have no access to the site that pays us and that's no use to me, especially if they want to offer us more gigs. A gig on November 17th at Bolton Old Links Golf Club was cancelled. At least we got some decent notice on that one.

The vets rang. I can collect Marvin's ashes today. Smudge came in the house an amount yesterday, which is a change from the sulking she's been doing. This morning she's on next door's shed and ignoring me when I offer her some mog milk, which she adores. I hate to see her annoyed and upset like this. Edward appears to be taking over as The Mog Man Of The House. he's spending a bit of time with Smudge at the moment. He really is a little chap.

Edward and Smudge

Smudge did a vanishing trick later on in the day. I was shouting her during the evening and was still at it at 2am with no luck and was getting rather worried.

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June 29th:
I woke up at around 9am and quickly pulled myself together. I was still rather anxious about Smudge and went into the back garden and shouted for Smudge. A small cry came from over the fence, from next door's back garden. I went and knocked on at their front door to ask if I could go round the back and retrieve Smudge. The lady, who speaks very little English, said her husband was out and had the gate key. I could come back later. I said I wanted to get my cat safe now. She had a look but couldn't see her. I climbed over the gate and landed badly on my knees on the other side. Ow. I didn't care about that. Behind their shed is a load of rotting wood that is going to take their fence with it. No sign of Smudge. Bob the Builder didn't clear his mess up when he added the UPVC. No sign of Smudge - she was in the shed with the catch shut. I got her out and put her over the fence into our back garden. The lady said the shed door must have blown shut in the wind. That doesn't explain the catch being on, but never mind. Once in our back garden, Smudge immediately dug a hole and performed whatever ablutions. Then I called her in for mog milk and food. Lynda is talking about keeping her in awhile. Good luck with that.

And less than half an hour later, she was out again and back over the fence. Oh well. She seems to be more keen on coming in the house now, though.

I went to see my mate Dave in hospital in Oldham, with his wife, Sue. He's had a temporary voice box fitted this morning, so I've heard his voice for the first time in about a year. I thought he might sound like Robert The Robot, but the tech has moved on a bit. The talking is tiring him out and he's having to learn to talk again to a degree. But I thought he's doing remarkably well. We would have heard him speak a lot sooner if the speech therapist at Salford had done her job at all. It was good to be able to hold a conversation without guessing what he was saying and Dave getting frustrated. Various other essential procedures (including therapy for his missing swallow reflex) were left undone at Salford and it just sounds like severe incompetence, bordering on neglect to me. Dave is currently under the care of the top speech therapy team in the country, which is a leap forward.

Another venue cancelled a gig in August today because of their budget. No point in arguing wth them, as we have to work with them.

I fell asleep after my evening meal. Exhausted again. Lynda went to bed and I watched Question Time then did some (almost) final editing on a book. Smudge being stobbornly invisible overnight again.

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June 30th:
Up very late. Dog tired. Smudge was in for her breakfast, though I missed seeing her. I did see her during the day, though. It chucked it down and she found somewhere else dry to be. She is sulking to an Olympic standard. I was looking through some folders at old photos and found some beautiful photos of her with Marvin from 2014. She is simply devastated by him not being here and needs to blame someone.

As it was chucking it down all day, I am quite worried about what it's going to be like when we play at the event in Atherton tomorrow afternoon. Very worried. Very very worried.

TV in the evening and I only fell asleep a little bit. A bit more book work before bed. We just need to get approval on a couple of things and then we can publish the Slade 'Did You See Us?' book.

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July 1st:
If you're wondering how long this blog will go on for, it will continue until I have seen my Consultant at the Christie, which is due to happen shortly. I do this as an online diary for myself anyway, so I will just start a new page and it won't be 'the radiotherapy blog' from that point, and you won't feel obliged to read it.

Up at around 10am. Had a coffee and then filled the car with all of the gear for the day's exertions. As I've said, I wasn't looking forward to today very much. Two gigs in one day, both with a full rig and PA set-up to do.

I arrived at Atherton Collieries AFC at 11.30am, as the fun day started at 12 noon. The weather did not look promising. There were lots of clouds and it looked like it might rain. I wasn't feeling too good about all this, but got on with the job, instead of moaning about it..Our guitarist Ian arrived next. He unloaded his gear and was then made to take his car out of the grounds. There was really no need for that. There was masses of space and a row of cars parked not far away. He could have parked there with the others. I butted my car up to my side of the pagoda that we were hiding from the weather under. It didn't have any side panels and the wind would have blown us all over the place. Someone looked at me to move it and I pointed out that it was a windbreak and to protect us from the rain. Graham arrived and stuck his car on the other side of the stage area. We moved some large bins so his car could fit in the gap.

The PA had to sit outside the pagoda.  Ian put an overcoat over one of the PA speakers. Eventually a side panel was found for the pagoda and we tied it on and I trapped it in my car windows to try to keep it firm. It still blew around like crazy, but at least the little burst of rain that inevitably happened didn't get onto the gear. I covered the PA speaker on my side and I wasn't at all happy with the wind. There was now a rear panel attached too. This all hadn't been thought out. A single extension cable came to us from inside the clubhouse. I put my circuit breaker plug first in line.

FFS.

Our first spot was largely ignored by the punters, as they were around the corner from us, outside the main clubhouse, or just inside it. We played well enough on the whole, though Graham was on the CBD and wasn't feeling at his best, and we also made a couple of changes from the normal set. A quick video call to Chris  in the break regarding the book. Everything appears to be approved. Our 'rather abridged' (shortened) second spot was pretty much the same, though we did have some people watching, as the weather had brightened up a bit. We interestingly seamlessly missed a whole section out of Tell Him (the 'Ever since the world began' bit and the last verse) and nobody noticed. The wind had really got itself together and the PA speaker on my side started to go over. Luckily a couple of our mates, Kenny and John, managed to avert a gear disaster. I have to thank them for that.

We broke the gear down quickly enough. The next band were on at 5pm and we learned that they would be playing indoors. Typical. They are keen to have us next year. IF WE CAN PLAY INSIDE, PLEASE.

The other afternoon events we are doing this year are all organised with the PA and drum kit provided, so I won't have to put the PA together at those. They will be nice to do. I will just be able to put my bass rig in place and play. Heaven.

I was back home at about 4.30pm and settled on the sofa. I pretty much stayed put, watching a series of Below Deck that I didn't know about until it came on the TV. I didn't fall asleep. One of the crew was fired in the first episode for being an absolute arse to everyone. He nade unwelcome advances to a cute female crw member in front of the guests, offered a fight to his cabin-mate who had mentioned that he should really leave the bathroom as others might want to find it. He was just a surly creep.

At 7.30pm, I pulled myself together and went off to Lowton for the evening's gig. I was there just before 8 and Graham was already loading in. I just felt shattered. But I had a job to do. We set up. Graham had managed to have a sleep inbetween, so was feeling a lot fresher than I was. Graham and I had a brief discussion about which way the band should be angled on stage. One option would have left me with practically no room and the stage is a bit of a bass trap, amplifying the low end ridiculously, so I suggested we didn't use the bass bins. That helped a lot. I kept my amp rig right back in a corner and it didn't really rumble too much. I have had to get it on a chair before now to stop it taking over the whole soundscape.

The evening gig was an entirely different affair to the earlier gig. We had a packed pub, did a slightly altered set and played with a lot more enthusiasm. The crowd loved it. I was bushed, but the only real mistakes were forgetting to sing the last line on a chorus on the Boys Are Back In Town and a cockup of sorts in Do wah diddy, where I missed a final section of the song out and just extended the next to last chorus. I put that down to being really really tired, as well as us not playing the song often enough. We came away with a very large tip and I was home before 1am. Bed immediately. A quick read and then off to sleep.

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July 2nd:
I first woke up with my alarm at 10am and snoozed it. 10 minutes later I got up and went to the bathroom and perfomed my ablutions... and then I went back to bed. I woke up a few times, eventually rising at 12.20. I went upstairs and did this blog for the last couple of days. Last night's venue messaged me to reclaim 'the large tip'. It was a staff error. I responded positively, saying I had said it was more than I was expecting when being paid, but, as I had said to the lady who paid us, I didn't have my diary on me at the time.

We have the jam night later on, so one last heroic heave and my weekend's work will be over. An afternoon of walking dogs on the park, TV and resting.

I got to the jam night at 6.15pm, despite road works and set about beavering away straightaway at doing the setup. I chased cables to the far side of the room for stage left and stage right power. I got my gear in and the PA cabs and stands and the mixing desk and monitor. Also 3 instruments and a large Stanley 3 level tool box full of cables etc. I had finished doing my bit, setting the PA up and my gear, so we were ready to start at 7.10pm. The stage wasn't lit properly as I forgot the lights. I was too rushed and forgot to get some of them out. I have too many jobs. As I rushed round frantically, setting up, I listened to the other guys warming up on their instruments, while my stuff was still in cases and i was still putting things together. The jam night was what it was. Some new blood again, and really promising stuff.

At the end of the night I broke the PA and my gear down and got it to the door. It took me 40 minutes of non stop running around to do it on my own. Me and Graham had our gear down and ready to go at the same time. Thanks to Nigel and Ryan for their kind help with Graham's gear. I was utterly shattered after breaking the gear down and loading it out. I'm going to have to make a decision on our jam nights. They are a lot of work and I'm just not sure I'm up to the effort it takes at the moment.

I went to bed and couldn't get comfortable and get to sleep. I was worried about where Smudge was. I have visions of her getting locked in next door''s shed again. They are not easy people to deal with. I was drop-dead tired but I only finally got to sleep at about 5.30am.

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July 3rd:
Up and about at around noon, though I did wake a couple of times before. At 9am I was downstairs checking if Smudge was visible. She was in the house. I was so relieved. I did a couple of jobs that needed catching up. An armchair, some cardboard and my cannibalised old PC base to the tip. I filled my car's coolant tank with the correct red coolant and it leaked a bit as the tank had got dislodged at the rear while I filled it. I managed to reattach it and stop the leak. I went out and bought some more coolant. I will have to keep an eye on it over the next couple of days. Some last minute amendments to the new Slade book manuscript and cover. Publishing tomorrow.

Smudge spent most of the day indoors in the back room, which pleased me no end and she was really friendly. She's 12 on the 27th of this month and I really do worry about her a lot. An evening of TV and then onto the PC for a short while to do a few things to the band website. I added the dates for next year to the LIVE page. I'm looking at all of those jam nights with dread. I've got Abbey Road by The Beatles on as I type, followed by the Let It Be (Naked) album.

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July 4th:
Happy independence day to those over the pond from us. I got up mid-morning. Met Mike and Steve for lunch. Mike's brother was there, so Mike sort of ignored us. He's from Yorkshire, y'know. Steve and I talked book publishing a lot. Smudge is getting more sociable with us again. She's not from Yorkshire. I published the new Slade book Did You See Us? at 11.15am. It's priced not for profit. The late afternoon was spent rearranging my bass effects board for stage use. I added a distortion pedal in for when I muck about with a guitar on it. I fell asleep in the early evening while watching TV. It's partly because I've had my evening meal and partly because I am almost lay down when watching the TV. I'm tired all the time anyway. I pulled myself together and stayed awake later on. Bed late as a result.

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July 5th:
Awake early enough and I lay in bed doing some Amazon reviews. I got up at a reasonable time, just after 10am. We walked the dogs a.few times during the day. I had a sleep during the afternoon, so didn't fall asleep in the early evening. A gig offer came in for this Friday and I checked that the guys are ok for it. We will be playing in Southport. This replaces a gig in Great Harwood where the venue has closed down. We finished watching the 'Egypt by train' series on TV, which I really enjoyed, seeing at it went to to a number of the places we have seen. Bed not too late, but asleep pretty much straight away. Things to do tomorrow.

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July 6th:
Julie and I would have been married for 38 years today. I was up before 10am and moving around, doing things. A quick coffee started a migraine off. 4 Zapains later and a few minutes to let my head settle doiwn and we set off. Lynda and I went to my daughters house to see her two lovely cats. A lovely visit. On the way back, we called at a venue in Horwich to ask about rebookings. They said they will sort us out. We dropped off our prescriptions at the GP surgery. Home for something to eat. My head still feels rather muzzy from the migraine. I think a nap will be called for to sort this out. A copy of Did You See Us landed. Quite happy with it. Some TV in the evening. We finished watching The Detail. It only ran for 10 episodes, which is a shame. There was a very obvious wrapping up of various plot points in the last episode. The Horwich venue messaged me to say their diary is full on our free dates. If they had responded to my messages when I sent them, they'd have got us. Bed early as I have to be up in the morning.

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July 7th:
Up before 9am. I had a quick cup of coffee and then set off to Howe Bridge crematorium. I've been there too often recently. I was there for Peter Teasdale's funeral this morning at 10am. He went from oesophagal cancer, like my Dad and my mate Pete Entwistle. He was diagnosed after having problems swallowing and it was said to be inoperable. He passed away very quickly after that. He went far too young, though and it was a huge shock to all of us. It was a nice service, mainly conducted by his son and friends. We knew Peter through our jam night. He had the best attitude when it came to jam night. He was always mad keen to learn a

nd improve his playing. No ego. Just there for the fun that's to be had. I always enjoyed showing him the odd trick on bass, which he found useful. I'm going to miss him. After that, the funeral party headed off to Tilwalds in Tyldesley where we host our jam night at 7pm on Sundays. No music today, though some jam night footage was on one of the TV's, but I couldn't see it from whwre i was sitting. The buffet opened and I queued up, but if anything was vegetarian, it wasn't marked as such. I headed home, ate, and then Lynda and I did a quick shop at Tesco. My Ultravox Quartet Box Set arrived and it looks great. I'm too tired to listen to it now. I'm going to do bath and bed this afternoon. The car is partly loaded up for tonight;'s gig. 13.50 and my eyes are shutting.

I got a few hours shut-eye and on waking, did a bit of Slade-site admin. I was sent a great review of Noddy Holder's Bloxwich appearance, which went on the site and the forum. I'm going to miss him on Saturday night in Salford, as we are playing in Warrington. That just left me time for a quick shower and to bolt my food down before driving over to Southport. I always shudder at the thought of the drive - mainly via long and winding A roads - to get there, but the gigs are always good and it's only an hour or so, same as anywhere else. It just seems I have to take a long and circuituous route, driving up towards Preston. I could cut through Chorley, but that just takes me through villages to get to the A59 and it's a drag. The alternative is the East Lancs and Ormskirk. Meh.

Baby you can drive my car

The band arrived there nice and early - all arriving at around 7.40pm. There was a very basic PA in place, but no monitor and I hadn't brought mine, so I had some problems hearing the vocals when we were playing at full tilt. We weren't overly loud on the night though. We had a really nice audience who stayed for the duration. The venue couldn't have been nicer to us. We had a lovely night and we definitely look forward to going back. I didn't fight with the sat nav on the way back. I just followed the A59 north until I got bored and then cut across to the M61. I was home at about 12.30am. I pretty much went straight to bed.

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July 8th:
Up early for me, well before 10am. Lynda was a bit confused by seeing me up at this time. She checked the clocks. The afternoon naps appear to be doing me some good. A quiet day, some dog walking, I uploaded some video I had been sent. I also got on with ripping the Ultravox box set onto my computer. The new mix sounds excellent. A few hours sleep in the afternoon left me in good shape for the evening's gig in Warrington. We went down very well again. The place only has bands on every month, so some of the punters were a bit confused by all of the gear and two men stood there with guitars. We had them though. You can tell who the musicians are in any place, because they tend to watch us intently. I was home for 1am and straight to bed. No messing about on the computer.

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July 9th:
Awake really early again, about 8.30am. Once again, Lynda was a bit surprised.

