Another busy week comes to an end. It didn’t get off to a great start as I was struck down with a cold for the first time in a year and hey… you know what us guys are like with all the man-flu stuff and this was no exception as I have a pathological fear of catching colds. Still, saddled with it, all I could do was suffer and blunder through the days as best as I could.

I’m not quite sure how I managed to get through Tuesday where I went against the fact I was suffering badly and went along to both the Electric Soul Singers choir and Electric Sunshine Project’s drop in drama sessions. Unusually I didn’t let on that I wasn’t feeling at all well (you know how we blokes like to moan about our colds!) and though at times a struggle… we got through them. The choir has relocated to the Dereham Lounge inside the Winter Gardens, a rather magnificent room in which to work with oodles period charm and nice natural reverb and I think that added an extra bit of gravitas to the proceedings.

The drop in drama session was led by fellow member Liam O’Neill who did a workshop centered around comedy and clowning which unsurprisingly was rather physical at times. Combined with my grotty state of health, there were a couple of moments where I feared I might pass out as my head was reeling and was almost sick but… managed it without any such misfortunes.

Thursday was a disappointment as it was the supposed relaunch of Pub Poets. Only they never bothered to announce it had been cancelled and won’t be in action again until June 27th. I was not impressed and felt a bit let down as I was all primed to perform. Not everybody makes effective use of social media as I do keep an eye on such news and announcements and there simply wasn’t one so a nice wasted journey. The only good thing about it all was that the cold had more or less extinguished itself.

One thing that certainly wasn’t gonna be cancelled was yesterday’s SpareParts event for the first time in Oldham town centre. Melanie Whitehead had secured an interesting opportunity with Theatre Temoin for us to indulge in some workshops to stage one of the events for the day, a piece of street theatre called “Routes” involving three very large puppets. Never having indulged in puppetry before, I figured this would be an interesting challenge so happily agreed to participate.

A most interesting day which I enjoyed. Unfortunately there was one major snag – the rain. It never stopped! It was the same back home in Blackpool as the Pride Parade and events suffered from the same dire conditions. It was such a shame as there were tons of performers going about doing their fine work but people are not gonna stand about in the rain for very long. Still, we managed the parade and the first of two scheduled performances which was a little nerve wracking as in addition to the relentless rain, I was controlling the head of the puppet pictured at the top of this post and I’m thankful to Amy Friday who was controlling one of the arms in front of me as my vision of what was ahead was limited so she was able to tell me which direction to steer the head in so as to wave to bystanders. The three puppets performed solo in separate locations then would meet up for the climax in a larger open spaced area. That involved some chanting and an impassioned speech given by fellow artiste Tom Wright.

The rain was refusing to let up and I saw many other acts getting drenched, unable to engage as many punters as they would have done in less rainy conditions which was a real shame. The second performance was cancelled and instead we enjoyed a playful hour long workshop with the company fronted by the dynamic Ailin Conant. A very long day where in spite of the ghastly weather we still went ahead and did the best we could and managed to enjoy it all the same. I’ll spare you the candid phone snaps I took of us all wet trying to dry out and warm up back at the green room base! Yes… you know what I’m like, ever snapping odd pics for posterity and I shot some bits and pieces of footage as well which is rather charming. Unfortunately as good as my Moto G6 Play phone is, the quality of the camera and video leaves much to be desired by my standards as my old Samsung S4 phone is way better quality… never mind. There was no space for taking my Nikon along plus I loathe using it in wet conditions anyway but I was there primarily as a participant as opposed to photographer.


Hopefully some time in the future you’ll get the opportunity to enjoy “Routes” in kinder weather and it is worthy of your time and attention. There are two more SpareParts events coming up in July, first in Crewe – which unfortunately clashes with Wordpool’s one day festival in Blackpool Stanley Park which I’m participating in – then the grand climax as ever in Fleetwood. Such events I feel are hugely important as they do provide much colour and charm to places where otherwise very little ever happens! On a deeper level, we need to be immersed by as much arts and cultural events as possible in these ever uncertain times where we need cheering up.

Lastly, on a rather different note… I’ve been reading “The Secret Lives of Introverts” by Jenn Granneman. It’s not often such books come along which hit me profoundly but this is a rare exception. To say it speaks my language! OK… all along over my life I always knew I was introverted as hey… I like a quiet life. When in my wilder years my mates would be pubbing and clubbing to the max, I always preferred staying at home reading or working on my projects. When I would indulge in such social activities, I generally hated it in spite of trying my hardest to engage and enjoy what I could. So, I was regularly accused of being “anti-social”, “miserable”, “awkward” and so on when all along as proved in this book, I was yet again being misunderstood.

The common problem – also neatly described – was I could be extroverted and loud on odd occasions and hey, whenever I performed, you sure knew about it. Unfortunately, that caused me severe headaches and pissed A LOT of people off because they couldn’t understand how one moment I could be manic and lively onstage but the moment I was off the stage, I wanted to be left alone and would go home as soon as I could. It wasn’t so much I WANTED to do and be like that… I HAD to as such things exhaust my internal batteries that can only be recharged in solitude. My attempts to try and explain the where’s and why’s were usually received with indifference and ignorance. As if my deafness and speech impairment issues weren’t enough to be dealing with. I’m not moaning or complaining by the way… just telling it as it is as there are a great many introverts out there as well who also suffer such ignorance and prejudices which we all take on the chin with a brave face but deep down leaves us feeling fed up and frustrated.

Whenever I do ANYTHING, what some don’t understand or appreciate is due to my way of being, combined with my disability, I have to expend a ton of mental energy. Sometimes I may appear a little “slow” or even blank and unresponsive. What’s actually going on is I’m quietly processing everything as it’s important for me to fully understand what it is I’m doing or getting involved with in order to perform to the best of my abilities.

Either way, I offer NO apologies for this kind of behaviour and I’m kinda saddened how all along I was made to feel like I was some bad moody bastard – which cost me many friendships – yet I was simply being punished for being ME. It’s funny as just yesterday one of my Electric Sunshine friends mentioned how it had been noticed I seemingly vanish off the face of the earth immediately following an event. I laughed and admitted I am bloody good at the art of disappearance but ultimately that’s what I HAVE to do. I enjoy my time in good company but there’s only so much of it my inner system can endure before the energy depletes and I begin getting grumpy and tired. It’s also called CONSIDERATION as very often when I “disappear” I’m still in a good mood but know a slump is shortly to kick in so I get out the way to spare everybody from seeing me change into somebody less lively and sociable. I can understand why some people may think I’m snubbing them, but it genuinely is nothing personal and no malice intended at all.

So that’s why on various occasions I kinda shrink into the shadows and disappear as unlike a lot of people, it really does feel like hard work being engaged, keeping involved with what’s going on in spite of my best efforts to do otherwise. It’s all part of being an introvert. I am what I am and I embrace it.

Thankfully – and this is important to highlight – so far in Blackpool, I’ve not had any major problems or issues with other people who have pretty much accepted me and allow me to BE. I never had such luxuries wherever I lived before. I hope it continues that way and if anyone does question why I do some of the things I do or act in certain ways, (maybe even some I know have been curious but too polite to ask) I now can point them in the direction of Jenn Granneman’s book since if people do want to understand me a lot better, her book will fill you in very nicely.

A bit of an unusual and candid manner on which to part this week but I do feel are important points that needed to be made in reaction to reading this excellent book.

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