The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth 2020

In which I try to write something new every day for a change.... 

January 1st:
Happy new year. I spent an amount of today with my band, firstly finishing off our sold-out New Year's Eve gig in Lostock. Then we all went home, got a bit of sleep and then we were all back out again and off to Tyldesley to do the jam night, which lasted 4 hours, finishing at 10pm. We are value for money.

January 2nd:
Today, after several attempts over the last week, I managed to get to Bolton tip to get rid of a load of cardboard. Everyone in Bolton seems to have had the same idea for the last week or so. I was greeted at the tip by the lovely chap who gets up at our jam night to do an Elvis song. A nice suprise.

January 3rd:
The ridiculous workload of the band has taken its toll on Ian, our guitarist. He has arranged cover for the jam, as he is exhausted. He's working as well as doing all of the gigs, so it is no wonder he is worn out. Christmas and New Year were tiring.

January 4th:
The Bank Top Tavern, Oldham. I was feeling knackered in the run up to the set. I was so utterly dog-tired that, when we sound-checked with Are you ready? by Thin Lizzy, I had trouble even getting the bass rhythm. The crowd thickened up a bit for when our gig started and I got a bit of adrenalin from somewhere.

January 5th:
As mentioned, Ian, our guitarist, wasn't at the jam today, so we had the pleasure of playing with Steve Mulvaney, the excellent guitarist I was in The Kerbcrawlers with. I put him to the test on a number of songs (that I pretty much dropped on him out of the blue) and he did brilliantly well, considering how long it had been since we played some of them. Versions of Alice and Sylvia's Mother were included, seeing as Alice is definitely expected. I was told that I did Alice very well. A good evening.

As I type, I am, co-incidentally, listening to a live recording of The Kerbcrawlers at the Town Hall in Eccles from May 2005. We were a good little band.

January 6th:
Out of bed very late. Exhausted. An evening of TV. Dracula.

January 7th:
Out of bed very late. Exhausted. Spent the afternoon doing some serious writing for a book. I also edited another photobook that I am working on a little. More Dracula in the evening.

January 8th:
Not one of my best days.

Alan Mosiezny's funeral at Radcliffe Crematorium. Nice weather for it, but I sat at the back in the crem, close to tears. His lovely wife Sue, spoke very fondly of his love for his family and their love for him, enduring his love for aircraft, amongst other things from all of their years together. She showed great strength and love to do that for him.

Some years ago, Alan joined a secret society with codes and odd handshakes - DWP.

I first met Alan when we both trained on Jobseekers Allowance at the old Bury office some years ago. He was a brand new entrant and I had just gone from working on IT support to paying benefits, after managing really well to avoid it for many years. We both struggled with the training and supported each other through it all and afterwards. We became good mates and socialised a bit outside work, when he came to my gigs and we went to the pub at lunchtime at the drop of a hat.

Alan was always the most patient and easy going fella. He saw the best in everyone and, when Alan was put on a team with the well-known and much-hated office f*ckwit, lots of people warned Alan about him. Alan refused to believe that anyone could be as spiteful and as buggardly as they all said, until he almost provoked an apopoleptic Alan into spreading him all over the wall of his office. The f*ckwit would delight in playing mind games with people and Alan, having the patience of a saint, was something of A CHALLENGE for him. The office f*ckwit was left under no delusions that he was down the road if he kept winding people up and he was moved away from Alan and watched closely.

We had the same sense of humour at times. One office dress-down day, we decided it would be a hoot to both come in wearing formal dinner suits, wing-collar shirts and bow ties. He would play Santa at Christmas, wearing the Santa suit, which had been previously vacated by the office paedophile, who moved abroad. It was probably newly-fumigated, so Alan could wear it.