John Lydon (the former Sex Pistols singist) is coming to Bolton Albert Halls next June, so I booked a ticket. Got a decent seat, but wasn't paying the daft meet and greet price. £91 to 'be his mate for 3 or 4 minutes?' Nope. I'm not THAT big a fan. The best bands do a free meet and greet.

A nice sunny day again. Tempting to try taking Tom for a better walk, as long as it doesn't get TOO hot.. We did go on the park near us for a short walk, but it was getting visibly warmer and Oscar was beginning to wilt, so we came home. Oscar does this sort of OCD thing where he walks round the path on the park, rather than cutting across any corners. It always makes me laugh. not like the insistemce on one of our dogs immediately pooing as soon as I have put a poo bag in a bin. A minor irritation.

I had a couple of hours nap, then some food, and then I headed off to the jam night. It was a bit special. Towards the end I went to the chippy, as Graham told me to get off the stage. I didn't need telling twice. I had a nice conversation with a regular, who praised my playing ability and stage sensibility. We talked about 'the future' etc. I outlined my basic plans to slow things down a little after my birthday next year. The setup and breakdown was a bit more cohesive this week and we got away for 11.15pm.

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July 10th:
Up very late. Exhausted from the weekend. I went for a walk to the bank to put some money in, and then to our friend John's house. He's out of hospital and is dealing with being at home. I pulled the trigger on a new bass guitar. I must get rid of a few guitars. I watched some Youtube in the evening, as Lynda had gone to bed. Bed very late. I'm going to have to do some of the afternoon nap routine again when I get a chance. Mary was climbing all over me digging her claws in for about half an hour after I hit the hay. I'm going to be knackered in the morning.

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July 11th:
And knackered I was... I had a lunch date with two former Trade Union Reps that I used to wrork woth at Bolton. One of whom didn't feel well on the day - be well, Malcolm - so it was just Anne and myself. It's always nice to catch up. This time wasn't a string of obituaries. Anne's chap isn't well and I'm not as well as I could be, so that was the extent of our autopsy of ailments. A nice lunch, then I was home nice and early in the afternoon and managed to get the car on the drive before all the mums turn up in their 4WDs to pick up their little darlings and block my drive. We are conveniently located for a school that is nearby.

I remember a couple of years ago a lady stubbornly refused to move her car as it was blocking my drive and I calmly told her that if she ever parked her car there again, she would not recognise it as ever having been a car when she returned to it. She sent her husband round to deal with me later on. He called round and got Lynda who told him what I had said and why. I hadn't shouted at her and she had been totally obnoxious, entitled and unreasonable, in front of witnesses who were sat outside next door, who he could check with. He apologised for the haridian Mrs and slunk off.

I got a smart watch from Amazon recently and finally set about using it today. It counts my steps and says what level of fitness I am at. My heartbeat is much better than Lynda's. It takes a watch with a display to finally make me give two hoots about my fitness. I walked Tom and Oscar roun do to  nearby lodge, and then in the early evening, Tom on his own halfway around Farnworth to get myself to over 9000 steps today and to a moderate state of fitness. Laughable.

I keep thinking about ringing The Christie hospital to see what's going on regarding tests to see where I am up to with this whole cancer lark. I then put it off, because they will ring me when they want to talk to me. My Consultant at The Christie rang mid-afternoon and is discharging me to the care of Bolton Urology again. I am not displaying any of the threatened side effects following the radiotherapy, except for extreme tiredness. I will be booked for a PSA test to measure the level of any cancerous activity in my blood, during August. There will be a further follow-up PSA test just before my November Urology Oncologist appointment.

Bearing this in mind, I'm stopping the radiotherapy blog at this point. I will report back on my test results on this other page.
You can all go back to doing much more meaningful things now. If you've followed this blog and been vaguely interested, thank you.
Thank you to my friends for their support and good wishes. If it has made one single person go and get a PSA test, then it's done its job.

Thank you for your time.

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If you are (quite understandably) wondering what this blog is actually about, apart from cats and guitars, click here.
All will be revealed. As I often say, boringly and repertitively, GUYS GET CHECKED.

If you've only just joined in reading this blog, you can scroll up the page to find out more about cats and radiation and stuff.

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July 12th:
The day after the radiotherapy blog.
Nobody here?
Good.

I got up very late and went to meet Mike in Great Ales in Bolton. I had just the one, as I was driving and not in the right mood for quaffing ale. I forgot to pick up our prescriptions, so I have left a big note by my computer so that I can ignore it.

The bass that I ordered has been posted late afternoon with an arrival time of next Weds. Hmmm. Taps fingers impatiently.

I had a nap from about 4.30 to 6.30, before our evening meal, lots of TV and bed very late. Mary was walking on my chest keeping me awake at 3am.

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July 13th:
Up at around 10.30am. The new bass guitar has just arrived. From Scotland. Good old Parcelforce.  The dogs went bonkers and woke me up properly. I unpacked and tuned the guitar, adjusted the pickup height and plugged it in. Lovely. It will see some use on Saturday.

FENDER VINTERA PRECISION BASS

I went to see Dave in Oldham Hospital in the afternoon, with his wife, Sue. he was in a grumpy mood. He's in a lot of discomfort, bored witless. On the up side, he was taking sips of liquid, which has taken a year to sort. He was very pleased to see videos of Oscar and Tom. The evening was mainly TV.

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July 14th:
Up late. My smartwatch thinks I am a slob. I am just tired all of the time. Collected prescriptions. We watched the Ian Curtis film 'Control' which simply depressed me. Gone at 23. Later we watched a show 'There She Goes' with David Tennant playing the father of a disabled child. It's a hard watch and makes you reaslise what some people go through. I count my blessings. Bed just after midnight. I slept like the dead, despite a collection of pets taking of 95% of the bed.

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July 15th:
Up late for a change. The weather can't make its mind up today. It's going from nice to overcast, to chucking it down and then back again. We'll be doing an hour attending an all day gig later on. It never rains in pubs. It had better not rain in the pub when we play in Southport tonight.

My stepdaughter's birthday. We haven't seen her or her two children for over a year now, as she has taken exception to something her mother said at some point. It doesn't seem to merit this kind of treatment and Lynda is just wounded. I'm just sad for Lynda, as she has never seen her new granddaughter, except in one not-very-good photo. I stay out of the way of their difficult relationship. I was upset at the last text she sent me which was just plain nasty. Least said, soonest mended, as they say. Don't hold your breath, as her daughter says.  She is 39.

The evening saw us playing in Southport. The new bass guitar got a run out and I used it for both sets. I'm not sure what I think of the strings that are on it at present. We mixed up the first set a bit by throwing a couple of Who songs in.

Back home for about 1.30am.

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July 16th:
I published the 'Slade On 45 Volume 1' book. I had reached the point of just wanting to get it out there. Amazon made us price it much much higher than we wanted it to be, but their printing costs have gone through the roof. To get any royalty back we had to make it £38 which I would be the first to say is ridiculous. Whether it is a 300 page full colour book or not.

The evening was the jam night and I spent most of the evening on stage. It's frusratuing when you are dealing with people who - most of the time - don't even tell you what songs they are going to play. I'm sort of just  'THERE' and expetcted to 'just do it' and I am now getting really tired of it. The opposite of a highlight of the evening was my own band making a complete dog's breakfast - repeatedly - of Kiss This Thing Goodbye - usually one of our best songs. Oh well, shit happens.

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July 17th:
Awake early. Up late, as I developed a migraine. A day of not doing too much as I really didn't feel that great at all.

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July 18th:
Up at 10am. I went in town to meet a friend for lunch. A little book work in the afternoon. I'm supplying some images for consideration for a couple of forthcoming books, so I did some work on that. TV in the evening. The 'Who's Next' super-deluxe box set that I have been waiting for (for ages) has just been announced and the price is simply eye-watering. I bought the super-deluxe box sets for My Generation, Sell Out, Tommy, Live At Leeds Quadrophenia and Pete Townshend's Lifehouse Chronicles, so I am sort of tied in to this series. Saving up time. TV in the evening.

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July 19th:
Up early. Wandered around most of Bolton Hospital's grounds, for Lynda's Cardiology appointment, which was supposed to be at 9.45am. We were slightly late for the appointment, because the whole block the appointment was at has moved. A couple of follow-up appointments and then we were off home. I did some scanning after my HP Smart software ended up being reinstalled, because my PC decided that it suddenly didn't like the printer. A reasonablly sunny day today, but I just feel like going back to bed now (13.35). Listening to Crowded House Live at The Town And Country Club, London from 1991. A band having a lot of fun.

Instead of going to sleep like a normal person might, I decided to re-string my Hamer 12-string bass. I only actually do this monumental task about every 5 years, because:
a) I don't play it a lot
and
b) you should see how much the damned strings cost.
My joy was absolutely unconfined when I found an unused box of the relevant set of strings in the bass case compartment. The other set can now wait 5 another years!

Hamer 12 string bass

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July 20th:
Up and about at 11am, due to a very late night last night.
Some internet admin work, icluding promoting the new set of BMG Slade releases in various places.

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July 21st / 22nd:
I've been really, really tired out and have slept quite a lot. My appointment has come through for the 15th August for a PSA test, so I'm going to get my bloods done the week before.

Saturday saw me doing an outdoor gig at an all-day event in Leigh. We played quite well and the people doing the sound looked after us. I slept a lot in the afternoon after landing back at home.

The Three

The evning saw the band playing in Leyland. The pub's been done up a bit and had a good crowd in. Lots of dancing women. Our guitarist had some issues with his microphone level in the second half and it put him off his playing a bit. We had a chat about how to resolve various sound issues onstage afterwards.

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July 23rd:
Absolutely wiped out and the feeling carried on all day. It threw it down in a Biblical style too, which didn't help. The jam night was quite good. I'm having fun with a distortion pedal on my bass board. It's a bit intermittent in its output level and I am not sure why. It's not a bass distortion pedal, which is possibly half the problem.

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July 24th:
I woke up quite early, had a read and that and then went back to sleep at about 9.30am 'til nearly noon. I was still wiped out when I came downstairs and made a coffee. I unpacked the car from last night. I then set about doing stuff to fill some dates that the band have free for the rest of the year.

Our gorgeous Smudge is 12 today.

Smudge

TV in the evening. The Nelsons are just getting over their armed intrusion and Tommy Nelson getting shot in Classic Coronation St. Spies Among Friends is marvelous - we watched a couple of episodes of that.

I managed to get the band a gig for Saturday night in St Helens at a venue I have been talking to for quite some time. Hopefully we will blow them away on the night.

I have kept putting our remaining free gig dates with Agents and they are just totally useless, the lot of them. Some venues are crap at getting back to me too. I am bored with dealing with some of the landlords in our area, as they plainly just don't care or are inept with diaries. If I didn't do it, we'd never gig again, though. We've been hit by a few cancellations recently and I tend to lose a bit of entusiasm for the task when that happens. It's down to doing the work for a date for a second and sometimes a third time to fill it.

Bed very late.

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July 25th:
Up late. I was reading until 2.30am, last night - I've finished the Guns 'N' Roses book, in which Axl Rose was habitually and consistently terminally difficult. I know all about the kind of awkward idiot bandmates who are mentally wired wrong and who are therefore impossible to work with, from all of my years of band experience, but he really took being an awkward shithead to a level undreamed of elsewhere. If I tried to take a band onstage three hours late, or walked off in a huff halfway through a gig, I know exactly what would happen to me.

The Peter Frampton book I'm reading now is a much more sadate and normal affair. I got a signed paperback copy last year and am only just getting round to reading it now.

I went for a walk down to my mate John's house. He's a bit better than he was.

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July 27th:
A couple of days off from writing the blog. I guess if you've nothing much to say, then you don't just drag out a hundred words for the sake of it. It just makes for dull and uninteresting reading. Nobody will thank you for it. What did I do on those couple of days, apart from going to Tesco once? I can't remember, so it obviously wasn't worth writing about.

We've just lost Sinead O'Connor. I wasn't her biggest fan of her or her music, but had seen her play live once, supporting INXS. She had the rhythm section from The Smiths in her band. They were Ok, but not totally my thing. Sky News were in hysterics about her passing, though they only knew five things about her. She was Irish, had struggled with understandable mental difficulties in the aftermath of her son's suicide. She had a hit with a Prince song and ripped a photo of The Pope up on TV. They didn't mention anything about her music career but the one song. They cycled the video in the background, while they kept repeating the five things. A really poor, lazy excuse for journalism. I feel so sorry for her three remaining children.

A couple of people posted things in response to my Facebook post about the Sky News coverage and one has got instantly unfriended and blocked. Another one is as good as blocked anyway. Everytime she sees one of my posts, she makes some sort of carping, moaning response to it. I just can't be arsed with these people.

I met Mike at lunchtime in Bolton. It was nice to catch up. Our first pint was off, so we are looking at going to another pub next week. Dave Disley wasn't available for a visit today, so I managed to fit Mike in, instead. I had a siesta when I got home.

Current TV: We Hunt Together, The Blind Spot, Dark Adam, Below Deck Mediterranean, The Apprentice Australia.

Three gigs this coming weekend. Oh joy. I am not complaining about the actual work, because I need the money. I just know that I am going to be tired.

Bed 1.40am.
And that's partly why I am tired.

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July 29th: Marie Prevost Day.

Last night saw us play at The Hulton Arms. It was lovely to see so many friends there, some of whom I've not seen for a while, some for many years. We had to set up in an alcove, partway round the room and while it was a bit cramped and a tighter space for us, most of the pub could see us properly and we got a great reaction from the crowd all the way through the gig, so it's swings and roundabouts. Graham preferred the new set up.

The place is much busier now, so the new landlord is certainly doing something right that the previous one wasn't. The hottest gig I have done in quite some time and one of the most enjoyable. Thank you to the young lady who guessed my age as 34. You were sadly incorrect. Graham said something about Specsavers. Hmmm.

Up at 10am this morning. I loitered around the house in a bathrobe, drinking coffee and doing web stuff. Some photos from the Rock N Stroll gig by Claire Cavanagh photography turned up and I've added them to the gallery page on our website. I look 34 in those, too. Of course.....

We had been meant to play at a shabby old pub in Leigh, that I took to fill the diary, but wasn't looking forward to very much, but that gig got pulled by the venue as the owners put a wedding bash on instead and got the manager to cancel us. We only took a replacement gig at very short notice.

The evening gig was at Bruno's in St Helens. We have been talking to them for an absolute age about playing there and it came together at pretty short notice. We've also previously talked to them about doing a jam night.

What a fabulous venue. We certainly traded upwards from the original booking by 500%. There was a house PA in place that was really excellent. I managed to get a very good pre-mix using our desk and so the sound was crystal clear and we could all hear ourselves nicely. Their pair of bass bins were humongous, but were on top of each other on one side of the stage.

 

 

         

It's great playing to a crowd who haven't seen us before, so whatever 'musical tricks' we do when we play, are new to them. When a crowd have no idea what to expect, we can give it the 'musical wow factor'. The audience was full of lovely women who were up and dancing. Our first spot was really well received and the second spot was a triumph, though I say it myself. We kept most of the crowd in and everyone had a great time.

The venue were raving about us after we had finished our first set and then again at the end of the night. They asked us about us hosting a jam night for them. I had to explain that we don't want to mess with our regular Sunday jam night that we have now done for 7 years, by splitting it with them, or by moving it. Fridays are of no real use to us either, as we have lots of gigs on Fridays and any musicians that are worth their salt are already out playing. Thursdays were mentioned, but when I talked to Lynda about this, she was rather doubtful about Graham and I managing 4 nights on the trot most weeks, especially with the travel to St Helens and back.

Of course we have had this discussion with them before and we went through every night of the week and it didn't come together. It will be nice to go back to the venue on December 23rd.

