Wednesday, 13 July 2011


So today is July 14th. A date forever burned into my heart as the day, now 27 years ago, we were given Paul for a short while. Paul had Cystic Fibrosis and lost his battle in 1997, 2 months after he turned 13. Even though we knew all along that he would die young, and his doctors constantly told us "only a few month left" - it was still sudden. We'd gotten so used to hearing he was dying we forgot he was going to die.

The last time I had the chance to see him, my mum and sisters were going to visit, and I wanted to go see my friend instead, so I went there. I can't really regret it - I spent my whole life treating him like any one of my family and sometimes I was too selfish to do the family rounds. I was 13! I'm sure he forgave me. I usually hit him a lot, and said I was giving him physio! We knocked lumps out of each other really, but I had the upper hand (and used it!) since I didn't tire easy. Evil, wasn't I!

Really, we were just cousins. The whole dying thing was always there (and you bet your ass he used that fact!) but there is no greater power than the need to have fun when you're a kid. We spoke about it, sure, but everything else was more important. Things like Celtic Football Club, Michael Jackson, WWF (before it was WWE!) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

So yeah, it was sudden. Like Tara said, it's always sudden. The day I found out, I cried with my family, went round to my friend's house and drank alcohol until I passed out on the bathroom floor. I was 13. It was the first time I'd ever got drunk, and I kept thinking how Paul would never get illegally drunk with me. We wouldn't celebrate out 18th and have a legal drink together. I wouldn't hate and judge his girlfriends. I wouldn't kick him ever again. Wouldn't tease him. The day after the sun rose and life, as it's wont to do, went on. I haltingly told my Year head teacher my cousin... passed away. She said words that I'm sure were meant to show comfort and sorrow, but I was in a bubble. I didn't hear a word anyone said until the day my mother woke me up to tell me to get ready. For the funeral.

My 13 year old cousin had over 100 people show to pay their respects. It seemed like more. Maybe it was. We listened to Michael Jackson songs and sang You'll Never Walk Alone. We laughed, and it wasn't forced. We enjoyed his life, and the impact he had on ours. Someone remembered he owed Paul a fiver and we giggled.

It's hard to know that he's been dead longer than he was alive. He should be here. Paul is still so present in my mind that I hate using the past tense to talk about him. I can't imagine the person he would be and yet, when things get tough I use his memory as my less crazy side. He gets me through, simply by not being here. I  can say to myself, Paul isn't here to live his life, so YOU should. It should work more than it does, but I'm getting there. I know I can't live his life for him, or worse, live my life for him - but it's a reminder that I'm capable of so much more, if only I try. I don't have the troubles he did.

That's why I'm doing the gig tomorrow. To honour his memory, I'm not doing it simply to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, although it's definitely a plus. I'm doing it because I love music, I believe in my friends. I enjoy gigs. I've enjoyed putting it together. It's gave me something to focus on. When I've dealt with difficult things about it, it made me happy. I think I'll do it again. To honour him, I will honour myself.

I went to your funeral
Yet I see you everyday
In the faces of strangers
And they'll never know the beauty they possess
Was once yours alone

I hate looking at faded photos
Of who you used to be
And memories lose colour over time 
I learned the lessons
You don't know you taught

You're a bigger part of my life
Than you were before
Every second now is a breath
You haven't took
Yet you're more alive to me than before

The colours still fade though
And time takes you further than I can reach
Every moment I know you're gone
Because I went to your funeral
But I still see you everyday

Friday, 8 July 2011

Two down.

So, a day before Father's day I posted  a sort of farewell letter to a man who used to be very important to me. Today, I say goodbye to the biological one.

You're a child.

When things don't go your way you toss your dummy, scream and huff about how unfair the world is to you. Have you ever stopped to think about the fact that all those injustices have only one thing in common? Take a bow Mr Matthews, you're the star of the show!

I always knew too much about you. You wear your heart on your sleeve and your lies on your face. You treated me as a confidant, not a daughter, and I gave up so much for you. One by one the children you fathered fell away, unable and unwilling to deal with your pouting - but I stuck around. I made excuses for you. I felt sorry for you. I lost a great friendship and a brother for you. Twice.

I gave up, finally. I had to. I didn't agree with you on our last meeting. I held my tongue. I cared for my sister, after you left - she was a young woman just hours past a traumatic labour, and you made her cry. You walked in and you MADE HER CRY.

I've never been so angry with you in my life, and I have had plenty of experience in that. Don't worry, I won't elaborate. I don't have that much free time... and I'm unemployed.

That was the one time you should not have made it all about you. The one time you could have acted like a father. That night I left the hospital and walked 4 miles and didn't even notice. I was disgusted with you. Again, I've plenty of experience in that with you.

And yet, I still tried. I called. I texted. I spoke to you about my wedding. And yet I've not heard from you at all. I'm done trying.