Alan's retirement, several months before my own retirement, prompted me to think quite seriously about whether I could afford to do it myself. Like myself, Alan had had enough of all of the daily petty foolishness. He had worked in very responsible roles in industry in THE REAL WORLD and the ridiculously futile Civil Service brand of foolishness, in the most foolish office in DWP did not suit him that much. He said he had had enough of us all being needlessly treated like school-children. He went and he left a big hole.

Without Alan there, to keep us all amused (and vice versa) it was nothing like as much fun and all of us Union Reps were being harrassed and battered by management. I started to plot my own escape. I did the math and then, after an imbecilic acting line manager tried to bust me after taking time off for necessary recuperation from a hospitalisation and operation, I started working harder on getting out than staying in.

Alan had been fumbling on guitar - his words, not mine. He said he had 'sausage fingers'. So he moved onto drums and was doing reasonably well at learning to play and he came along to brighten up our jam night a few times.

We kept in touch and still had occasional lunch meetings, but with Alan's freedom came the chance to go plane-spotting a lot more, so bless him, he went to the airport when he could. When I left, we continued to meet some of the guys from work. I was fairly regular, once a week, but Alan less so, as when Sue retired, they spent lots of time together.

Recently we saw him a lot less, as he became afflicted with motor neurone disease, which, as illnesses go, is about as cruel as it gets. It, at first, mildly affected his co-ordination, but then moved onto his speech. It must have been beyond awful for such a well-spoken, intelligent and life-and-soul-of-the-gathering type chap.

He considered and sometimes discussed his own mortality a lot when we saw him and he then went a bit radio-silent for a long while, but I managed to arrange to go to see him at home, a couple of weeks before Christmas with another friend and I was saddened to see how the disease had prgressed. He was in good spirits but struggling. I said was going to get Christmas out of the way and then go back to see him again, with a couple of work mates that he would have loved to see, but he didn't make it into the new year. We lost him on Christmas Day morning. It was quite a shock. But at least he is not struggling anymore. Considering how much he must have hated how his health was, I can live with that.

Good turnouts at a funeral are not the measure of a man, even though lots of his friends were there (not so much from work, as he'd left a few years ago and the joke is still told about problems getting time off, even for your own funeral). Some of us who were closest to him at work turned up to see him off and I am glad I was there for him, even though it was extremely sad.

In the car on the way back, I muttered something about my own personal wish for a wicker coffin and playing a few songs that everyone wouldn't like. "Everyone?" joked Lynda, caustically, gently mocking my natural assumption that anyone would come to my funeral. I might not even get the time off to go...

January 9th:
After we got back from Alan's funeral, I had several glasses of wine and, for a nightcap, I had a large measure of toffee vodka. The glass it goes in is deceptive. I was in a poxy mood before I went to bed (very early hours) and when I woke up I felt so rough that I have sworn off the toffee vodka for a while.

I had to go into Bolton at lunch to meet Mike and Steve. I ended up having one solitary pint of Fosters, as that was enough for me. I'd have been happier with a coffee, really. Two at lunchtime is too much for me anyway.

January 10th:
Tired out, but set off for the gig in Romiley, bright and early and was there for 7.45. We were due to start at 9pm, so I was set up pretty much before the others arrived. Graham was generally first to arrive at gigs, but since he moved house and teaches drums Fridays and saturdays, I now beat him to the venue, not every time and not always by much, though.

We played a decent show and there was some rather good punterage entertainment for the band while we played. We went down really well. Nice venue, nice landlord and land lady. Back there once more later this year. I am now looking at the diary and feeling like calling it 'full' for this year. One Saturday left in July and I just want to blank off that weekend. Next year will have even more weekends off built in. We are all getting tired.

January 11th:
Up very late after last night's exertions. Ignored alarm at 10am. Lynda came back to bed and we both just decided to sleep again.

Spent a good amount of the day updating the Slade book, THE NOIZE, which I wrote with Chris Selby, for the forthcoming 2021 second edition. There will be lots of new articles to go in. More illustrations, more reviews and quotes, more details. All done to improve it and keep it as the book we would have wanted to buy. I have a fantastic cover design done and ready to go. It was originally designed for the 2019 Convention edition, but when we talked about what could go in a second edition of the book, I decided that I had to do another new cover for the Convention book and save the unseen new cover for that new second edition.

