And I say to my heart: rave on.

If there is one thing that’s been consistent in my life so far, it’s my choosing a journey over a destination. Those journeys have included many different experiences, all of which have shaped me in some way. One of those experiences was the second summer of love.

As a 15 year old, the 1990’s were fast approaching, technology and fashion was rapidly changing and I was having to move from being a kid to being an adult. The year was 1989 and in June I turned 16, completing my exams at school. I had to get a job to help cover all the bills at home and was lucky enough to join an apprenticeship scheme with an engineering company.

As a 16 year old I tested boundaries with my new employer, bunking off quite a bit. I wanted to hang out with new friends from my class (who were bunking off too). That period timed well with something that was happening across the country, something that was coined the second summer of love.

It was the period when acid house was becoming a thing, at least where I lived. Massive home grown acid house parties began to take shape each weekend. The smiley face revolution had entered my life, represented by that now familiar yellow smiley.

What struck me most about house music were the types of people I met. They were different to me, looser and more rebellious. Those new college friends  I’d made were different to my main friends. They took part and organised local house parties, ram raiding shops to pay for their life style of drugs (mainly speed and acid) for parties over the weekends. Despite me not joining them on their crime sprees or drug taking, they embraced my company and introduced me to a scene I’d have otherwise only seen on the TV and newspapers.

My mum, brother and close friends didn’t know the crowd I’d started to hang with. I carefully separated my 2 lives knowing they were not destined to merge well. It was obvious to me that this phase in my life would also not last long. I eventually finished college, went back to my indie music roots and then went to America for a while.

When I look back on that year, I can see it was important for at least 3 foundational lessons I’ve put into practice. Each one has become almost unconscious now, here they are:

1. Don’t always surround yourself with people who think like you. In order to grow, learn and experience the world, you need different views to enhance your life

2. You can never really understand and know a person until you really know them (i.e. it doesn’t matter how they look). There are still people I meet who think I’m a ’type’ and after learning more about me, find it hard to believe I’d taken part in illegal raves and been on police watch lists for summer parties at Stone Henge . Don’t believe in bucketing people into types, it will limit your world view as well as your experience with people.

3. Clothes, musical taste, recreational activities, none of these actually define a person. How they treat themselves and others, what they think of themselves and others, those are the things that define a person.

I don’t know what happened to those college friends from that time. Over that short period the house parties turned to raves and eventually the UK government put legislation in place to limit free and open gatherings. I didn’t like the commercial parties, where business took over and the mainstream turned it into profit over experience.

It’s nice to see the ‘illegal’ raves never actually stopped entirely, they just became harder to organise and find. They continue to this day, in smaller numbers and via word of mouth. Just like when I was a teenager. A time that was simpler, one without the internet or always connected lifestyle. A time when word of mouth brought people together more, a time when we actually had time, time to think, time to ponder, time to party.

Make time to party.

“It is always the simple that produces the marvellous.” – Amelia Barr

Note: Some of my college friends were ram raiders, the majority of people I met at house parties and then raves did not ram raid or steal.

5 Share Friday 15 Feb 2019

Quote I’m pondering “They invented hugs to let people know you love them without saying anything” – Bil Keane
Book that gripped meThe Tattooist of Auschwitz. This is the story of a holocaust survivor. It’s a fictional story based on true events. It caught me by surprise as it was so compelling I read the whole book within a 48 hour period. At its core it’s a love story, one containing the horrifying reality of life in Auschwitz and how 2 people survived to find each other after liberation.
Music I’m listening tooMinecraftable – My 5 year old son loves the abtmelody Minecraft playlist on Apple music. The Minecraftable tune is the first tune in a playlist of Minecraft parody songs. It’s not my usual taste in music, yet having it play in the background while building lego or having breakfast with my son, I’m finding I like it more and more.
Thoughts on BREXIT – I’ve been in Denmark for the last 7 months and I still don’t know what the UK is hoping to ‘get back’ from exiting the EU, I don’t think anyone really knows. A Dane who lives in the UK has made a comic strip that describes his experience and feelings over the last 2 years, it’s worth reading.
Purchase I’m enjoying Gore windstopper beanie . My wife bought me this a while ago and it’s fantastic for wearing under a bicycle helmet or while running. With the cold weather this winter, I wouldn’t go without it now.
Happy Friday everyone!
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5 Share Friday 8 Feb 2019

Quote I’m pondering “1 universe, 9 planets, 204 countries, 809 islands, 7 seas, and I had the privilege of meeting you.” – Author unknown.