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July 30th:
Not a great night's sleep. I got to bed at approaching 2am. I couldn't get to sleep because Tom and Oscar were on the bed and taking most of it up. I simply couldn't get comfortable.  Plus, Tom was chewing at his fur, which he does sometimes, and it just kept me awake and drove me off downstairs to sleep in the front room. Thankfully, he didn't foloow me. I went back to bed at about 7am.

Up late. I stabbed at my phone alarm at 10am with my finger and only woke up when Rachel came round to collect some rhubarb at 11am. As I type this blog, I'm eating a faux bacon and chip barm and Tom is watching me intently. Every bite I take is a betrayal that cuts to the very centre of his soul. He doesn't do badly in his share of my chip barm.

So... tonight was the jam night. Some people seem to have their own unique opinions about how the jam night is run. If someone's boring them, they might take it upon themselves to give us pointed looks to tell us get these people off the stage. It simply isn't required. We know what we are doing. I'd just like to say that the band have been doing this for 7 years now and we are quite capable of handling who is onstage and who isn't and how long they are on for.

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August 1st:
The last couple of days have been a big blur of nothing really. Just sitting around watching TV and the rain pouring down outside. Lynda has spent an amount of time in bed, as she isn't feeling very good at all. Meeting Mike tomorrow, instead of today. I went to the bank and then to pick up a prescription and called in for a pint at The Bridgewater pub. I got a decent number of steps in today.

We were sent the stage times for the all-dayer next week. We were given 3pm, after previously agreeing to a 1pm slot, as we have to go to play at a wedding later on. After an amount of to-ing and fro-ing, we swapped slots with our friends The Hats. Our guitarist thought I had 'started a drama' by mentioning the change of set times. I should have just kept my mouth zipped and have let him turn up at 12.15.

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August 2nd:
Mike had to cancel lunch, due to meetings which clashed, so apart from going to Tesco to pick various stuff up, a quiet day. Lynda feeling a bit better.

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August 3rd:

The Priory

I went with Sue Disley today to see Dave in The Priory, an incredible rehabilitation facility north of Bury. He's in there, following a nasty stroke, which was on his brain stem.

Dave was fairly upbeat as things are happening. One thing he is looking forward to is going to a dentists outside of the Priory, as they are coupling that with him being able to go home for an hour. He's been away for a year and this will mean so much to him and to their dog Lily. The home visit isn't going to be the simplest thing for them, but it will be the highlight of the last 12 months and I'm so pleased for him.

We are thrilled that he feels up to having more visitors these days, where he was quite reluctant earlier on. Sue is going to be talking to a couple of his work friends to sort out when is best for them to go.


 

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August 4th:

Awake early. This is going to be a tough weekend, as the band has 4 gigs (two on Saturday). Once upon a time, I would have relished this opportunity, but now I just see myself and Graham getting exhausted. 3 of the 4 gigs fortunately don't seem to involve us setting a PA system up, but one of them is a wedding with long set times involved, according to the venue, who keep sending me annoying nagging emails with timings detailed. I'm thinking about what to wear to play at the wedding. I'm leaning towatds a grey suit and some new red shoes.

On the way to our evening gig, I called in at our local Tesco and bought a new white short-sleeved shirt for the wedding gig tomorrow night. And a large bottle of orange juice for the drive to and from tonight's gig. I resisted stocking up on a multibag of crisps.

I arrived in Todmorden at 8.10pm. There's a house PA in place at The Polished Knob, so it was a nice easy set-up. We played quite well, and the crowd numbers were ok as we started playing. We kept most of them in for the evening and they didn't want us to go at the end, but we had to....

The Polished Knob

It's a shame that Chris and Claire are moving abroad early next year, but he's keeping the pub on and getting it managed, so he says that bands shouldn't be affected. But they are the life and soul of the place and it won't be the same without them there.

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August 5th:
I was woken up at 8.30am by a phone call from our reserve drummer Ryan, telling me that this afternoon's outdoor all-dayer has been postponed, due to today's pretty bad weather. I'm not keen on weather-dependent gigs and don't usually take them. We were not actually told that the gig was weather-dependent. I thought we'd be all under canopies, as would the crowd. They are looking at another date for it, so we will see. As I type this blog, we should be playing onstage and the weather is overcast but it hasn't rained for a while. You just can't tell with the weather at the moment. There's no point in worrying about it.

I did the necessary Facebook stuff to let people know it wasn't happening, then I went back to sleep until 1.25pm. Gigging really exhausts me at the moment. At least I got the extra sleep I needed and I will be a bit more fresh for this evening's wedding gig.

Lynda kindly steamed the new shirt that I bought.

Meanwhile:

So, I set off for Bowden and the wedding venue just before 5pm. We had a load-in time of 6pm and I was very wary of being late because of traffic. I was there well before 6pm. All the traffic seemed to be heading the other way (clockwise on the M60 car park).

It was a quick enough load-in and set up. We had a pro sound engineer assisting us and I have never heard the vocal sound so well as through their system. I just had my vocal and the kick drum in my monitor and it was bliss. I had my bass DI'd, so just monitored the sound through my rig. The soundcheck wasn't an ordeal at all and we were very happy with sound from the venue PA.

With the soundcheck over and done with, we took up the venue's offer of some food. Graham had a lovely-looking chilli. Being vegetarian, I ended up with something really odd, part of which was cold and if I was a guest, I wouldn't have eaten it. I managed about half of it. I do have to say that the venue couldn't do enough for us.

I'd taken a grey 3 piece suit plus tie that I wore at my daughter's wedding. It just made me look fat and Graham kindly said he would find me not guilty. I was horrified and I went back to the black skinny jeans I had turned up in. I just wore the waistcoat from the suit.

The Three

The Three

The Three

We threw a few extra songs into our first spot and did exactly an hour. We did I knew the bride when she used to rock and roll, which I had been having a slight brain fart with lyrically the last couple of times we have run through it. I really find wedding gigs stressful, as there is a definite responsibility to entertain and our stuff isn't really geared to the younger end. The people who book us might love what we do, but that doesn't mean their guests will. It all went down quite well with those inclined toward dancing.

The DJ filled the gap and the floor for an hour and then we came back on and did another 70 minutes. Adding in Cum On feel the noize maybe confused them a little, but the evergreen Summer of 69 and When will I be loved? went down a treat. Purple rain had them on the floor, as did our finisher, Rockin' all over the world.

The bride and groom were very pleased, so job done. We thanked the sound engineer profusely for his work. It was a simple load out in the dark and I took a slightly wrong turn and ended up coming back on the M56 past the airport, which was a much nicer drive for me than creeping through Sale at 30mph. I did make another wrong turn where the M56 joins the M60 and went for a junction in the direction of Stockport. I was home before 1am. Bed. Reading the Geezer Butler book.

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August 6th:
I was awake before 7am. Once I paid a quick visit to the loo, I was wide awake. Little or no propect of going back to sleep, though I will probably have a siesta in the afternoon.

No siesta was had.... and I went to the jam night feelking rather bushed.

The jam night was alright, except that I ended up playing bass quite a lot of the night as usual. Discussions are still occurring about us doing one on Christmas Eve. The St Helens venue are interested in us doing one there on some Friday nights.

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August 7th:
Bed late after the jam night. A quick post before retiring. This box set will get some rotation later on today. I might try to get the DVd watched again. It really is fabulous.

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August 8th / 9th:
Two days of not doing very much, really. I did pop to Pathology to get some blood taken in advance of my Oncologist appointment next week.  From there, I went into town and met Mike and Steve.

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August 10th:
Up at around 10am, awake earlier. I'm a bit bothered that I am getting some slight twinges at the spot where my radiotherapy was targeted. I've got away with quite a lot, considering that I had radioation applied to that area. If this is a slight side effect, oh well.... My blood taken yesterday will have been analysed by now and the results will be being sent to my Oncologist, so we will see where that gets us next week.

I spoke to an author briefly about his forthcoming book and sent him another hi-res 600dpi image for possible inclusion. I've been invited to the book launch, but it's looking a bit doubtful that I will be able to make it to London on the date concerned. He's doing an event in Manchester, but I'm playing that night, so unless we can catch up for an hour during the day, that's not a goer either.

 

The entire collection of The Train Kept A-Rollin' swag:

The Train Kept A Rollin

* Signed CD
* Clean copy of CD
* The very first totally unique proof version of the book that was given to the band members.
* Clean copy of the book.
* One of a very small number of 7" demo discs ordered for band members etc for potential 7" 45.

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August 11th:
Still here?

As you can see, I had a pretty good day of listening to music, and a trip to Tesco. There wasn't much else to write home about.

I'm taking a deep breath before I dive headlong into more book work next week. I'm not enjoying the book work as much as I could at the moment, to be honest. Slade On 45 Volume 1 hasn't been much of a result for me, as Amazon have recently put their print prices up and for a 300-page full-colour book that's a bit of a disaster. The book costs £18.85 per copy to print, which just about wipes out the royalty. They take 40% and while a 60% royalty sounds great, start with what I think is an absolutely horrific price of £38.00 and then do the math. I put in a hell of a lot of hours in, while restoring practically every image in Vol 1. Repeating that process for Vol 2 just fills me with dread at the moment. But once it's all done and I get a copy on my bookshelf, then I can forget about it and stop resenting the actual book itself for torturing me during its creation.

I have been snarlingly accused by a Midlands Madman of writing another 10 or 11 books under a pen name (as if that's actually remotely immoral or even illegal in some way) over the last couple of years. The idea is a bit laughable. I don't have the energy to do that much work. I spend too much time asleep. If I'm going to write a book, I will put my name on the front of it in big letters.

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August 12th:
Up early-ish - before 10am. Rain stops dog walks for now.

Pah!

I got a Whatsapp message telling me some relative was on their way to our house. Oh GREAT.... an unexpected message from one of my more distant relatives who is coming to stay, unannounced. Another prince from Nigeria I presume... I couldn't quite bring myself to click on that photo, for some reason, so I have no idea which one of my royal relatives it is. It could be ANYBODY.... Oh well. I can save the surprise for when the distant relative gets here. LOL.

Good luck to the Leigh Leopards, who are at Wembley today. Hopefully we will be celebrating their success in Leigh this evening at the Musketeer.

And Leigh Leopards won. The venue was buzzing in the first half and was still quite respectable in the second. Thanks to friends who came along to watch us. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. I think we played well and we look forward to going back in December.

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August 13th:
Up late. 11-ish. Absolutely bushed from last night.

Oscar and Tom

In the evening, we did the 7th anniversary jam night. Most of it was excellent, but towards the very end, there were heated discussions about the sound out front. This has set me thinking.

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August 15th:
I didn't do a blog yesterday as I was busy recording some new music for the first time in ages. Being in a busy working band that trots out pretty much the same setlist ad nauseam, with people who usually don't get creative does very little for the songwriting and recording creativity I used to have. It was a bolt from the blue (and a proper kick up the arse) when Graham, my drummer, gave me some lyrics on Sunday and said did I fancy having a go at finishing them off? I did that and then quickly put a tune together and demo'd it yesterday. I then had some issues getting it mixed onto my computer, as the external USB sound card I was using kept dropping out, so I couldn't mix a decent copy onto my computer. My PC doesn't have a normal dedicated mic input, so I looked online and got an mp3 encoder from Amazon.

Recording

I was awake at around 8am today. I woke up from a dream about seeing my Oncologist today. I went to the hospital with Lynda and we went to urology to be sent over to the Churchill Unit for my 9.35 appointment. We arrived just in time.

My PSA level has gone UP significantly following my radiotherapy. It was 0.37 in February. It is now up to 0.52, which I feel is nothing short of disasterous. The Urology team were not surprised by this and, to be honest, neither was I. They said my PSA would skyrocket after the aggressive radiotherapy which I had in late May. It now needs to go down significantly by my next appointment in November, or I am going to land up having some fairly unpleasant treatment at that point. I am trying hard not to get too negative or down about this at present, but it's not easy to put up a positive front, because it's really worrying. It really has not been a long time since my radiotherapy, though, and the damage it did was significant, so all I can do is try to keep my chin up until November.

The mp3 encoder arrived today. I was quite skeptical about how it would work. I had visions of having to fork out for a new (or more likely a second-hand) CDR recorder and the special discs that they need. I like those but not the thought of having to spend the money on one again. My old one - that I really got on with - wore out. Fortunately, the new gadget worked immediately. It records an mp3 onto a flash card which I can then edit on the PC. I can monitor the sound mix through a headphone socket on it. Result.

I shared the song mix privately with a couple of people late in the afternoon, walked the dogs with Lynda and we spent the evening watching TV: Australian Apprentice, Person Of Interest, Wolf, New Amsterdam, Corrie, plus Evil (with the glorious Katja Herbers).

Katja Herbers

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August 16th:
I woke up early to a text message which disappointed me slightly. I thought I had solved a nagging problem, but there you go. Life doesn't always go the way you want it. Onwards and upwards.

I did some band admin work, replying to an email about our stage requirements for the bank holiday weekend. PlusNet's email servers were being stupid, so nothing showed as sending. I would find out tomorrow that my reply had sent 16 times. It showed as only being sent once on my computer.

Graham rang me in the early evening regarding getting in touch with a local venue for next year's dates. He was in there having a meal and could have done the diary from his phone as our free dates are on the website. But never mind. I have made SO MANY attempts to do bookings with the new landlord that I am getting a headache. It can wait until tomorrow.

TV then bed around midnight. I read some of the Les McKeown book.

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August 17th:
Up before 10am. Coffee, out with the dogs and then some more of that bloody tedious band admin. I sent our free dates to the local venue owner via Whatsapp, texted him to say I had done so and also copied the free dates to the local pub's facebook inbox. I can do no more.

I also tidied up and printed off the set list that I had to provide 8 months in advance to the St Annes Music festival for the August bank holiday weekend.

I also messaged the venue that want another jam night from us to see if he wants any of the Friday dates that I have put to him, saying I need to fill any dates he doesn't want. I have told him I will just tell him which of our remaining dates get taken, as they go. All of that should hopefully sort some things out, but you never know with this chap. He works in a mysterious way.

Whether I will actually manage to fill any more dates or not is another matter. I think I am going out with the band more than enough this year as it is. I might take some thing for New Year's Eve. I might just go somewhere and watch a band and be home in time for midnight. I don't know yet. Next year is going to be run at a bit more of a relaxed pace. I'm tired out at present and have little or no enthusiasm at all for any band work, recording work or book work at the moment..

I caught up a couple of hours sleep in the afternoon. Both Lynda and I are not feeling great right now.

Dave in the rehab facility has got covid, so there was no visit this week.


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August 18th:
My phone battery had died, so it's a good job that I woke up early when I heard our bins being emptied and started moving around a little later, around the time that my alarm was due to go off. I put my phone on charge and ran a bath. Nothing back from the local venue. And I don't really care. I went in town to meet Mike and some other TU rep friends for a quick drink. An evening of TV and bed.

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August 19th:
Up early enough. I got a phone call from Graham, saying we had been offered a gig tonight to handily replace the cancelled one. It was right up at the top of East Lancashire, and that's an area that we avoid because our guitarist is living in St Helens and it's just too much like hard work and expensive getting there for him. He came back and said that he had other plans for this evening, so I had to let the gig go. At least Lynda and I will get to have a curry as we had planned.

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August 20th:
Lynda's been struggling quite a lot, possibly due to some new heart medication that she is on. I nearly dropped out of going to the jam night this evening, because of this. There were a couple of issues with the jam night with one particular participant buggering other people's slots up by ruining their songs and putting people off who had waited to get up. Words were had about that.

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August 21st:

So, on getting up this morning, it became apparent that Lynda was now REALLY struggling. She's had Atrial Fibrilation before now, which has led to a degree of heart failure. She's also had an ablation (where they cauterise the nerve junctions in the heart to stop it overclocking) and a hole in the heart repaired, mostly successfully) We rang the GP surgery because it seems extremely likely that it's a bad reaction to new blood pressure tablets. Lynda had said that after 10 days or so she knew they weren't right. They suggested I get her to the hospital.

