Good Disruption

Sun 2 – Sat 8 Feb 2020

There is something very comforting about routine. Yes it can be dull and frustrating but it also provides safety and reassurance. I very much have routines I regularly follow. But progress is based on disruption at some point. Without disruption there cannot be change. And last week saw a good piece of disruption that made it a better week as well as some other useful minor disruptions.

Art and Culture

Madonna

Madonna in B&W

And that big piece of disruption was me unexpectedly attending the Madonna concert on Wed night. A close friend of Dave’s got us tickets (I am so grateful) and to the ball we went. Definitely more of a concept show than just a concert. Indeed, we were so lucky after several of the shows being cancelled. We rocked up to the Palladium and met with friends Stuart and Elizabeth. Drinks and a chat with the very excited hardcore Madonna fans before taking our seats for the 8.30 start.

She actually came on around 9.15 and then performed solidly for over 2 hours with no break. Clear to see how such an intense performance every day is playing havoc with the body of an albeit still very fit 61 year old. Indeed, some of her yoga poses are amazing. And the show was a total treat for the eyes with great graphics. Some reworked classics but mainly stuff from the Madame X album which makes a lot more sense after having seen the show.

Impossible to not be impressed by such an extravagance. Even the bits that were a bit cheesy like her singing ‘Don’t Cry for Me Argentina’ as Andrew Lloyd Webber was in the audience. And the final song acapella and her walk through the audience as she had gone over the theatre curfew. But so true the quotation she highlighted by James Baldwin:

“Now, it is true that the nature of society is to create, among its citizens, an illusion of safety; but it is also absolutely true that the safety is always necessarily an illusion. Artists are here to disturb the peace. They have to disturb the peace. Otherwise, chaos.”

James Baldwin

It was a show that left me energised and buzzing with the power of creativity. Also, I was so impressed with a dedicated fan base though noticeably older these days – like myself LOL. Apparently they all keep in touch online and only get to meet at gigs. Didn’t get to bed that night till 12.30 – way over my curfew for a school night.

And the knock-on disruption came over the next few days especially around my exercise routine as detailed below. But in return I had seen an amazing show by an icon. I may well never see her perform again. And that made me feel the disruption was worth it – my routine shaken up by Madonna and my brain stimulated. 🙂

Books and Reading

Velvet Page fuckity upity

This is an example of bad disruption but it has made me appreciate more what I missed. I skipped Thurs’ night’s Velvet Page Book Club partly because of the Madonna disruption the night before – I wanted an evening in. But I also thought I could miss it because it was covering a book I had read a while ago and I couldn’t remember too much about.

Homer does doh

My mistake. 🙁 The book being discussed I found out the next day was ‘Queer Africa’, a collection of short stories I was really excited about. So I didn’t read the book and I didn’t go to the meeting to talk about it – doh! 🙁 I really enjoy the book club and this was a book I wanted to engage with. My fault for not keeping a tab on things – learning for the future.

‘The Rosewater Redemption’ by Tade Thompson

Final part of the Wormwood Trilogy read last week. Rosewater has achieved its independence from Nigeria but at the cost of a deal with the devil: the aliens from now on get all dead human bodies to live in. It’s as much about human politics as it is sci-fi. And the ending, the ‘defeat’ of the aliens, is definitely an idea that has appeared not least in one prominent sci-fi film I can think of. But still a good read and a genuinely interesting trilogy with Africa at the centre rather than America. 🙂

My current reading book

Health and Efficiency

Gym but missed yoga

So the knock-on disruption from Madonna night on Wed was that Thurs I had to skip the planned gym trip. I didn’t set the alarm and woke around 8.30. A chilling morning before into work for the afternoon.

Without Thurs, still did 4 gym sessions – consecutively on the mornings of Sun, Mon and Tues. All good sessions of about an hour covering all main body parts. The 4th session came on Fri morning when I chose gym over yoga. Just how I felt on the day. But it was a gentler session with more stretching involved.

