Today is a good day. Following an unexpected rough patch I’m pleased to report that right now I feel pretty much… normal. Illness can do funny things to one’s mind. I’m of the opinion that there’s no such thing as a purely physical or a purely mental illness: ill health, like good health bears on the whole person. My mind has often proved to be a weak spot for me, and for most of the last two weeks I’ve seriously been feeling like I might maybe never be ‘myself’ again – irrational I know, but no less scary for all that – so the main purpose of this post is to say, tempting fate and all that, whoopee!!!
An online acquaintance of mine and occasional gig-going/drinking buddy publishes a WordPress blog entitled ‘Silence Is The Mindkiller’, apt enough since the main focus of the blog is his love of music. Being a fellow music lover I’m inclined to sympathise – whether at work or home I tend to have music on most of the time, and a good barometer of how low I was feeling was the fact that the pleasure I gained from hearing favourite songs had damn near evaporated. My mind began to crave silence. This is not like me.
Today was our work’s staff Christmas lunch, and it was pretty much imperative that I attend, me being Head Chef and all… This was more than just an obligation – in point of fact my manager and the organisation in general couldn’t have been more supportive and contingencies were in place to cover my absence if necessary – but as the only day of the year when virtually all the staff in the organisation I work for would be in attendance a convivial atmosphere is guaranteed and I really wanted to be there. I’m glad I made the effort, and part of that reason is Smooth Xmas. In case you don’t know, this is an offshoot of the UK radio station Smooth FM and it plays nothing but Christmas tunes all day. Cheesy? You bet, and despite my sometimes predilection for professing feelings along the lines of bah! humbug! I found myself mentally singing along to the likes of Noddy and co. I tuned into the seasonal schmaltz in all its glory and felt my spirits rise for the first time in days. It’s the one day of the year when our little kitchen begins to resemble a ‘proper’ catering operation (I’d previously worked in hotels, pubs, schools etc) so there wasn’t time for panic to really get a grip; I just knuckled down and bashed it out. From eight this morning ’til five this afternoon I never really stopped: it was the perfect tonic and though I’m flagging a bit now a trace of the seasonal exhileration remains.
I’ve let the music back in, and in that spirit, here’s a clip of what remains for me (and many others) the greatest Christmas song of all time: