Having spent most of the past two years undertaking numerous and varied challenges on behalf of the charity Mind and the Time to Change programme, I was planning a much quieter year in 2016… plenty of writing, trying to get fit and losing a bit of weight etc… but there is still a desire to push myself, to experience or achieve something new; and to continue raising awareness of mental health issues.
To that end, I am setting myself the goal of recording a single during 2016.
On the basis that I haven’t played a musical instrument since I was eleven (Grade 3 Trumpet—with a “merit” no less), I will provide what I can only loosely describe as vocals. I would then need someone to sing with me (then at least the song will be 50% in tune), a guitarist (or two), bass player and drummer—otherwise known as a band I guess!—who would be prepared to participate, a song (I grew up in the punk/new wave era, but I like lots of music), a bit of time to rehearse and a however long it takes in a recording studio (which I’ll happily pay for)… and hopefully, if modern technology can work a miracle with my voice, there will be a finished article that prove just what can be achieved by a willingness to ask for help, and a determination to succeed—two things that are so important in dealing with any form of mental illness.
Irrespective of the fifty-four tasks that I have already completed, much of the recent inspiration to start another project has come from an old friend Ian Jones, a former team mate of mine at Chester le Street Cricket Club, who not only trained for, competed in, but actually won a charity bout in the boxing ring earlier this month. As someone who sparred for just three minutes against unbeaten light-welterweight Josh Leather back in 2014, and was hit (fairly repeatedly) in the face by punches I never even saw, I have so much admiration for what Ian has achieved—congratulations mate. Tough guy with a big heart.
So many people have done such great things for charity during 2015—Andy Kelly and Jeannette Carroll immediately spring to mind for their amazing “journeys” (arghhh, I hate that word so much!)—that it just wouldn’t feel right not to get involved again next year.
I’ll hopefully get fit enough to attempt something a bit more physical in the summer, but for now if you live in the north east and you play in a band, or know someone who does (please share like you’ve never shared before), or you think you might be able to help in any way at all, I’d really love to hear from you.
I will not be able to do this without the help of others, but if that help is forthcoming, there will be updates, blogs and eventually an end product that might not get to no.1 in the charts (although top ten would be nice), but will serve as a permanent reminder of the reason why I started these challenges in the first place….
Finally, in wishing a happy and healthy New Year to anyone who has taken the time to read any/some/all of my blogs during 2015, I want to send my very best wishes to my good friend Glen Durrant who will be aiming to become the BDO World Darts Champion at Lakeside over the next couple of weeks.
Over the past two years, Glen has inspired and encouraged me, and taken me from someone affected by almost uncontrollable nerves to someone capable of hitting back-to-back 180s in a leg against the current world no.1 earlier this week… still lost though!! So thank you Glen… good luck… and just for the record, if you do lift the trophy on January 10, I will be holding you solely responsible for my subsequent failure to complete “Dry January”!