This is me. This is the stuff I find interesting. Like it or lump it, this is what you're getting!

Feb 232016

I have a theory, and please do humour me with this one… There’s something special about 3 and 5 when it comes to tracks on an album. For years I’ve noticed that tracks 3 and 5 of most albums are usually two of the best songs on an album and often track 3 is usually released as a single. This is something I’ve noticed lots of times BUT have never actually put to any test so I’m going to use my Collectorz Music Collector software again (as seen in R is for… Random) to pick out a bunch of random albums to test my theory. Let’s see if I’ve been deluding myself for years…

“Frozen (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)” – Various Artists
Track 3: “For the First Time in Forever”
Track 5: “Let It Go”
Comments: Possibly not the greatest start to test my theory but track 5 was clearly the big hit from here.

“I’m Not Dead” – P!nk
Track 3: “Long Way To Happy”
Track 5: “Dear Mr. President”
Comments: Good songs but clearly disproves my theory.

“Regular Urban Survivors” – Terrorvision
Track 3: “Perseverence”
Track 5: “Hide The Dead Girl”
Comments: Yes! Track 3 was a single and 5 was a good song – although not the best.

“¡uno!” – Green Day
Track 3: “Carpe Diem”
Track 5: “Kill The DJ”
Comments: Track 5 was OK, but again another dis-proof…

“Let The Dominoes Fall” – Rancid
Track 3: “Up To No Good”
Track 5: “Disconnected”
Comments: Ooh, track 3 was released as a video (which is almost a single)!

“Hooray For Boobies” – The Bloodhound Gang
Track 3: “Mama’s Boy”
Track 5: “Mope”
Comments: My theory sucks…

“All Our Kings Are Dead” – Young Guns
Track 3: “Meter & Verse”
Track 5: “Weight Of The World”
Comments: Yeah, OK, I need to stop now.


My theory clearly sucks although I CAN think of a few albums where it holds true:

“Insomniac” – Green Day
Track 3: “Stuck With Me”
Track 5: “No Pride”
Comments: Both awesome tracks and track 3 was a single.

“Tragic Kingdom” – No Doubt
Track 3: “Just A Girl”
Track 5: “Different People”
Comments: Good tracks and 3 was a single.

“Life’s Not Out To Get You” – Neck Deep
Track 3: “Can’t Kick Up The Roots”
Track 5: “Gold Steps”
Comments: Track 3 was a single!


So, the take home point of this ridiculous theory is that you can make any theory work when you pick and choose your own data set…

May 312015

Back in 1995 I listened to American punk rock and American punk rock alone. Occasionally there’d be a bit of metal in there from the likes of Metallica, Megadeth or Machine Head (interesting – they all begin with ‘M’). But in general I listened to American punk rock. I was a horribly obnoxious and opinionated bastard of a teenager and simply refused to take any advice from anyone regarding most things. So when my ‘friends’ at school suggested I have a listen to ‘The Holy Bible’ by Manic Street Preachers I just refused to – because, you guessed it, it wasn’t American punk rock; why on earth would I listen to some sheep-shagging band when I could listen to the likes of Rancid or NOFX instead?

Nowadays, I’ve grown up and, while still quite opinionated, I’m not as obnoxious or narrow-minded. Note the presence of the word ‘as‘ 😉 A good friend of mine was talking about Manic Street Preachers a few weeks ago and mentioned The Holy Bible as being one of their best albums and I thought maybe I should listen to that one day… Then, as I was browsing through the £1.99 offers on Google Play Music, I spotted the 20th anniversary remastered edition for, perhaps unsurprisingly, £1.99. So I bought it. What’s the worst that could happen at that price?


Do you know what? I shouted at my 15 year old self. Metaphorically, not literally… It’s actually a cracking album and I was genuinely surprised – it’s just a shame I’m 21 years too late… There’s not a single song on it that I skip through and, while there are a few slower songs on it, most of them are actually what my 15 year old idiot self would have classed as being ‘quite punky’. There we have it, I used to be an idiot and now I’ve grown up into not quite as much of an idiot! Make the most of it, it’s not often I will admit I was wrong 😉

So, S is for being surprised at how good an album was that I rejected solely for the fact it wasn’t American punk rock.