We were setting off and she was having trouble standing, so I got an ambulance, which turned up after about half an hour. The two ambulance staff were fabulous and couldn't have looked after Lynda better.

I set off before the ambulance but couldn't find a single parking space in the whole hospital complex, so parked up about half a mile away and walked in.

Lynda was seen as a priority 1 patient due to the heart involvement. Various readings were taken and after the initial assessment, she was placed in a line on a corridor, which worked its way down to the Bays in the main A&E area. After an hour or so of Lynda being in A&E, I popped home to see to the dogs and to get something to eat.

I went back mid afternoon, failed to park anywhere near once again and did the same trek from where I had previously parked and she had just been for an X-ray. Her lungs are crackling a bit as she's got a bit of fluid in them. I stayed a while and went back home again to await further instructions.

Those came in the form of a call from Lynda around 7pm, who said she was being allowed home and I could come to collect her in half an hour. I did various washing up and zipped to the hospital and found a parking space near the entrance to A&E. Happy little dance duly done.

I found Lynda in Bay 12 and we awaited the return of the doctor who was going to release her. Lynda HATES being in hospital. She can't sleep in them and there is no food or water unless you're on a ward. She had a headache and no tablets.

The doctor appeared and said they need to do more tests based on what they've seen. This involves an overnight stay. Remember: Lynda HATES being in hospital. She can't sleep in them and there is no food or water unless you're on a ward.

While the doctor kindly went off to find a sandwich and a yoghurt for Lynda, Lynda had an AF attack and it was a bit scary. She's been having 10-12 of these a day since the new tablets and hasn't been telling me about them.

The doctor (and the latest AF attack) convinced Lynda that going home and coming back tomorrow is not much of an option, so once she settled down a bit, I made my way home once again.

Hopefully, the tests tomorrow will reveal something that can be done. Obviously, the meds for clearing the fluid on the lungs will have to start up again, for a short while.

I will ring in the morning to see what the state of play is. Oscar is sulking because Mum isn't around. Big time.

TV-wise, I watched a marvelous David Bowie live show that had been recorded especially for the BBC, back in 2000. He had shoulder-length hair and just looked a picture of health. His band were terrific. They covered a cross-section of his career brilliantly. He was simply having a ball and I miss him so much when I see things like this.

David Bowie

Bed early. Knackered.

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August 22nd:

It's Tuesday.

I woke up quite early this morning, surrounded by cats and dogs, but no Lynda. I tried in vain to get back to sleep, but ended up getting up, and going round feeding the menagerie. Oscar does the same little happy dance, no matter who is feeding him, but the rest of the time he is visibly unimpressed by Lynda's absence.

I rang the hospital at 10am and found out which ward Lynda was on. On speaking to them, I was told it was rounds time and the ward was full of doctors and consultants and to ring back at 12.00.

I did some band admin work and further tidied up my understanding of that rather tricky feature guitar part on I Feel Fine by The Beatles.

At noon I rang ward D1 to be told the patients were all eating, Lynda was OK, but eating. She was likely to be discharged later on. I said that I would wait for a call later, rather than popping down and struggling to park.

The afternoon passed in a whirl of dog walks, a cheese toastie and YouTube tutorials on common bass player mistakes. They don't mention joining a band, just how people hold basses and silly things they do with their fingers.

At about 5pm, having heard nothing, I went and got some of Lynda's things in a bag, ready for visiting time. I'd just got a bag of essentials together and the phone rang. Did I want to come to collect Lynda? I thought I might as well, so they said 'ring this number when you land and we will bring her out to you'.

That was at 5.25. I struggled to find the right point to pick her up, so I rang the number and got redirected. At 6pm she still hadn't been brought out and I was directed to where the discharge lounge is located. Nobody could adequately explain why I was waiting outside for Lynda to be brought out from the discharge lounge nobody had told me about. I nearly picked an alternative to take home, but persevered.

We waited around for a wheelchair to be located, so Lynda could be wheeled to the door. I was baffled why they were sending her home when she was practically unable to walk. I know they need the beds.... BUT...

I said I would call back for her medication tomorrow rather than wait. An elderly lady who was gathering a coating of cobwebs miserably mentioned that she had been waiting for her meds in the discharge longe since 1pm. It had just gone 6pm.

I got Lynda home and into the house, then walked to the local chippy for an easy evening meal. Lynda fancied fish. I'd finished the meal and a can of beer and three episodes of Classic Coronation St and the phone went.

At 7.15pm I swung into the car parking spaces near the discharge lounge. The elderly lady was being walked to the car park with her meds, to be collected. I was back home 15 minutes later.

Lynda is crashed out on the sofa asleep. She's not slept much - she never does when she's in hospital. She will catch up with talking to people tomorrow.

Apparently, her plummeting condition was something to do with a medicines review call from our GP. They advised her to stop taking some tablets, thus saving some money, however this caused the problems.

I feel quite murderous at the moment. I know of other people who have had imperative pain meds cut and they've had to get their consultants and surgeons to tell the GP's and Pharmacy staff to stop it.

9.10pm.and she's gone to bed.

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August 23rd:
Another day. Up at 10am. I shuffled around a bit, fed the cats and dogs. Mary was resolutely ignoring me with a very stern glare from the safety of the other side of a neighbour's fence. Waving abowl of cat food at her and calling her resulted in the same stern glare. She will succumb to the demands of her stomach soon enough. Lynda has decided to take it easy, which is the most sensible thing to do until her meds have stabilised.

I met Mike at lunch. I did some shopping while I was out. The afternoon consisted of me taking it easy and having a sleep for a couple of hours. We caught up on some TV.

I'd bought a rare 'early Slade' disc from a seller on Discogs. It turned up in the nice picture sleeve that I expected, but it very disappointingly had the wrong disc in it. I contacted them and got a full refund immediately, which was nice. I then ordered another copy from abroad with my fingers crossed that it will arrive intact and have all of the correct content. It doesn't help that all the Discogs sellers are using the same image for the disc and sleeve.

Buy me.

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August 24th:
Browsing one of my music forums online, I spotted leaks of what is on the forthcoming Prince 'Diamonds and Pearls' superdeluxe box set. They have leaked vague details of a set consisting of 12 vinyl albums of stuff that I am really not particularly that bothered about. It was a rather middling album, apart from the singles 'Cream' and 'Thunder'. He'd let the rappers come onto too many tracks and ruin them. He never made a bad album, but naturally he experimented and tried new things on some of them and it wasn't going to work for everyone.

Just like the 'Welcome 2 America' box set, which was so expensive and short of content that they rethought it to bring a cheaper (but still fantastically overpriced) CD / BluRay edition out, it seems to be extremely pricey and for the sake of a hardback book of an uninteresting (for me) period of his career and a live Bluray disc, I don't think I will be investing in the CD version at £157.00.

Prince will be spinning in his grave at the idea of all this stuff that he didn't want out coming out being released. He obviously didn't want it out at the time, or at any time since. The hardcore obsessive fans will hopefully enjoy it, but it's not one for me. More info HERE.

Prince box

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August 25th:
Exhausted, I slept in until about noon. This state of affairs really worries me. I can sleep for England, but my current amount of tiredness is completely off the scale.

I decided to pay a visit to Lloyds Bank in the afternoon because they wrote to me saying that they have some money of mine in a dormant account. It's not a massive amount, but it's mine, not theirs. I thought I had better do something about it.

They want photo ID from me. I don't have any photo ID, except a student ID card from Bolton College. Not on their list. My driving licence is a paper one and my passport expired in 2021, so although it identifies me, it errrrrmmm doesn't. I could apply for a new passport, but not in time to get my money back. I also can't get insurance to go on holiday anywhere, because of my cancer, so a new passport is not anywhere in my future plans. I can't get my driving licence renewed online for another 5 years. I could do it via a paper form, but I would miss their deadline and it would again cost more than I would get back.

They wouldn't accept a P60 notification letter from my Civil Service Pension people. They would accept it if it was from HMRC, however. They suggested a Doctor's letter of introduction that would cost me more than I would get back. I showed them the contents of my Oncology file that they had brought with me. I'm not on any state benefits, so I am unable to provide a letter from DWP.

After an amount of to-ing and fro-ing, I just came home annoyed and wrote a stiff but polite letter to the Branch manager to try to get some sense seen and dropped it in at the Branch concerned. There are other ways to verify my identity and they should use one of those. Hopefully common sense should eventually prevail.

TV in the evening. Bed at 12.30am. I was unable to get to sleep. I just couldn't get comfortable in bed and my neck ached.

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August 26th:
Up at around 12 noon after being awake until 6am. I feel like the walking dead. I'm panicking that this will happen again tomorrow. It just can't happen again tomorrow. I need to be up and about and on the road in the morning, to get on my way to Lytham. I also need to be match fit to get through the driving and these next two gigs, plus the jam night, without struggling with being overcome with tiredness. I think after tonight's gig, I will be tired enough to sleep.

I managed to catch up a bit more sleep in the afternoon. The evening's gig went by with me 100% on autopilot. It was like an out of the body experience. I remember thinking at one stage just before we started our set that I really shouldn't be doing this as I'm not well enough. I sort of watched the band at a distance while actually playing the songs. I just felt removed from the whole thing. When I'm playing, I can often be a bit somewhere else, while playing a song, but the gig itself was another whole level of that.

We did well, though the whole sound onstage was an utter mire for me. I was too tired to even comment or think about that. I just played and sang everything robotically. It was just weird. When we left, I just went home, didn't stop to get any food, and on arrival, I just went to bed, lay down and went instantly straight off to sleep until 10am.

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August 27th:
One snooze and I was up and about. I felt much better than the couple of days before. I unpacked some of the gear from the car, did a few things and set off for Lytham. I got there a little after 12 noon. When I arrived, the lady who directed me as to where to park my car worried me by saying she had got her car stuck in the mud yesterday. I had to drive my car down an embankment to the side of an emormous marquee. Once I had parked up, some jobsworth decided that he'd make packing and unpacking my car difficult by placing a wheelie bin right alongside my car, blocking my path when carrying gear. I don't touch other people's bins, so I struggled my way around it, to the 'green room' part of the tent, at the rear of the stage, where we had a different class of mud.. But it was still mud..

We did a very quick change-over, got our levels tested by an obliging and constructive sound engineer, and got into playing our set, starting just a few minutes late. 

The boys are back in town
You give love a bad name
Here I go again
Highway to Hell
Glam Medley
Tiger feet
Rebel rebel / Satisfaction
Kiss this thing goodbye / Shangalang / Tell him
Roadhouse medley.

The Three

Performance-wise, it was a whole world away from how I was feeling last night. We played like a well-drilled machine. I had put a couple of extra songs in the list in case we got some extra time, but the optional ones all went by the wayside and we ended up finishing off with the medley, instead of Rockin All Over The World, as we had agreed, as the emcee decided to stop us. They had quite a few problems with change overs and soundchecks the day before and were obviously being a lot more careful with timings today. We are good at getting on and offstage quickly and always try to be as flexible and as easy to work with as possible at this kind of event. It gets you more work.

The group after us took their sweet time getting their gear onto the stage and the extra 5 minutes wouldn't have been a disruption - but I just smiled sweetly and thanked everyone profusely. Soon afterwards. I was on the road home. I called at the petrol station near the windmill at the end of the M55, fuelled up and bought some crisps. The 'rock star diet'. It's a wonder I'm not 20 stone.

Once home, I had a relax and caught up on some computer work. I did that rather than lie down, as I would have just slept again. Maybe I needed it, but I want to sleep at night. We managed to watch a little TV before I went back out, but I felt like I had hardly been back. It was soon enough time to go out again.

The jam night was what it usually is. It's all getting to be a bit of a repetitive Groundhog Day for me at the moment. Problems with parking to load in and out. The hideous set-up. The instrumental that we play too fast and that nobody will tell me how one section of it goes, so I just stop playing. The same stuff by the same people, week in-week out, except for some new young people who are learning their craft. Incoherent and nonsensical instructions from musicians on really obscure songs and plain daft ones on some well-known ones. I don't look forward to the jam night very much at all at the moment. At least there were no balance issues and upset with the sound tonight, thank God. Swings and roundabouts. I'm happy enough to take the money, so maybe I should just shut up and get on with it.

Bed at almost 2am.

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August 28th:
Awake at 10am. Up just before 11am. A reasonable night's sleep, but I feel sluggish and tired. I will leave unpacking the car until later on.

I read a really good post by a friend on Facebook this morning, just before getting up. It concerned the rudeness and stupidity of punters in pubs, who think they can ask you questions mid-song while you're actually busy singing, those punters who think they can mess with your gear, or take over a microphone and take over singing.

My old band used to stop dead - on the very same note - if someone came onto the stage. We had no tolerance of such behaviour at all. It made the person concerned look totally stupid. As for people trying to get my attention while I am actually busy singing a song, I have no problem in interrupting my vocal to say "ask me when I'm not singing" to them. It makes them look REALLY stupid. They can't get to most of our gear, because of how I set the stage up.

I've had people confuse our gigs with a jam night (or worse still, the evil karaoke), thinking they can walk onstage and take over a vocal. OK, you can have the impulse to jump up and start singing something probably much better than I can (until you screw up the words and look to me to come back in and pick the song up and dig you out of a hole, which I won't). It's even better if you don't do it in the first place, though, so I won't be wary of you forever.

People are always backing into our microphones while dancing and I will happily poke people in the back with the sharp end of my bass neck if they look like they are going to start falling into the drums or over my vocal floor monitor and I am never that gentle about it. I have no problem at all with giving people stern lectures about staying off the stage.

My old bank rang me to talk through the issues that I am having regarding the funds in that old account and the problems I am having with my ID. I toild the branch manager that if she really wanted to find out who I am, she could Google me. She's seeing what she can do.

Bed extremely late.

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August 29th:
Up and about well before 11am. I went and did a half of a weekly shop at our local Tesco, before going to meet my friend Mike in town. We stuck to a pint each, then I went into HW Audio to have a brief look at their guitars. There was one in the shop that I quite fancied, but they are asking £999 for that particular used guitar. It's a very clean example and very nice, but not THAT nice.

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August 30th:
Awake at 6am. Wide awake and unable to go back to sleep, so up and about. Dogs and cats all fed and watered, some Youtube watched on TV. A lot of stuff about Trump being disqualified from running and potentially jailed. It's going to be some very brave people who stand up against him and his nutjob forces. I did a lot of web work on the rearrangement of the blog section of this website. I'd forgotten how far back it goes.

I was sent a few links to songs to learn for a future jam night. I was utterly dismayed at one of them, as - no matter how long I sat down and worked on the song - I just couldn't get it into my head. It wasn't the style of music I generally would choose to have in my house. Elaine Paige plays that kind of show-tune on her Radio 2 show, and off it goes. I agonised over passing on playing on it because it's a matter of personal pride that I always try to be able to play any form of music and I feel that I SHOULD be able to play most anything, but I always say if I can't play something, I will not do a rubbish job and make a mess of it. My job is to be the best bassist in the room, not to make hideous cock-ups and let people down. Another of the songs is not my thing at all, but it is a lot more conventional and manageable. I will spend a couple of hours making sure I am properly familiar with the second song - just to play it properly once on the night and get it over and done with in 4 minutes or so. The third song is a once-well-known classic cover song.

The first song had really sent me into quite a tizzy, I felt so pressured by the idea of working it out.that I actually decided to take Tom for a long walk for a couple of hours, just to get away from the house. I spoke to my mate Mark in Liverpool for about 90 minutes while walking Tom. Tom appreciated the walk greatly.

I'm a bit down and stressed about a few things at present. I can't currently be bothered to get started on picking up on the work on the second Slade On 45 book. Chris is talking about another book project and I just have no energy for writing at present. I volunteered a while back to help another author publish a book of his and it's dragging on, getting his book anywhere near finished. I will be assisting with the book formatting and publishing if it comes off.

