Martin is currently away, living it up in a Somerset field. So here's a blog that he wrote a few weeks ago but decided was too gloomy for publication! I felt it deserved to be rescued from oblivion as it's not (in my opinion) miserable - but actually rather life-affirming, thought-provoking and definitely worth a read - especially if you're one of the estimated 340 million people residing on this planet who have ever suffered from depression.
Today I had the unfortunate fortune to be in a place where a young lady collapsed. As I got more involved I thought maybe epilepsy or diabetes - then the girl started talking… 'I'm 20 years old, my name is [blah blah] and I have run away from [blah blah] clinic. I have taken 3 bottles of paracetamol.' I took the details. We sorted an ambulance and she was fine. I didn't think about it all day until I was thinking about stuff I should write about in my blog.
You see, I'm still not sure why I'm doing this blog. It is difficult to think of something to write about every week (and I do get told off* when I'm late even though I'm sure only 3 people actually read it). [*I think what Martin meant to say here was 'encouraged'.] I thought I might be writing it to promote my music and recordings and live appearances? But I don't think so! I'm not that much of a cunt! Maybe I'm just writing it to keep up my practice of writing something worthwhile? Nope? Maybe I'm just writing to get stuff off my chest that I can never say out loud because I'm actually a bit shy? Well maybe all of those.
In order to make this work I have to tell you a little story about myself. It's a bit self indulgent and I apologise for that! But stick with me for now and maybe I'll do a blog about the flavour of 'Buck Fast' next week.
When I was 17 I was diagnosed with depression. It kinda means you are aware that you are constantly a complete twat, and when you are actually BEING a complete twat you have an excuse. Ever since, I have researched and tried to understand how I constantly feel. My emotions are kinda like a rollercoaster. Life's full of ups and downs and I soon realised I was actually bipolar (which is very fashionable these days). I don't like the expressions bipolar or manic depressive. I don't like having to say it out loud in order to describe myself (I did ask a doctor for a certificate that I could just show people).
Anyway… back to this young lady. She was 20 years old. When I was 19 I very very nearly jumped off a viaduct. I'm pleased I didn't. I've also attempted overdose and knives to my wrists. I know I must have been at a really low point when I did it but did I really mean it? Was it attention seeking? Well when I nearly jumped off the viaduct then… it couldn't have been as I was on my own and I didn't tell anyone about it until I wrote a song about it later (click here to listen to it!)
And the time I took an overdose I think I was too out of it to care. I did do it but I immediately vomited everything up - so even in that respect I saw myself as a failure!
7th July Bombing 2005 in London had a great effect on me too. I was caught up in it all and I think I played my tiny part in the effort to help in the aftermath. It sticks in my mind that when I was asked to help carry some dead bodies up from the tube station (normally I can't even watch a horror film and I faint at the sight of even my own blood!), I took my jacket off and offered my assistance. I saw them bringing the dead up later and they (fortunately) didn't ask me to help. I also saw a man hopping out of the tube station and into the paramedics' help. I wondered if he had strolled happily into the tube that day.
It was only when I was on my way home that evening that I realised what had really happened. My mother, father, brother, partner (I hate the word 'partner' but I'm using it today) had all called to see if I was ok - knowing that I was in King's Cross at the right/wrong time and place. And I was unable to contact them as all the mobile signals were blocked.
Actually, I tell a lie as I was afforded a short conversation with my partner when I was told to 'go to a field' (useless advice in King's Cross!) and to 'stay away from buses'! At the time I was sitting on a bus, as the driver had offered her seats as an alternative to sitting on the pavement while she was stuck in a traffic jam. We'd already checked the bus for bombs so everything was ok. I lied to my partner!
Anyway, I got home with the belief that life was a little more precious than I originally thought.
In 2001, I met someone who changed my life. They changed my world. I was promptly sorted out and pointed out when I was being a cock! We met after I was been stalked via mobile telephone (do you remember those kids?) by a friend of a friend's girlfriend. Finally, after a night out in Newcastle I gave in and called the number back and agreed to meet the following day.