May 052015

I’m going back to a straight forward music post this time. I considered writing about the bands Rancid or the Ramones but thought that’d be too obvious. I considered discussing ‘rock’ as a genre and all its many and varied sub-genres but decided that could end up taking months. I considered writing about the NOFX album ‘Ribbed’ but remembered it’s one of my least favourite of theirs. I considered creating a rhapsody (“An instrumental composition of irregular form often incorporating improvisation”) but decided I’m not talented enough for something like that and, anyway, that would have been a bit too random…

Random! That’s it! I then decided I would pick 5 random albums from my collection and write a short bit about them. Because ‘random’ begins with an ‘R’ (in case you hadn’t spotted that…).

So I fired up my Music Collector software and hit CTRL+R 5 times to pick 5 random albums to write about. I have no idea how this is going to turn out…


“Everything Is Wrong” – Moby

I’m quite glad this was the first random album that was given! Back in ‘B is for… Basket‘ I admitted to having once loved dance music and, oh, how things have changed! ‘Everything Is Wrong’ is a bit of a mixture of genres with a few rock tracks, a few instrumentals and a few dance songs. Considering the title, it’s actually quite a joyful album too and it’s one of the few ‘dance’-style albums I can still listen to without having to turn it off after a few seconds… I think my affinity to this album is a mixture of the music itself and the fact that 1995 was when my musical tastes were being honed and it just brings back some interesting memories.


“For The Glory” – The O.C. Supertones

The O.C. Supertones are a Christian ska-punk band from Orange County, California. They disbanded at the end of 2005 after 15 years of service. In 2012 they announced they were getting back together to record a new album which would be funded via Kickstarter. As one of my favourite bands I was quite excited about this and promptly backed their campaign. It reached the target and got recorded so I was a little bit excited to say the least! I got a digital download a few weeks before release while I waited for the physical CD to arrive. It’s a great album – towards the end of their career they had more of a rock sound with less ska but ‘For The Glory’ was very ska-based. I have to say, though, that when the CD arrived I was a little bit annoyed. It was actually released through BEC Recordings (their old record label) – so people like me funded it all but then the record label made the money from it… It sort of went against the whole point of crowd-funding in my opinion… Still, it’s a good album!


“Let The Dominoes Fall” – Rancid

Rancid have been a big part of my musical history although it has to be said that this isn’t one of their best albums. It’s a far more poppier sound than their previous albums but still has a definite punk-rock feel to it. Before it’s release I watched a lot of ‘making of’ webisodes about it and I think that explains the sound. All the songs were written and rehearsed on acoustic guitars before being finalised and recorded with the usual distortion and effects. This makes quite a big difference to the sound of the songs, they just don’t sound as aggressive… I did like how they included a CD with acoustic versions of most of the songs. These sound really good though, probably because they were written like that initially. It’s a decent album, but if you like your punk to be more aggressive then go back a few albums and maybe give this one a miss.


“We’re Outta Here” – Ramones

This album is a live recording of their 2,263rd concert – it was also their last. It’s a great set with all the songs you’d expect but with the added bonus of some great special guests. Former bassist Dee Dee Ramone joins them on one song and Tim Armstrong & Lars Frederiksen (from Rancid) sing and play on 3 songs. Other special guests include Lemmy (Motorhead), Chris Cornell & Ben Shepherd (Soundgarden) and Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam). It also features Mini-MaFt’s favourite: ‘Spider-Man’ :D. After three: 1, 2, 3 – Hey Ho, Let’s Go!


