Joy of Maggie

•9 April, 2013 • Leave a Comment

You may have missed it, but Margaret Thatcher died yesterday.  Yeah sorry, spoiler alert.  I think it was mentioned in an obscure obituary somewhere on page 70.

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It’s worse than that, she’s dead Jim…

 

OK OK, enough of the flippancy.  What’s your point, Laura?  Well here it is…

 

Was I the only one who was slightly worried about the massive outpouring of glee over her death?  Don’t get me wrong – I was absolutely not a fan.  Friend of brutal dictators, suppressor of the Irish (amongst others), homophobic, racist, shatter-on of the poor, anti-feminist, utterly lacking in compassion and with dodgy links to extremely dodgy people.  She was a bitch and you’ll find no mourning here.*  So what is my problem with the street parties and cheering over the death of such a woman?

 

I’ve certainly heard people say you shouldn’t speak ill of the dead.  Bullshit.  If someone was an arsehole in life, they don’t suddenly become a saint in death.  This is an argument I have seen in my own family before, and the tug between blinkered affection and truth can be a tough one.  I, however, come down firmly on the side of truth.  Eulogising over someone who doesn’t deserve it is hypocritical nonsense. 

 

I don’t agree with the idea that when someone has died it isn’t fair to attack them either.  I remember when the first allegations of the Jimmy Savile thing came out, and people were actually saying that it was unfair to say stuff because he’s dead.  Really?  REALLY?!  The man was a predatory paedophile and deserves no kind words.  On the contrary, by dying he has basically gotten away with it.  Horrible people do horrible stuff and then they die.  That shouldn’t absolve them of their sins during life.

 

I also think jokes about the dead are OK too.  Death is a process of life, and I don’t think it’s something that should be discussed in hushed tones and with sombre faces.  I saw some side-splittingly hilarious jokes about Margaret Thatcher yesterday.  I retweeted some, and shamelessly squirreled away others for me to trot out at the pub at a future date. 

 

I also don’t think that people who don’t remember much about the 80s have no right to comment.  I was born in 1985, making me an unlikely participant in the Poll Tax riots.  However, I wasn’t around in 60AD either but I think I’m entitled to say that Nero was a dick.  So what IS my problem?

 

My problem is the gloating and the glee.  It’s a response I understand seeing as she fucked over so many, and if that’s your genuine reaction rather than jumping on a bandwagon then fine.  It does make me feel uncomfortable however to see people I like and respect crowing over the death of anyone.  The argument is of course that she hardly showed compassion to those that needed it during her time in political office.  True, but that doesn’t mean you have to do the same.  She’d dead, you’re not – that’s all there is to it.  I see nothing to mourn, but also nothing to celebrate.  Celebration of death always strikes me as somewhat dehumanising, and that’s the last thing I want to see people doing.  There is a place for feeling relief, that justice has been done, perhaps even grim contentment.  However, I do feel that JOY over the death of ANYONE is beneath you.  This is just my opinion on the matter of course and it doesn’t make it right.  However, seeing as I lost several followers yesterday who assumed I was crying into my G+T over her death because I called for a little temperance, I thought I should explain myself.

 

 

*Footnote added for my Conservative friends.  Yes, I know she was a very strong woman who took difficult decisions and helped the country economically.  Fiscal sense is not the be all and end all of a good leader, and her social policies were appalling.  You know it, I know it – we’ll no doubt discuss it later.

Ruby Wax: What’s So Funny About Mental Illness?

•6 March, 2013 • Leave a Comment

There’s no shame in breaking your leg or having cancer. Why is there shame attached to a an illness of the brain? I dunno, but there is. Ruby Wax talks about it confidently and brilliantly, Good for her.

This Is the End

•21 December, 2012 • Leave a Comment
Chichen Itza with suitably bruised and brooding sky.

Chichen Itza with suitably bruised and brooding sky.

