Sunday, 20 January 2013

January 1st 2013

I'm sure there is probably a way of changing the date of my posts, but I cannot be bothered to find it.

So take it from me, this should have been written on the 1st of January 2013 (today is actually 20th January 2013 but I wrote most of this on the 3rd January - it's the nature of my illness that has taken this long).

I woke, as I've done so many times over the past 2 years, in my car.

It's where I live!

It's a long story why I live there and I'm sure I will finally put into a blog one day, but for now, take the shortened version as being caused by a catalogue of public sector disasters that started with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) failing to do their job in 2009 and ended with Lambeth Council failing to meet it's duty of care in 2011.

But 2012 was unquestionably the worst year of my life. A year where every turn was blocked and every spark of hope extinguished.

I'm writing this because the worst of all them, worse than companies house erroneously closing my business bank account that they've yet to fix, worse than not being able to see my son for Christmas (he lives with his mother in South Wales), worse than doing the living in the car thing, worse than my ongoing fight with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS or ME) or the issue with Apple inc. and 3 failed computer, worse than all this...

I had my iPhone stolen.

Now in itself, the loss of a phone may sound like a mild annoyance and a trip to the store with a bundle of notes, a few lost contacts and a quick SIM change.

But in MY phone was my entire life for the past 12 years.  As a CFS sufferer I take detailed notes of my daily activities.  It formed the foundation of my existence.  How ever bad my memory gets (on some days I cannot remember what I did an hour ago, let alone a week) I could always rely on turning to this trusty device to recall, arrangements, business meetings, all the way down to did I shower that day.

CFS is a crippling illness and one, if you like sitting around all day doing nothing with your life is relatively manageable. The problem is the majority of people it affects are not like that.  They are driven, striving and looking to leave their mark on this world.

I was always intending to write a book about my experiences and everything that's happened, but  everything was on that phone.

The computer failures, back-up issues and iCloud losses meant this information was nowhere else to be found.

The contrast between living in a car because the state fails you, to ensuring you remain the best Father you can with a son who lives over a hundred miles away.

Mixing with celebrities and yet barely having enough money to feed yourself.

It's a world most people would never have an incling of understanding and why it was so important for me to record.

Since the age of ten years old people said I should write a book about my life, because even by then, I had a story worth telling.  But the last 34 years have added to that.

Without the phone I have snippets.

Going through these blogs helps, but nobody wants to read about the days where nothing happens, where you spend 4 days staring at a screen unable to move.

In part that stuff doesn't get published because of what I do, in the main though, it doesn't get published because people don't care.

So imagine spending 12 years of your life writing a story on a typewriter - each day you'd spend 2 to 3 hours keeping crucial notes of your experiences, your feelings, your health, the issues surrounding just surviving, to how it feels to be doing a job that defines you and then one day watching the whole thing go up in flames.  12 years of effort gone in a blink. That's where I am right now.  You cannot get it back but...

I have so few followers on this blog, I'm going to share things that I wouldn't on Facebook or Twitter or Linkedin as I try to move on with my life.

Without the phone, years of my life have been lost, those moments that change us forever, those snippets of things that enhance our life that are so important to keeping going in a life that sometimes you want to end.

When I was 17, because of my life experiences I genuinely never believed I'd make my 18th year.  With hand on heart I thought the stresses of my life would kill me before then.  I'd already been rushed into hospital with a suspected heart attack (another story) and was living in constant fear.

So at 44, I feel I'm living on borrowed time.

The loss of the phone felt like the end of my, life it took away hope.  The failure to get security, the police, O2 or anybody to assist in its retrieval reminded me the kind of society we live in.

For all those people, it was, after all, just a phone. But for me, it was the reason I kept going.

But against that, against my health, against the fact that I started the year alone waking in the passenger side of a Mini (the night before I'd been with some amazing friends - and that's yet another story) I continued an annual tradition a dear friend and I started in 2000.

I got myself to Sommerset House at 09:30 to go skating (it was closed this year even though the Website said it should be open - but the female security guard there made my day), to the London Film Museum to see an exhibition of London Films, onto Trafalgar Square, to watch the New Years Day Parade, to Balcon on Pall Mall, for lunch (but they'd screwed up my booking through toptable - though the manager made up for it in sparkling wine), to the Empire Cinema to watch Parental Guidance, to Planet Hollywood (for the weirdest dinner of my life, a Banana Milkshake, a jacket potatoes and chilli dip - a breakdown in communication with the waitress and no time to fix it) and finally theatre to see Rob Brydon in a Chorus of Disapproval at the Harold Pinter Theatre (that to most Londoners will still always be called the Comedy) and then drove back to my normal spot in my Car to sleep.

Colin (the friend who I started this tradition with) and I, promised each other there would never be a year in London that we would say that we hadn't attended at least one Theatre, Cinema, Restaurant, Exhibition and Walk in the city we both love so much. So we chose to do it all on the 1st of every year, so what ever happened the other 364 days we could alway say we'd done at least one.

This is the stuff I never normally make public, the stuff that would have been written in the phone.  I don't know how much of this I'll get down but I'll try.  Life seemingly wants to eradicate me from history but I'm not keen to go that way. So for at least a while, my experiences will be on the net for anyone who stumbles across them to read.

Who knows, maybe this is where the book will start...