Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Wednesday - my favourite day of the week

Well, that's not entirely true, it is more that every Wednesday they do the band announcement for Roskilde.

Roskilde, for those not in the know, is the festival held in Roskilde, Denmark, for the first week of every July. The festival is spread out over 8 days, but the main acts are only on the last four.

Our pilgrimage usually leaves on the Wednesday (the day before all the major bands play) so that we can get to the camping ground, and meet up with people from previous years.

The festival music style ranges from the sublime to the ridiculous, but you don't really go for the music, you go for the atmosphere, the people, and (usually) the weather.

Roskilde is one of the happiest places to be in July. There can be a months worth of rain on one day, yet still people are having fun. It isn't about drinking as much as you can, or doing as many drugs as you can, its about connecting with people and opening yourself to new and different experiences.

Every year at around this time we have "I don't think there are all that many bands I actually want to see" conversation, but every year, without fail, we manage to find something new when we get there.

So today is announcement day, and I am hopeful there will be something exciting. Don't worry, tho, I shall let you know later!

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Band of the week - Rage Against The Machine

There was a little bit of debate in the house this week as to what the band of the week was going to be. I have gone with Rage Against The Machine for a number of reasons.

RATM was one of my favourite bands when I was growing up. For some reason, their music really spoke to me. Most probably because I was an angry teenager!

I did go for a number of years without listening to them, but stumbled across their first album "Rage Against The Machine" when I was doing a sort of all my music.

I fell in love with the band all over again but for entirely different reasons. I can now recognise that musically, they are extremely talented, and their lyrics are extremely profound.

I had the opportunity to go and see RATM play a gig in a very large park in Paris. The day itself was glorious, and despite the fact that it was in Paris so full of Parisians, the atmosphere was electric.

I knew the day was going to be a good one when Lostprophets were the opening act. It was a bit of a strange one, as I know that the 'Prophets aren't too big in France, and when you are supporting a band that hasn't toured for years, and were extremely popular, it was always going to be tricky! However, to my mind, they were amazing, and a definite upper for the day.

It was just starting to get dark when RATM came on stage, and I am sure you could have heard the cheering in London. They played an amazing set, and considering they haven't released anything new, there was never a dull moment. I have to say that they only problem I had with the day was the fact that they were charging an extortionate amount of money for the merchandise. Considering they are anti-establishment and all that, I did think that €45 for a t-shirt was excessive.

My final note on RATM is how happy I was that they became the Christmas number 1 song with "Killing in the name of".

Check back same time next week for a slightly surprising band of the week!

Friday, 26 March 2010

Mickey Mouse plc is fucked up

I have just had a meeting with my line manager, a nice enough woman without a back bone, to discuss shortening my working hours due to disability. I only wanted to work one hour less a night, which they have grudgingly given me.

However, the direct quote from the snake was "Mickey Mouse plc expect something in return. They expect to see a decrease in sick days". Now, I don't really understand why they should expect anything in return. I am taking a pay cut by working less, and because of their screwed sick day policy, we don't get paid if we don't come in. So surely that's a good thing. They get to keep some of the money that they would have given me.

The next thing she wanted was access to my medical records. You can imagine my response.

Still, if they fire me, I shall sue them. Then I shall be a gajillionaire.

Mickey Mouse plc, one day very soon I shall be coming to get you. Like many others have done before.

Whinge over. It's Friday, I am going home in 3 hours, and then my weekend starts! Woo Hoo.

Will try and be more positive in my next post. I might even put up pictures of kittens, knitting and daffodils. And who knows, maybe I will get a pay rise next year. Which do you think has the greatest chance of happening? Answers on a post card, winner gets a gajillion somethings.

"I'm a lot more normal than people give me credit for"

The Mentalist has been grumpier than normal recently. Which living with someone in chronic pain will do to a person. Plus the added bonus of Tigs and his stress monkey ways, and you have all the ingredients to make someone grumpy.

TM has suffered with depression for most of his life. It is part of his character, and it is one of the things we, uh, love about him. It's none of your garden variety sort of depression, because being difficult is another part of his character.

Still, after I started calling him Maudlin Moe - a name I felt was a step up from my normal terms of endearment - he decided to something about it. He went off to the doctor, me with the hope he would get some Xanax, or anything slightly upperish (it's a word, honest), him with the hope that I would stop mocking him.

Unfortunately we have a crap GP who won't prescribe anything, not even to get me out of pain for a little while, so I didn't really have a hope in hell of getting anything tasty via TM. The man told TM that he needed counselling. To which I laughed (internally) heartily! I didn't voice my concerns (or at least, only a few), because it was something he needed to do.

