New Years Eve, 2011

Looking back on 2011 at 00:49 2012

So here I am, back again for my usual end of year rambling, as the bells have tolled at the Palace of Westminster once more, ringing in another pointless celebration.

A quiet night, spent at home with the Suffolk clan, so the house is fuller and with a more buoyant atmosphere than it would otherwise have. Of course, by choice, I am not gigging again even though the opportunity was offered. But playing to a bunch of anaesthetised drunks in a Manchester Irish bar is about as appealing to me as a prostrate examination via urethra; so I declined.

It’s been a lousy year in many ways, but not without some highlights…


  • Playing some decent festivals like Worthenbury, Birmingham Jazz & Blues and Colne again.
  • Seeing Forty4 start to make progress with writing and playing their own songs.
  • Discovering that Forty4 can also pull off near acoustic ‘unplugged’ gigs.
  • Starting to see the band gain real respect on the circuit for their music, especially in Birmingham.
  • Meeting up with band-mates from 1982/3 and playing an impromptu gig with them on percussion.


  • Four funerals, including the suicide of a childhood friend.
  • Our Bass player being told he has lung cancer and having to drop out of band activity to fight the disease.

The suicide and the illness within the band really threw me in the summer, pushing my state of mind into areas I didn’t want to be and found difficult to cope with. But once the dust had settled, it appeared that it was pointless worrying and getting so wound up over events I had no control over. Once back on my horse, I realised there was everything to fight for, including a return to the band for my ill rhythm section partner.

So we shall see what 2012 can bring. Looking forward to the prospect of recording a number of original songs with Forty4 as soon as possible, I can see the realisation of the band being able to step up their game with a full album length CD. This can only further strengthen our cause. We hope that our Bass player will continue his fight with lung cancer and build on the positive results he’s had so far, bringing some sort of semi-permanent return to the band.

With 2011 being such a testing year with deaths and illness, it’s perhaps best not to wish for too much any more, other than for the good health of those close to you so there’s at least a level playing field to work from. Having come through a lousy year, I’m definitely more optimistic about the future, probably because it’s served as a reminder that we make our own luck by putting the effort in. It’s not always about succeeding though; in fact, success is taking an active part in the journey, rather than being a jaded onlooker sitting on the sidelines, never trying and never knowing what might have happened if you’d bothered to take chances with the unknown.