I opened my laptop intending to finally write the first draft of another chapter for my book, this one is important, it’s about your life, from your arrival to the world in Glasgow, through school, your first jobs, your career, the things you loved, me, mum and sis. We all know that is not the correct order but I am writing this so I get the best billing.
When the computer wakes up the last window comes into view, it’s the web browser Firefox and the last site I was on is still showing, youTube and last night I finished my day in the office enjoying the New York Friars Club roast of the legendary Jerry Stiller. And this is the problem. Distractions, I should be writing your chapter but I am not, no, instead I reload the forty-odd minute clip to watch it again. Laughing at jokes I only heard last night. Laughing at lines I missed the first time around and wondering when in the hell I am ever going to finish the book.
The roast is simply funny, the gags are cutting but always said with love and charm. Perhaps on occasion, there is a little malice but the laughs turn into giggles, aren’t they just the best type of laugh? Jeff Ross, a comic I had never heard of seems to be the main attraction he has particularly cutting lines. One that springs to mind was directed at Ben Stiller,
‘What was that movie you were in? Mystery Men? That movie was so bad I fired MY agent.’
The internet is as helpful as it is distracting.
Helpful because after typing in a few specific words I can now able to tell you that the Friars Club was founded in 1904 as a private club in New York City, the first roast was Maurice Chevalier in 1949, the one I am watching with Jerry Stiller as the star was first aired in 1999.
Just how many are left for me to watch? This is where the internet becomes a massive distraction. After you watch whatever it is you’ve searched for on youTube quite selfishly the website suggests other clips you may also find entertaining. I am going to spend the day at your desk with the laptop open and not write a flipping thing.
If you get the chance check out Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee. I just watched the episode of this Jerry Seinfeld show where the ‘comedian’ featured is Barrack Obama, the American president, at least when this episode was filmed. He isn’t now, his term ended and America voted in Donald Trump. There is SO much that you have missed out on. Jerry says that Mr. Obama is allowed onto the show because he has delivered so many funny lines during his presidency and Jerry is exactly right. The formula for every episode is essentially the same. You meet the car Jerry has chosen for his guest, you learn who the comedian is and then Jerry calls him or her and asks
‘Do you want to grab a coffee?’
Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee. It’s perfect.
He calls the President. A voice on the end of the line says
Jerry asks ‘Can I speak with the president please?’
It’s genius, funny and you’re hooked. It certainly got me hooked, I watched that one then the one where he shares a chat and a coffee with David Letterman. Then I finally showed some restraint, closed the internet browser, and get focussed on the job at hand, this blog about distractions.
I’m back, the lure of watching a conversation between Jerry Seinfeld and Tina Fey was considerable.
The distractions are plentiful here in your office as everyone else in the UK enjoys the hottest spring for years.
Distractions that have stopped me from completing the chapter I promised Keith and I have no excuse, aside from this blog. A blog? That is laughable I think a blog is a published essay? I’d look that up but that would be another distraction.
- a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.
Turns out I am just writing then.
My morning starts the same way every day. Wake up, get dressed, enjoy a couple of coffees, make a list and read. I am still on the Surgeon of Crowthorne. I am loving it but I have to stop too often to see what the definition is for some of the words Simon Winchester uses far too frequently for my liking.
‘Nihil est melius qual vita diligentissima’
Was a phrase he used, of course I had no idea what it meant but luckily there is Goggle Translate. It’s Latin and means
‘Nothing is better than a lifetime searching’
‘’Procrastinating subsisto’ that’s Latin from ‘Stop Procrastinating’
Even as I am writing this I have found myself looking for something to listen too. In case you’re interested I have chosen Jason Aldean, a country singer. I found his name on a picture I was looking for earlier from our recent trip to America. I find it hard not to listen to Luke Combs, Moya told me about him. I knew I’d heard of him but had no proof other than my memory and that would never stand up in court. Anyway, I found the picture from our visit to the country music museum in Nashville, I was looking through the pictures deleting thousands during a previous distraction. I found the graph that mentioned the three top-selling country stars of 2018/2019. Luke is number one. I stopped writing to send the picture to Moya and now she has replied and I have to run….
