Two Sides of The Coin

"98% of people don't understand this" Matthew McConaughey's Motivational Speech.

I am not usually one for motivational videos. Most are promulgated by ego driven self promoters who make motivational videos because they have failed at everything else. At best, they give us some strands of optimism to cling to or reassurance that we are doing some of the right things, whatever they are. At worst, they are deeply condescending and irritating. Occasionally, there are some points that give us pause for reflection which is never a bad thing.

Here then are two, both very different. One from Matthew McConaughey which is typically American in being serious and sincere; the other from Australian Tim Minchin which is witty and irreverent. Reflect at your leisure.

Spread the Joy

Careful; dancing with your daughter can lead to unexplained events

So, I was chatting recently with an old friend who has had a few downs rather than ups of late and I had a thought. 'I remember,' I said, 'standing next to you waiting for a train on the West bound platform at Piccadilly tube station years and years ago. You turned and said to me, ‘Do you ever imagine what it would be like if everyone on the platform suddenly burst into song and dance from a musical?’'

Up until then I must admit I hadn’t. I have since. He was ahead of his time. We now know them as Flash Mobs. He might have perhaps had something like the kids in the clip above in their epic FM in Antwerp in mind. I certainly wouldn’t object if this lot joined me on public transport either. As it happens, Mrs Flashbang is a leading exponent of the Flash Mob genre. She made quite a mark with the rest of the village choir at the South Harting Summer Fete I can tell you. The things this family put me through…..

Still, what is there not to love about a world where people spontaneously burst into song around you and spread a little joy and happiness. Next time then you think a bad thing, imagine fifty people around you breaking into a song and dance number from 42nd Street. You’ll feel better; works for me.

This whole 'be nice and spread a little bit of joy,' thing has been taken up as the cross on a crusade that can only be described as, 'well, why not?' by an outfit called Liberators International, created by social artist and world peace maker,' Peter Hendrick Sharp. Odds and ends of the narrative on the web site are a bit New Age but actually, its just about sharing and being a good neighbour to those around. In England, he'd either be thought of as slightly eccentric or someone destined for a career in the rural church, as a Blue Peter presenter or in fat counselling. 

Spread the Joy

But I'm not here to be miserable and cynical so lets share the joy ourselves by checking out LI's now viral clip taken on the 07:51 to Perth in Australia. Incidentally, being the big softie I am I went to iTunes to buy the track by the now sadly departed Israel Kamakawiwo'ole and of course, you have to buy the whole album to get the track. Apple sell themselves as some kind of friend to the world. They're not. They make machines that I like but they don't play nice. They're not inside my circle of trust that's for sure.

Some souls however, think on a deeper level and search for more meaning. They needn't look far as  David Steindl-Rast reminds us in this TED talk. He describes himself as a monk and interfaith scholar but obviously he's not. We Jedi's can spot another pretty easily. Anyway, worth a listen if so minded; if only to remind yourself  what your grandparents always told you, 'be grateful.'

She's Gone..

This is girlspeak for "I've found someone else, you're history."

This is girlspeak for "I've found someone else, you're history."

So, Valentine’s Day didn’t go to plan; in fact it was disaster. She stomped off in a huff / let you down gently / spontaneously combusted in a super nova rage / didn’t turn up. Now you’re alone, dumped, cast adrift, let go, tinned. What next? Well, you could shrug your shoulders and look forward to the green grass on the hillside, move on and be happy but that is the least likely immediate outcome. First you probably need to go through the wallowing in misery phase and that, while not good, is an almost guaranteed prerequisite for letting go.

An essential first move is to phone a friend. This won’t end well but you’ll do it anyway, (it’s all part of the cathartic cleansing process). Your chum will turn up somewhat mystified as to why you’ve chosen him and while his thoughts are full of the forthcoming Six Nations round, six pints at the Nags Head and a greasy kebab on the way home you just want him to say the words, “she’ll be back.” He’ll say a lot more of course and may inadvertently say the SBB sentence but actually, that’s all you’ll be listening for and the rest will go over your head. Big mistake; in amongst the rest of his verbiage there will probably be some well intentioned and well thought out phrases that go something along the lines of, “she never seemed wholly committed,” “she always seemed to be busy when you needed her,” “she liked mirrors,” “and James,” “she never did quite understand the importance of the pack and the beauty of the driving maul,” “she always got a lot of texts,” “that Diana flicking hair thing never worked for me.”

What you should mostly be doing of course is staying off the booze, going on a fitness kick, eating healthily, throw yourself into work and book yourself on an Amazonian expedition to give yourself something to aim for. Work for a charity and take up a new hobby. In short, be interesting and interested. You won’t though; all that comes later.

Here you are then, the sob-story-loves-lost-track list. Interestingly, when I dipped into my imusic cloudy thing I notice that generally, they do seem to make an awful lot more sad songs than happy ones. Here are some of the best................ (and just to counterbalance it I’m going to post some upbeat tracks later this week). Anyway, as you’re staring into the bottom of your whisky glass here’s some music to make you feel even more maudlin, (the really heartbroken will just play the same track on loop):

It Keeps Raining                                Fats Domino (need just one track? This is the one).

A World Without Love.                      Peter & Gordon

Without You.                                      Nilsson (makes most lists)

You Were On My Mind.                     Crispin St Peters

Song To The Moon.                          Lesley Garret

Lara's Theme.                                     Dr Zhivago (Mrs Flashbang cries like a waterfall whenever                                                                                     she hears this.. don't ask)

Rose Marie.                                         Slim Whitman (everyone needs some Country in their lives)

You Don't Know What You've Got      Ral Donner

Only the Lonely.                                    Roy Orbison

Take These Chains From My Heart.     Dean Martin

Take That Look Off Your Face              Marti Webb

Different Drum.                                       Linda Ronstadt, (Stone Poneys)

Lovers Cross.                                         Jim Croce

Stand by Me.                                          Annalaise Emerick

Ashokan Farewell.                                  The Scottish Fiddle Orchestra

Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall.       The Inkspots

She's Not You.                                        Elvis Presley

I Was The One.                                        Elvis Presley

Are You Lonesome Tonight                    Elvis Presley (my.... this guy did sad)

Elusive Butterfly.                                       Bob Lind

Mandy.                                                     Barry Manilow

Out of Time.                                              Chris Farlowe

Harry's Game.                                           Clannad

Unchained Melody.                                   Elvis Presley (best version)

Long Gone Lonesome Blues.                    Leon Redbone

I Fall To Pieces.                                          Patsy Cline

Where Do You Go To (my lovely)              Peter Sarstedt

The Dark Island                                          Various, (you'll be able to catch me at my funeral                                                                                                            leaving the church to this one).

I've Had An Absolute **** Of A Day             Kevin "Bloody" Wilson (18+ X rude, do not ever listen                                                                                           in front of your mother, (he's Australian)).

That's enough to get you through the first bottle of Aberlour, (do not compromise on quality of whisky at this point in your life; you've been through enough and deserve a decent dram). Then it's time to suck it up, man up and move on. We'll deal with recovery in a later post!