Good morning humans! How is the last day on Earth treating you?  On this damp and misty morn when we wait in anticipation for Maya Angelou to destroy the Earth (or something), I thought I’d take a moment to share my thoughts on doomsday  First of all, I’m rather disappointed with today’s Google doodle.  Yes, I know it has a cool little Mayan theme going on, but I thought that seeing as it’s the end of the world and these jokers are presumably getting paid right up until they clock off for good that they could have put a bit more effort into it.  How about a snazzy app where you can upload a face from your photo album and ritually behead it from atop a pixelated pyramid? Each time you execute one of
your friends virtually, Google can congratulate you on putting off impending doom by 0.0000000001 of a second.  You could score points for how far you can make the head roll.  They could even have an option for whether you wanted a male or female scream every time.  You might as well make these things realistic Google.  It’s all in the detail.  If that doesn’t float your Ark, how about an even more interactive doodle?  You could have the normal Google logo but next to it a little stick man looking downcast.  Whenever you type a query into the search bar, it could reply that there was no point looking it up for you because you’d be dead in a few hours anyway.  You’d remonstrate with it – demand that it gives you immediate satisfaction – I MUST know who penned the theme tune to Due South NOW.  It wouldn’t do any good though, and the more you got angry with him, the more he’d tremble and bite his sad little line lip.  Eventually he’d just burst into tears and tell you that today of all days you should be with your loved ones and not asking ridiculous questions.  He could wear a little Mayan hat.

He can't help you.  No-one can.

He can’t help you. No-one can.

But what of the Mayans though?  What is the deal?  Apart from doing a double take every time I’ve seen the Moon for the last 12 months in case Nibiru has arrived early, all I really knew about them is that they were from Mexico, they had a nice numeral system, they built unfinished pyramids and that the language seemed to overindulge in Xs and Zs.  In my head all of their cities looked vaguely like the Aztec zone from the Crystal Maze.  That was the extent of my knowledge. Oh, and I’d heard rumbles about prophecies that the world would end on December 21st 2012.  Now, being the sort of absolute tool that will read dark significance into just about anything (I broke a plate this morning – touché, ancient Mayans…touché) I decided to do a little more research into this prophecy now so that I could take my Christmas presents back to the shop this afternoon if necessary.  I’m afraid the outcome is disappointing (or a huge relief depending on whether you’re a ‘glass half empty’ or a ‘glass half full of gullibility’ kinda guy) and actually quite prosaic. Apparently, today marks the end of the Mayan’s long count calendar, a cycle that lasts 394 and a bit years.  Once one cycle (or baktun) ends, another one begins.  So far, so obvious.  All calendars do this.  That’s the point of calendars – if they went on forever by now it’d be the 67th of Flimbltyfloo.  Humans mark time with regularity to correspond to stuff – the seasons, the Sun, the Moon – all sorts.  It makes life easier.  So why does everyone seem to think the world is going to end, despite the fact that this is the end of the 13th baktun, meaning that the 12 that preceded this one did not herald the destruction of Earth?  Ahhh, because the prophecy said so.  Well actually it doesn’t, but when has that ever got in the way of the internet?  Read the NASA page on it for more detail here – the tone of barely suppressed irritation is worth it – but it’s all just nonsense made up to correspond with the end of the world because a bunch of strange people were disappointed that the world didn’t end in 2003.  Tch, and I’d just laid out my best knickers.

Well, I hear you sigh, it’s all very well for you to mock my fears, but I don’t want to hear what some jumped up scientist who knows exactly what he’s talking about has to say.  No – I want the deep spiritual wisdom of fantasy please.  Are there any Mayans out there who have anything to say?  Are they lying in their coffins in readiness?  No. The Mayan people that still live in Mexico are looking at us with raised eyebrows, surprised at all the fuss.  They say it just means it’s the beginning of a new era and not a time for everyone to die in a raging inferno.  They don’t understand why people are getting panicky about it.  As far as they’re concerned, it’s as weird as if someone came to your house at 11.55pm on New Year’s Eve, dancing from foot to foot and pointing at your worn out calendar, squealing about time running out.  Those few seconds while the new calendar is taken out of its packaging must seem like an eternity.  In my house they’d be wetting themselves with the fear that all time has stopped and we now had to live in a state of suspended animation seeing as my calendar is rarely changed before 10th January.

So that’s it people.  That’s the fuss.  We’re basically all waiting for the Mayans to get down to Smiths and buy a very large calendar with moving Mexican scenery from different times of the year.  Never mind, see you in a couple of years for the next apocalypse.

Bipolar Awareness – Long Overdue

•27 June, 2012 • 3 Comments
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“Misconceptions lead to fear, fear leads to isolation, isolation leads to suffering.” A wise little green Jedi Master he is.