This quote one really hit me this week. There are so many people I’m grateful to have spent time with, working with and being friends with. It’s incredible when you put this into context. The chance of actually meeting people who’s company you enjoy while they enjoy yours back, is surely not that big? Yet it happens to all of us.

Story that inspired me this weekRepairing buildings and structures with Lego. This is a wonderful use of Lego. With so many Lego bricks around the world available, what better use is there for those that are spare?

(Image credit: Jan Vormann / VG Bild)

Children aren’t ruining the planet, you areThis article amazed me due to the response adults have had regarding children protesting on climate change. Not only does it beg the question of how does a few days off school hurt a lifetime of education? (it doesn’t) Why do many adults assume they know more than their children on any subject? Of course, the main question is – why do we not care enough about the legacy we leave future generations?

Favourite purchaseOdor eaters heavy duty insoles. If you want comfy insoles and fresh smelling shoes then these are what you have been looking for. They’re even washable. I’ve been using them in my shoes for months and after washing this week they still work well. They’re cheap, you can buy them almost anywhere and you’ll have fresh smelling shoes!

Interesting read – Living abroad increases satisfaction in life and reduces stress. According to the research team cited in this article, living abroad not only provides people with a new sense of self, but can also bring greater life satisfaction and decreased stress, improved job performance and even “enhanced clarity about the types of careers that best match an individual’s strengths and values.”

Happy weekend everyone!

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See my other blog posts and interesting topics here:


Stop thinking, and end your problems

I was in Sweden for a work retreat last week. It was at a hotel complex on the coast. The beach (a short walk from the hotel) was calm, snowy and a great place to visit to gather my thoughts over what became full and hectic days.

It was a difficult week in some regards, I prefer to be alone or in the company of 1 or 2 others, not such large groups. John Cleese once said (after reading Susan Cains Quiet) “I’m on the introverted side, but I can function perfectly well in an extroverted way. But at the end of the day when I’ve been extroverted a lot, I need some quiet time on my own…”

I feel similar. Put me in a group of 20 people and I’ll seem right at home. So much so, that people I’ve got to know appear surprised when they discover I prefer quiet time. The thing is, I can function perfectly well in an extroverted way, it just takes a lot of energy.

It wasn’t until a few years ago I realised that my tiredness comes from this. I used to ask myself if there was something wrong with me. Why am I so tired most of the time? Do I have an illness? Why doesn’t anyone else feel like this?

It turns out other people do feel the same, it’s just not widely spoken about.

So, while standing on that snowy beach in Sweden, looking out to sea, I was reminded how much I benefit from quiet time. I used to live by a beach, back when I was 10 years old. My brother and I would spend hours playing in the rock pools ands collecting pebbles. I remember staring out to sea back then and wondering what sort of life was ahead of me. It’s no different now, over 30 years later and I’m wondering what’s ahead of me still, only this time I know I’m in the drivers seat.

So I make sure I have quiet time when I can. I go for walks alone at lunchtime rather than socialise in the canteen. I take an hour or two out of the day to work in a meeting room or a space without others. Most sacred to me is my time without my phone, music or anything else. This is usually on my way home, commuting on the train. While everyone else is watching or listening to media of some kind, I allow my mind the freedom to spin on it’s own, it’s my not-thinking time.

Not-thinking time is amazing and I’d recommend trying it if you don’t already. For thousands of years humans had not-thinking time weaved into their days naturally. In the last 100 years it’s been stolen from us and we are only just recognising that increased anxiety and depression are linked to being ‘always on.’

“I’m tired of being inside my head. I want to live out here, with you.” – Colleen McCarty

So why not try some not-thinking time. If you’d like some tips on how to get not thinking time into your life Psychology today has a good write up.