I have some more lyrics to work on and a song to work up from those, plus the demo of 'Save us from the natives' also needs re-working a little and re-recording, with a click track for the drummer to play to. This means that the other parts I'm recording might lack dynamics, because I'd also have to play to a click, rather than drums. I might be able to find a workaround solution to that. No wonder I can't raise much enthusiasm to get started on anything at the moment. I'm always tired, anyway.

2am and I'm sat doing this blog. What's wrong with me? I should be in bed.

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August 31st:
Up late. I got to bed far too late for my liking. I keep telling myself 12.30am and that's it. And failing to do it. I've heard that we won't be doing those three songs now. A fairly lazy day. I rested up a lot. Bed earlier than usual.

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September 1st:
September ALREADY??? This year is cracking on, isn't it?

It's a good job that I use a really good spam filtering program for my emails. I deleted about 500 this morning that were mainly nuisance emails. I can happily recommend a program to everyone called Mailwasher that does the job of getting rid of spam and nuisance emails perfectly. You can get it HERE - there's a basic free version, though I use an old version of Mailwasher Pro that's just fantastic. You just give it some keywords and simple instructions and then none of the idiots can ever get through to you again, as long as you run the program just before you download your email..You never even see any of the rubbish at all unless you choose to.. What's particularly pleasing is knowing that some witless buffon who is sitting slaving away for hours at a desk doing this to irritate people deliberately and thinking that they've got one over on you is totally wasting their time.

Mailwasher

Lynda and I went round to a friend's house for a couple of hours in the late afternoon and it was really nice to see her - we haven't seen her for ages. I've spent a bit of the late evening chasing up an outstanding payment for the band from an appearance in July at an annual event. Better in our pockets than someone else's.

Bed very late again. I have to break this 2am cycle.

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September 2nd:
Up just after 10am. Pooped. The weather looks fairly tolerable today. The kind of day when Tom might get a decent walk later. I've had a response about the payment from July. All good. One less thing to chase up.

Lynda and I did a trolley dash to Tesco, then I went for a long soak in the bath. We've got a visitor coming later, so Tom and Oscar will have to make do with a couple of trots to the park. I'm utterly shattered and have a gig this evening.

I ended up having a couple of hours sleep in the late afternoon. Our friend came round and ate with us. I headed off to Chorley at about 7.15pm. The parking outside the venue is usually a bit of a pig, but tonight there was no problem. I think the people of Chorley had all gone somewhere else for the night. We played to a small, but nice crowd, most of whom we kept in for most of the gig. I called in at McDonalds for a shake / fries combo to eat on the way home. Lynda was already in bed when I got home.

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September 3rd:
I woke up at 8am, went to the loo, then promptly went back to sleep until about noon. I had little or no interest in getting out of bed. Lynda was pretty much flattened by the heat and spent a lot of the day lying down and avoiding it.

Lynda is under the weather and went back to bed during the afternoon and I fixed myself a quick toastie just before going out to the jam night, then called at  McDonalds on the way to the jam for fries and a shake. The jam night was rather Groundhog Day again, but at least there was no idiot disrupting people's spots and ruining things like there was the other week. I got really tired and had to sit down for a minute or two towards the end. A couple of people visibly thought it rather funny that I was taking a pew for a minute. I wonder how they would deal with what I am going through health-wise at the moment? Home and a bit of dicking about on the computer before attempting to go to bed.

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September 4th:
A really awful night's sleep. I couldn't even get into bed properly for various animals and the bed covers being all tangled up. I ended up going downstairs to share the sofa with Mary, I couldn't get very comfortable there, either. At about 5.30am, I had another go at going to bed. Up at 10am. I'll get an early night tonight. Lynda's still not right from the other night. I quietly loaded the gear in from the car, being careful not to wake her up. The weather is too hot for walking the dogs so far, today. They'll get out later.

The postman dropped off this disc. Quietly chuffed to have obtained a copy. I've ordered something else from Discogs that wasn't released in the UK.

One of Paul McCartney's original Hofner violin Beatle basses has been missing for years.
Some internet fools are trying to track it down. Hmmm. I'm saying nothing...

No.

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September 5th:
Up at 10am. A day of not doing much, really, as it was too hot. In the late afternoon I watched the first 3 episodes of LOST on DVD. Then I set about raerranging my audio gear for listening and recording. It's now a lot easier to get at and link together to do some recording work. It's taken me ages to get around to sorting that out.

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September 6th:
Another scorching hot day. I don't personally subscribe that every hot day is down to catastrophic global warming. We've always had hot spells. I took Sue to see Dave in the rehab unit today and he was outside in his wheelchair when we landed. It was good to sit out with him. He managed to get a few hours at home at the weekend. The first time in over a year. He's still a long way from coming home and being able to manage once there, but it must give him a lot of hope that things will work out that he finally gets home at some point.

DD

In the evening I met up with two old school and college friends for a couple of relaxed drinks. It was nice to see them both, as we hadn't been in contact for some years. As it was warm and the pub was rather full, we sat outside. At 10pm, they switched the beer garden lights off, so we were sat in the pitch blackness. A bit rude, I thought. We came inside and there was a pub quiz going on. Too late to enter, as it had already started, but I knew nearly all of the answers to the questions i heard before we trooped off outside and said our goodbyes. I was home for about 10.40pm.

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September 8th:
Yesterday I went for a scan at the Brightmet Health Centre to check my aorta out for a potential aneurysm. Fortunately, the scan came out as clear. One bit of good news. I celebrated by buying some beers from the nearby Aldi.

The weather is still rather hot today. It was cool enough to take the dogs out this morning. Someone tried saying that Oscar 'should be on a lead if he has no recall'. He simply walked up to within a few feet of another dog and just wagged his tail good naturedly. He's a very sociable dog. He's also a bit deaf and doesn't always come back when shouted, as he doesn't always hear me. Oscar's recall wasn't in doubt as I hadn't actually shouted him. I resisted the temptation to discuss this with the oaf who decided he had to loudly lay out his rules for my use of our local public park on me in the form of a lofty sermon. Life's too short. I just brought the dogs back home, as I still thought it rather warm. He sat there on a bench with his ego intact, but his poor dog was cooking.

I did a couple of hours of messaging venues about band books for next year. Our local venue still hasn't got back to me and I've just about given up on them. The landlord there seems to have no idea about running a diary and responding to people. I spoke to a chap in Blackpool who wants to fix us up with some gigs over there.

4 more episodes of LOST season 1 were watched. They've found water and have gone into some of the main characters back stories.

More TV in the evening.
The Tower. The Woman In The Wall. World On Fire. Person Of Interest. Love And Death.

World On Fire  Person Of Interest

Elizabeth Olsen  Love And Death

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September 9th:
Another scorching day. The cats are not happy about it and neither am I. I was meant to nip round to my friend John's house yesterday, but I was rather defeated by the heat. I rang him up and apologised and we re-set for Monday or Tuesday next week. Various plans to nip out in the car during the day have been abandoned over the last week. I don't know if I will get out today. I have a feeling that gigging tonight will be more than enough for me. 3 more episodes of LOST were watched. I re-strung my Dean stage acoustic for the jam night with Martin Phophor Bronze strings. It needs to settle down after that. There's going to be a keyboard player on my side of the stage on Sunday, reducing the available space I have, so whether I'll get to fit it on.... I'll have to make a decision.

It was a warm one, but fortunately I took my fan along with me. We went down well with the punters and the new landlady liked us. I will be sending over some dates in a few weeks. Home for 12.50am. Bed and a book: Conversations with Paul McCartney by Paul DuNoyer.

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September 10th:
I managed to get us in to cover a cancellation on Sept 30th in Blackpool. A nice club, but with stairs. Lots of them.

The Three

Our jam night... The endless repetitiveness, week-in / week-out is not at all enjoyable for me. It's just stressing me out and getting me down. I know what the rest of the year's jam nights look and sound like already. I do see an end to the jam nights, but it is some way off yet. I shouldn't bitch if I am happy to take the money, maybe. Maybe I should just shut up. Maybe.

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September 13th:
A couple of days of taking it a bit easier, meeting my mate Mike for lunch, a spot of book work, I've re-published the 4 Slade fan club books and 100% of the royalties will again go to Kidney Research UK. I've sorted some images for the second Slade On 45 book, which I will dip into occasionally. I've also been doing work on a suitably festive cover for the paperback edition of THE NOIZE, to be made available throughout December.

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September 14th:
My ISP PlusNet's system died on the evening of the 12th at about 9pm, all over the country, due to some server issues. It came back for a lot of people the next day, but something inside my router has died, so I currently can't get onto the internet via my PC. This is stopping me from doing various things online that I really need to do - some things are more urgent and important than others. It's a little bit annoying, but as Lynda says, we're not exactly coping with devastating floods in Libya or in some disaster area like Ukraine, or having to deal with real problems.

An amount of today was spent talking to Plusnet, chasing cables around my studio room, going to Currys to buy a new router cable, in case that was the cause of the problem and playing Super Challenge Freecell, watching a couple of episodes of the first season of LOST, walking the dogs and later on going out to pick up our evening meal from the local Indian takeaway.

A new router / hub is being sent out to me post haste and my old one might go to The Science Museum, which is apparently where it belongs - on display. PlusNet support were a bit surprised (maybe aghast) that when we went over to fibre broadband, a couple of years back, we were not given a new superduper one. Until the new router lands, I will have no internet, except via my phone. I can cope with that. OK, I can't do some things, but those things can be done later on.

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September 16th:
Last night's gig was a bit of a non-event. A half full venue with people who were more interested in chatting than joining in with / reacting to the band. It happens - that's why I go out with people, so I fully understand. Our guitarist said 'It's going to be a long night'  after silence greeted the first song. It was.

Main event of the day was the router arriving, followed by the inevitable call to Plusnet support when it still didn't connect to the internet. An engineer is coming out to me on Monday morning to sort my connectivity woes out. Various things don't work without the Internet, like printing and scanning. Not to mention email.

The 4 Collected Slade Fan Club Newsletter books I ordered for myself landed. I've tidied up the spines to match, tweaked a few pages in books 1-3 and really done some work on improving book 4. 100% of the royalties still go to Kidney Research UK. Daryl Easlea contacted me to see if my advance copy of his new Slade book had arrived yet. Nope. probably tomorrow.

Our drummer Graham gave me another lyric to work with recently. I've added some words and rearranged it slightly. I have a bit of a tune and a basic feel in mind. I'll get to work on this and the first song we wrote together (again) next week.

This evening's gig was a really good one. I resolved the problems we have there with the floor being a bit of a bass trap by raising my bass rig up off the floor. We had a fairly full house who loved our stuff and the front was populated with our friends. We 'had the wind behind us' as a result and we played really well. I had a chat with Graham about getting a couple of our tracks together fairly quickly, as he may have a use for them. Work to do early next week, then.

The Three

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September 17th:
Up at about 10.30am. Rather pooped after last night's exertions. Apart from dog-walking, not much of a day to speak of. The Who's Next box arrived and I had a brief look at that. It's a rather enormous and daunting 11 disc and 2 book package, which I am going to have to study in a bit of depth. The jam night was brightened up by some youngsters coming along doing it. The rest of it was pretty much the same old stuff.

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September 18th:
The BT Openreach engineer came out and got our internet working again. We have a new router and a new network name and a daft long new password. If you can read this rubbish, then it must be working.

I took advantage of the internet coming back to apply for a blue badge. Happy days.

I went to meet Anne and Malcolm, two former Trade Union Reps that I used to work, with for lunch. The restaurant was closed and it decided to pee it down while I was waiting outside to meet them. We went to a chippy in Bolton for lunch. When I got back, my signed copy of the Bernie Taupin book had arrived.

In the afternoon I started working my way through the mammoth 'Who's Next' superdeluxe box set. I also watched a bit of the last disc of LOST series 1.

I fell asleep while watching TV in the evening. Bed early. I finished off reading the Paul DuNoyer McCartney book.

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September 19th:
Up at 11.30pm. Into Bolton to meet Mike from 1 til 2pm. Lunch was a couple of Carrs' cheese and jalopeno pasties. In the afternoon I did a bit more of working my way through the 'Who's Next' box set. It's really good, but the cost was staggering. The UK copies have all apparently sold out immediately, so Amazon are importing US copies with about £50 of duty added on and are selling those. A good job I didn't dither. At about 5pm I got a headache and resorted to a coupole of Zapains.

Tomorrow is reserved for doing some recording work on the songs I have written from Graham's lyrics.

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September 20th:
I made a start on the first of the two songs (Don't look 'em in the eye), but got so tired I ended up going to bed for a couple of hours.  I woke up feeling like rubbish and sent Dave's wife a text saying it will be next week when I can go to see Dave as I'm struggling with this tiredness.

Studio work.

A promo copy of Daryl Easlea's book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO SLADE arrived. I contacted him to let him know something (very very miinor) that was missing, which will be put in the second printing. A ripping read.

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September 21st:
Up at 10am. After a while I went and re-did some guitars and put vocals on the first song and got a 'temporary drums' mix of it, plus a version with the drums faded off and an indicative click track beat on it. Graham will be re-recording the drums on the song on the original multi-track. I could have just done a click track, but I am not great at playing my parts along with a metronome, I need the dynamics of a full kit - something to play against.

Doing that tired me out. It also seems to be the case that whenever I do home studio recordings my throat falls apart, no matter how careful I am., so a couple of beers were involved. It didn't make my voice sound that great to me. I am not my own favourite singer. I get by.

I put together a second drum track and click track for the other song and got them on to tracks 1 and 13/14 on the 24 track recorder.

I fell asleep later on watching TV and ended up having a hot bath a bit later on in the evening. Even gentle exertion wears me out these days. Roll on November when I can find out a bit more about where my body is up to.

I sat and avidly watched Question Time before heading upstairs... The last thing I did was spend some time playing the 'Who's Next' box. It's sublime. Late late late.

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September 22nd:
Up at 11am, because it was 2.30am when I got to bed. That was the Who's fault.

A friend called round to collect some concert tickets that I had printed off for her from the pdf sent by the ticket people. Now she'll be able to actually get into the show. Mission accomplished. A nice visit. We talked about how these ticket companies don't make things easy for people. Concert tickets on a phone app, rather than actual proper printed tickets, are just confusing to some people. Including me. I'd rather pay a bit of postage and get them in my hand. Finding things on my phone is not easy. What if your phone internet is dodgy at the venue on the night, or if the battery dies, or some other calamity? I like the comfort and reassurance of an actual physical concert ticket in my hand, which I feel is what I have paid for. You can't really put a pdf up on the wall in a frame. Well, I suppose you can, but it's a bit crap.

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September 23rd:
Up late. 11-ish. Walked the dogs, then we went to my grand-daughter's 5th birthday party at Rachel's boyfriend's auntie's house, just around the corner from us. We went in the car, because Lynda isn't feeling too great. it was nice to see Rachel, Paul, April and Ste and meet up with people,including my former mother-in-law, who I have always got on with reasonably well. We stayed for a couple of hours, until Lynda had had enough of this exertion and then she bizarrely insisted we did a quick trolley-dash around Tesco. She was worn out, looked absolutely grey and was walking at a top speed of 1mph. I had said 'give me a list and I'll go and do the shopping'. I quite like going to the supermarket, even though i come home worn out after doing it. But there was no list - just getting things as we walked around, doing a fairly full weeekly shop - and I kept worrying that Lynda was going to keel over in the supermarket as we crawled around it. I had to stop and take a breather myslef at a couple of points. We got home and the shopping was put away and I breathed a really huge sigh of relief.

