Occasionally, there comes someone or something that leaves an indelible mark, and John Peel was one of those people. He played music that celebrated the individual and that challenged the norm. He bought fringe to the mainstream and made it acceptable. This, and introducing me to so, so many new artists, makes him more than a bit special.
Here's a few of my faves that we have John Peel to thank for:
And that's barely the tip of the iceberg.
Someone said on Twitter earlier that they were still angry with the universe for taking John Peel away - I totally get that. One of the 'issues' of my depression is the feeling of being excluded. I'm an outsider and the difficulties of blending in and being accepted get a bit frustrating. In turn, I try and fit in, try and be who society expects me to be and before long, I'm lost. And then I get angry with the world, for making me feel as if who I am isn't good enough. Eventually I find my feet again; the confidence to be found in being different bounces back but is often short lived, and then the cycle starts all over again.
And so I want to thank John Peel for not just bringing a whole truck load of fantastic music to the masses, but for being a hero and allowing me to belong.
It's a firm favourite; just about every track is a winner, rarely do I skip through. Back in the day when I used to be at every festival I saw James live more than once. Nearly every track has a memory attached, a good memory.
The fact that this particular compilation is back on my playlist is a reminder of where I'm at. The last time I went through a particularly bad depressive episode, this album was played over and over. It was my escapism, my place to go to when I needed to feel like I belonged.
And I'm in that place again. The almost daily panic attacks aren't fun, and neither is the paranoia, exhaustion and despair. More than once in the last month or so have I felt like completely giving up; not just on business, but everything and everyone. And more than once has Tom sat and talked and shouted and reasoned with me to help keep me here.
The thing is though, that once you've hit the bottom, you know where you're at. You're no longer free falling and as much as it's a bumpy ride down here, you know you'll soon be able to start working your way up again. And that's what I'm hanging on to. That, and the fact that this is the worst I've ever been without medication, and that if I can survive this, I can survive anything. After all, this is something I've got for life; I need to be able to stare it in the face.
Being self employed is hard work, especially in this current economic climate, and in an industry where relatively few are able to achieve decent wages. The want to design and create has always been my driving force, never the money. And I am so incredibly proud of the fact that I've been able to support my family, albeit frugally, but it has become a constant battle to keep my head above water, and I can't bear the responsibility anymore.
We had some amazing news yesterday: our first choice school offered us a last minute place, and we've gladly accepted it. As non residents we're at the bottom of a very long waiting list for places, and managed eventually to find a place at Scuola Materna for Aran in a lovely little school that's about 15 or 20 mins drive away. The school he'll now be attending is just as nice, and is less than 5 minutes in the car. Our neighbours daughter goes there too, and it's less than 10 minutes to cycle. The change means so much - the saving in fuel costs will be most welcome, the chance to share the school run gives us all peace of mind, and probably most importantly, it will give us some breathing room. Since the theft and then the accident, I'm too expensive to insure, and we rely onTom to drive everywhere. And commitment to school hours leaves little room for anything else. Now, if/when he gets the chance to work, he'll be able to take it.
And that means there'll be less pressure on me to keep a roof over our head and food on the table. I don't think I can begin to express how relieved I feel.