Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Political ranting.

Thanks to Steve Bell - please don't sue me!
OK, so I am a political person, I am left wing and I think a society is best served through taxation and funding; so that's my manifesto out of the way up front so if you have a problem with that I suggest you stop reading now and go back to exploiting the poor and sick or whatever it is that right wing folk do in their spare time.

What I am finding so stunning about the current government is the speed with which they are ditching all their promises and pledges made prior to the election last May. Now I know that every political party betrays its promises at some stage but we usually get at least a year before they go snake eyed and shifty but this shower really take the biscuit. I mean we all knew there were economic problems; however you wish to colour it the bankers drove our country over a cliff and then asked us to pay them for the pleasure. Now the Tories amongst you will splutter in that fat-lipped dribbly way that they do and go "ah yes but Labour spent all the money so had nothing in reserve to pay us, er I mean the financial system, when it all went tits up" and I would say HAH, you are an arse!

When Labour came into power in 1997 we really were a third world country. The 18 years of Tory misrule had left our infrastructure ruined, our hospitals broken and our state education system derelict. All the money that had been earned from North Sea Oil had been spent on tax cuts that favoured the rich, our heavy industries had been destroyed along with the rich communities they had supported and we had become a nation that knew the price of everything and the value of nothing. Then came Blair.

Blair broke promises. He also illegally invaded another country. Gordon Brown was derided by the suave Blair but he, more than any other man, actually made a difference in the face of the financial tsunami that swept the West's economic system. He threw money at it; he kept people in jobs, in their houses and hopeful and we voted him out of office. Now we have The Coalition.

Like an 80s comedy double act (The Management) Cleggy and Cammy promised everything we wanted. Hell the LibDems went so far as to sign pledges that they wouldn't raise tuition fees, the Tories swore that they wouldn't axe Child Benefit or any other universal benefits and, hey, here we are less than six months after the election and these boys are bailing. Bastards.

They cheerfully sell the lie about university fees as something that makes a real difference to people's earnings citing that on average a graduate earns £100k more over their working life than a non-graduate. Hmmmm, so that works out at roughly two and a half grand a year more; but wait, if you have debts of £30k (like my daughter will have) then that reduces the figure somewhat and my son may well end up with debts of fifty or sixty grand, which seems a pretty shitty return; particularly if you add interest to this. Now if you are an average earner, like most of the population, your kids will be means tested for the loans! These are loans for fuck's sake. If you get a median salary then the chances are your kids get a reduced loan. If you are pleasantly rich this doesn't matter and if you are poor it doesn't matter but if, like the majority of us, you are neither hot nor cold Cable will spew you forth.

Now all of us middle class people don't read The Daily Mail and we don't vote Tory. Loads voted LibDem. Well that worked out for you didn't it you stupid muesli swilling morons in your open toed sandals and inane bad dancing at your suburban parties.

Now don't ever tell me that voting never changes anything because right now you're about to get your arses reamed by Toryboys with LibDem strap-ons.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Been a long time.....

Returned to the blog today to find it encrusted with dust and cobwebs. Somewhere along the line I lost the impetus to write, started thinking that I had nothing to say, sank into a grey depression, not really a depression more a long wet afternoon of the soul (Alfred Prufrock springs to mind) and finally I span off the road. Then came Cameron and Clegg and gradually my anger rose until, finally, I would appear to have rediscovered my mojo.

Musically things are looking back to move forward. It was my birthday recently and my son and my partner both gave me albums that have long been out of my collection. What is it about rediscovering music that lights you up again? The saddest thing about it though was that both albums still tower over much of the contemporary musical landscape, and I don't say this as a "in my day we made proper music" sense but more out of sadness. There is a freedom and experimentation in these records that seems to be absent today. Considering that they were both released through major labels it is scary to think that they would probably stand no chance in today's world of focus groups and decision by committee. Record labels should look to those reasons, rather than blaming kids downloading music, for their sales decline. Anyway.....

The first album was The Man Machine by Kraftwerk. First released in 1978 this work of electronic genius has yet to be surpassed. Featuring tracks like The Robots, The Man Machine and Metropolis it posits a vision of the future that is here. Its cold electronically generated sounds have an unbearably beautiful quality to them. Maybe because they were originally recorded onto analogue tape prior to digitisation but the depth of the sound, its richness of timbre if you will, is absent in so much electronic music of today. The album also contains The Model; if ever a song has been written that sonically represents the cold and soulless world of the catwalk this is it.