A child at school today told me that today is the first Bipolar Awareness Day to be held in the UK. My first thought was ‘what’s your name again?’ and the second was ‘there’s an awful lot of ink round your mouth’. My third reaction however was ‘about bloody time’. ‘Bipolar’ is one of those words that people are always bandying about with little to no thought of what they actually mean. You hear an awful lot of bizarre stuff from the utterly ill-informed about bipolar disorder; it’s all either ‘split personalities’ or ‘totally mental’. Some people say they’re ‘feeling a bit bipolar’ when referring to their menstrual cycle. This really pisses me off because they don’t seem to know the power of their words. People know so little about bipolar and the misconceptions lead to stigma and a sense of isolation for sufferers. I would hope that a day dedicated to awareness of this disorder would help people who are isolated but I have to say the press reponse to the day has seemed somewhat muted. So in the spirit of my other incarnation as a teacher (rather than sarcastic blogging bitch) I hope in this post to give a brief introduction to bipolar disorder. Please bear in mind that it is IN NO WAY DEFINITIVE. Different people will experience different things if they’re bipolar. Please go and do some more research if you want to know anything in depth.

Bipolar simply means extremes of mood. They’re greater extremes of mood than the average person but by and large this is was bipolar is. There are differences within the catch-all diagnosis of bipolar – those with bipolar 1 for example will become manic, which can involve high energy, euphoria, huge amounts of anxiety, inflated self-confidence etc. and sometimes even psychotic episodes mixed with periods of seriously depressed mood. Someone with cyclothymia (an allegedly a mild subset of bipolar, although ‘mild’ is debatable) won’t swing as high perhaps but will have episodes of hypomania (which can include elevated mood, anxiety, supreme confidence, risky behaviours etc.) and serious depression. It isn’t just about sometimes being happy and sometimes being sad. Everyone has that sometimes; that’s just life. Bipolar is much more extreme, an uncontrollable lurch between up and down. Many people cope with it well to the point where you might not know that anything is amiss. Many more do not cope with it well at all and is as debilitating as any physical illness. The more it’s talked about the more people will understand it. The more people understand it the less alone people will feel. I think we can all agree that that can only be a good thing given that 20% of those diagnosed die from the disorder..

Want to know more? I heartily recommend Stephen Fry’s ‘Secret Life of the Manic Depressive’, of which you can see part 1 HERE. Don’t be afraid of the mixed mood bods. You almost certainly won’t be bitten.

~ ~ ~

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Are these shuttlecocks really big or just really close-up? Click the right answer to win an iPad2!

In other news, I’m going to the Olympics. Unfortunately they withdrew my star events of marathon pint-to-face lifting best curmudgeon face so I will be resigned to watching lesser athletes swat a cork with the arse feathers of a goose stuck into it over a fishing net. Apparently they call it shuttlecocking and the Chinese are expected to win. Can’t say I’ve ever heard of any of the badminton players (as I believe they are called) I am likely to encounter but I am looking forward to bellowing indiscriminately at people, because I’m good at that. It’s my third sport but I was cruelly overlooked in qualifying.

Stigma For Dummies

•24 June, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Stigma – aiding isolation and awkwardness for millenia.

Are you one of the 1 in 4 people who will suffer from a mental health issue at some point during their life?  Whether you are or not is entirely your own business.  Perhaps you are open with everyone and are able to discuss it without any feelings of awkwardness.  Perhaps you talk passionately about mental health rights but shift uneasily when the conversation turns a little more personal.  Perhaps no-one around you has any idea how you feel and you can keep the mask on more or less constantly until you’re alone and you can let it slip off, greased with the sweat of the effort needed to keep a lid on it.  I am not condemning or judging any of these reactions.  Your mental health is your own business, just as a person with cancer shouldn’t have to walk around with a big sign around their neck saying ‘BTW I’VE GOT CANCER’.  I admire those who have the confidence to speak up about their feelings, but it must be recognised that it isn’t an option that everyone wants.  People shouldn’t be compelled to be open.