Your girlfriend walked right by me yesterday. I've got bright red hair and she didn't miss me. Neither did her mother. Your youngest daughter, I'll give the benefit of the doubt too, since she hasn't seen her oldest sister since November. Today I tried to contact your girlfriend on facebook. I'm off her friends list. When did that happen? I texted you my new number two weeks ago. Nothing. I just called you, to be sure. Well, you're certainly not using that number anymore, are you?

You chicken shit.You couldn't even face me to tell me how much of a coward you are. It's ok though. I knew all along.

You're going to die alone Roy. You'll fuck this little family up too. Why change the habit of a lifetime? And I've gave up caring.

I will never contact you again. In fact, after this moment, I will never think of you again. You've just lost the one person in the world who understood you and tried to love you anyway.


Thoughts of a let down.

Lately, there’s been a phrase running through my head constantly. A phrase from my childhood, a phrase anyone growing up in a Scottish playground has heard at least once.

Don’t act smart.

You know the one. The condescending tone, usually the speaker stood before you hand on hip, and mocked you for some slight you tried to make. The warning from your peers not to try to think above your station in life.

I never understood the saying, although I can definitely be accused of saying it more than once, a throw-away phrase to show your disdain toward someone else’s opinion. Why shouldn’t you act smart? Why shouldn’t you try to put into practice a newer understanding of your world, even if it’s not perfect? Isn’t that the essence of learning, of growing? Usually, as I seen in the playground, the person saying it was usually masking their own ignorance or at least an unwillingness to understand what someone else was trying to say.

In short, I thought it was a way to bully the people who tried to learn.

So why is it running through my head so much lately?

If you know anything about me, you’ll know I left school straight after my Standard Grades at 16. After 4 years of being my school’s verbal (and sometimes physical) punch bag, I speedy gonzaled out of there so fast I might have ran straight through a wall and never noticed. But an odd thing happened as I passed the school gates for the last time. I felt guilt. And disappointment. I knew in that moment I’d failed myself. Even without seeing my results, still months away, I knew whatever I scored wouldn’t show me at my best. I never studied, didn’t pay much attention in class, pretty much just coasted by on the natural intelligence I have without once trying any harder than I needed to. I felt like school didn’t really teach me anything I couldn’t have figured out by myself. I was bored, and instead of seeking out help from teachers to challenge me more, I fell into the trap of not caring enough, not realising that maybe the adults were right when they said these were my formative years, that everything I did in those 4 short years would reflect on the rest of my life. Oh yeah, I was intelligent, but I wasn’t smart.

When my results came, I scored absolutely average. Most of my scores fell under the “general” category. If I’d attempted even slightly to study, I would have received credits across the board – I’ve no doubt about that. But it’s too late. I need to let any and all of my employers know I am nothing but average, when I know I am anything but.

I vowed I would change then. I was on my way to college, and I’d be surrounded by people who were there because they wanted to learn. I’d be safe to act smart. But there was something I didn’t anticipate.

I was 16 and stupid.

Suddenly I was alone. Legally recognised as an adult, responsible enough to live in my own flat, pay my bills (ha!) and be capable enough to attend to my education off my own back. I went crazy with freedom. I slept in, missed class all the time. I was too busy playing grown up to actually grow up. A year passed, then another, then another. Before I knew it, my 2 year head start was gone and I was not more educated than my old classmates who were now leaving school with Highers. Again, I messed it up by not trying hard enough.

I’m 27 now. I’m unemployed. My prospects for any future employment remain the same sort of jobs I would have applied for 10 years ago, unskilled retail work. Call centres. It’s difficult; these are the jobs right now that per job, on average 250 people apply for. It’s a daily battle to even get a CV seen.

It’s my own fault. I could blame the job market for the difficulties I’ve had finding work in the past 6 months – but let’s face it, I could be applying for better jobs with better qualifications. So it’s on me. I’ve no-one to blame but myself in the end.

I don’t want to keep writing about how I know how much I’m missing out on by screwing up. I don’t want to be writing again in 10 years about how I know what mistakes I’ve made and how I’m hoping to change that.

It’s time to stop acting smart.

Just be smart.

Thursday, 7 July 2011


about the NOTW thing... to be honest, I think the innocent employees are being thrown to the dogs, so the real guilty parties can hide behind the scandal of the paper being closed down. At first thought I figured the closure was a good thing, before realising what it meant for the majority of the employees of the paper. How long before the celebration of what, at first look is a victory, turns into outrage for the people who have just been unceremoniously dumped? 

Will the people who authorised the hacking be truly punished? Probably not. And yet thousands of people have just lost their jobs in an country of mass unemployment. I've been looking for a job since January without luck, and like it or not, people who work(ed) for this paper will no doubt be tainted as a bad choice no matter how innocent they are of any wrongdoing. 

I don't think closing down the News Of The World is a huge loss to News International as a business. Yes, they're closing a national institution, whether you agree with its views or not - but the paper doesn't make up a huge part of the company. James Murdoch will just walk into another job, which will probably be kept quiet  in the worst kind of nepotism. I mean, do you really think daddy's boy will be punished? I doubt he'll even face criminal charges, although he should.