The second gift was Television's Marquee Moon. Released in 1977 it represents perfectly the intelligence and imagination at work in the New York punk scene, though quite how they ended up being lumped into punk still amazes me. That said, at the time we needed a short-hand to describe groups that had broken away from the confines of rock as it was, and now how it has become. These days punk seems to mean anything that sounds shouty and a bit angry, but not really that angry. Compare today's take on punk with what was available then: Talking Heads, Television, Richard Hell, Blondie and over here The Clash playing with imagery, The Buzzcocks, The Pop Group, Magazine, Siouxsie. These weren't bands who saw salvation in traditional song structure. For me Marquee Moon represents one of the greatest guitar albums ever made. The songs, with the strangled yelps of Tom Verlaine, were different beasts from what we were safe with. They offered a vision of the future, as much as Kraftwerk did with their Teutonic ice sculptures, and a different path, away from the classis 12 bar verse chorus verse chorus that modern music still clings to. I can't really begin to describe the exhilaration that I still feel as the opening notes to the title song kick in.

However I am still listening to new stuff. The Ninja Tune XX two disc compilation is a great snapshot of cutting edge urban music from one of Britain's most delicious labels. All sorts of good things are available on this huge spread. From The Bug to Roots Manuva and Toddla T to Eskmo. The label's founders Coldcut even turn up. Coldcut were responsible for one of rap's greatest moments, the remix of Eric B & Rakim's Paid In Full that introduced Ofrah Haza to a thirsty public.

This compilation is the final word in where it's at right now.

I also got sent the new Keziah Jones track, Lagos vs London, remixed by the estimable Gilles Peterson. I'm not usually much of a fan of KJ as I have found his music falls between stools but this track, and in particular the remix, shows a way forward for Jones that offers him a chance to break out of the confines of his former approach. More of this please sir.

Anyway, back to where I started. The Coalition is upon us populated by people who think £50k a year is an average salary and that the employment wastelands, where the only work on offer is call centres or lap dancing clubs, will somehow burst into bloom and flourish as they force poor people into desperation. The difference between this lot and Thatcher was that Thatcher made sure the Police got paid so when it came to breaking strikers heads they did so with enthusiasm; the C&C Shit Factory are cutting police numbers and pay, making them pay for their training and generally fucking everybody around. So when the angry poor come crashing down Whitehall who they gonna call? Murdoch?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

All Down The Line

Last night I finally got round to watching the documentary that had been shown in the Imagine slot on BBC1 about the recording of Exile On Main Street. It featured a lot of footage that had been shot for Cocksucker Blues along with other bits and pieces from home movies and stills shot by a lucky French photographer, Dominic Tarlé, who had turned up initially to shoot some pictures of Keith and Anita and ended up moving in for six months (in the doc he used the almost Bill Clinton defence of I never took drugs really!). As a historical record it was great but as a snapshot of a band at its most chaotic and brilliant it was better.

Watching it with a mixture of voyeuristic delight, similar to watching a YouTube clip of a car crash, and jealousy, in the sense that you wished you'd been there, I was taken with the darkness of it all. The complete and utter feeling of plunging towards night that was evoked, even though the doc was heavily censored; no Gram Parsons, Ian Stewart or very little reference to the destruction that was left in the wake of four months or so surrounded by junk dealers. But God it looked like the place you wanted to be. Like engineer Andy Johns said, he was twenty one and there was no other place anyone wanted to be. You just wondered how the hell they pulled it all together.

For me Exile remains the last word in rock albums, in fact it finished a quartet of Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed and Sticky Fingers; these four albums made all future rock albums redundant; and this come from someone who recorded albums with a rock punk, albeit punk. It made all future Stones albums redundant as well. After Exile they never made another complete piece of work. We can all point to tracks we loved from later albums but there is nothing left to be said. People just didn't make records like those anymore, they had nothing left to say and the whole drug fuelled careering into disaster so epitomised by Keith Richards became sad sorry fan-copy activity when done by Johnny Thunders, Stiv and Dee Dee (all people I love). Richards opened a door into a whole period of hassle for the rest of the band as he waded in the waters of opiate; but at least he sort of kept it together unlike so many others who followed in his wake.