TM is not a fan of anything head doctor related, and being the bright spark that he is, he decided to mess with the poor counsellor. Not on the first visit, because he was prepared to give it a go.

Apparently the first visit went well. Although when he got home, he was concerned by some of the things that she spoke about. He decided then that counselling wasn't the way forward for him, and thought that he wouldn't bother going for any more.

The surgery, however, decided that he did need to go for more sessions, and booked him in for the following week. So he decided to go, just to see if maybe he had got the wrong impression from the counsellor.

But no. She really didn't have a clue how to handle him, and accused him of using sarcasm as a shield. Now, I don't know about you, but sarcasm is more a way of pointing out to people just how dumb they are being.

By the end of the session, it was agreed by both parties that they shouldn't meet again. Her because TM is just too insane to deal with (or rather she just doesn't have the ability to deal with him), TM because he (wrongly) realised that he is a lot more normal than people give him credit for.

This coming from the man who feels that accessories for Chiwanabees is a great money making idea. But that, dear readers, is a story for another day.

Hope you have a happy Monday, and don't forget to check back tomorrow for the band of the week!

Thursday, 25 March 2010


No, not as macabre as it sounds. It is just the shift that I work, doing desk top publishing for a bank - or rather I am part of an outsource company that the bank has paid to employ/manage/ chivvy /pay us for them.

I have been working the graveyard shift for a number of years now, churning out crap for idiots that get paid far too much, and wouldn't know common sense if it smacked them up side the head.

The graveyard shift draws many different people. Some have kids, so it makes it easy for child care, others prefer earning lots of money, some are weird, and wouldn't be allowed to work any other shift. Then there is me. I work graveyard because by and large I hate people. I hate crowds. I hate bankers. I hate fools with no common sense. To be honest, it might be easier to list those things I don't hate! One of the other benefits from working graveyard is no management ... and the list for why this is so fantastic goes on, and on, and on (you get the picture - I may just introduce Mickey Mouse plc's management to you in a new post)

Bankers, for all their alleged smarts (graduated from Oxbridge, don't you know, don't you know) haven't a clue about the real world and what is really important (they don't really like it when I point out that what they do isn't important, and no one is going to read their shit anyway!). Still, they are amusing creatures.

I just wish that they wouldn't constantly imagine that I can change water into wine. I assume that this must be the case, because some of their requests are just down right laughable. Wanting to fit a large table in a very small space.

It does pay the bills, though, and there are at least a few characters overnight to play with! Also, a very large benefit is that when I leave in the morning, the second I walk out the door, I have completely forgotten about the fools I work for. Then there is just the joys of the fools on my way home. But I am going home, and they are going to work, so it is all grand!

So that is a small blog about where I work. Maybe tomorrow I will write about the company I work for. Or maybe I will come up with something different.

Suggestions/requests on a postcard.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Band of the week - Lostprophets

Soccermom, which is a blog I really enjoy reading, loves music as much as I, and I have decided to copy her (it's a sign of respect, honest!) and do a band a week. I shall be slightly different in my format, and give my impressions rather than doing their biographies.

The reason I want to do this is so I can remember what I was listening to at this time in my life. And also, if anyone does read my blog, they too can enjoy (or mock - but I warn you, I have two crutches, and I am not afraid to use them!) what I like.

The band I have chosen for this week are Lostprophets, a wonderful Welsh Rock band that until you see them live, you may not understand the appeal!

The music by Lostprophets is quite diverse. Songs like Shinobi vs Dragon Ninja from the first album, Burn Burn from the second album and Rooftops (A Liberation Broadcast) from the third album are epic rock tunes that just make you want to jump up and down.

The main reason I have chosen this band is because they are PHENOMENAL live. I do put a great deal of stock in how good a band performs, mostly because when I go to a gig, I have to be in a place where I am pushed, shoved, or get beer thrown over me. If it sounds exactly like the album, I am generally disappointed. If I wanted to hear the album, I would do so in a place where I can be comfortable! Maybe I am getting old (no, Angry Girl, you aren't, you are still ahem 24 and a half!) but I like to be entertained.

Lostprophets are great, because they don't care how big the audience is, they are just happy to be up there playing their music, and having fun. I have seen them play to 100 people in a tiny venue, and a week later play in a large arena with a capacity of over 10,000. Both gigs felt intimate, and the energy was intense.

But the biggest bonus with this band is their lead singer, Ian Watkins. That man loves to talk. Really loves to talk. To the point where the band have had to cut songs from the set list, due to him chatting. He has, in the past sat on stage during the bit most bands go off before the encore, just to entertain the crowd.

He is the only man I have ever known to use the word "lacklustre" during a set!