In the evening, the band played at our local pub. We had a small but decent enough crowd. Lynda was too tired to come. We ended up pulling Whiskey in the jar out of the hat (I needed the words) as a request. We sort of fluffed the middle solo part of the song a bit as we haven't played it for a few years now) and carried on with verses. We chucked Merry Xmas Everybody in for the landlord, as well as Cum on Feel The Noize. I was home at 1.05am, within a couple of minutes of leaving the pub. Bed around 1.45am

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September 24th:
In a rare display of slack living, my waking up at 8am for an hour or so was followed by me sleeping in until almost 1pm. Lazy, even by my slack and low standards. Lynda reckons if I need sleep then I may as well sleep, but that was rather a LOT of sleep. I didn't get the planned afternoon nap yesterday afternoon, because I watched a couple of episodes of LOST season 2 and maybe I was catching it up.

I took the dogs out for a quick walk and was distracted by the sight of a woman in what looked like green pyjamas standing on a nearby street corner, shouting and raving at nobody in particular. She walked angrily off up the road and opened the passenger side door of what must have been her car, as I walked past across the road from her. She leaned on the door, shouting at nobody in particular, all over again. Coming back towards home I walked past, close by her, and heard her shouting 'You'll never be me and you'll never be Lisa. You can all go away.' It just made me so very sad. I told Lynda about it when I got home and she agreed that there's nothing can be done until maybe she starts the car engine and has taken over control of the car, where she may be a danger to others. There's nothing you can do to help and it was so upsetting. She might be like that all the time. How does she cope?

I put myself thousands of miles away in the island world of season 2 of LOST for an hour before getting my gear ready for the jam night later on. just before I left, my copy of the deluxe 4CD edition of THE GIFT by Midge Ure turned up.

I took my pointy Aria ZZB deluxe bass which is over 40 years old now. It is still quite lovely to play. It has a great clear sound. My sunburst Telecaster didn't get an airing, but the blue Squier 50's P I took as a spare bass was sounding and feeling great. The jam night was partly marred by a crackling sound and drop-out on the PA on my side. I took a moment or two to chase all of the cables and sorted it. Pressure. I ditched a long red PA lead that has ceased working. I hadn't had it all that long, which is annoying. We are finding there is some resistance in the band to doing a couple of our songs. That is also annoying. You just can't get the staff these days...

I got to bed around midnight. I read some more of Daryl Easlea's book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO SLADE for a while. We're just into 1974 now. Oscar and Tom took up their positions on the bed, leaving me little room and making the bed hotter than hell, so at 2am I was up again, writing this blog, ordering a replacement microphone cable and tuckered out. It was 4.15am when I went back to bed. Lynda muttered something profound about me walking round all day tomorrow (later today) talking about how tired I am.

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September 25th:
Up at 11.15am. I went downstairs, made a coffee and said to Lynda... 'this is a picture of me, walking round all day talking about how tired I am.' I blamed the dogs for my plight.

I spent the day tired, as predicted and watched episodes of LOST in the studio room. I went to bed quite early.

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September 26th:
Up and a coffee made before my alarm sounded at 9.45am. I had a rather average night's sleep, was too hot in bed and crowded to the edge of the bed by two dogs. I went to meet Mike in town at lunch.

Lynda was not up to going to her friend's house while I was in town. The GP surgery rang to try to do blood tests and arrange a medicene review on her and she dealt with them rather precisely, informing them that the last time they did this - quite recently - they made a total mess of things, nearly killing her and certainly putting her in hospital. Someone is going to ring her again to try to talk her out of various life-saving medications on October 13th. She referred them to the Cardiologist's letter to her, which they were unaware of.

I watched a disc worth of LOST. Some good TV in the evening. Bed at 11.30pm..

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September 27th:
I woke up with a stinking migraine, took some painkillers and then went back to bed. I didn't sleep as my head hurt too much, but rested my eyes. I got up after 1pm and was craving coffee. Probably not that good for me, but I had one anyway. My head is still hurting a bit at 3pm. I was intending to do some recording in the morning, but that plan fell by the wayside.

It's April's 5th birthday today. I'm not up to driving. Lynda is also struggling today.

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September 29th:
After medicating myself against another sudden migraine, I went to see Dave with his wife Sue yesterday. Little things like him lifting his right leg an inch or so are little triumphs. I took the Who's Next box set to show him and he promptly got Sue to order it.

No migraine yet today, despite me kicking the day off with a coffee.
I finished the Daryl Easlea Slade book last night, so I put a brief review together.

It was nice to get a mention in the book. That will cheese a couple of people off. Well screw them.

Daryl Easlea.

Happy birthday to my wife Lynda. She's not up to doing anything today. I'm quite worried about her, but she refuses to let me call an ambulance when she's 'having an episode'. She would rather not do 10 hours in a corridor again unless she REALLY has to.

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October 2nd:
A catch up of the last few days.

Friday.
Off to Leigh Cricket Club in the early evening. We played at our reserve drummer Ryan's post-wedding bash. It appeared that I had what turns out to be a damaged 6 way mains cable lead powering my effects and it tripped their electrics a couple of times, fortunately well before the guests arrived. That was a bit of a nightmare, but I worked around it. It was a lovely evening.

Saturday.
I replaced the faulty 6 way mains cable (disposing of the old one) and swapped a distortion pedal out for a chorus pedal on my bass board. I did a mix of the third version of Don't Look 'Em In The Eye. It still needs Graham's drums adding onto it.

We played at the Highfield Club in Blackpool. We had to park round the back. I was there first and the back gate was locked, so it was a long walk around the block to be met by a chap on the front door who kindly got the gate unlocked for us. There are lots of stairs on the fire escape at the venue, which were slippery as it had rained, so if we are back next year, it will hopefully be in the summer. Our guitarist's Blackstar combo died an ignoble and noisy death part way through our first spot and we ended up putting his guitar straight into the PA system and carrying on that way. A very good night on the whole, apoart from the issue with the gear.

Sunday.
The jam night. We arrived at 6.30pm as we were told that they had a function on before us. I wondered what was going to go wrong on the night. Nothing. Everything ran like clockwork. I'd replaced a vocal mic lead with a new one and that was fine. I don't like the chorus pedal in the bass board very much, so that will come out.

Today.
I woke up - absolutely wide awake - before 7am and went back to sleep around 9am. I ended up getting out of bed at around 11am. The dogs got a walk before it rained and I spent some of the afternoon watching episodes of LOST. I was falling asleep during the early evening after we'd had our evening meal, but managed to watch a few things like Classic Corrie, The Following Events Are Based on a Pack of Lies and we gave up on TV and and went to bed around midnight. I couldn't get to sleep, so was back up until after 4.30am. I expect migraines during tomorrow..... errrm later today...

The saintly Rebekah Stanton

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October 3rd:
Up around 11am - awake at 10am. A bit tired, as expected. I sorted my day out.  I did some correspondence and got on with some book work. There will (eventually) be another edition of THE NOIZE, so I set about updating that with some recent releases and finds. I did quite a lot of work on that. Slade On 45 Vol 2 is sort of at a halt until i get some more images. Some TV in the evening, including a 90 minute programme about Partygate - the strange goings on at 10 Downing St, which earned both our current Prime Minister and the then Prime Minister fixed penalties for breaking Covid guidance that they had set for the nation. Lesser mortals got whacked for £10,000 and upwards, while the toffs got slapped for £50 each. Don't bother to ask me why I will never EVER vote for those corrupt shits.

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October 5th:
No blog yesterday. I wasn't well and woke up feeling like my head was in a clamp. I finally got out of bed at about 2pm and felt my way rather gingerly through the day.

Once again, I am that guy who watches Married At First Sight. The Verdicts So Far:

Shina and Brad

Shona is a lovesick doormat and the overly-tattooed Brad is worryingly controlling and annoyingly superior. He quite reasonably feels that their feelings are not the business of the others, but doesn't simply quietly say that. He has told her to shut up in front of the others. He comes across as feeling that she's a bit immature and dim. She might be, but that's not a reason for him to get so irritated with her. He has pretty much no language skills, but they haven't needed that, as according to him, they spend all of their time rolling around in bed. I hope for her sake that she wakes up and smells the coffee.

Shona / Brad

Jay and Luke

Two REAL people. They seem quite genuine and normal, with the right attitude. If they can get over whatever geographical issues that will face them, they are a possible future couple.

Jay / Luke

Arthur and Laura

After a rocky start, with her feeling she hadn't got what she asked for, they seem to have got a reasonable friendship together. Whether they will ever get close enough to last, I don't know. He's been 'absent due to illness' this week and I suspect she may have snapped and killed him.

Arthur / Laura

Thomas and Rozz

He's a blank page and wounded by past relationships. She's got her guard up. Especially after she initiated sex with him and it put his guard up even more. They need to learn to relax. As a couple they are a puzzle. Will they last? I'd be surprised.

Thomas / Rozz

Ella and Nathanial

Nathanial naturally wants to get to know his bride before leaping all over her in bed. She doesn't get that. It causes tension. Lots of it. She has all of her trans issues to contend with. That's a very difficult thing on its own, never mind adding in an 'arranged marriage' as well. She is very highly strung and has been in floods of tears, as she doesn't get his need to know more about her. Do these people have no conversational skills at all? Unlikely to stay the course.

Nathanial and Ella

Peggy and Georges

He started off as a rather immature 'one of the lads' who couldn't help saying stupid things that irritated her every time he opened his mouth but seems to have got his act together because he is faced with a proper girl. Will they last? Dunno. If he behaves he stands more of a chance. I suspect that she will see what he's like when they get to the home visits and he takes her out with his mates and starts acting daft.

Peggy & Georges

Tasha and Paul

From what I have seen so far, they are a pretty natural couple. Again, a lot depends on them overcoming the geographical issues that will face them. They both seem to have the perfect attitude for this process.

Tasha / Paul

Porsha and Terence

She was initially horrified by his work hours and had a princess attitude that was frankly annoying. He incorrectly called her 'childish' following an incident at a restaurant, which got her fury going properly and nearly finished them. Actually she was stuck up, annoying, hostile and really rude. After some counselling, they surprisingly seem to have got a friendship together. How that translates into anything really lasting, I'm not sure. I think she won't put up with him going out doing DJ gigs. A total red flag. Musicians with wives who want to stop them gigging usually end up parting from them. I can't see them surviving beyond the halfway point of this process.

Porsha / Terence

Two more couples are joining the process this week, so God knows what they will be like. A preview snippet seems to show one groom rather quickly turning his nose up at the bride he's been sent. And it looks like he was punching well above his weight.

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October 7th:
Up late. Noon. My sleep is still out of whack from the last few days. The other day I was watching two Slade items on Ebay that were being sold from Mexico. Oh, you can guess the rest. The attraction was that they were unique-looking rare promo items in unique sleeves. Chris said 'do they look legit?' and it set me off thinking. I hadn't seen these anywhere before. Of course, that was what made me rather hot under the collar about them.

Hmmm. Fakey fake thing.   Very fakey fake fake thing

The discs themselves were definitely genuine, though I doubt that tiny promo sticker on the Polydor disc was real, but what about the sleeves? The Slade Alive group photo is maybe from the year after release, for a start. At some ungodly hour on the morning of the auction, I looked at the seller's other items and I deduced that he is getting record sleeves printed, all with a similar feature on them (a band across a top corner of each one, saying 'Made in Mexico'). Different record companies several years apart simply wouldn't do this. FAKES. I saved myself a lot of money, due to some detective work and a little thought. It was a silly-ish late night though, which hasn't helped me waking up in the mornings.

Yesterday I spent most of the day going through most of the manuscipt for THE NOIZE, updating it, altering the font size and re-aligning and improving some images on pages. Laborious. AND the book isn't coming out for at least two more years. The 'Slade On 45 Vol 2' book is coming along, but scanning my record collection bores me rigid. It will happen, but I don't have a set date for it.

The evening's gig was ok. I think the sound balance was slightly off. I did work to correct it. Getting a migraine a couple fo songs from the end didn't help. Singing with my eyes closed didn't help. I handed in our invoice afterwards, but it looks like we are going to get paid by the company through their website. Last time it was REAL hassle to get paid and I'd rather cancel the gigs than do that again.

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October 8th:
Up around 11am. Very tired this morning. I spent an amount of the day doing things to websites. This page got a new look, with me in the background and a nice new top menu, responsive to mobile phones.

The jam night in the evening was a good one. Reunited with my old band mate Steve Mulvaney, we did some of the old stuff from The Kerbcrawlers days. Steve opened with Behind Blue Eyes, which I hadn't prepared for and I thought my harmonies on it were good, though I say so myself. I sang Get Over It (it's fast and wordy, so quite hard to sing and I did about an 80% job on it). I changed to a short scale bass for Emerald and only flubbed a bit of the main riff on it. I used to have that unbelievably tight, but that's years ago. It was joyous. Lots of good people got up to play. There's some video on the jam night page. I'm really surprised at some of the stuff that DIDN'T get filmed.

Bed late, as I stayed up and put most of the videos onto YouTube.

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October 9th:
Up at about 11am. No patience with the day today. I watched a bunch of episodes of LOST s2. I went to 'take a break' from someone on FB, who tagged me in a spoiler for MAFS (having TV shows ruined for me is a pet hate), and found out they aren't on my friends list. Weird sh*t.

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October 10th:
I took Lynda to the hospital for an appointment to have her heart checked. I managed to get a disabled parking space on the main car park at lunchtime. Unbelievable. We were in and out of the place really quickly. Always good when that happens and really rare.

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October 11th:
Up at about 10.30am. Lynda objects to my alarm going off any earlier at present. A rather grey day outside, which doesn't make me look forward to doing anything much. I was rather tired this morning, as I did a bit of recording very last thing last night, working on a new song from Graham's lyrics, which I have amended a bit. I went to meet Mike in town at lunch. The bar we meet at was being used for filming for a TV show (Alma's Not Normal). There were a LOT of people in the film crew, most of whom had a job description of 'standing around doing absolutely nothing'. I kept really quiet while the actual filming was going on, as I know just how that works. Mike doesn't have a volume control. He kept gabbing at his normal volume, despite me saying they were working and I was waiting for them to come in and forcibly gag him.

Tv personalities

I watched them doing the make-up for the lady on the right (Jayde Adams) while I was waiting for Mike to arrive. She filmed a very quick scene where she was peering at the camera over the top of a menu / wine list and as soon as that was done, the film crew melted away post haste - probably to set up somewhere else. On arriving home, Lynda was sat with her afternoon TV, so I force fed myself a few episodes of LOST season 3. The evening was further TV.

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October 12th:
I went with Sue to see Dave at The Priory. HIs swallow reflex seems to be coming along a little. They are very cautiously trying him on solid foods. I got a migraine while I was there and managed to get rid of it with some Zapains. More episodes of LOST in the late afternoon. I quite enjoy binge-watching TV series, as you don't forget things the same way as if you watch episodes a week apart. Late night after the TV watching ended. I did some editing and work on the 'Slade In Flame At 50' book.

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October 13th:
Up around 10am. Headache. Back to sleep. Got up after 12 noon. No gig tonight. I spent some of the day editing the 'Slade In Flame At 50' book again. There's a section of it that consists of a lot of original text.

I watched Question Time after Lynda went to bed and it was just horrifying. Depressing. The wars around the world are all pointless and needless and simply acts of evil. We don't deserve this world.

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October 14th:
I got to bed very late last night and woke up with a splitting head this morning. My head hasn't felt quite right for a number of days now. Booked Covid jabs for me and Lynda next Sunday. I filled up the gaps in the band's diary for December 30th and New Year's Eve. We will be in Fleetwood and Southport on those dates.

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October 17th:
The last couple of days have been a bit of a blur.

Sunday:
Jam Night. Possibly the lowest attendance we've ever had, as the majority of our regular people seem to have been on holiday. Still a very good set of performers.