For me these times became a watershed moment in rock music. Rock had to change but so many bands only wanted to be The Stones. They based their look, their chops and their drug intake on the blueprint drawn up by Mick 'n Keef never thinking that new roads need laying. Even punk bands descended into the same errors that so many R&B rock outfits had, getting feather cuts, emulating their heroes but never quite cutting it in the same way. The fact is most of them thought that the drugs needed to come first instead of the music; for all his intake Richards never lost sight of the music.

It also helped to be really really rich with hangers on who want to sort it all out for you.

So now they've remastered and re-released Exile again, adding extra tracks that have been added to in modern studios. I'm sure it's great but I'm not going to bother. For me the album was complete, I don't need extra versions or songs that didn't make the finished album. I got a remastered version a couple of years back and I play it every other week but I still miss the scratch that was on my vinyl copy, right in the middle of Just Want To See His Face. I love the strained sound quality the record has, the sense of sweat and confusion.

Everytime I hear it it triggers memories for me of all night sessions and my own out of control times. Much as I still love and buy music no modern records offer me the same sense of being there as so many albums of that period can do. Within a few years of Exile's release SSL mixing desks came into prominence and with it the end of bleed through. Every track was gated and compressed. Those background sounds, those loose asides that peppered records of that time disappeared and then Fairlight and Pro-tools finished the job. There are still bands out there who deliver a sense of being in a gang but it's never on the record. It has all been so cleaned up.

Exile is the last word of fabulous decadence. The end of days for rock as an idea, a force for bigger ideas. No other band could have done this over four albums; from Street Fighting Man through Gimme Shelter and Moonlight Mile to the last fading note of Soul Survivor there's a body of work that others can only dream of. Resplendent in ragged glory, dropped chords and loose harmony they offer us a defining moment.

The Kings are dead, we're a Coffee Republic now.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mambo Loco, damn right!

As everyone and his brother has said already "Wow this is on Analog Africa and they usually do brilliant African compilations and such and this one is Latin music!" Well, yeah; and you know what? This is grade A amazing.

Now I must declare a big love for Colombian music in its many forms, and I'm not such a scholar that I can name them all but there's a good piece here on Analog's blog that gives you a better background to Anibal and his music than I can. That said it appears that Colombian music lends itself to modern ears, and in many instances to modern remix techniques or re-interpretation, and Mambo Loco is no exception.

Stick this disc on and from the off you are launched into a swirling storm of rhythm and groove that is just so insistent and immediate that it is impossible to remain unaffected; as far as I'm concerned that's a sign of a rockin' record. The problem is when you try to describe this kind of music to someone invariably it's a fail.

"So, what's it like then?"

Weeeeeelllll, he plays accordian.

"Oh, like The Furies?"

Er....no. It kicks up lot more dust and passion than that.

"What? Like country music?"

A bit.

"Garth Brooks?"

NO!! Look it's like comparing the Sex Pistols to Yes, or Keith Richards to Cliff Richard. It's hard edged, it sprang from rough soil and flowered further in the scene created by the early narco-culture that grew in Colombia along with the drug trade from the 60s on. It has power and pride and speaks to your soul in a way that makes you want to drink beer, dance and have sex. Everything good music should do.

Velasquez is living proof that the best art comes from turbulent times and places. Like another one of Colombia's heroes, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Anibal is a one off.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

More than a clown.

I never knew Malcolm McLaren. Like so many of my generation I certainly knew who he was but I never met the man. To be honest over the years his "I am punk" mantra wore a little thin but now that he has died I find myself thinking, yeah, I guess you had a much bigger hand in it than most of us; and not just punk.

I tend to agree with Jon Savage's take on Malcolm in that 1977 was a mess, something would have happened, but if McLaren hadn't been involved it would have all been a bit depressing, more like Britpop; two good bands and a lot of Shed Sevens. McLaren brought an intellectual spark to the whole moment with his talk of Situationists, admittedly most of the youth who avidly gobbled up his tricks had no real concept of what Situationists stood for, and his embrace of new ideas left many floundering. His partnership with Vivienne Westwood gave punk the fashion edge that most music movements lack. The clothes helped form the movement even if few could afford to buy them; they still showed the way forward and stamped a vision in all our heads. Clothes became a statement in themselves and I still remember the shock in suburbia of walking into pubs with straight leg trousers, it was enough to get you beaten up and many of us were thanks to the hysteria that was whipped up around us by the sick-fuckery of the tabloid press. McLaren's antics served to pour petrol on the fire of a Britain locked into mediocrity and greyness, a country that still remains terrified of its youth to this day.