I am back.
Here is what you need to know. I am desperate to introduce Moya to a singer or band she has not yet heard of, it’s proving to be an impossible task. I’ve been trying for seven years and I haven’t got close. I thought I’d done well a few years ago. While scrolling through Facebook I see a picture, a group of musicians, clearly a soulful band. I search on Apple Music and find a live album called Soul Vaccination – Tower of Power Live. I love it. I dance to it in my cabin. When I eventually return to Facebook I notice that this band is playing live at the Roundhouse in Clapham, only Moya’s favourite venue and better still I can go, it’s one of only two nights in the UK that month. I book tickets, I don’t even ask permission.
‘Moya, don’t plan anything for October 15th I have tickets for a new band, they’re playing at the Roundhouse, I am sure you’re going to love them.’
‘Brilliant! Who are they?’
‘Tower of Power…’
There is a sound…
Dejectedly I ask
‘Have you heard of them?’
‘Of course, I saw them live in 1993′.
I am so deflated, these guys are not a new band, unless you are me. Almost on cue the leader of the band starts talking to the crowd at the concert and thanks them for coming to their thirtieth anniversary show. Thirty years and this album was recorded in 1999. By the time we see them they’re plugging the show for when the group turns fifty.
Bloody good band though.
In my text to Moya I mention the other two artistes mentioned in the graph, Kane Brown, she knows him and worse, ‘I played him when you’ve been in the house.’ and Jason Alden.
‘Do you mean Jason Aldean? Of course I have heard of him!’
Music is another distraction but it blares out of the office as I type this and can’t help but remind me of the music blaring when you were in here. Were you writing or did you get distracted to?
There are well over two and a half thousand books on the shelves in here. In front of me on the desk is a pile of forty four that I want to read first, The Surgeon of Crowthorne, In Pursuit of Spencer and Denis Norden’s ‘Clips From A Life’ are set aside as ones I have at least started, two copies of the Rolling Stone magazine are on the arm of the sofa, along with the latest Rugby World and Cycling Weekly. How the hell do I ever finish this ‘blog’ let alone the book!
I called Moya a minute ago to ask when it was she first saw Tower Of Power, I wanted to be accurate, she said ‘1993 or 1994’ I said ‘I’ll say nineteen ninety three as it sounds funnier’
During our brief chat I tell her about the blog I am writing and how I shouldn’t call it a blog as I don’t publish them and I never update or add to them. She said
‘You should call it a slog.’
She is just funny.
Music and reading matter covered plus the annoyingly accessible internet and I wonder how I managed to use the emptiness of a sea day as a viable excuse for a lack of words being written as I did for so long!
Eight hundred and twenty-seven words ago I mentioned a list. I make the list because I am forgetful but now I don’t think forgetfulness can be blamed I believe I am just susceptible to distractions. Having a list only increases the chance of me getting something done during a day. That is true, mostly, although I may have found a way to cheat this list system.
One, always start each list with
Write a list
There is nothing better than crossing things off the list once they have been accomplished. With that in mind number two should always be
- Tick things off the list.
You can then write your list knowing if you don’t complete another task you have at least managed a couple of things.
Always, always, if you do something that isn’t on the list, add it to the list. Then tick it off. you’re only being a fool to yourself if you do not do this,
This ‘Slog’ is now on the list too, a few times as well.
- Email slog to Keith
8A. Print off ‘Slog’
8B Spellcheck ‘Slog’
I went into the garden as Alec, mums dog, oh yeah, mum got a dog since you passed. We played with the ball for a while.
- Play with Alec. Check, I am having a very good day.
It’s a wonder I ever finish anything.
I can’t even proof this, mum came in to tell me Boris, our Prime Minister, Oh, you don’t know Boris Johnson is in charge here now, wow there is so much you need to be caught up with. He has just announced that the self-employed will get help during this pandemic for another month.
Now that kind of distraction is fine by me.
And the government is paying me to write, I should probably get started on that…