Monday:
Up late after a very disturbed night's sleep. Went to Dave's house as he was visiting home and going to the dentists. The dentist visit ended up being called off as he was struggling in his wheelchair. Out later on with Lynda, Rachel, Paul and April, for Lynda's delayed birthday meal. Booked the car in for a service and MOT on Friday.

Today:
I was awake before 10am, despite a rubbish night's sleep. Up and about soon after. Meeting Mike for lunch tomorrow, as it's better for him. A day of watching episodes of LOST, walking the dogs and doing very little. Lynda went to bed really early with a bad headache. I took the chance to do some poster images for the band.

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October 18th / 19th / 20th:
I met Mike for lunch on Wednesday. Lynda's in a very low way about her grandson's birthday on Saturday. We won't be seeing him because of Lynda's daughter's attitude to her family and it's tearing Lynda apart. She's not eating and is spending a lot of time in bed. I'm out late Saturday afternoon and most of the evening at a gig (Samantha Fish) and I'm really worried about her. I took the car in for its service, MOT and to get the handbrake tightened up. They managed to forget to do the service, so now I have to take it back in again on Monday. I admit that I could be a hell of a lot more impressed than I currently am about this. They use the car park of a nearby club to park the cars they have worked on and my car was blocked in by another car they were working on. Lots of them walking back and forth with car keys went on before I could drive off. I was practically frothing at the mouth about it until I decided not to give two hoots.

I finished LOST season three this afternoon. A takeaway in the evening for my birthday tomorrow. We watched a lot of episodes of Married At First Sight.

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October 21st:
Up at about 10.30am. It's an utter curse that I share my birthday with our Grandson on Lynda's side. As Lynda's daughter wants nothing to do with us, for some reason, and has cut us off, Lynda has spent most of the last week leading up to today in rather a bit of a state. I won't go into it too much, except to say that I now dread birthdays and am totally saddened by the situation. I am going out late this afternoon with my son and daughter and one of our friends is coming round to see Lynda. Lynda's retreated to bed and I've just sat down and done some tedious web work. Some birthday, so far.

My son and daughter arrived later on and we went out for a nice meal and to go to see Samantha Fish and Jesse Dayton in Manchester later on. Lynda wasn't coming as gigs by people she doesn't know isn't her thing. That turned out to be one of the best shows I have ever been to. I managed to meet them briefly at the merch stall later on, as they are good about coming out and signing stuff. Lovely people. It's nice to be nice.

Samntha Fish Jesse Dayton

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October 22nd:
I was awake very early for some odd reason. At about 8.30am. So I got up and started moving around. We went for our latest Covid vaccinations. I felt tired later on in the day. Lynda had gone to bed for a while, so I watched 3 episodes of LOST season 4. The DVD wasn't playing on the PC, because it doesn't like the menu, so I had to use the big TV in the front room. That had no problem at all with the menu.

The jam night was quite good. A couple of things happened that slightly annoyed me, though. One is when certain people don't bother to tell the bass player (and sometimes not the drummer either) what song we are going to do. I sarcastically told one bloke, who is old enough to know better, to email me with what we are about to be doing and I'll read it tomorrow. It's just ignorant and it really grinds my gears. If I'm not important enough to be told, you don't need me to play.

The other thing that happened was that I fell over some stuff on the stage floor as we were packing the gear up and I went down with an almighty bang and really hurt my hip, leg and waist. Someone actually clapped, laughed and smiled and I was shocked and furious and muttered something really equally unforgiveable to myself. I mean, who actually claps someone who falls over and hurts themselves and laughs at them? Tyldesley. I'm hurting all down my lower right side as I type this.

One of the guys very kindly offered to help me with my gear after it happened, but it has to go in the car in a certain order and I just decided to slog away at it. I left before everyone was packed up, which I don't usually do, but I was in pain and just wanted to get out and have a couple of quiet minutes.

I just checked the next DVD in the LOST box. Again it doesn't like the menu, but there's a way around it that I have just found. The car's in for a service early in the morning, so I will get on with that.when I get home.

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October 23rd:
Up early. A day of rather mundane tasks.

First of all, I got the car in for a service by 8.30am. I am 'not technical' with cars, so I find it a sort of form of 'insurance' to get someone else to do it. I got the car back late afternoon and so that's that for another year. I did some web work that just came in. That didn't take very long at all. I booked a heating engineer to service our boiler and to look at a recently installed radiator that doesn't get warm. He's coming tomorrow afternoon.

In the afternoon, I got a couple of hours sleep. I was sore and a bit tense from my fall yesterday, so a lie down and relax led to the inevitable..... Some TV in the early evening - an amount of catching up on Coronation Street and the most recent Married At First Sight. The people who I thought were likely to be gone soon have gone.

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October 25th: My hearing has been really playing up this last day or two. Listening to music can be quite irritating, even at a low level. I don't know if I need my ears cleaning or not. The covid jab has left me a bit worn out. I've been getting some afternoon naps. I don't think about my age and the limitations that that brings - and I am now learning more and more that I should. Our radiator is sorted and the boiler is serviced for the next year. Coincidentally, I am now getting bombarded with emails from the people I bought it from, reminding me to get it done. I met Mike in town today for lunch. Some shopping and a couple of chores. I called in at a local venue that have been impossible to get a response from. I caught the landlord and got 4 shows booked for next year.

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October 26th: I was having a bit of a lie-in before a soak in the bath and Dave's wife Sue rang. We aren't going today as he's unwell. There's a possibility he might get taken to hospital and Sue was quite upset. I'm hoping that the two infections that are ailing Dave turn out not to be too serious.

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October 29th:
Last night's gig was a bit iffy. I used some earplugs to try to stave off the tinnitus and nothing sounded right to me. We were also really a bit rusty after mainly doing jam nights this month. We've never died on a stage, but last night we just weren't great.

This morning I did a rough demo for a song I have been working on from Graham's lyrics. I've left some gaps for our guitarist to chip in ideas.

In the evening we went and did our jam night. It was supposed to be an easier evening for us as another band had set up for an earlier event at the same venue and their PA, drums and backline were available to us. I used my own bass rig, as I always do. They were insistent that they didn't turn off their smoke machine as it enhances the lighting. It also irritates my throat and makes me risk losing my voice. I wanted it off. They didn't. I did switch off the smoke machine at one point, but they switched it back on. I should have walked out really and let them worry about why there was no jam night that night. Instead, I went to watch a singer in the pub across the road and spent a lot of time sat in my car when not required. They tried to give me a lectture about it afterwards. I was polite but said we would not be using their equipment again if this was what it entailed.

This kind of thing will NEVER happen again. It was our jam night and it got hi-jacked to a degree and the disregard for my feelings about the smoke machine was quite offensive.

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October 30th:
Graham gave me two sets of lyrics and I did a demo for one of them this morning (despite a very scratchy throat after last night). I think with I HATE CHRISTMAS we have written our first number one. LOL.

Ian Edmundson

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November 1st:
First and most important of all, a happy birthday to my wonderful daughter Rachel.

Yesterday I published this... I'm quite proud of it.

Slade on 45 Vol 2

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November 3rd:
A couple of days off from blogging.

I went to see Dave yesterday and we got an amount of techie stuff done to get him back online with various things.

My throat has been a bit of a mess since the jam night on Sunday and I have 3 gigs to do this weekend. I was really scared this would happen. I'm going to do my best not to cancel anything.

The evening gig went well enough, though my throat was a real concern all the way through and my ears were also a problem. I shouldn't have just switched that smoke machine off. I should have taken it outside and thrown it into the road. I'm really annoyed that the people who did this to me had such blatant ego and utter disregard for the safety and welfare of another musician.

I got home and Tom had been manic all evening with the fireworks going off. I usually don't play on this weekend, so I can try to keep him calm.

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November 4th:
So I got up late to be greeted with a message from tonight's venue, asking us to be set up this evening at the time we usually arrive, so they can do an hour's karaoke before we go on. So we are going to be expected to sit through that. I might go to another pub while they do that. They messaged us yesterday, wanting to do karaoke when we finish, so they want us to play from 9 - 11. I contacted the guys and we are complying, but my throat is a mess today, so they will be lucky to get 9-11 out of us. My voice will possibly pack up.

And in the evening, the inevitable happened. My voice went for a very large crap. I could still speak, but singing got more and more difficult. Timings slipped and our two sets were not long. A young lady also decided to take a detour over my monitor and fell over it. There was damage to the monitor and the cable from the mixing desk, so I have incurred some expense from the evening. All in all, not a great night because of that, though we went down like heroes. We're losing the landlords from the pub that we played at, which is utterly tragic.

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November 5th / 6th:
The jam night was what it was, once again. It was great do do a few songs with Steve Mulvaney on guitar. My voice just about held together, but my throat is still really sore.

We've agreed to rehearse this Thursday at 5pm to get a couple of new songs together, ready to record them in a decent studio. These are the ones that Graham and I wrote. If our guitarist Ian gets a decent solo together for them, he can have a writing cre

dit.

I've been busy today publishing a number of ebooks on Amazon. Seeing as printed books are getting more and more expensive on there, ebooks at £9.99 might be more attractive to some people.

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November 7th:
I was looking to license a few Slade tracks and put an official independently released EP out in December. I had asked some official side people for contacts re getting the licensing sorted and that sadly hasn't come together.

I've been attacked on one Slade Facebook group by someone who finds it rather laughable that I didn't order the actual CDs months ago. I do know exactly how long it would take to get the CD single discs mastered, manufactured and delivered (it was about 3 weeks when we did the 'N Betweens discs) and the lead-in time has only just become unmanageable. The licensing information request was put in a while ago and the failure to get the correct licensing sorted and paid for is the only reason why the discs aren't already in my hands at this moment.

I'm disappointed by the failure in the end to get the job done, because when I set about a project, I usually get it done. I have been releasing records since 1991, unlike the person carping, who has never - despite his utterly feeble protestation so the contrary - ever produced any sort of product, or ever done anything at all for Slade fans.

On another note, my throat is slowly getting better, but is not up to singing at present.

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November 8th:
I woke up and had an uncontrollable coughing fit that was truly appalling. My eyes nearly popped out. Once that had concluded I had a look at Facebook. I'd been tagged in a post by a member of another band. He'd spotted that another band was booked at the same venue as us this Saturday. It turned out that the landlady had put us in the diary for the week after, instead. We're somewhere else, so we can't do a swap. She has very sportingly admitted her mistake and said that she will pay us. We took 3 dates for next year and she sent me screen shots of her diary. All good.

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November 9th:
Up late. Not feeling well at all. My throat isn't comfortable and I feel rather sick. I'm worried about the rehearsal later and the gig on Friday night.

The rehearsal went ok. One of the songs is meant to be a really simple good time 12-bar but I find it hard to play. We spent a couple of hours trying to get through the intro and first two verses on what's meant to be a simple 12 bar blues. I ended up playing a lot more regular 6-string guitar than I thought I would, as these songs are going to be meant to be played live by the band, as well as featuring on an a recording. Playing them live, for  me, means I will be doing it on bass.

I had a short conversation with a guy who books for a venue after sending a lot of messages out to venues re booking us for next year. He says he doesn't look at band's websites for what dates they are available. He just chucks dates out at bands and hopes for the best. How do you deal with people whose wires simply just don't connect?

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November 12th:
It's been a weird couple of days. On Friday we played our last show at the Polished Knob in Todmorden. One of our favourite venues. This band has played there 22 times. I'd played there previously. The landlord and landlady are moving on, possibly keeping the pub on, managed, maybe selling up. Saturday was a night off (and my wedding anniversary). My wife's anniversary present has been delayed but will be posted on Monday. Lynda thought this was poor husbandry. Tonight we played at the jam night. We played the two new songs I have written with Graham. I got a debilitating migraine just a few songs in. Not ideal. It left me feeling rubbish for most of the night.

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November 16th:
I've had a little break from doing the blog. There's not been much to talk about really. I'm still having trouble wih my throat. I've been making some slight amendments to the print copies of all of our books. One of them is approaching the 500 mark and, as promised, it will be taken out of print at that point. Chris has done a lot of work on a book about the Barn Records label and I've started to assemble that into book form for publishing hopefully next month. Lynda's anniversary present - a signed copy of Boy George's new book 'Karma' arrived on Wednesday. Along with an apology from the publishers and the store for the slight delay.. My plans for the back end of this week have all been messed around.

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November 17th:
Elton John's 17-11-70 album is 53 years old today. A staggering thought.

I woke up a little before 10am and had a coffee. Not enough sleep last night, but I was expected at Dave Disley's, so, after sorting out two gig dates I've been offered for next year, I set off to get there a bit before 11am.

My visit mainly consisted of a load of computer support tasks that unfortunately didn't work out, as his laptop was playing silly buggers wouldn't connect to the internet and the attempts to transfer programs from his PC to the laptop without some assistive software were never going to work, as one couldn't see the other with just a USB cable to do it with. Oh well. Then it was finding battery chargers for cameras in a load of cases in a corner. I had little or no idea of what I was looking for, but they turned up. He was happy enough when I had to leave all that fun behind to go for a blood test at the hospital at lunchtime. We'd managed to get a good amount of stuff done. I then went and did some shopping and took it home. I was worn out, so I went for a lie down in the afternoon.

We met up with my daughter and her partner, along with our lovely grand-daughter for a meal later on. That was lovely.

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November 20th:

A catch up.

Friday's gig was nice. We played a social club in Atherton and had a nice crowd (there could have been more in, but they were good).

Saturday's gig in Leigh was also  not too shabby. I was worried about my voice as it really hasn't been behaving this last few weeks, but we got through. I missed a couple of 'suspect' songs out that are hard to sing and would cause my throat grief.

The jam night on Sunday was fun. I ended up on stage with no break all evening. I thought I played well. We tried two of the new studio songs out and they sounded great to me. The good news is that we have a possible pair of dates to go in and record the songs. There is apparently a fourth song floating around, but I haven't even been sent a demo of it yet.

The recordings seem to be coming out on the NOIZE RECORDINGS label. We will see. I have done some work on the CD label, but it is all to be finalised yet. Anything could happen. Or not.

I've ordered a couple of demo 7" singles for the two tracks that I have written with Graham. They should be with me next week.

Today was an amount of poster and book work. Some record label design tasks cleared.

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November 21st.
I went out to meet Mike at lunchtime. The demo of the country song 'When things go wrong' and a re-work of the 'Cruisin' shuffle arrived at about 5pm. Too late to do anything much with them today. I will have a proper listen to them tomorrow afternoon.

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November 22nd:

Up late, due to a very bad night's sleep. I did some work on the country song that Graham and Ian have written, typing up a lyric sheet and putting the chords as I could fathom them on it. The shuffle still baffles me a bit, so that will have to be worked on at the rehearsal.

I got the bad news in a phone call from Sue at about 9pm that Dave went a little after 4pm.

He's done incredibly well to still be with us this long after earlier setbacks while under the care of Salford Royal Hospital. He's fought hard and with a superhuman determination. He was at home on a visit on Friday and was in good shape and good spirits. He rang me early that evening for a chat and was on top form. It's so sad. At least now his troubles are over and he's not in constant pain any more.

That awful news followed a rather joyous band rehearsal where we got 4 new original songs up to speed and fit for recording. The country song sounds great and the shuffle that was a problem is now simpler to play and we've got it working.  The studio is going to be booked for the first week of December.

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November 23rd:
I woke up thinking of Sue. There's been a lot of responses to my Facebook post, all of them have been really nice, but it's not really me who needs the virtual hugs at present. We're going to try to help Sue get through this difficult time, whenever she needs us.

I've spent today doing things in a bit of a fog. I'd put aside some time to make this video for the  I Hate Christmas demo.

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November 25th:
A couple of days on now from Dave's untimely passing and I'm still a bit shell-shocked by it. Don't get me wrong, at many points during the last year and a bit I could see this coming, as he had such an uphill battle to take on and he was so severely weakened by his ailments. Sue hasn't been in touch and I am rather loath to bother her at this time. I imagine her family are supporting her. She will call if she needs us.