Punk was so much more than just the music. There was a complete upheaval in design and pecking orders. Suddenly people in their twenties were no longer prepared to wait until an opening appeared that would allow them a junior assistant position, they just went out and did it. Older executives, across the board, were caught unaware and scrabbled around for anyone or anything that understood this change and in the confusion a lot of second rate rubbish came through with the real talent but the catalyst was Talcy Malcy, giggling and capering about like some mad Pied Piper as London clawed its way out of a hole. Then he got bored and moved on.

He may never have had the same commercial, or personal, success that he enjoyed with punk but from where I was standing the things he did later were far more interesting. Of course loads of us knew early rap and hip hop but it was McLaren who constructed something different and wonderful out of it. Duck Rock remains one of the best albums made in modern music and brought so many different strands to our ears; his use of South African music mixed in with New York beats showed how music shouldn't be held in some cryogenic chamber to be revered by strokey-chinned world music buffs endlessly debating whether something was authentic or not. It cried LOOK AT ME YOU FUCKTARDS, look at this we are living breathing laughing fucking drinking musicians and we celebrate the dance. Then he did it to opera.

McLaren was the first swallow of summer. He arrived with something invariably long before anyone else was ready for it, like Vogueing or whatever, and then months later somebody else would rock up with an inferior version and by then Malcolm had moved on.

Now he has moved on again. Unfortunately, right now, Britain needs someone like him more than ever as our country stumbles around trying to choose between various characterless nonentities, with a popular culture held by the throat by a music industry so terrified of the future they are trying to relive the past and a design culture that merely recycles old ideas and claims they are being ironic. Ironic as in Alanis Morrisette, not ironic at all.

We have no more heroes.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

I listen to the radio....

So Mark Thompson, the Director General of the British Broadcasting Service, has just announced his plans for the future of the BBC. These proposed changes are “rooted in a clear vision of what the BBC exists to do.” He asserts, at the start of his confused and badly written article in The Guardian, that the BBC’s mission is to “inform, educate and entertain audiences”. So why these particular closures?

One reason that is worth considering is that Mark Thompson doesn’t really like music. Maybe he doesn’t quite understand it, or is unable to put it into any kind of cultural context; after all his background is purely news and current affairs. Not that that in itself is a bad thing but if your entire world view is governed by a focus on news to the exclusion of all other cultural outlets then it does pose a problem.

The rising public anger at the announcement of the planned closures has been led, in the main, by listeners and supporters of 6Music. This should come as no surprise really. The demographic for the average 6Music listener indicates a pretty attractive group for any broadcaster but the problem is there is nowhere else for these listeners to go so of course they will be enraged that the only outlet for music they like is to be closed by a man who appears to have no idea what constitutes contemporary music; and here lies the crux of the matter.

Some have argued that Mr Thompson needed to announce these changes in anticipation of an incoming Conservative government that will be in greater thrall, if that is possible, than the current government to Rupert Murdoch. Red in tooth and claw free marketers, populated in the main by men (invariably men) who enjoyed no real experience of teenage years (pace Cameron & Osborne allegedly) so have no concept of music other than pop music they danced badly to at Young Conservative dances. These people see music, like racial minorities, teenagers and workers, as all the same.

In 2008 the UK music industry was worth £3.6bn, and that’s a whole lot of money. These revenues are generated by musicians playing live, recording music that people with disposable incomes want to go and see. They range from outfits like Slow Club or Tuung through to major artists like Gorillaz and Radiohead. Pop plays a part as well, JLS, Cheryl Cole and other TV created stars all add to the mix; but don’t pretend that these artists are anything other than fictional constructs for the downloaded disposable age. The role music plays in people’s lives is determined by intelligence and creativity. Pop music is, and always will be, a momentary soundtrack to our daily lives but will never hold sway in our memory the way that the poet artist will.

