In the aftermath of my stroke (remember that?), I’ve found myself increasingly wedded to a positive outlook on the world. I suppose that’s a natural result of a near-death experience. By that, of course, I mean the experience of nearly dying rather than an umbrella term under which Ian Wiki groups “detachment from the body, feelings of levitation, total serenity, security, warmth, the experience of absolute dissolution, and the presence of a light.”
[Another music-based post today. I’d suggest you soundtrack it by listening to Time Is Falling, the EP by friend of the blog Josh and his bandmates in Attics. Even though it’s fab, you can stream it and download it for free!]
Welcome, friends, to part two of Stroke Bloke’s reflections on some personally meaningful songs. (Part one is here.) This time, I’m going to lift the restriction limiting our choons to Scottish numbers, for reasons that will become evident. (Although, I’d love to include these folks: http://www.edinburghartfestival.com/commissions/complaintschoir.)
Regular readers may be aware that I often refer to my stroke and its aftermath as “StrokeFest 2012”. Now, notwithstanding the title above, let me assure you that I have no intention of repeating this as an annual event. In fact, my doctors have advised me that this would be a terrible idea. But “StrokeFest” does seem an appropriate descriptor. There were tears, laughter, love, and death-defying feats.
I was going to tell you today about some interesting and surprising links between Scotland and America. But since I’ve been back in The Olde Country, I’ve been thinking about Scottish music.
They say catastrophes come in threes. Today, the cistern went berserk and flooded the bathroom, the printer refused to print text (although images were fine), and the portable heater that was meant to dry out the bathroom took a stroke. Also, The Care Bears Movie, Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation and The Care Bears Adventure in Wonderland.
My editor, lover, lifesaver and cat-claw-clipper noted that Monday’s post was particularly dense. I chose to interpret this as a mostly good thing, and this turned out to be the correct call when she added that it probably contained enough material for a couple of weeks’ worth of posts.
Fortunately, there’s a lot going on in the world, of strokey and not-so-strokey natures. From my introduction to Vilayanur S. Ramachandran’s Phantoms In The Brain to the ongoing NSA surveillance revelations (and how Wang Dong will react); from how non-invasive brain stimulation is being used to help patients with walking impairments to the maleficent spread of the craft beer plague around the world.
People love lists, right? Well, according to Rob Fleming, Nick Hornby’s representative in High Fidelity, a certain type of bloke does, anyway. So much so, that Hornby himself was able to get 31 Songs published. That’s a list of 31 songs, natch, with each chapter being a fairly lengthy entry about one of the songs; either why it’s good, its personal resonance, or some other facet of the particular song. It’s pretty good.
These days, list shows are ubiquitous. For example, consider the cheap-o, low-brow filler populated by talking heads with no particular knowledge of their subject, like BBC America’s execrable The Brit List. We saw their 20 sexiest Brits show. Which, as Beth pointed out, had to be filled out by a car. And a candy bar. Amusing middle-aged yet skinny men with good hair from the ’90s didn’t get a look-in, oddly enough. I’m talking about the Guardian’s head music writer, Alexis Petridis, of course. (See blogs passim.)
Although life continues to return to something at least outwardly resembling normality, it continues to retain aspects of strokiness. Tonight, I’m going to a presentation giving an “overview of the latest interventions and approaches in stroke rehabilitation, like e-stimulation [and] other robotic devices for arms and legs, etc.” [thanks, Avi], and a number of you will probably know how excited I get about e-stim. Hopefully, blog fodder will be forthcoming.