Saturday, 29 December 2012


In all, 2012 was a good year for me.  I went from being a 27 year old, retaking his GCSE's; to a 28 year old Deck Officer cadet in the Merchant Navy. Joining the Merchant Navy to train as an Officer has been a goal of mine- for a number of years, and very proud of myself I am. In fact- I initially was happy to be a rating, so to be here now, training as an officer, I have transcended my ambitions.  Lookin' back is a bad habit, but, with one year ending, and another beginning; a little reflection wouldn't be the acme of foolishness.

  High points of the year for me, was firstly beginning my new life as a cadet. A big transition for me. Moving away again. . . . living in halls again . . . . in a really really small room with a single bed- I like to starfish when I sleep; this is not possible in Fleetwood Nautical College's campus beds; especially not for a fuller figured chap like myself. I suppose I should get accustomed to this? The course has been thoroughly enjoyable, and it's baffling to think that, there's only 3 weeks left of my first phase!  It's been a relief that the group of people I am training with are all good seeds; and I mean that. I usually hate everyone! Everything! What's happening here?  If I'd have done this cadetship at the age of 18, I would have probably been sacked by now. This is the right time. This is the right place.  It's all going great, and I'm getting ever closer to fulfilling my ambitions. Sure there's been times where I've been angry about things, and there's about 4 unpublished rants about incidents that have riled me. I decided not to share them with the world, in an attempt to let negativity wash over me. I had a pretty traumatic time in my second month of training. 12 weeks of, well, a living hell. Pure character building stuff- maybe I'll talk about it in years to come. Chapter closed.

I just finished reading a motivational book. Yes, I know, it makes me sound like a weak minded fool, who needs guidance from some greater mind. Reading it has just made me feel better about the way I've conducted myself over the past few years. It was looking bleak for me at 24; but I set long term goals, and I set short term ones, and I've slowly been getting over each hurdle accordingly. The book is by the great American athlete Michael Johnson. It's called "Slaying the dragon" - the ethos?  What do you want to do? How are you going to do that? - Methodical. I like it! That box was already ticked Michael my friend, but it's good to know that I'm on the right track. Some parts of it have given me a fresh approach to getting over these trials and tribulations. Why a motivational book by Michael Johnson though? Well- I was watching the Olympics this year, and he was on there as a pundit, as he usually is.  I have a massive amount of respect for him. He knows his sport. He is clear, concise, intelligent, humble, and there isn't an ounce of national self righteousness about him; a trait that can often be found in Americans. I remember him giving his summary about Usain Bolts qualifying run. He went into so much detail; and analysed it beyond repair. The presenter then asked Kelly Holmes what she thought, and she just muttered timidly "I agree with what Michael said" - I laughed to myself, and then looked up Michael on Google, noticed he had a motivational book, and thought to myself, "I'll have me some of that..this Sun Tzu puddle is drying out"

I've been watching a considerable amount of David Attenborough documentaries over the past few days; prompted by the "60 years in the wild" thing on the BBC. I think if I could live any one life lived by any Human, I'd live his. A truly remarkable man. I mean Hugh Heffner comes a close second! I hope he continues to make programmes despite his old age.  A highlight for me was this Cargo Cult documentary, made in the 60's! Being a long time follower of the John Frum movement (not an actual follower, just someone interested) I was aware this documentary existed, and for years longed to see it. A highlight of Christmas was watching it for the first time. I paid tribute to John Frum in my power pop band, writing a song on the subject- it can be heard here- John Frum - The HardSocks - ignore my scrappy vocals!! On the subject of music. I'm thinking of getting myself a decent UKELE to take to sea with me. I left my guitar in Fleetwood, when I came home for Christmas and I miss it. I'd miss not being able to play something when I join my first ship.

I guess I'll be back in a few days with some resolutions.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

RIP Sir Patrick Moore

The Sky at night for me, was a big part of my adolescent years. I'd stay up late, down in the back room and  watch the sky at night.  It would utterly fascinate me. Just thinking about how vast the universe was; and how meagre Earth was in comparison; and how inconsequential I was in the grand scheme of things.  After my fix of astronomy....feeling all knowledgeable and  inconsequential; I'd  access the German channels through our old analogue Sky box; which were laden with borderline hard-core porn dramas.  Say what you like about the Germans; their watershed level was much more palatable to a 12 year old me, than that of the UK watershed, which to be frank was a bit shit!  Blame Mary fucking Whitehouse! It didn't matter that I didn't understand. There was bush, and bush in abundance.  Occasionally, I'd get the two mixed up. . . .  You try banging one off, to the post impact analysis reports pertaining to the  Shoemaker-levy incident on Jupiter.