“A Vs. Monkey Kong” – A

It was Jim (bassist for SM3) who first got me listening to the band A. He played me a selection of their songs, which I really quite liked. However, like the Foo Fighters, they have some great songs but no great albums… ‘A Vs. Monkey Kong’ is no different – there are some great songs on here such as ‘Monkey Kong’, ‘Old Folks’ and ‘I Love Lake Tahoe’ – but other than those, it’s all a bit meh. Having said that, I’ve seen them live a few times (supporting The Offspring (2001), Distortion Festival (2002), supporting Bowling For Soup (2011)) and they’ve been great – mainly because they play a ‘best of’ set. So the few good songs from each album does make a great gig. So, good songs but poor album. Having said that, ‘I Love Lake Tahoe’ will always remind me of the laugh me, Scru’ and Jim would have every Thursday night at The Sugarhouse in Lancaster 😀

 Posted by at 6:22 pm
May 052015

11 months ago I started a theme of blog posts for the “A-Z of Music” as a way to get me back into regular blogging. The initial plan was to just write about a different artist or album…

Oh sod it, you know what? Read my last post: Q is for… Questioning – there’s no point in me explaining it all again!

I’ve questioned myself a few times about if it’s appropriate to post what I’ve ended up writing – when your head’s a bit all over the place then the stream of conciousness becomes a rather large, random delta of conciousness! Some things are just too personal and I don’t think they will ever be public. These have been consigned to my private memoirs, for my eyes only.

I never made this public but at the time, my marriage had been coming to an end (it had been for some time actually) and I ended up using these posts as a form of therapy – alongside a tonne of private stuff that will stay private. It did it’s job and the posts just kinda stopped…

Almost a year on, I’m in a much better place emotionally and mentally and it’s time to carry on with the A-Z posts… I just wanted to explain the long gap. Tonight I’ll carry on with the ‘R’ post…

So, QR (a made-up letter that comes between Q and R) is for explaining why it’s taken me so long to carry on with my A-Z of Music.

 Posted by at 11:29 am
Jan 132015


The other week there was a bit of a hoo-ha online about how Netflix were allegedly blocking VPNs from accessing their American content. I know my Dad will be reading this, so let me explain about VPNs. Firstly, it is a VERY different thing to a VPL! Netflix, and various other sites, have methods in place so that you can access certain content if you’re from a certain region – the BBC do this with iPlayer – try accessing it while you’re in another country; you can’t (easily). A VPN (Virtual Private Network), without getting into to much detail, essentially ‘tricks’ a website (or service) into thinking you’re from another country. This allows users from the UK to view the American content on Netflix – something that a lot of people do.

If you didn’t know, I run a service called New On Netflix UK and New On Netflix USA which posts every new addition to Netflix UK/USA, expiry dates and loads of other stuff. They’re rather popular, the UK one in particular. I won’t bore you with stats but they get busy and a lot of people use them. When the allegations were published it hit a lot of news sites and I got contacted by an Irish journalist who wanted to ask my opinion about the different content between UK and US services as well as the VPN stuff. He sent some questions, and I wrote a humongous 1,580 word essay in response. The article was published earlier today on The Daily Edge and used only 162 of them… So, I thought I’d share my full response in case you were interested!

NB – I know we’re referring to ‘Netflix UK & Ireland’ as just ‘UK’ but there are still a small number of differences between the UK and Ireland’s content; not a huge difference, but I understand there are a few.
Is there a significant difference in the quantity of shows between the US and UK versions of Netflix?

Number of titles* as at 9th Jan ‘15:

  • Netflix USA: 7,216
  • Netflix UK: 2,728

For up to date figures see: and

*Titles, in my use of the word, refers to a single movie or an entire series. Eg 60 episodes / 4 seasons of a TV series is a single title.

There’s quite a big difference in numbers but you need to take into account number of subscribers in each region. The USA has more users and therefore more income to spend on content, the UK has less subscribers so Netflix have a smaller budget for their UK content. In the Netherlands, which is newer still than the UK service (I.e. less subscribers), they only have around 1000 titles.

This actually brings us onto one of the main arguments for using VPN, but I’ll get to that shortly.


Do we often see people using a VPN to access the US version? If so, why? Is it considered better?

I know a number of people who use various different VPNs for accessing the regions, not just the US service, there’s also Canada, Latin America, Netherlands and more. Each has different content. Personally I don’t use them, but this isn’t from any moral standpoint; quite simply, neither myself or the kids have ever been stuck for something to watch on the UK service.