No, this stinks of a stunt, something to keep the public talking about the paper while behind the scenes Rupert Murdoch's main concern is acquiring BSkyB. Like a baby being distracted with a toy when they're about to receive a jab, they hope the public will be too busy screaming about the very real injustices of this whole debacle. If I were a more cynical person, I'd be inclined to believe they actually welcomed this scandal as a great distraction while they attempt to monopolise the ACTUAL news of the world. 

Another reason to hate Murdoch.

Stop him from getting his dirty hands on our free press

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

So, I've been busy....

July 14th would have been my cousin Paul's 27th birthday.

Sadly, he died when he was 13, after a long and hard battle with Cystic Fibrosis.

From the Cystic Fibrosis Trust website, the facts about CF are as follows;

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is one of the UK's most common life-threatening inherited diseases.

Cystic Fibrosis affects over 9,000 people in the UK.

Over two million people in the UK carry the faulty gene that causes Cystic Fibrosis - around 1
in 25 of the population.

If two carriers have a child, the baby has a 1 in 4 chance of having Cystic Fibrosis.

Cystic Fibrosis affects the internal organs, especially the lungs and digestive system, by clogging them with thick sticky mucus. This makes it hard to breathe and digest food.

Each week, five babies are born with Cystic Fibrosis.

Each week, two young lives are lost to Cystic Fibrosis.

Only half of those living with Cystic Fibrosis are likely to live past their late 30s.

My family all miss Paul every day. He was the very heart of our extended family, and had the biggest sense of humour about the struggles he dealt with every day.

In his name, we are holding a charity gig for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, a fantastic charity that tries in every way to help everyone who is affected by a CF diagnosis, as well as fighting toward a breakthrough in both treatments and cure.


We have ALL bands confirmed, so go check them out!

Fin Ray, Heavily influenced by grunge and psychedelia, this garage band is brand new to the gig scene!

Bunny & the Misshapes, a band living the best of Blues and Rock, with a side of pure naughty!

Echo-Bass, a powerhouse of metal, guaranteed to have the place bouncing!

Tickets on the door on the night, £4

Doors 7.30pm

STRICTLY 18+ ONLY, sorry!


If you wish to donate to this cause but can't make the gig, please visit the website at

We will be holding a raffle for extra donations, if you're a gifted creative type and wish to donate an item for raffle, please send me a message or comment below and I'll get back to you.

Please invite anyone you think would like to come along!

Thank you!

Paul Gillan 14th July 1984 - 27th September 1997
Beloved. Missed. Never Forgotten.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

On blogger's drama

I love reading blogs from around the world. From all different walks of life, from an international playgirl to a stay-at-home mother with a love of comfort and vintage, I find myself linked to these amazing women who are courageous enough to put their lives online. Sometimes, there is scrutiny and even "hate" for people who are accused of not entirely truthful. It makes me wonder of how truthful anyone is when they blog about about their lives, and how much it matters.

I've got conflicting opinions about this. Firstly, if someone puts it all out there, I believe that if (and when) questions are raised about their life, they should answer these questions. Not because we as readers have the right to know, but if your whole life is an open book with a few missing chapters, people can and will question that. Not answering will at best will make you look like a liar and at worst a scam artist. Especially if there's money involved. I know there are people who blog about their life and stop at a certain point, and clearly explain that there is a part of their life that will remain private. That's perfectly acceptable to me. Some people will just not accept that. It makes me wonder of how important these bloggers are to the people who set out to "expose their lies". Why bother? Ok, if there's cash involved I understand the need to seek compensation, and maybe the need to warn others about your past experiences, but not to devote huge amounts of time, effort and even money to ruin said bloggers life and/or livelihood. I simply do not get it. Unless it's something highly illegal or immoral, I just don't get it.

There's one car crash I keep an eye on. Most people here in the UK don't really know who Tila Tequila is, or at most know she was the "star" of MTV's A Shot at Love a few years back. I was informed 2 years ago about her, and her various wrongdoings involve faking several pregnancies, then miscarriages, allowing sexual deviants and minors talk to each other on her website, and sometimes participating herself, posting videos filled with sexual and violent content. There's also the "charities" she has founded, and accepted money for. Then there's also the whole case of Casey Johnson's death. There's a good couple of valid reasons why there's so many people are actively pursuing her, and hoping for a conviction of at least one of her many crimes. In my opinion, these people are well within the right of moral and legal decency to fight for that. I look forward to the day I see that she's been arrested.

But the there people who feel the people they read about should answer to them for silly reasons like what their children's name are or whether or not they someone else helped them write a post. How much of your life would you keep private? Should you explain why? Afford these bloggers the same respect. In the end, does it really matter? Read something that inspires you, and take it at face value. Educate yourself. If your bullshit detectors go off, by all means investigate - and if they aren't exactly kosher by all means vote with your click and don't go back, if there's anything more serious only then should you do anything more. Let it go behind you and find something else to inspire you. Or - be inspiring yourself!

Just be the person you want to be and let us know how it goes. (I promise not to ask unwelcome questions.)