Sunday, 21 December 2008


A few days into a lonely long walk, you find you have a couple of companions that never leave you (ooh, that brings to mind - "you're never alone with schizophrenia!")

Well - for me, they don't, anyway.

The first is the 'skull cinema' (a phenomena brought to my attention thirty years ago by John Hillaby on his 'Journey through Britain) where, as you stroll along through your own personal wilderness, complex surreal situations are played out in your head, which are as real as the ground is beneath your feet. Entire productions are formulated in the deeper recesses of your mind, with principal characters plucked from stage and screen: Marlene Dietrich, Bridgitte Bardot, Peter Cook and the last barmaid you met in the last wonderful pub.

You have no idea where the film is heading in its headlong rush to the closing credits but at the end of its exhausting sexual romp (ooh - did I mention that this posting was XXX rated?) you stand in wonderment and realise that the last four miles of minor road have whistled beneath your feet as your entire being has been mis-behaving with Charlotte Rampling.

The second companion is the tune that runs through your head. You have no idea where it has come from, but it drives your whole day. It is the rhythmical base-line that propels you up the mountain and helps you scamper down the other side. You find yourself, first of all, quietly running it through your mind. This is followed by a gentle humming and lastly a full blown hallelujah chorus bellowing across the fell-side. As you pass the guy struggling up the hill you are scampering down, you smirk to yourself, knowing that you have just passed on 'The Green Green Grass of Home" to the poor sap. He will be humming it to himself for days...

Something similar happened last night after an intimate evening spent with a few thousand others in Birmingham with young Julian and his incredible left hand. I have no idea how he does it, but as his left hand crashes out another walking blues riff the whole arena grins as one and just cannot help themselves as their bodies are taken over by the heady magic of the moment.

This live music thing is a heady mix. It's still there in my skull as I type this out. Not a bad base-line for a day or so.


  1. Glad to see your still blogging Alan. How is the Challenge training going?

    As for tunes in your head while going up hill. "The only way is up" Is a line that always seems to come to mind.

  2. The Battle Hymn Of The Republic.....
    "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
    He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
    He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
    His truth is marching on."
    That's a real mile eater....Or any other march.

  3. Hi Martin: Ah yes - this 'blogging' thing - how does it go exactly? This 'work' thing has been getting in the way of real life recently...

    Phil - You swine! "Dum de dum de dum de dum, STAND BY YOUR MAN!"

    Robin: I quite like the idea of trampling out the grapes of wrath - it would make a wonderful vintage!

  4. 'Course, the really evil thing to do would be to sing "Y Viva Espana" to passing walkers.
    No matter how much you hate that one, it just sticks like poo to a sheep's bum...

    Toooo night we are going to sunny Spain
    Evita Lasagna...

    Dun it now...

  5. 'Two little boys had two little toys ...'

  6. I wouldn't let the Bishop hear you singing that one David....

  7. I did my last Challenge accompanied by "Bobby Shafto" who had apparently gone to sea, the theme tune to Balamory (maybe that's where Bobby was heading!) and the background music to Mario Sunshine. I guess it's a hazard of a young family!
    Jool Holland (or even Rolf Harris) would be a big step up!!


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