Most people will say that they use VPN because the American Netflix is better. I would disagree; ‘better’ is a very subjective phrase. Certainly, they are different but one person’s ‘better’ is another person’s ‘worse’. The American service may seem ‘better’ to some because it has some newer films like ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ – but that makes the assumption that newer films are better… They’re not always, and there are some older, more obscure films that are absolutely fantastic such as a personal favourite of mine, ‘Cube’ (which is on the UK service but not US).

The main argument I see from those who use my service is that this is 2015; everyone under the age of 20 has lived their entire life with The Internet. Everyone up to 33 years old has had good access since being a teenager. Information, including digital media, moves so freely around the world. Why then should we be restricted to arbitrary regions for films on Netflix? That and fact that all the money ends up, in one way or another, in the same pot at Netflix HQ.


There is a video from Netflix that explains the licensing issues with regards different reasons. Is this the full story behind the differences I wonder.

The issues we have with these arbitrary regions are not really Netflix’s doing. The studios and distributors seem to be in a bit of a timewarp with regards to their geographical-based licensing – still working back in the days of physical media, where there were sensible reasons for staggered release dates and availability such as physically moving or duplicating media. The Netflix PR video you mention does cover this aspect of the licensing. However, something that doesn’t seem to get mentioned in many places, and in my opinion is the main reason for the differences, is competition. In the UK Netflix is up against Sky’s Now TV and Amazon Prime Instant; in America they are up against the likes of Amazon and Hulu. Different regions have different competition who are willing to pay different amounts to the studios for their content – for example to get exclusive rights before any other streaming service.

Yes, you could possibly argue that all the money goes into the same pot so some of the American subscription income could be used for UK content – and I’m sure Netflix are fully aware of this – but in order to stay on the good side of the studios and distributors Netflix will have to come to some agreements; mainly that certain titles are available in certain regions. In the UK Sky have a LOT of money and can wangle some big exclusives for certain films. However most Sky subscribers pay over £20 a month. There’s a tie up between Netflix staying cheap and them getting the big movies… Personally, I’d prefer them to stay cheap. I can’t warrant the cost of Sky. However, in other regions this competition may not be as great, so it’s feasible for Netflix to get ‘bigger’ titles without having to bid against the likes of Sky.

A good example of this being out of Netflix’s hands is their own original content. The likes of House of Cards, Orange is the New Black etc – those are available worldwide at the same time. I’m sure if the studios allowed it, Netflix would be happy to have the same content worldwide, but while there are competing services offering more money to the studios/distributors in different regions then we’ll always have this different availability.


Given the nature of the two Netflix websites you run, you must see the amount of churn/change that happens with the Netflix shows/movies in real time. Is it significant? Do users notice the change?

I’ve not been doing the USA service for as long so it’s difficult to give a good idea of the turnover for that service. However, in the UK you can see via and that there is, on average, a net increase of available titles every month. Most titles are available for 12 months and Netflix give a couple of weeks warning if something is going to be removed. At the start of each month a larger number of titles are added – between 30 and 80 and then, throughout the rest of the month there is a steady stream of additions. Towards the end of the month a number of titles will be removed. This constant changing (but with a net increase) keeps the catalogue fresh but can, at times, make people think that all they do is remove things! Users do notice the change but usually more when titles are removed (we’re British [well, I am, I know you’re not!!], we like to complain) although there are a high proportion of those who use my service that share and discuss the new additions each month. In 2014 there was a net increase of 227 titles (1,409 removals and 1,636 additions) – more than half of the UK content was ‘replaced’ in 2014 as well as 227 extra titles.


The reports around a crackdown on VPN access of the US Netflix are claimed to be false by the company. I think this has really brought the difference between the US and UK versions into people’s minds.

