A Few Words About Me

Just a few details – I’m a 75-year-old with an English father (Devon) and a German-Jewish mother (Westphalian). I was raised in Hampstead, North London, but moved to Tower Hamlets in East London, before moving up to Stoke-on-Trent some thirty two years ago.
I once worked variously as a street labourer, a cleaner, a factory-hand, a warehouseman, a postman, a riverman, and various other short-term jobs, none of them lasting more than ten months, before finally becoming a teacher, which I was for twenty-five years before I finally retired.
My father was a fine pianist, and gave me a taste for music which led me towards classical music and jazz, but also ultimately to British traditional music, which when I was in London I was thought good enough to perform alongside of some of the great names of the day, the most prominent of whom was Ewan McColl, who taught me many lessons about music, art and life, both positive and negative.
I have over a hundred beautiful British songs in my repertoire, and I wish that such songs were better respected in our quasi-American culture. I can also get music out of about ten instruments, but the one I can say I have some mastery of is the fiddle. I have also composed two- to three-hundred tunes, which have I am gratified to say attracted other musicians.
Of course, my life was much more complicated than these few words can convey. I have lived at about fourteen different addresses altogether, having also had a taste of unemployment and homelessness. It has also been scarred by various debilitating physical illnesses and a chronic depression begun in my early childhood and persisting to this day.
I have been in many relationships, some of which are painful to recall, but most of which I remember with great fondness.
Now I live alone in a one-bedroom flat on the fifth floor of a Stoke-on-Trent tower block, facing all the struggles that ‘senior citizens’ (otherwise known as old-age pensioners) must face living in a run-down and deprived area which has struggled not only with a dying economy but also in recent times with the Covid pandemic.
I have very strong political views, which veer to the left more than somewhat, but I have never been and never will be a member of any political party since I have yet to find a party that truly represents my particular views: and in any case I have been known to change my opinions when the occasion warrants such change. I wish to retain my independence of thought and action.
But my interests have always been far wider than just the politics and the music . I have always interested myself in many different things at one time or another in my life. I own a library of about two thousand books covering just about every kind of literature there is – novels, poetry, philosophy, politics, drama, religion, history, science, art, and chess. I have, despite all obstacles, somehow managed to find much in my life that has made it worth living.
Also, for what it’s worth, I am a long-time supporter of my home-town club, Arsenal FC – a true Gooner. Come on you reds.
Which brings me to why I’m writing this blog.
Putting it simply, I intend to speak my mind on any and every topic that suggests itself to me as being in any way interesting.
That could be anything. It all depends on how I feel on the day.
Sometimes, knowing me, I will be quiet and contemplative, musing on the various wonders the world has to offer; at other times I will no doubt find reason to complain about my lot in life; while at other times I will be loud and opinionated when it concerns the great issues which affect us all.
I can do this because we live in an age where technologies such as WordPress allow us to communicate our thoughts and ideas round the world almost at the speed of light, and for those of us who are not fit to make the complicated, long-winded, and often fruitless effort of getting our works published in print, that is a boon and a blessing. And also, like most people who find themselves living alone, I need some kind of contact with the world outside my four walls. This, when I feel alone, is a good way of talking to people instead of always to myself.
So here I am, for you who are reading this to make of whatever you will.

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