Tonight, we played at The First and Last bar in Leigh. Our first time there and we went down quite well with the crowd. A fairly easy load in and out, though parking nearby isn't as easy as it could be. We got our first and last drink free, seeing as we were playing there, which was very hospitable. People were filming us. I can never seem to find the footage. I wonder what they do with it?

We got the gig through a recommend from our friends The Hats. That same night, they played a pub in Bolton where the DJ plays music at a dangerously high volume, while the band sets up and between sets and while we are breaking the gear down. It makes us sound puny. We have taken a couple of gigs there this year (and turned a couple more dates down, once we found out that DJ is still there). It is a horrible experience and last time we were there, I nearly asked for the accident book.

I don't want my tinnitus to go out of control. My ears have a noticable audible whistling sound going on all of the time, as it is. I can just about tune it out but it does annoy me sometimes, especially when it's time to go to sleep. Ian Hunter has put his music career on hold because of it. People have taken their own lives because of tinnitus and to inflict that kind of volume on people is just plain dangerous.

Thinking what to do about those dates. Earplugs, for a start.

January 12th:
My wife Lynda is feeling quite down at the moment. She absolutely hates winter and long nights and dark days. She got up early and took the dogs out, then came back to bed. I stayed in bed awhile, mooched around then came back to bed 'til early afternoon. Luxury. I cheered her up by saying we will take the dogs out tomorrow to Heaton Park in Prestwich to give them a proper outing.

We did our jam night and had a very good turnout. Quite a few players and a pleasant evening was had by all. It was good to see Bill come back, though he clearly still isn't match fit.

We don't have an alternative venue for the three weeks off that are coming up, due to building work at the venue. We were told somewhere nearby may be able to take us on for those three weeks but that didn't come off. I wouldn't mind a rest for those dates. it would be nice to be able to do what other people do on Sundays - like meeting friends for a curry.

After the break, the venue is starting to do food and we will have a slightly later start and finish. This means I will possibly get my tea with Lynda - usually, it's too early for her to eat with me, before I set off at 5pm. There are some people the slightly later start will not work for, as they have early starts the next morning, but we intend to make the jam go no later than 9.30pm unless we have to.

January 13th:
Another particularly grey and nondescript day. Our trip out to Heaton Park with the dogs didn't happen. Lynda said it was too dull to go out. Did some writing and played an amount of Super Challenge Freecell. It is grim out there.

January 14th:
Grey again. Lynda spent most of the day in bed.

January 15th:
Vincent and Edward - our beautiful brothers from Bosnia.

Vincent and Edward

January 16th:
At last.. Heaton Park with Lynda and the dogs in the morning. I got told off for parking on a heli-pad and had to move the car. Lynda got a bit breathless, so we only went for a shortish walk and got back to the car. Lunchtime in Bolton with the chaps. Curry in the evening with some very good friends of ours. Excellent food and excellent company.

January 17th:
A day spent mainly lazing around doing very little.

January 18th:
The Royal, Farnworth. We didn't have much of a crowd, as it's not been the payday after Christmas and New Year yet, but those that were there paid attention and clapped in the right places. We played well. Our mate Donna got up and joined us for one song at the end.

Earlier in the day, Facebook reminded me that it was exactly one year ago that I ordered the first proof copies of THE NOIZE. Crikey. It's been one hell of a ride.

January 19th:
Jam night again. Again, a good turnout and we over-ran the finish time. My car was jam packed full of gear and as I was tuckered out before setting off, getting all the gear in wore me out and I was struggling a bit during the jam itself. It was great fun, though. Looking at some photos taken during the evening, I look absolutely dreadful in them. Quite ill.

Ian Edmundson

2019's garbage