Coming back to VPNs and the statement from Netflix about their crackdown being false, I actually agree with this. Every news item that mentioned the alleged VPN ‘crackdown’ all pointed back to the same Torrent website as the source. I’ve not seen ANY other person, site or company say they have been blocked from using VPNs. I saw a post somewhere (I think it may have been a discussion in Reddit – hardly the most enlightened of sources at times!) that suggested that perhaps the torrent community felt threatened by Netflix’s popularity and wanted to mucky it’s name in a bit to get people to use torrent sites more. This is pure conjecture and I’m not quite sure if I agree with this or not, but it seems odd that this site was the only one to claim that VPNs were being blocked.

As you say, the fact that this hit the news has certainly highlighted the difference between the US and UK content (as well as other regions). I’m hopeful that as time goes on these arbitrary regions are dissolved and more and more content is ‘shared’ across the different services. However, I’m fully aware that this relies, in the most part, with the studios and distributors – and look how long it has taken the music industry to embrace digital audio…


Do you have a list of major releases that are on the US version and not available here?

Major releases on UK/USA services… This is actually quite tricky to do – I mentioned before about how subjective ‘good’ films are etc… However, here’s a quick list that shows some big differences between the UK and US services:

16 Titles Available in UK but NOT USA:

  • Shawshank Redemption
  • The Godfather
  • Suits
  • Homeland
  • Person of Interest
  • Battlestar Galactica (new version)
  • Toy Story 3
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Monsters Inc.
  • Donnie Darko
  • The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas
  • Ghost In The Shell
  • Postman Pat: The Movie
  • Robocop (2014)
  • Walking on Sunshine

16 Titles Available in USA but NOT UK:

  • Sherlock (series 3)
  • The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Arrow
  • Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD
  • The Walking Dead
  • Django Unchained
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Friends
  • Star Trek Into Darkness
  • Get Santa
  • Cuban Fury
  • Frank
  • Tinkerbell: The Pirate Fairy
  • Battlestar Galactica (original version)
  • Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa
  • Sharknado
Jan 052015

School holidays are always difficult when you throw autism into the mix. The change of normal routine can be a big issue. Add Christmas to that anxiousness, the extra attention from friends and family, the noises, the colours, the smells… well, I’m sure you can guess, it gets a little difficult at times! Not just for Mini-MaFt though, the anxiousness rubs off onto siblings and affects Mini-Mrs-MaFt too.

Quite simply, while we’ve had a nice Christmas, we’ve also had a fairly chaotic one…

Today Stupid-Dad (that’s me) picked up Mini-MaFt to go to his Monday night club only to find that it doesn’t start up again until next week… Cue meltdown :/ Shouting, screaming, kicking the back of my seat – the plan had been changed without any sort of warning. Suddenly, he went quiet and then after a short time (16 seconds to be precise) I heard a little voice saying “…17…18…19…20”. Just after this Mini-MaFt said really calmly:
“Dad, you know how [autistic friend] has to walk in circles around things to calm herself down or why-ever it is she does it?”
“Yes Mini-MaFt” (sometimes I use his proper name in real life…)
“Well, I count to 20 now when I get angry.”
“That’s good Mini-MaFt, and does it help?”
“Yes. I don’t always count to 20 though, I just count to my favourite number. Which is 20.”

How good is that? Such a simple coping mechanism that clearly worked. He thought of it himself too. In the car. I’ve tried getting him to breath deeply before now and that never helped. Sometimes the best thing is to let them discover their own coping mechanisms and support them in the process.

So, well done Mini-MaFt, next time Stupid-Dad lives up to his name, remember how you cope with it!


Aug 122014

I’m sat here shedding a few tears over the death of Robin Williams. I never knew him, I wasn’t even a massive fan of most of his work either. So why am I upset?!

I’ve had a horrible few months. I’ve reached new lows that I’ve never experienced in my 34 years of life, even worse than the disaster that 2004 became. I’ve spent probably most of my life wearing a mask, the mask of a fool. Laughing and joking to cover up all the self-loathing and hurt inside me. I don’t know if I was ever truly depressed, that’s probably a different blog for another time, but I know I’ve not been happy for a long time. To the point where I’ve hated both what I’ve become and the things in my past that have hurt myself and others.