However, when privacy is forced upon a person because of a culture of stigmatisation and discrimination then this becomes a problem.  Mental health issues do have a stigma attached to them.  I’m not sure why, I think it might be partly due to a misguided sense of ‘just not British, stiff upper lip’ bollocks, perhaps because these are illnesses without physical symptoms like a growth or bubo, many don’t understand.  Lots of people will put down a person who slashes themselves to ribbons as an attention seeker and dismiss them.  I’m also sure that amongst those who have no appreciation for neurodiversity, there is a tendency to associate those who deviate from the norm (whatever that is) with the mad and dangerous, a curious whiff of the lunatic asylum that has hungover from 100 years ago.  These attitudes are ancient, ill-informed and stupid and mean that many people just keep their heads to themselves because it’s easier than dodging comments and clumsiness.  For some, it prevents them from seeking the help they so desperately need.  Malcolm Bowden-esque troglodytes not withstanding, an attitude of ‘they’re weird/attention-seeking/weak’ is alive and kicking everywhere.

I find the attitude of the government particularly hard to understand.  There was a recent stream of public health ads on telly and radio calling for people to talk about mental health openly.  In my school we are knee-deep in literature about the dangers of smoking, teenage pregnancy, STIs, cervical and breast cancer, bullying, alcohol and drugs.  We have armfuls of DVDs (and still a few VHS tapes) the disabled, racism, sexism, homophobia and religious tolerance.  I have never seen anything about mental health other than a rather tired looking leaflet about bereavement.  Of course we offer help and support to children that need it – of COURSE we do – but we lack education. There seems to be little or no education given to children about mental health disorders, despite suicide being one of the leading causes of death for the under 30s.  Attitudes to racism, sexism, sexuality etc. have, for the most part, changed in the last 30 years, and changed for the better.  Attitudes to the mentally different have not.  I put this down to education in schools.  Until it becomes recognised as an important topic for discussions in ALL SCHOOLS then things won’t change.  That said, things seem unlikely to change in schools until the attitude of the government also changes.  Under the Mental Health Act, if an MP needs hospital treatment for more than 6 months due to mental health difficulties then his or her seat will automatically become vacant.  This is not the case if an MP is hospitalised for more than 6 months due to any other illness. There’s an interesting article about it HERE.

In other news, it’s the pretty-cheeked Stuart Broad’s birthday today. Shame he lost the toss. Still, I’m sure they’ll do pretty well. The Windies just had an appeal refused and there’s no referrals at Trent Bridge. Hmmm, seems close. It may have hit the bat first.

What sort of message does this send to the people when the very government that professes a wish to protect and help those who need it most discriminate against the mentally ill when they fall within their own ranks?  Are they trying to say that if the grubby proles want to admit their weaknesses and gross inadequacies then that’s their own business but it won’t be tolerated here amongst the people who matter?  I’ve seen many comments along the lines of ‘someone who has mental health problems is not fit to run a country’.  Hmmmmm, well actually I’d argue that it depends.  When someone has been off long-term for a physical illness it is customary to submit to a fitness to work interview in most professions.  Can this not be done for MPs?  If it is judged that the person cannot resume their usual work schedule then every avenue of supporting them should be explored, just as it would (or at least should) be for other jobs.  We like to mock and sneer at our politicians.  This is normal and healthy and wonderful. That is part of our job as the electorate as far as I’m concerned. However, this does not mean that we should ever forget that the people at the top are human beings and just as prone to difficulties as anyone else and the idea that they could lose their job due to illness fills me with anger.  Hospitalisation doesn’t necessarily equal complete incompetence and we should get the old images of drooling, rocking and burbling out of our heads.

Let’s get it straight – bellowing at the top of your lungs about ending stigma and helping people live full lives whilst behind your back you slash benefits, rip apart already dodgy NHS support, offer no education and enshrine prejudice in law weirdly enough does NOT HELP.  Stigma will not ease until attitudes at the top change.

It’s All Your Fault

•15 June, 2012 • 9 Comments

Depressed? It’s all your fault.

Hello there, how are we all today? I’ve been a little busy of late hence the radio silence. Anyway, here I am. I felt like writing after a feeling of cheek-puffing and lip-spluttering incredulous anger. “But Miss Laura C,” I hear you say, “You’re *always* incredulous and angry.” First of all shut up, no I’m not. I just have a healthy and reactive outrage reflex. Secondly, get a load of this thundering buttock name of Malcolm Bowden.