But besides that, the band truly love what they do. They aren't pressured to conform to a label's ideals, or if they were, I would imagine Ian would have just talked over them! Every time I see them live it is a totally different experience. One of their best gigs was an acoustic session, held in a church. They brought a Welsh Male Choir to be their backing, and I was moved to tears.

A truly amazing band. Check them out if you can.

Introducing the other players...

To follow on from yesterday's post, I feel it is now time to introduce the other key players in this game, as I have already bored you with the lead character.

First off, we have Tigga - who at times will be called Stress Monkey. Tigga and I have known each other for years and years. We grew up together in Hicksville, Africa. As I went to the best primary school, and he went to the second best, we didn't really hang out until we got much older.

Tigga and my brother went to college in Johannesburg, and started hanging out together quite a lot. Tigga and I reconnected through him. I moved down there with him, fell in love, and we decided to get as far away from Hicksville as we could. So we moved to London.

Once in London, we decided to do the grown up thing and get married. Which somehow didn't really work. Fast forward a number of years, we decided to split up. Fortunately, we are still great friends, which is handy, as we still live together.

The next person to enter the set is The Mentalist (from here on to be known as TM). TM and I met through a friend, connected, and started dating. I say dating ... I think we have been on one date, and as far as I can remember, I paid. So I think someone owes me shoes!

TM moved into the house a few years ago, and things have been interesting ever since.

TM, Tigga and I live in a very small house in London, which we share with the fat cat.

So that, bushpigs, is where we are at today. At some point, I shall do a proper Q&A session with each of the team so you will get to know the joy (read pain) of living with them!

Hope you all have a great day.

Good night bushpigs.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Explaining pain

I had wanted to write daily, but unfortunately I have been suffering a bit this week.

For my second post I thought I would explain the title of this blog. This is a record for me, so that i would know what I was feeling later on.

I have lived with chronic pain for about three years now, and it has been steadily getting worse. I suffer from the rather unorignally named Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome, which, unfortunately has no known cause, and at the minute, no known cure.

Most people suffer from some kind of pain throughout their lives. Pain is split in to two main categories. Acute and Chronic. Acute pain is pain that follows a set pattern. For example, you get a paper cut which hurts a great deal. The body will start the healing process, and over time the pain will go away. With Acute pain, there is an end point, which can be anywhere up to three months, depending on the type of injury sustained. Chronic pain is a term used to describe pain that persists over time, like rheumatoild arthritis. It is also very unpredictable, with no two people finding that they suffer in the same way.

Over the last three years I have been from one specialist to another to try and find out what is wrong with me. It started out with a torn calf muscle, which happened when I got cramp in my foot. Then it progressed to me having a very sore stomach. I went to a gastroenterologist who did one endoscopy, three colonoscopys (which is a whole post on its own.) and resulted in a two week hospital stay! I also started suffering from a permanent headache at about that time. I was passed from one supposed specialist to another, without making any headway with why I was in constant pain. I was starting to wonder if I was making it up (like a very unprofessional "Professor"claimed - again, another post), or going insane. Finally I was referred to a pain specialist, who diagnosed me.

I also suffer from quite a lot of neurological pain, which mostly manifests itself with feet that feel like they are on fire. And even though I repeatedly request that The Mentalist (TM) and Tigga chop my feet off, they are still attached and still burning.

I am, at the moment, walking with two sticks, as my leg muscles are either spasming, or i have the sensation that they aren't attached, which has caused me to fall over a fair number of times.

So that should, explain the pain aspect of my blog title. Tomorrow, bushpigs, I am hoping to find the courage to write about The Mentalist and Tigga. Quite an exciting story, so hopefully I shall see you all here then!

Good night bushpigs.

Friday, 19 March 2010

It is with great thanks…

To Aunt Becky over at Mommy Wants Vodka that I am writing my first blog post. The advice she gave about writing for me really rang true, and gave me the impetus to stop blog stalking, and start blog writing. Not that I am going to stop blog stalking …

So I guess, for posterity, and any of you mad people that have the unfortunate opportunity to stumble across my first blog post, I should write what I want out of this. I suppose I really want to document what is going on for me, and for the people around me.

I keep writing this first post, going backwards and forwards, taking out the “me” references because I don’t want to be conceited, but this is a blog about me, so I should just let it be.

So to the blog title … At this point in time I am living with chronic pain, which is sometimes helped and sometimes hindered by The Mentalist (TM), aka the boyfriend, and Tigga, aka the ex. I will introduce these characters later on, as I think they each deserve a post of their own!

So this is my first post. Not very exciting, I grant you, but bear with me (no, not your actual bear, just a man in a suit), and I am sure it will get more interesting.
Good night, bushpigs.