Tenting Part 4

Now wondering if I could get a refund on the tent and spend it on therapy.

Must. Get. Over. This.


Tenting Part 3

Why? Why do I hate camping so much?

The last time it was a combination of things:

  • Being in a tent
  • Being afraid that I would kill myself if I attempted to use the camping stove.
  • Not being able to sleep.
  • The overall uncomfortableness of it.
  • Having to stay alert to catch Jude when he decided to get up at random points in the night to (very sensibly) try and get out.
  • The aching feeling that, somewhere, there was an actual room with a bed in it that I was supposed to be in.
  • The anti-empathic feeling you get when everyone else is seriously into something and you’re not.
  • The noise of massed stupid people nearby.
  • The pounding rain and wind.
  • Having to get dressed to go to a toilet.
  • Just… aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh! Everything!


Tenting Part 2

It’s not working.

I already want to find a way to stay in a nearby B&B, Travel Lodge or house. Buying the tent was a mistake.

The problem is twofold. Firstly I really, despite appearances, don’t want to be a moany git. Secondly, I have promised another great friend that I would be there, in the field, in a tent. That produces guilt-like feelings when I plan my escape. Curses!

Going to have another try at buckling down and dealing with this.



Nothing turns me into a miserable, mean spirited grump like going away on holiday. Actually, I love going on holiday, but the first 24 hours is usually a terrible time where I have a get used to new surroundings and being ‘relaxed’, which is not something I’m very good at.
However, over the years I have managed to get the decompression time down to almost nothing and, more importantly, I’ve got better at hiding it. Unless we are talking about camping. Then it all goes very, very wrong.
I have nothing against people who like camping. Some of my best friends enjoying sleeping out in the freezing cold under some sort of fire retardant plastic sheeting and eating barely cooked food off a tiny, tiny portable cooker while cows drop massive piles of shit nearby. That’s fine. For them.
My problem with camping is much more deep seated. It’s probably something I will never fully understand without hours of therapy I am never going to have. Suffice to say I like buildings with walls and a roof. I also like sleeping on a bed. Oddly enough I have spent a large portion of the last year sleeping on an inflatable mattress because of all the decorating and furniture moving at home. But there’s the crucial point. It was at home, or at someone else’s home. I was not sleeping in a field.
So why am I going on about this? Is it time for a random rant or is there something more sinister at work?
At the end of this month my family has been invited to the birthday of a very dear friend. This is a person I have huge amounts of respect and love for so, of course, we all said an enthusiastic yes to her request to celebrate her birthday by camping in a field near her house. My wife and children expressed their enthusiasm in a refreshingly honest way. That is, they love the idea and can’t wait to go. I have decided to stop being such a miserable git about camping and attempt to enjoy what would be an otherwise perfect celebration, without complaining.
To this end I’m going to buy a tent tonight and commit myself to the deal. Commit. That might be a key word.
If you see no more posts on this blog about camping you know I’ve wrestled with my demons and sorted it out so that no one has to be irritated by my whinging and ungrateful behaviour. Stay tuned.


Neil & Dud

I saw Neil Cowley last Saturday in his tribute to the musical life of Dudley Moore. As famous as Dudley was for his acting and comedy performances it was music that was his real love. He played to deal with his demons and he played beautifully. Neil Cowley did a fantastic job illustrating this story with Dudley Moore’s own music and his influences. He neatly showed how that story affected his own too.



I felt a bit jaded about my music listening recently. Nothing quite hit the spot. I was saved from this luxurious problem by hearing a band called Algiers on the NPR All Songs Considered podcast. Their full-on, powerful song ‘Black Eunuch’ blew away most of the cobwebs.
I was also helped by Camille’s classic (well, classic to me) album, Le Fil. This is my go-to album when nothing else works.
Finally, I heard the new Andy Sheppard album, Surrounded by Sea. Jazz is always hard to define but I came to this because it’s on the ECM label which rarely produces bad albums. The line-up is double bass, drums, sax and guitar. The guitarist adds textural support, rather than shredding and strumming. I’m intrigued by this use of the instrument and putting it in a jazz context makes it more compelling. I’m aware this is a personal taste and became even more aware of how subjective these things are when I checked out reviews for the album. In the Guardian, John Fordham wrote “the addition of Eivind Aarset’s guitar playing “…gives the music even more breathing space.” In the Telegraph Ivan Hewett says the music is “…suffocated by Eivind Aarset’s electronics and heavily pedalled guitar.” I greatly enjoyed the album and recommend a listen.



If you like music that moves outside the mainstream (whatever that is) then listen to some centrozoon. It's deep, immersive stuff. Full of emotion, power and even a little humour. I love it. Tell your friends!