Injury disruption

Another major disruption to my routine last week was an injury at the gym. Not good but actually useful to make me to think afresh about things. Tues morning, I decided to ‘up my game’ and do some heavier weights plus new exercises. One was deadlift and in doing this I hurt my lower back. Rather amusing that on Tues night I could hardly move in bed!

Over the next few days it eased off and was another reason why I changed my routine to skip gym on Thurs and not do yoga on Fri. Disruption through injury is always a failure in some sense. It should not happen unless someone (i.e. me) has fucked up. But it is still useful to make you aware of your body and its limitations.

Jog-run

Out for my lovely weekly 10K on Sat morning. I genuinely look forward to it. I’m not a natural runner (too fat) but I enjoy the sense of freedom it gives. It is also a vital piece of my weight maintenance being a significant calorie burner and appetite suppressant.

A decent time – just under 1 hour & 3 mins. Basically 2 mins better than my dreadful post-holiday time the week before (read about it in my blog here) and back to the ‘norm’ where I should be. A couple of crap 1 km times but onwards and upwards. 🙂 (Video about it here). Did fuck me more than usual and I had a 90 min snooze in the afternoon to recover.

Personal Development

Disruption thinking on where the week begins and ends

As stated in my previous week’s blog, I now cover the period Sun to Sat so signalling the weekend at the centre of my week, its beginning and end – rather than just an adjunct to the working week. It emphasises work is something that I do not want to be the centre of my life. A key part of removing low mood is ensuring that your life contains many things rather than one big dominating (domineering?) thing like paid work.

Revisiting my spiritual side

Did something disruptive on Sunday when I went back to church. To St Anne’s in Soho (website here) to catch up with old friends as it was a church I used to attend regularly about 10 years ago. Actually lots of new people but the same wonderful chilled and slightly chaotic atmosphere it has always had. Biggest surprise was seeing someone there from my gym.

Is this a permanent return to my spiritual side? TBH, I’m not 100% sure I believe in God. So probably not. However, Father Simon gave a good sermon about the need to accept good and bad; that there was never a promise of no suffering but, ultimately, all will be well. Good to keep my mind and my options open. 🙂

Looking after my head

I continue to not be overwhelmed by emails, using the delete button with more frequency. Perhaps I may miss something but then we miss things in life all the time and if it is key then it may come back. Also, I continue to use the language apps to improve my knowledge of other European languages. All part of my plot not to get stuck in this horrid little country. As part of that, me and Dave have already booked a week away in Berlin at the end of March. Rather spend my money in Europe than in England. 🙂

Family and Friends

Mum and brother

Mum continues to have health problems as does my brother – doesn’t stop his ranting though LOL. But he has spent a lot of time with her the last week. This makes it easier on me. 🙂 Funny that I was supposed to be in with mum on Wed night but even she realised what an opportunity it was to go and see Madonna. Thus she was very gracious about me going. She has got an appointment for an MRI scan so hopefully that may provide some answers to her problems.

Dom

Me and Dave met up with my old mate Dom on Tues night, someone who has known me for about 30 years. We ate at a popular local Thai – nothing dramatically different to your usual Thai but very pleasant. Great to talk about what we are all up to. Not least Dom who did Xmas in Thailand and Cambodia, and who seems to having a bit of a romance going with Malaga. Spain is such a wonderful country. 🙂

The Week Ahead

  • Exercise plan is 3 gym sessions – consecutive Sun, Mon, Tues. Plus 10K at weekend. Should get yoga done on Fri.
  • Friend Richard is in London, hopefully will catch up with him and Dom either the week coming or the one after
  • Will finish my current reading book and move onto a new one. Still doing bitesize reads on my kindle as I walk about of a classic text on the psychology of influence and persuasion
  • Catching up with my old boss on Tues, will be great to see her 🙂
  • Re-arranged days at work to accommodate presentations and meetings. This will mean 2 full days in work on Wed & Thurs. 🙁

And Finally…

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