I missed the original broadcast from a few weeks ago but picked up some rumblings about it from disgruntled and amused blogs. It was shown as part of 4Thought ‘Depression Week’ strand and highlighted religious responses to mental health issues. If you don’t know what 4Thought is, it’s a regular 2 minute slot shown in between main programmes on Channel 4 (or just ’4′ as we’re supposed to call it now) in the UK. Malcolm Bowden, a dapper and silver-haired self-proclaimed committed evangelical Christian, strolls onto the minimalist set and explains that far from all medical evidence, depression is in fact ‘very deliberately’ chosen by the sufferer. OK…

Malcolm is apparently something of a counsellor and gives patients with mental health problems ‘true Biblical’ help. I haven’t been able to find any medical training in his background but that isn’t always necessary. After all, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to help people, no matter what your religious views. I’ve known Christians for example who have trained as counsellors in part out of an urge of compassion and a desire to help. They may want to suggest prayer as an aid to alleviate suffering but then that is to be expected given their faith. What makes Bowden different to anyone I’ve encountered personally however is the distinctly un-Christian way in which he goes about it. Do watch it HERE.

Depression is, according to Bowden, chosen by those who are full of pride, self-centredness and self-pity. True Christians though will never be depressed. Apparently because the Bible is full of soothing messages to those in pain (which to be fair it is) then someone who accepts it as the word of God cannot become depressed. A true Christian lives his life for others and knows that at the end of his life he will be rewarded in heaven. To be depressed is to turn you back on God. Depressed people are too haughty and prideful to come humbly to God and accept him into their hearts. That is the root cause of their behaviour.

Leaving aside for a moment the breathtaking lack of compassion that I always assumed to be a Christian virtue, let’s turn our attention to the woeful ignorance of all the medical information that is freely available on depression. Depression is an illness of the brain. We often forget that our minds are physical because of the perceived brain-body gap and this is why people often fill it in with a non-spatial soul. However, the brain is made of matter just like arms, legs, belly buttons, nipples and cellulite are. The body is complex and delicate, and sometimes it goes wrong. When the heart goes wrong we call it a heart attack. When ears go wrong we call it deafness. When the brain goes wrong (and considering that there are roughly 100 billion neurons in the brain, there’s quite a chance that it might) we call it mental illness, and sometimes that illness is depression. Sometimes this is caused by shock or trauma and sometimes the brain just fucks up the chemicals of its own accord. Machines do that, as anyone who’s ever tried to use a piece of technology will attest. Curing said imbalance can be done in a number of ways, from happy pills to CBT to diet and exercise. Anything to kickstart a rewiring of the brain. Because, y’know, depression is an illness an’ all. I’m not in any way saying that for some a belief in God isn’t a help. Who am I to say what works for everyone? That said, this apparent ‘get over yourself’ approach is SO medically ridiculous as to warrant a sharp boot up the bum.

Put on a happy face.

You can almost see why Malcolm Bowden has this view on depression given that quietly many people would probably agree with him. To those who have never experienced it, depression does sound like so much whining and complaining. I remember when Owen Wilson tried to kill himself a few years ago.  Whilst there was an outpouring of surprise and love being sent his way, there was also a proportion of snide remarks along the lines of ‘what have you got to be so unhappy about, spoilt Hollywood brat blah blah blah’. Rest assured, if YOU’VE never experienced it and can only see the outwards signs of prosperity, you don’t have any idea of the grinding dull monotony and ache of depression. It’s more than just feeling a bit put out every now and again or being a bit touchy, it’s an almost physical blackness that seems to seep out of you and cover everything you can see. For many (I would say most but I’m not a shrink so what do I know?) sufferers, depression leads to an overwhelming and crushing sense of guilt and shame, not pride. Very often, people with depression know full well that to admit to others that they are hurting will only lead to them being treated either with contempt or misplaced kid gloves so they hide it, sometimes until it is too late.  One can only assume that if Owen Wilson tried to top himself, he was feeling pretty damn shit.

However, other mental illnesses such as schizophrenia seem to be treated with a much greater respect than depression. Lots of stigma still, but most would at least recognise it as a genuine illness.  Perhaps it’s down to the mystery (depressives usually get more of a ‘pull yourself together, we all feel down sometimes’ thing), perhaps it’s the wrongly perceived fireworks and action surrounding it, but most people probably wouldn’t say that schizophrenia is chosen. After a bit of research however, I’ve discovered that that’s exactly what Saviour amongst Shrinks Malcolm Bowden claims. Disregarding all the evidence that says otherwise, Bowden says that schizophrenia is a learned behaviour rooted in a life not filled with God. Way to stigmatize, Malc.