It is argued that the BBC is doing things that could easily be done by the commercial sector. That is an utter bare faced lie. If the BBC was not setting the pace then the commercial sector, as always, would fall back upon lowest common denominator programming. Radio 1 is often held up by those with no idea about how the music industry works as a prime example of “something the private sector could do better”. Unfortunately this is not the case. A quick glance at the playlists for Radio 1 and, say, Capital FM in London should illustrate this point. Radio 1 plays and exposes new pop acts, as well as rock and R&B artists, whereas Capital plays what is already broken and commercially successful; for instance the Black Eyed Peas feature on both their A and C lists. If Radio 1 was privatised then the UK music industry can kiss goodbye to a vehicle for breaking new acts. Commercial radio is all about advertising.

Now on to 6Music. There is no radio station playing the kind of music that 6Music plays, anywhere in this country. They play music for people who maintain a connection with the kind of music that speaks to them of their lives and experiences. People like Thompson cannot see or understand this concept because, though they may pay lip service to “real” music, jazz or classical, anything played on music radio is deemed to be pop. They claim Katherine Jenkins is an opera singer when she has never appeared in an opera, she sings showtunes or their equivalent. If you apply that criteria to drama then Shakespeare carries no more weight than Coronation Street – and those folk who claim that if Shakespeare was alive today he’d be writing for Eastenders are simply wrong – and How Hot Is My Daughter carries as much power as Life!

A part of the BBC’s remit is to stimulate creativity and cultural excellence; doing away with an outlet for creativity and cultural excellence is not the way forward. We are lying to ourselves if we think otherwise. For those of you who seem to believe that the magical private sector will fill this gap then I despair for your gullibility and ignorance. The commercial sector has had this opportunity and has fallen short. Take a look at 6Music’s playlist compared to XFM. The 6Music playlist is drawn from a wide range of labels, many of whom are small independent companies who have no other outlets for exposure; XFM’s playlist in drawn, in the main, from major labels, which is not surprising given who pays for the advertising.

One of the things this country can take pride in is our music industry. Since The Beatles and The Stones kicked it all off we have consistently produced bands, and acts, who have pushed forward the boundaries of music that the rest of the world has struggled to reach. Innovative bands from other countries are usually recognised first in the UK (Kings of Leon, Air, The Velvet Underground) having been played by DJs of the stature of John Peel or Gideon Coe. For many of us the first time we heard acts like Big Youth or Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou were on shows by those two stalwarts of radio. Once they’ve gone we will never get shows like those back again.

Save music: save 6Music.

Friday, February 26, 2010

So long.

When we are weary and in need of strength,
When we are lost and sick at heart,
We remember him.

When we have a joy we long to share,
When we have decisions that are hard to make,
We remember him.

At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter,
At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring,
We remember him.

At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of the summer,
At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of the autumn,
We remember him.

At the rising of the sun and its setting,
We remember him.

Monday, February 15, 2010

It is with great sadness.

On Wednesday the 3rd of February 2010 at roughly 2.45pm my Dad died.

I was there, sat next to the bed and talking aimlessly about stories in the paper. Someone had told me that the last thing to go is the hearing so you have to keep talking, communicating, reaching out and begging them not to go; and then telling them that it’s OK, we can manage now, Mum’s waiting and I want you to be free.

Many would say it was a good death, whatever that means. At home, with his family. But from where I stood there seemed to be so little dignity for this once proud Yorkshireman. Everyone is very kind; everyone is very caring; just as long as you’re staying at home the powers that be are all very happy. It keeps you off the balance sheet. They promise you all the support you need and my brother asks them “is that the case because my little brother is disabled and can’t pick our father up” and they go “oh no problem just pick up the phone and we’ll be there” and you do two hours later to be told “oh we’re all going home now can you call so and so or so and so” but they’re not there either and you weep. You stand and weep and the tears roll down your face and you beg your father to let go and rescue himself from this pain. Then he dies.

And you forgive them.

The house is too quiet so I put on Handel’s Messiah. Not just any old Messiah but Mozart’s arrangement of the Messiah. I’d bought it for him directly from the Huddersfield Choral Society and he had loved it. It was part of our family’s genetic make up. Every Christmas he’d come downstairs in his dressing gown and stuck his vinyl copy on the big stereogram, turned the volume up, grinned and we all new Christmas had started. Now I played it as he lay dying and as the glorious rich tones of Comfort Ye swelled through his flat I could see a peace settle and move across him. I sat there as CD1, the first movement flowed around us and I breathed in the air and held his hand and felt his recognition, his connection to those earlier days surrounded by a younger, less complicated family and with his wife still upstairs in bed; and I knew he was there.

