My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating Sometimes I wish some one out there will find me ‘Til then I walk alone

Yeah, I know it’s Green Day and I know I’ve played it before, but this time there’s a really good reason for it, dear listener, because this week was so, so close to the alcoholic abyss, the black hole of the bottle, etc, etc*. But the trigger came from an incredibly surreal source. So bear with me, please.

* I couldn’t think of one beginning with ‘z’.

I was in a weird mood last week and when we got word that we hadn’t got that commission for the next Radio Scotland programme, my head went down. It’s part of the life of being a freelance within an indie world. It’s cool.

And the signs were there. Even for me I was hyper; sleeping badly cos I’d good thoughts; food, in itself, is not a bad thing.

But I felt that I’d let people down. I’d met some amazing women in the course of the (unpaid) research; women who made my being a (non-practising) alkie with the cancer experience seem easy peasy, lemon squeazy. Some amazing stories. But we didn’t get the gig.

But, there was a major social work related student dissertation ahead of me. We hadn’t agreed a price but I had explained that there’s more to reading/editing than just looking for spelling errors and grammar. A good reader/editor will also offer a draft looking at layout and inconsistencies and make suggestions before agreeing on final version. And I have some training. Publishers’ Training Centre. And I’ll do it on the basis – ‘This is what I’ll charge with student discount, but you pay me what you can afford.’ Seriously. Try me. I’m handy. I’m here. I accept iTunes gift cards….cups of coffee……money sometimes (yeah, the third one’s always the lie)

Fine. Until her mate, a social work lecturer, came in and offered to do it for nothing. Now leaving aside the arrogance of (some) lecturers who believe they can do everything; leaving aside my (unspoken) jibes about offering to deliver social work lectures for nothing; and the ignorance of what is involved in good reading/editing – the lecturer will, quite naturally, concentrate on what he understands, and say, ‘well done’, and not whether the message is properly understood. It’s not his job. And that’s the important bit.  Ho and hum. It’ll end in tears. Mine.

So throw into that, a pretty crappy social life at the moment and things were not good. That’s not a criticism of anyone, btw. There’s not been a lot of football, for example, recently. And PT got beat today. Again.

So, then it happened. My most surreal moment ever in just over four years of addiction. And there’s photographic proof of this. Check Thursday’s papers.

On Wednesday, I was down at Maggie’s Cancer Centre where a former Miss Scotland, Nieve Jennings, was being snapped at a proper press photo call wearing a lovely piece of Ortak jewellery, before it was to be auctioned for Maggie’s. So far, so good. Good cause.

And then she said something that annoyed me. It was patronising. It wasn’t her fault. I think she was badly briefed. (Nice pair, btw, Nieve. Lovely ear-rings, and apparently four of my Facebook friends know you. I am tempted)

And I walked out. (There are some down there who think I’m weird and gay just cos I wash my shoes in my washing machine. To them, I flounced out).

And I walked. For miles. For hours. But I sure as hell didn’t flounce.

And there’s a piece of wasteground at the back of Yorkhill Hospital, where you can only be amazed at the engineering ingenuity of those who get old cars up there before they torch them. And I’m looking for the offsales. Like, I’ve just given up. Like, the worstest, man, ever, since Cold Turkey Sunday. Like, there is no going back.

And I sat down on the remnants of a burnt-out Metro – like a Golf, after it’s been torched. And I thought about it, long and hard (still my fave line) and I burst out laffing. (Not at it, ‘long and hard’, obviously). But at what had just happened.

So, here is – and I am willing to have my shins kicked (No. No reason. I just like it) – a bg thnks 2 gd frnd Clr and an amazing guy who I will never have the privilege of meeting.

For a couple of days I had forgotten to Keep It Fun. That had gone. The stories that the women involved in prostitution had told me had all been told with a smile on their faces, despite everything. Last Friday, that meet in Bellshill, I had told someone I’d never met before, a story about stolen ashtrays, which brought the response – ‘they probably thought you were so drunk you’d never notice’ – and a big laff.

Y’see the drink and drugs demons can’t handle the Fun. They ran, and they ran, and they ran. So careful if you work over BBC way…..there’s demons on the loose. In fact, I think I’m over there this week. I’ll be careful. But I was sorted.

So I put the MP3 player back on, and yes, you’ve guessed it. Boulevard of Broken Dreams was on the turntable. It’s not exactly the most portable of MP3 players.

And then the next day, a Facebook invite to a thirtieth birthday basic drinking thing in the centre of town in April arrived. My only reservation? My age. But then I was told, ‘you act and look younger than forty-two (42) jt850, you’ll be fine’.

That, and Gabriella Cilmi looking gorgeous in the offices of Demus.

So I am back to being soooooooooooooooo incredibly cool. I am a walking Zanussi. So another lost week, but a happy ending this time.

Mine with extra tabasco, please. Cheers. Pretty Hot And Tempting, eh?

cya and definitely keep(ing) it fun


I don’t think I’m breaking any confidences when I say that this research took me into the ‘red light’ district of Glasgow where, one night last week, at about midnight, I told a man I’d never met before, that having his prostate removed did not necessarily mean an end to his sex life. He said,  ‘Come again?’

I said, ‘Highly unlikely.’ And we laffed. True story. As they all are.

I still have mine. No. No reason.


3 Responses to “My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating Sometimes I wish some one out there will find me ‘Til then I walk alone”

  1. Dr Paul Says:

    Great to read. Nice post John. And don’t worry about beauty queens. George Best notched up 5 Miss Worlds and look where it got him.

  2. Johnt850 Says:

    Thanks. I quite like that. The Johnt850 International Airport, Summerston. It has quite a ring to it!

  3. stacy Says:

    so, a friend of mine form years ago, having recently become “friends” again on facebook, posted a couple lyrics to that song on his “status”. i was like hmm.. those are good words.. what song is that from again? so off i went looking for the root of the meaning, and i come to this page. this particular page about an alchohlic meeting his moments of shit and happiness. i thought i was the only one who knew how to write about that kind of stuff. or at least in my “social circle” the only one with enough guts to face it…. or something. so i’m here to say johnt850, that i appreciated your post immensely. if i knew anything about weblogs i might just start one… thanks again.

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