We met in the agreed meeting place and when my eyes first cast upon this stranger my knees turned to jelly! It was amazing. We walked around the river in Durham and chatted as if we were old friends. It was a beautiful spring day, the soundtrack of the river flowing beside us was in time with our flowing conversation, and the rainbows in the sky and green trees hanging over us were a perfect setting. We walked on for about an hour. I was thrilled to meet someone who not only liked me and the timbre of my stupid jokes but someone I liked back too!
So when it began to rain torrentially, we sort cover underneath the fire exit in a secluded place behind a multi-storey car-park. We told each other jokes to try and pass the time until the rain stopped… until a security guard chased us away. I made an offer and we went to a house party and ended up at my house later. We fell asleep in each other's arms. I loved that day.
We became a bit of an item and went out (off and on!) for about 5 years, until I woke up one morning to hear that that person was dead. Suicide.
My birthday. Great.
I know that that particular suicide could have been prevented. If only I knew then what I know now.
Anyway, another conversation I had recently made me realise that I used to know quite a few peeps who are now dead. I'm only 29… shouldn't this happen when you're 80? All your old mates popping off?!
So now I see life as very very precious. It's not an option to leave your loved ones behind anymore. I have a new love of my life now and I can only imagine how they'd feel if I disappeared. I love all of my friends and family and losing anyone close is turmoil in anyone's life… so!
This is why I decided to write the new album. Make it a concept album on depression. Music reaches out to people further sometimes, and if I can help just one person feel better by writing these songs then that's why it'd be worth it.
Here's the criteria I'm working to:
Each song must be:
Between 3-5 minutes long
Not explicit (no swear words so my mother and the masses can play it to their mother etc)
Subject matter: 'Depression and all its faculties'
So, the 'very good cause' I mentioned at the beginning? (the eagle-eyed amongst you may notice that the earlier reference isn't there - that's what happens when you go off to Glastonbury and your unused blog is stolen and recycled!)
Well when I got home on 7th July 2005 I discovered my good friend Lisa had been on the top deck of the number 30 bus in Taverstock Square. As I understand it she only got on it because the Tube was closed. She got on the bus at the same stop as 'a man with a big rucksack', and followed him up the stairs to the top deck. She realised there was not much room on the bus and thought when he took his seat that she should probably sit in another empty seat away from him as 'they both had big bags'.
I only know this part of the story because Lisa lived to tell the tale!
Life is very precious.
If you wish to seek help call The Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90
Or if you're shy and not sure … take a look at their website: http://www.samaritans.org
It's been 6 years now. So Lisa has said she will get on a train (she has not travelled on public transport since that day),
If my other half jumps out of a plane,
And her sister does the Great North Run - Donate all you money here:
The other two seem to be a bit blasé about their commitment, whereas Sharleen appears to be putting the practise in! So buck up your ideas you victims! Sitting around looking at pictures of people who have been blown up by landmines doesn't raise money! Pull your finger out!
(That was the only joke I have placed in this blog and so now it looks a bit inappropriate… I'm sure it can join its friends, all the other offensive jokes in the next blog!)
Really…! Donating a bit of money … 2 quid to MAG - that's Mines Authority Group - can save some poor fucker's leg being blown off, or even better stop the killing of someone's helpless Grandma.
Lisa and MAG: http://www.maginternational.org/news/77-survivor-supports-mag/?keywords=lisa+french
(Normal offensive humour service will recommence next week!)
As this has been a long blog this week I feel you deserve 2 tracks to put your feet up to:
This song is about someone dying and going through that strange period when you can't believe they are gone forever:
This song is the same but a little more blunt!
Disclaimer: I'm sorry that you had to see Jonathan Ross' smiling face on both of those videos. It was a choice between this or the "official videos"... but on those ones they had adverts for McDonalds at the start - which you were forced to watch - and I was stuck in a situation where I had to choose which smiling clown cunt I wanted to endorse.
That number again… If you wish to seek help call The Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90