Mental illness already causes enough grief in this world without people like this man making it worse. Why 4Thought ever considered allowing themselves to be used as a platform for a man to talk on medical issues when I wouldn’t trust him to apply hydrocortisone to either his arse or his elbow is beyond me.

Paganini In No Time

•13 April, 2012 • 12 Comments
Miss Laura Paganini

Sorry about the sideburns in this shot, I forgot to shave this morning.

In my continuing battle against terminal boredom I have taken up the violin.  I am aware that at the frankly alarming age of 27 I have no business inflicting ‘Violin Star Book 2′ in the key of screech upon my poor husband.  I am also conscious that by the sounds of it the neighbours are having problems enough without me introducing a wobbly and melancholic soundtrack to their upcoming divorce.  However, I have always wanted to play an instrument of such soul and beauty, so play I shall.  Besides, I’ve already bought ‘Violin Star 3′, a music stand and enough rosin to wax the arses of all the runners in tomorrow’s Grand National.  I’m committed now.

To be fair I’m already reasonably musical having played piano and a few other instruments when I was younger to a fairly good standard.  I’m not very good at reading music so I’ve always had to play everything by ear anyway and when you’re attempting to bow out a tune on a fretless instrument then playing by ear is useful.  What isn’t so useful is being used to relying on the visual element.  Let me explain; playing the piano is easy.  If you were subjected to forced piano lessons as a child and failed your grade 1 exam then you may wish to fling your dinky little netbook across the room with contempt for my arrogance.  Please don’t – it isn’t insured and I won’t buy you a new one.  Hear me out will you?  Playing the piano is easy once you’ve cracked the pattern.  The notes are already tuned for you, all you have to do is push the right key.  If you hit a middle C a millimetre further to the left than usual then nobody would ever noticed unless you habitually hit middle C right on its extremity anyway.  Then you’ll be playing either a B or a D you fool.  With a violin however I have discovered that even when you begin to remember where all the notes are, then in the middle of a delightful little ditty your fingers will be moving fast and you’ll think you’ll have pressed your clammy little digit into the exact same spot as last time.  You haven’t and it sounds awful.  Most people would carry on through the blip but at this point my latent obsessive compulsive tendencies will kick in and I have to start it all over again.  Bugger.

Well check me out - book 2 already.

Playing the violin is not easy, or at least it’s not easy for me.  I’m having to work at it and I’m enjoying the work.  I cannot wait until my fingers have developed sufficient dexterity and muscle memory to be able to write my own music with confidence.  It makes me feel all gooey with excitement.  No-one but my husband and the neighbours will ever hear them but I simply cannot wait.  I have only ever played instruments that either need to provide their own accompaniament or are really only worth playing as part of a team sport.  The violin with its sweet soaring trembles and heart-wrenching glissandos is something you can play alone in a darkened room or prancing about as part of a larger ensemble as the mood takes you.  It’s like song but without the irritation of someone putting words to it and making it all about them.  Quiet you buffoon, the violin will transform and transcend your emotions and make them all the more potent and real.

I know what you’re thinking and you’re right.  I will never be that accomplished at the violin.  The best I will ever be able to hope for is to the ability to pick out a tune comfortably and without too many burst ear drums in the vicinity.  I should have started 20 years ago or more if I ever wanted to play in the way I rhapsodise about.  I know that.  I do.  But so what?  Even just one minim played exquisitely in an otherwise piss-poor five minute piece will make it worth it.  The response I have had from many people when I tell them that I am learning the violin has been either ‘you’re too old to get that good at it’ or ‘God, my kid/little brother/friend/child next door learned the violin and it sounded awful’.  Small-minded and terrible people.  Is that all people can ever see – the end product?  Learning something for your own pleasure is immensely satisfying.  Look beyond what you think is the end product, concentrate on the satisfaction to be gleaned from progression and for God’s sake, stop commodifying it.  And please please please – if you’ve ever wanted to pick up an instrument and learn it but you’ve always told yourself that you’re either too old, too busy or too tone deaf – ignore yourself and everyone around you.  To rather sickeningly pinch a well-known advertising slogan, just do it.  So you’re never going to be Paganini and make a living out of your violin, you’ll never be Elton John and play the piano all over the world, you’ll never be Bob Holness and play Baker Street in secret - prrrrft.  Play for pleasure, for relaxation, for concentration, for the joy that comes from learning a new skill.

Just play it.

 
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