Last night we played at Georgia Browns in Hindley, which has a unique stage layout. We played to a pretty full house and went down really well. There was a point in one of the songs (Tie Your Mother Down) where we got a bit lost for ending it, stuck in a guitar solo and all looking at each other as to what to do, so I just went to the 'Your mommy and your Daddy gonna plague me til I die' bit again and we finished it off properly. We got lost on something else too, but I forget what. They used a smoke machine without telling us and I was not happy. This is a photo from our last visit. Hoping to get some dates sorted for next year.

Georgia Brown's Hindley.

I got up VERY late today, waking after noon. This tiredness lark isn't funny at all. The evening was started off nicely with our friend Kay coming round for a meal and I was a bit disappointed to have to go out and work, but hey, that's what pays for the food. The evening's gig at Lane Ends was a good one. Nice to see a couple of our friends there. Everything sounded really good onstage. We were finished shortly after 11pm and on our way home.

The recording studio is booked for December 6th, but that is dependent on the hours in the studio not being restricted to 10am to 3.30pm, which is no absolutely use to us.

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November 26th:
Up before noon. Bushed. I don't know about Dave's funeral arrangements and I am certainly not going to bug his wife. She will tell me when she is ready. One of our neighbours called round to make sure we are ok as we haven't been seen out walking the dogs, as the weather has been grim or we have felt grim. The jam night was fairly decent. A couple of people were absent, either ill or busy (that's fine), or worse still, posturing by their absence, thinking we will be left bereft if they don't show. Nope.

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November 27th:
Up before 10am. I woke around 6.30am and was awake for an hour with a bad headache and feeling a bit ill. I had very little room in bed, which really didn't help matters at all. Lynda wasn't at her best, so I went out for a takeaway curry.

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November 28th:
Up very early for a call from the Cancer Unit at the hospital. They were expecting me to be there, but they also sent me a text to tell me it would be a phone appointment, so everything went off a bit late. My PSA has lowered to 0.37, which is quite a relief. It's still not great, but it is going in the right direction - downwards. I see them again in February. I'm going to be on quarterly appointments for a while.

This turned up in the post today.
Hear it here: I Hate Christmas / Dont Look 'Em In The Eye

Demo 45

Demo 45

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November 30th:
I went into Bolton yesterday to meet Mike, but he'd forgotten that he was going to be working from home. I got a couple of things done, seeing as I got the time back. The car's in on Friday to have something re-done. I went to the Doctor's surgery for a health check appointment. I'll be getting a follow-up phone call next month. I got a bit of book work done this morning. The project I'm working on at the moment is mainly Chris Selby's baby and I'm doing all of the techie stuff with layout and images. It's rather repetitive and laborious work, so I have kept leaving it. I'm about 170 pages into it at present. I'm going to do my best to get a lot more done over the next few days. This next week is mad busy for me. Gigging Saturday and Sunday evenings. Visitors Sunday afternoon. A meal on Tuesday lunch. I meet Mike on Wednesday and the band's in the studio on Thursday, then gigging all the next weekend.

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December 3rd:
The Thin Lizzy box I had been waiting for turned up the other day. Someone asked for an unboxing video, so I did one.

Aaaaand... it's getting to that time of year that I really don't like at all. Cold. Snowing. When it gets really cold our condenser outlet pipe freezes and the heating goes off. Which it did yesterday. I was further irritated in the evening when we arrived at our gig in Chorley to find out it had been cancelled and we hadn't been told. We took two gigs for next year that should be ok, and have asked for some fuel money back.

We got the heating running again this morning. It WILL go off again, of course, but at the moments the radiators are red hot.

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December 4th:
Chris and I published a new book today - PRIME CUTS - it has Slade in it, but it isn't about Slade. Also, THE NOIZE paperback is in a festive cover over Christmas to try to get some causal buyers to invest. Some mental dwarf on Facebook is moaning that it's the tenth edition of the book. I count it as the second (the third, if you bother count the limited Slade Convention Edition from 2019). He's carping away as usual and getting quite a lot of stuff wrong, as he is an utter joke, but hey, it's free advertising. Our sales seem to spike when he has a whine about new product, so bring it on.

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December 8th:
A busy week. I went to see Dave's wife and took a suit and framed photograph for Dave to the undertakers - his funeral is on the 14th December, picked up prescriptions, shopped and met Mike on Wednesday. On Thursday we were in the studio as a band, recording new songs. We got backing tracks down for two of them - I Hate Christmas and Don't Look 'Em In The Eye. I love recording. It's a really good feeling getting stuff done. Especially for posterity, if anyone will listen to it. The process of recording to a click track with emphasis on getting the drums right first showed up some areas where the level of timekeeping and precision that is acceptable in a live situation can be an issue in the studio. We took a while to get used to playing along with the click, though I did bass and vocal to the second song, just with a click and Graham and Ian played afterwards... then I re-did the bass part and added another guitar part. When I am coming into sections of the song partway through a bar, it's arguably incorrect - on the other hand, that's how the song goes.

Recording at home, I just put a drum pattern down and then add parts as I go along, often re-recording and improving them to complement what I have just done, until I get a feel that works.

We are looking at getting these two tracks finished, hopefully next week and then booking some more studio time to do the other two. Graham is sorting that out. I will just fit in with doing it. Getting an EP out in January seems like a plan.

North West Studio

North West Studio

North West Studio

North West Studio

North West Studio

My photos from North West Recording Studio

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December 8th:
A decent gig at The Musketeer, Leigh in the evening.  Despite my ears not working properly for most of the first half (they were so bad, I messaged a place to try to get a Sat morning appointment to have them cleared), we had a really good gig. We have firmed up some more recording studio dates on the 20th (when I will be finishing off my vocals and doing the final mixes on the two songs) and then on the 21st, we head to Whitworth to do another two songs, in a more live situation.

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December 9th / 10th:
Up late. A quick trip into Leigh during the day. I dropped off next year's posters for The Musketeer while I was out, as I forgot them last night. They were for display in the venue, so they didn't need the venue's name. But I can add it to use as a regular poster, as below.

Poster

Our evening gig in Ashton In Makerfield mainly went ok. Some punters didn't want to move to let the band set up, which is always annoying. In other news, I must have sang on one of the choruses of Honky Tonk Woman by mistake, as our guitarist practically snarled and spat at me. His voice wasn't working for the Sunday jam night and so we sounded really good when we were playing some of the songs. We couldn't rehearse the two songs we are doing in the studio next week at the jam night, which makes me just slightly nervous about them. I have been playing along with the most recent rehearsal recordings for them at home, in an attempt to tighten them up. We will effectively be recording them live in the studio on the 21st. I will be ready.

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December 13th / 14th:
Monday was mainly spent at home, as was Tuesday. I did pop out to take a flag and wreath to the undertakers for Thursday and do a little shopping. I initially couldn't get a lunch meet with Mike arranged this week, but we managed one on Wednesday. Dave's funeral was on Thursday. A very hard afternoon. In the evening, Lynda and I met up with some friends and went for a curry.

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December 15th:
Our gig this evening was somewhere outside of Rochdale. It's an easy enough gig. It used to be a real musician's pub, but it isn't really now. It has possibly the most unresponsive audience in the North West and we always say we will dump it next year, but then take some to fill the diary up a bit. Work gets you more work. The crowd sort of watched silently from a distance as if they were scared we were going to bite them. Except for one couple who did some sort of idiot dancing and threw themselves around in front of us. The girl banged into our PA speakers a couple of times and I nearly stopped the gig. Her guy kept moving her away from the speakers and my floor monitor (which I had moved back some way). We stopped at 11.30 and were on our way shortly afterwards.

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December 16th:
Our gig in the evening was at a pub in Leyland and the place was full and everyone was watching us and enjoying it. What a contrast to the night before. We played Surrender by Cheap Trick and the look on one woman's face was priceless. She didn't know the song and her face was just a picture. She threw herself around her couple of square feet like a dervish when we played I Want You To Want Me, though. The M61 was closed on the way back and I ended up going down the M6 and cutting over the top end of Wigan to get home.  Some video footage was posted on Facebook and I was quite dismayed to see someone saying that we 'don't want them doing a slot between our shows anymore'. I took issue with those comments. The person concerned often expects to turn up with a guitar and to be able to treat our gigs as a bolt-on to the jam night and to get up and play to people. Ian and Graham don't particularly mind this, but I am the stick in the mud about it, as I end up doing the sound and not getting a break, plus the other songs don't really go at all with what we do - and some venues just don't want country and western stuff between our rock and glam spots. But I am the bad guy if I say anything about it. It's dealt with now.

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December 17th:
I've spent a lot of time working on the two new songs that we are going to record  later this week. At the jam night this evening, one of them was rather scrappy and ragged and the other... well, we simply didn't get to play it. And yes, we really needed to. This is leading to Graham being rather nervous about the recording sessions and the cost of it all. I can see him cancelling it. I got complimented on my guitar playing, backing one of the turns at the jam night. It's a rarity and quite nice when it happens.

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December 18th:
The 40th anniversary of Slade's final full UK show, which I attended at the Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool in 1983. I have been to some unbelievable gigs since then, but I have maybe never ever seen their equal. I did some good work on the band diary and managed to pull in something of a record number of gigs for next year. One was from a venue that loves us and sees us as their house band, but somehow can't seem to give us any dates. Almost all of our Saturdays are gone now. We aren't quite up to our regular number of gigs, but I'm at that point where I look at the diary and worry about doing it all. I am not looking at 2025 gigs.

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December 20th:
Back in the studio, recording vocals for the two songs we've done. My voice struggled a lot, as I'm getting one of those colds that badly affects my voice. The high chorus vocal on I Hate Christmas was quite hard to do repeatedly. We were pleased to have our good friend Toni Baker with us, playing some superb keyboards and adding a background vocal. Hopefully we will only have to do one more day in the studio mixing the first two songs. It is a quite exhausting (not to mention expensive) process. Tomorrow's studio session has been cancelled as the other two songs that we want to do are simply not ready to be recorded yet. I've asked Graham to give me some more lyrics to work on. He's said my demos are good enough to release, so  I might do some recording to drums that he pre-records for me.

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December 21st:
Into Walkden to attempt to find some Christmas presents. Futile. I came home and watched some more episodes of the last season of LOST. Nearly there now.

As the band diary is not far short of complete for next year now, and my Faceache Messenger is full to a state of chaos, meaning I can't find anything, I have just archived any incomplete messages about the band that don't contain booking details for next year, promises to get back to us, and any messages to and fro with timewasters or agents who haven't actually ever booked us to play anywhere. Venues CAN still get me on messenger if they want any of the few remaining Fridays and Saturdays available on www.the3.co.uk, but I won't be chasing up those who never respond to me anymore.

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December 22nd:
Up around 10am. I went into town to do a bit of last minute shopping. I also called for Lynda's prescription that I rang about yesterday afternoon. I dropped a pretty vital prescription off in the middle of last week and it looks like the GP surgery have mislaid it. They sent it across to the pharmacy this morning and when I went to collect it, the pharmacist grumbled about needing 5 days notice - so could I come back after Christmas?. I explained that it was over a week since I dropped the prescription in that my GP lost and that we didn't fancy spending our Christmas in A&E to save Lynda's life..They changed their tack then and gave us 16 tablets and advised us to come back on Wednesday to collect the rest. Panic averted. A restful evening of TV: Shetland, COBRA, Corrie, Manahattan and Black Snow.

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December 25th:
A Merry Christmas to my reader. A catch up of the last couple of days: A couple of semi-abortive shopping expeditions. TV. Coming down with a grotty cold. On Saturday, we played at Bruno's in St Helens. A good gig with a great crowd. Their PA system is a bonus. We were sent some very good photos by Steve Landers.

The Three photographed by Steve Landers

The Three photographed by Steve Landers

The Three photographed by Steve Landers

We did the final jam night of the year last night and it was fun, if - to an extent - a little bit Groundhog Day. This morning my cold and sore throat woke me at 6am and I got up a little after 8am. My son Paul popped around late in the morning. I will be leaving the computer and the internet alone for a while. Back before the end of the year. Take care.

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December 27th:
I got stuck with a bit of urgent web work, so thought I might drop a brief line or two in here while I am at it. Up late the last couple of days after bad nights as far as sleep is concerned. if I can't sleep I try to do something productive that will make me tired. I looked at the photos from the other night and have tweaked some of them for the site and Facebook. I've managed to stay away from phones and computers as I intended, BUT buying me a new google phone for Christmas doesn't help, when I really need to set it up. Round to Rachel and Ste's to do Christmas day with them this afternoon. April was on great form. Lynda got tired out and went to bed for a couple of hours when we got home.

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December 29th:
Up very late - again. The cats and dogs completely took over the bed last night and I ended up sleeping downstairs on a sofa. It was not comfortable and not warm enough. I came back to bed at 9am. My throat is still not great, but I am hoping to get through the next two gigs in one piece. I will be glad to see the back of this year, I don't know about you. It's been an uphill struggle.

Mogs and Dogs

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December 31st:
Last night we played at a venue in Fleetwood for the first time. It was an utterly tortuous drive to get there, with roadworks on the A585. Our guitarist didn't use a sat nav and went to Blackpool first and drove up the shoreline, making it a nice route, but even more of a trek. The venue was nice big old pub, like they used to make. The music at the venue was old-style and we got several Who tunes (including two versions of Love reign o'er me). The crowd were remarkably boring for an amount of the gig, although we could see a few of them were really into what we were doing. That put us off to an extent and there were a couple of mistakes. The crowd warmed up a bit after a while and all in all, we had a good time. The songs work. We got a couple of requests - we played Paranoid for the first time in many years, totally off the cuff, and it went well. I love impossible requests - the lady who asked us to play a metal version of Staying Alive after we had switched off and partly dismantled the PA was a new favourite. Bonus points to the chap who managed to fall off a bar stool while sat behind our group of friends, getting beer over a couple of them. He landed with a hell of a crash.  My throat survived the evening and I had been very worried that it was going to give up over this weekend. I called in at a garage before the motorway and bought some crisps and they gave me a migraine - mainly the visual disturbances. I didn't have any tablets with me, but fortunately it wasn't bad enough to prevent me from getting home.

Up at 11am today. A day spent doing some computer stuff, watching some more of LOST s6 and a dog walk, but not much else.

Our evening gig in Southport:
Facebook post: " You just couldn't make it up. #365
The blind guy who wanted to video us at tonight's gig. He was somehow able to sneak behind Ian on guitar and make his way over to the side of Graham Fielden's drum kit where he lurched around rather uncertainly, threatening to fall into Graham's kit. I was having nightmares about insurance. We didn't stop playing, but Jan came up and did her best nightclub bouncer impression and gently moved him to safety. I breathed a very small sigh of relief, which was rather stupid of me because a minute later he was blundering round right in front of us, threatening to knock Ian's mic stand for six and to go a.o.t over my floor monitor. I must have looked slightly more ridiculous singing with one leg stretched out to reach my monitor, but I guess it's a lot better than him going over it and landing face first. I'd love to see the video he got from his phone. his camera seemed to miss us most of the time. That's the first set done. Two more to go. Graham has just been to tell him not to do it again."

The rest of the gig went without incident. We had a rather small audience, but they were into it. The bar staff loved us. My voice survived. We played from 9.30 - 10.25, then 10.45 - 11.15, then 11.30 - 11.55 (stopping to let the TV bring in the new year and to gasp in awe at the hideous waste of money that was the new year firework display in London, a total slap in the face to the NHS) and finally from 12.15 - 12.35. I got home at around 2.15am and was in bed at 2.30am and asleep moments later.

Well, that's the year over. If you've read any of this, well done. Have a great new year.

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