The thing is, it could easily have been me ending my own life. Luckily I’ve had people to talk to, not that I discussed suicide; I wouldn’t say it ever really seriously crossed my mind. About 2 months ago I had someone ask me how I was. I said to them “truly horrible, actually”. Sadly they carried on walking. I was there, ready to open up, quite literally pleading for help from the pit I’d realised I was in. And I felt ignored, unworthy of attention.

But, luckily, I’ve had friends and acquaintances who’ve commented on little things that I do well, or that they see as being positive aspects of my life or personality – without even thinking about it. Those things helped me, and those who spoke the words probably don’t even know it.

Everyone has done things they’re not proud of. I’ve got quite a long list if I’m honest. But when we dwell on our mistakes, or even other people’s mistakes, then it hurts us. And it will hurt other people.

I’m changing. I’ve actually already changed a lot. I’m becoming happier with myself but I couldn’t have done it without people being positive towards me.

I guess what I’m saying is just be nice to people because you never really know what someone is going through inside. I can tell you from experience that it can take a lot of kind words to have a positive effect but one spiteful word can quickly destroy a person.

Aug 012014

A diagnosis of autism is just that. A diagnosis. It shouldn’t need questioning by laymen. A professional has done that already over the course of 12-18 months. The parents have, more than likely, also struggled for many years before that too.

The small parts that others see of my wonderful little man are, literally, just small parts of his life, tiny snapshots, fleeting glances. They may not see anything wrong with him but that doesn’t change the facts. If they saw a physically disabled person sat normally on a couch would they question their disability or the diagnosis because, for that brief moment, their disability doesn’t affect them? And, for all intents and purposes, they ‘look normal’? I doubt it.

But follow this (imaginary) physically disabled person around for a week, or even just a day, and you’ll see the difficulties they face: getting dressed, steps into shops, aisles not wide enough for wheelchairs, toileting, getting into bed… the list could go on and on. But sometimes things look ‘normal’ and their disability doesn’t effect them. Now, follow Mini-MaFt around for a day and you will see just as many difficulties: over-sensitivity (noise in shops etc, taste and texture of food, unexpected smells, the feel of clothing), under-sensitivity (shoes need to be tightened throughout the day, bedding needs to be pulled tight even in red hot temperatures), rigidity of thought (you can’t just change the plans for the day), routine, impulsive behaviour, lack of self-awareness/danger, ‘stimming‘, taking things very literally (“you have to tell your parents to buy you one of these!” – that is now a rule that must be obeyed)… again, the list could go on and on. However, the point is that all these things cause daily difficulties for Mini-MaFt but we’re all getting better at handling situations so that things don’t become a major issue… some of the time.

People will generally bend over backwards to help a child that is in a wheelchair, or to give them a sympathetic smile if they look upset about something. “Oh, that poor child is upset, they must find life really hard with a wheelchair”. It sounds awful, and I know I’m not alone in saying this either (I’ve heard it and read it in numerous places) but sometimes I think it’d be easier if Mini-MaFt was in a wheelchair. Why? Well, I’d rather my child was given caring / sympathetic words and looks when The Big Wide World becomes too much for them than to get snidey comments about bad parenting or spoilt children just because they “look normal” so they “shouldn’t behave like that”.

Even after diagnosis there are lots of parents who hear phrases like “well, he looks normal”, “she’s been fine this evening, I don’t know what you’re so strung up about”, “can’t you control your child?”, “oh, my son does that too”, “are you sure you’re not just making them worse by giving in to them?” and “he’ll grow out of it”. It honestly breaks my heart to hear things like that and it’s hard not to just snap and go off on one. But the fact is, I know that the responses and questions generally tend to stem from a lack of understanding of ASC’s (Autistic Spectrum Conditions) and not from simple rudeness.

However, if there has been a professional diagnosis then please, please don’t question that by hinting that they might just be imagining everything. In fact, even without a diagnosis don’t do it either. None of us are capable of knowing what other people are truly feeling; I know from experience that it’s all too easy to put on your mask and pretend that all is well with the world. As the song in ‘Tangled’ says: “Parent knows best” (OK, so the actual lyric is “Mother knows best” but I needed to change it to make my point). The parents of a child with autism have already spent many years with them, they are with them on a daily basis across all manner of events, experiences and locations – they know their child and how their autism affects them.