As His Yoke Is Easy faded so did my father. I wanted to believe that he had calmed and lay sleeping. I could see the covers still rising and falling. Couldn’t I?


Daddy’s gone.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A sudden sense of loneliness.

My Dad is dying.

I've sat here, at my keyboard, for nearly an hour trying to think of some different way of starting to write about my current life, to try to find some way of stating the obvious that doesn't looks so harsh and brutal but I can't find the words. These are the only words that come to me. Like some looming, dark and close storm clouds I know that the storm will break over me in the very near future; and I'm terrified.

I shouldn't be, I know. Hell, I'm in my fifties and I have already lost one parent but the idea of becoming the last stop on the road fills me with dread. Until now I have always had this man to turn to, for advice, for consolation, for support. You never stop being a son, a child, until the moment that you are alone. I know my brother must be having similar thoughts and fears, but siblings have a different love, they aren't obliged to bear responsibility, unlike a loving parent who holds true to that unwritten, unspoken contract that you make with you children. Whispered into their ears at birth and in the quiet moments of bedtime reading "I'll always be there"; and they are.

My father is a Yorkshireman, born and raised in Golcar, near Huddersfield. Like so many of his generation it could be argued that the Second World War was a life saver in the sense that it broke the designed path to his future and opened up worlds to him that would never have happened had the madness not fallen over Europe. He left the small village for the wider world, trained in Canada, saw a young Frank Sinatra singing with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in Toronto, posed with his mates atop the Empire State Building, their RAF hats bent and forced into the shape of the cooler looking US Air Force style. In Chicago he saw bluesmen in bars where bartenders avoided asking the 19 year old underage drinkers for ID because they never knew how many would live to drink legally, and my Dad laughing as he told me that they all intentionally wore their uniforms for precisely that reason.

All these stories came out of my father as our lives moved around each other; as the shape of our relationship changed, from child parent interaction into the realms of friends. But I always remain the son, regardless of how many beers we've shared or those unspoken moments of complete understanding when neither of us needed to acknowledge what passed between us. As he grew older I learnt more about the follies of his youth and realised that I had so much more in common with this man than just a quirk of fate. All my life he had seemed born into the role of responsible provider; someone who had provided his family with security and a sense of safety, leavened with humour, but in the main a steady dependable man. It was a shock to be told and to realise that we had a difficult adolescence in common, problems at school, early leaving, confusion as to what to do in life. So many things that put my life into context, that made me comprehend that my own life wasn't some kind of aberration. He had grown into his role, it didn't come naturally and that, for me, was the biggest lesson he has taught me.

Now I'm a father and I'm having those hard times with my own teenage son. He is a gem; bright, amusing, good-looking and very, very funny. But I'm his Dad. Because I'm his Dad I worry that he'll screw up at school, I worry that his social skills will fall apart because he plays too much Xbox. Hardly a day goes by when we don't clash heads over something and I can see in his face the blank assumption that I have been put on this earth solely to make his life as unpleasant as possible, that all the future has to hold for the two of us is an unrelenting period of abrasive love. Then it passes.

My father has the invidious position of being the grandparent. From his lofty love he can see this relationship between my son and I within the context of my life with him. All these roles are being played out again, with different haircuts and trousers, but the script is essentially the same. I am eaten up with a middle class desire to see my child achieve some kind of material comfort and emotional security and, if he holds true with the script, my son sees me as some bourgeois prick who has no idea what life is like at 15; but like my father did for me I am only trying to explain how the world turns and why should he believe me? I just hope that as the time passes he too will see the truth I've arrived at.

My Dad is dying and I can't do anything about it. I can't turn back the progress of this disease that is turning him into a shell of the man he was. I try not to show my distress when I stay with him, as I try to make him eat something or have a drink or as we talk together and he drifts in and out of sleep. All I feel is that I don't want his pain to go on, but I don't want him to go. I just want him to know it's OK. He can go now if he wants because I think I've finally worked out how it works.

I love you Dad.