A look back, and to the future

2014:  t’was a strange year.  From a writing point of view it went much better than expected, and more on that another time.

Firstly, an more importantly, on a personal level it was a year of ups and downs, ending with my long-term partner’s discovery of breast cancer which required two operations and now demands a course of chemotherapy to look forward to in 2015.  However post-op results are very favourable and we, hand-in-hand, are both positive also that all will go well. It was a shock, it came out of the blue as the last mammogram was only done two years ago which was all clear.  Ladies; the mammogram can be a life-saver, don’t neglect yours!

In addition, my eldest brother was diagnosed with Crohn’s diesease in June, also necessitating operations, and the long-term results of which we are still awaiting an outcome.  Both situations have made my partner and I realise that health must come before all else and, in light of this, we decided to forego Christmas between ourselves and donate to both causes.

Cancer research is probably one of the widest-known causes one can donate to and for us a Swiss research foundation was chosen, however Crohn’s disease is another matter: there is a lot of information available on the disease itself but research resource seem to be lacking which is unfathomable given the seriousness of the condition.  A new MAP test is still in the testing stage at King’s College hospital and requires £380’000 of funding.  Yes, you read correctly; only £380’000.  That’s less than two weeks wages for some footballers and is nothing to the authorities that could do but won’t.  Priorities eh?

This isn’t a call-to-arms charity donation post; far from it.  The people who should be responsible for laying out the money for both causes, fully aware of their non-commitment, would do well to look at themselves in the mirror and ask themselves why, although having the hide of a Stegosaurus can no doubt come in handy.

From a professional point of view, the changes in the financial sector here in Switzerland have dictated that I’d be better off out than in so, at the end of January 2015, I’ll be out.  Relieved? Oh yes.  Worried?  That’s what drives us, isn’t it?  I will be concentrating on the Cambridge CELTA course to teach English as a foreign language, which will finish at the end of May.  It’s no pushover and it’s high pressure, but the thought of leaving with the CELTA certificate in my pocket, after not-too-inconsiderable outlay, encourages me no end.

2015 has already laid out some hurdles but if you jump high enough, and run fast enough, you can still overcome and succeed.

Happy New Year to you all.

Chris

 

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One continent, four years and poles apart

08 December. A bad day for music.

I’m not talking about John Lennon, tragedy and massive loss to the music world that it was.  I will instead pay this little homage to my favourite band of the 80s who, after the events of 08 December 1984, decided they couldn’t go on making music the way they had been doing, new record deal or not.  It’s not a biography: I’ve added a link for that, it’s just a few lines dedicated to a decent drummer and a few thoughts of what could have been.

Hanoi Rocks.  In 1980 Four Finns and one Swede got together and formed a band, with a look and sound winking in the direction of the New York Dolls.  They independently release two albums and a move to London where Razzle, an endearing and talented ‘geezer’ from the Isle of White replaced the strung-out Swede on the drum stool.  The band and their sound stepped up a gear.  A further two albums down the line and CBS signed them and, with a US tour on the cards in late 1984, the world should have been their oyster…

08 December.  Los Angeles.  During a forced break from touring after frontman Michael Monroe fractured his ankle, Razzle and Andy McCoy, lead guitarist with the band, are partying hard with Mötley Crüe at Vince Neil’s house (Neil being the lead singer of the Crüe), partying so hard in fact that they run out of booze.  Vince takes it upon himself to drive to the liquor store to bring back supplies and asks Razzle if he’s like to go with him.  Vince has recently purchased a 72 DeTomaso Pantera and Razzle, a bit of a car nut, says yes.

On their way back from the store, Vince hits water and slides across the other side of the road, and the passenger side of the car takes the full force of the impact.  Neil cuts his nose while Razzle dies from massive head injuries just an hour later.

Hanoi Rocks limped on for a few months but it wasn’t the same.  The man who’d come in, swept out the Swede and forged four Finns with his charm, sense of humour and talent was no more.  Within six months following the accident, nor was the band.  Their legacy lived on for much longer however, with Guns N’ Roses openly declaring the band as a massive influence.

R.I.P. Razzle.  “Give us another pint of brown mate, cheers.”