Wheelchair users have slopes into buildings because steps would cause problems – this allows them to be ‘normal’ and go places that able-bodied people can go. Autistic people will have routines and techniques in place so that potential problems are bypassed with little struggle before they can become a big issue. Again, this helps them to be ‘normal’. After the years of struggles (both emotional and physical) the last thing they need is to be told that their child ‘looks normal’ because I can guarantee that this ‘normality’ has taken a lot of effort and learning both for the autistic child and their parents/carers.

To use the wheelchair analogy one final time, if you see a wheelchair user inside a shop coping perfectly with choosing some new clothes then would you question their disability because they can obviously manage to be ‘normal’ and do ‘normal’ things like shopping? No, of course not – you’d see that they’re in a chair with wheels to help them move, you’d see that they had a slope to help them get in the shop, you’d notice wider aisles around the racks of clothes, you’d notice lifts between floors and you’d realise that all the little extras are what helps this person live as ‘normal’ a life as possible. It’s the same with autism, although the problems and the solutions(?) are invisible – you can’t see autism and, in general, you won’t see all the work and effort that goes in to caring for an autistic child: the social stories, the advanced planning, the self-control, the learned social behaviours etc. So when you see an autistic child ‘looking normal’ then please remember that, just like with the slopes and lifts, they’re able to look ‘normal’ because of all the extra things that are in place to help them – and not simply because their diagnosis is wrong.

I’m concious that this has ended up quite long and, so, in a nutshell… Autism or not, just remember this:



For more information on autism and Asperger’s please see the many amazing resources that the National Autistic Society produce.


Post Scriptum: This video got shared with me in between writing this post and publishing it. I thought I’d add it as it’s a good reminder that those who pass judgement are, in fact, the minority.

 Posted by at 2:30 pm
Jul 092014

This post might not end up particularly musical but it is, at least, about my ‘A-Z of Music‘ series. About 3 weeks ago I decided to get back into blogging and decided that an A to Z of musical posts would give me a common theme to ease me back in gently. My initial plan was to go through the alphabet and simply talk about songs, albums or artists that I liked. The first few posts did, pretty much, follow this initial plan.

Source: Wrong Hands

Source: Wrong Hands

When I write I often go off on a bit of a tangent; one of my first blogs was described as being “an ongoing stream of consciousness” in a review. I think for these A-Z posts I’ve managed to stay quite focused within each post, but the overall feel of the posts has become somewhat tangential. What were supposed to be simple posts about music that I like have become a mixture of reminiscing posts and quite deep, personal outpourings.

The times where there has been a longer gap between posts can usually be explained by the fact I shelved and rewrote quite a number of them. I don’t know if you sense the personal depth of some of these posts but to me, they have been difficult to write and have often involved a lot of soul-searching. I’ve mentioned previously that I usually keep myself to myself and how my lyrics are often my voice – I suppose now I could say the same for this blog being my voice.

I’ve questioned myself a few times about if it’s appropriate to post what I’ve ended up writing – when your head’s a bit all over the place then the stream of conciousness becomes a rather large, random delta of conciousness! Some things are just too personal and I don’t think they will ever be public. These have been consigned to my private memoirs, for my eyes only.

So even though my initial plan for this series of blog posts has changed, I’m still glad I’ve come so far with it. Music is a large part of my life, perhaps larger than I’d realised before taking on this project. It has invoked so many emotions and been a useful form of therapy for me – particularly those posts that didn’t get published.

Maybe one day I’ll share them. Or maybe I’ll come back to them and decide that they served their purpose when they were written and I don’t need to dwell on the past. Who knows…?

Through every trial
My soul will sing
No turning back
I’ve been set free
“Christ Is Enough” – Hillsong

So, Q is for questioning how much of my musical journey I’ll be making public.

 Posted by at 12:33 am