Thursday, 14 June 2018

You or I can't change the world (but maybe WE can...)

If everyone looks after the corner of the
world they're in...

Most of my views on things boil down to one thing: ‘it’s nicer’. I look at the world and wonder when (and why) people started thinking it was better to build walls, create borders, and become so protectionist.

Personally, I think it’s always nicer to help people (refugees or immigrants, for example, or the sick, elderly, or lonely.)

I cycle to work these days and see a lot of what I will call 'bad character'. It seems people show their worst side when they’re at the wheel of a car: selfish, me-first attitudes. ‘You’re in my way,’ or, ‘My journey is more important than yours.’ (I’m not blameless myself, of course, and I absolutely love cruising back past the particularly impatient drivers when they’re later stuck in traffic!)

It makes me sad to see how many people seem to care so little about other people.

On those cycle journeys, when I start to feel particularly down about it, I try and remember it’s not my job, nor would it be possible if it were, for me, or any other person on their own, to fix the whole world. It’s too great a task and too many people aren’t interested.

All we can do is look after the little corner we’re in to the best of our ability. 

Frank Turner released a new album recently: Be More Kind. Ignoring the grammatical problems with the title (‘Be Kinder’ wouldn’t have been a good rhyme, after all), I think the sentiment sums it up perfectly. No matter how kind we already are – a little or a lot – we can still be more kind.

Be more kind, my friends...

The more people who do that, through small deeds, positive words, or little changes, the more the world might just shift as a whole.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018


It's not like a popular 90s' sitcom...

Friends. They’re hard to come by. And, as we get older, it becomes even harder to find, and keep, them.

When we do find them, all too often we let them go. A band I used to listen to a lot said: ‘I lost all my friends to a lack of commitment’ (Ballboy, I gave up my eyes to a man who was blind, 2003).

I’ve been thinking about my friends – those I’ve known for  years, and those I’ve met more recently – and trying to figure out how to make sure I don’t lose them. I think everyone struggles with the same doubts: they’re probably too busy to talk; I’ll just be annoying them if I message; if they wanted to speak to me, they’d have messaged me.

The latter, of course, is a self-fulfilling prophecy. We could all end up sitting around thinking the same thing, then no one would contact anyone and we’d all lose the friends we have.

I think we’re all too quick to assume we know what’s going on in someone’s life:

‘Oh, they’re married, they won’t want to come out.’
‘We’re different ages; we’re in different life-places.’
‘They have kids, they’ll be busy.’
‘They know loads of people, they won’t need me.’

Don’t assume anything; none of us are mind-readers. Don’t assume your friends don’t like you or want to hear from you. They probably do, otherwise they wouldn’t be friends.

The friends I’ve had throughout my life have always been very important to me. I totally accept I’m needier than most and, over the years, I’ve become more aware of the need to reign it in a bit. But it’s easy to go too far, I’ve found, and never contact people at all.

Since the majority of people who read this will be my friends, it felt like this was a good way of re-launching my blog (I’ve been wanting to for a while) and getting the message out there: you guys mean a lot to me.

I don’t think it’s said enough. Don’t assume people know it.

 Elbow - Dear Friends - 2011