Archive for the ‘ Personal ’ Category

Sydney H. Stanton 1921-2011

My grandmother died today.

She’d been pretty unwell both in body and mind for a few years so I’m not in pieces (yet) – it was inevitable and I think in many ways a release.

I am glad she got to meet Jake about 18 months ago, which even if she didn’t know exactly who I was anymore or who this little person was who was running around her place switching things on and off there were a few smiles and the I like to think the odd moment of clarity.

She would have been 90 this year and I was looking forward to introducing her to Juliette, not for her benefit, or Juliette’, neither would remember or even be conscious of the event.

But I would have.

She meant more to me then she could know.

She was journalist for over 50 years, one of the first accomplished women in the field actually. She made amazing spaghetti and meatballs. She watched too much sports IMHO. She complained about the general state of the world. She had some of the most awful bath robes to ever to grace this planet. She had friends, family and colleagues who loved her more than life itself.

She also had an amazing capacity to be ‘difficult’ – apparently.

The only argument I can remember was about whether or not Grand Theft Auto 3 was appropriate viewing for my then 13 year old cousin Kyle. I said ‘well he’ll play it anyway and all this scare mongering is right wing bullshit’ and she said ‘but I don’t have to pay for it’.

She won.

We just got on, I think it was because neither of us asked any more of each other than to just be ourselves – we just agreed or disagreed and that was that. No point scoring, no need to be right, just enjoying the discussion.

If my father and grandfather became the commercial influences on my life then my mother and grandmother provided the moral and ethical backbone.

I miss her, and have for a very long time but I am glad she went quietly in her sleep and doesn’t have to suffer anymore the confusion and fear that accompanies advanced dementia.

Wherever the remnants of her existence are now – I hope they are sitting at a kitchen table, listening to the New York Mets on an ancient analog radio, reading a newspaper eating a bagel and locks and grumbling a lot.

Rush – Beyond the Lighted Stage

In the early eighties as an impressionable teenager I played Dungeons & Dragons, was a computer geek, had terminal acne, was the definition of uncool and listened to Rush.

My first ever gig was going to see them at the Glasgow SECC the day before my Maths Higher. It was my first experience of the tinnitus and might explain why I only got a B.

Around 1987 whilst working for my grandfather in Manhattan I tried to get an interview with them for our high school magazine ‘Auchmuty Speaks’. This was of course back in those pre-internet days when you had to look at the back of a record and use the phone book. About 10 calls later to about 10 different cities I I did actually manage to get through to their press agent – alas they had just finished their current tour and were on a break. The woman sensing my disappointment asked if I’d be interested in talking to Paul Weller instead – I declined.

The ringing in my ears has never gone away but I stopped actively listening to them around the time I went to university – they were getting a bit AOR for me at the time and I had moved on to Nine Inch Nails. So the irony was not lost that the opening shot of this incredible documentary is Trent Reznor gushing. In fact looking back to my first interview with Trent in 1991 I wonder if he himself could have ‘admitted’ being such a fan at that point.

Watching them today talk about their career was a genuine revelation – they really are gentle men. Considered, intelligent and all together nice guys, exactly as I always imagined. I walked away from the film with such a profound sense of validation, as I’m sure the millions of quiet ‘uncool’ fans out there will agree.

I haven’t bought a Rush album in almost 20 years, until now. Watch this film.

Bad Dad – Part 3?

So on what is potentially the eve of kid 2.0 I feel, I think and I grok with fullness that which is my first born. Jake.

He’s the definition of a character. Those of you who have met him will testify. He is, in short, a dude.

He ain’t perfect tho’.  He’s overly obsessed with technology. A flickering switch, an LCD,an LED. A signal to touch, poke, twiddle. Who knows where he learned that from.

He doesn’t understand the word ‘Gentle’. In Jake terms ‘gentle’ is literally a smack in the face. A well meaning pummel, a poke in the  eye with a sharp stick. It isn’t malicious, he just doesn’t get the pain. He doesn’t understand the frustration. He’s just a 2 year old. Why would he?

I keep thinking -” ve must haf se discipline , ve must haf se order” – but why?

He’s happy – we’re happy – he gets tech – we get a smile

Am I a Bad Dad?


Which is going to come first?