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A Year In Reflection

Up until the closing months of this year I had been telling myself that this was my ‘Annus Horribilus’ (Latin for ‘The Bad Year’).  I was focusing on all the things that were bad about it, and there were a few. I burnt my foot and was bed ridden, I had great ambitions to make a filthy swing trio that didn’t work out and broke up before it even started, I lost the love for the busking and nearly gave up, I felt my favourite seasons of Spring and Autumn were stolen from me and replaced by a torturously hot long summer, I lost my studio and little place I could call my own, I got into a bit of debt with people who had been so kind to me and I didn’t manage to finish an album in my studio.

 

 

But then I started to think it all depends how I look at it.  I have achieved a lot of good things over this year and become a much stronger person in many ways.  I have read around 40 books, including some of the finest works of English literature.  I have completely stopped watching porn and masturbating (I know this is a very personal thing to say but it has been such an important revelation to me). I have learned to sing the scale without the aid of a keyboard.  I have written a few gems of songs and many lyrics.  Drawn hundreds of doodles and portraits and sold them with CD’s.  I have become quite adept at ‘Palm’ (cold) reading people as a social experiment.  I have a great selection of suits and shoes and suave style.  I have re-found my love for playing the piano and made a nice set of songs to play and got quite good at it again.  Many good things, so here are some memories of what has been a great and eventful year.

It started when I got back to Berlin after spending Christmas at home.  I felt so alone and kind of felt that going back always reverts me to my local old self.  I set out travelling to escape that.  I know that sounds strange, but when you are in a new city you feel you can start again and be whomever you wish.  I was trying to hide that old self of mine.  But creating a character to live through can separate your personal self from the responsibility of ‘his’ actions.  I felt alone because I wasn’t letting anybody really in.  This identity had become a wall around me, and even though I liked the protection and the mystery surrounding me, it left me feeling like an island.  I picked myself up in those first few weeks and got into a good flow with the busking again.  After a lovely few days of cold, but fruitful busking I went to my studio to lock myself away.  I had just got a nice episode of Monty Python on and as I filled the hot water bottle up, it dropped on my foot and melted the skin right off!

 

I was in agony and bed ridden for a month.  This was my start to the year.  But I drew and drew and detoxed myself. Before that, I was living at a very fast pace, drinking, busking, palm reading and was quite intense in my actions and presence.  Sadly, I let Louis down with a few busks and he had been such a solid busking brother the year before.  I let him down when he needed it most. I was telling myself I didn’t need anyone, I have to find a strength in myself.  I was in quite a brutal mindset and this injury really knocked me off that perch and slowed me down and made me reflect on myself.

 

 

After a month or so, I was back to it and we had a few rehearsals with a good mate and bass player.  I thought it sounded great and we had a brilliant energy between us.  We were doing the really dirty swingy ones and I had a deep and dark gravel in my voice.  But the mistake I made is that we were already a solid duo and were doing great musically and financially.  Getting an extra member in just upset the dynamic a little bit and Louis lost a little love for it, which, in hindsight, I understand fully.  But as it all drifted apart I felt it was the Universe’s way of telling me I need to be completely self-sufficient and not rely on anybody but myself.  I always felt I needed a busking partner as I enjoyed it more and felt I was putting on a show, whereas on my own, I felt a little vulnerable and would always revert to the sad, sad songs and feel and sound a little lonely.  

Spring was just around the corner and I felt so ready for it!  I live for the Spring and am in my optimal temperature and season.  I thought it was going to be the answer to all my woes and make me feel great and alive again.  It did, for 3 weeks.  It was 22 degrees and beautiful every single day.  I basked in it and drifted and drunk and enjoyed every moment.  Then, at the end of April it shifted up a gear and did not go below 28 degrees for a long time.  I was exhausted from the initial 3 weeks of endlessly drinking and drifting and when the heat went into over-drive it became too hot to busk outside and the Ubahns had dried up.  I had lost my busking partner and was starting to feel like shit.  I was missing a nice rainy day to recuperate, but I suppose the lesson is, ‘Be careful what you wish for’.  I had spent the Winter dreaming of the Spring sun in Berlin and then I got it in more than an abundance. 

 

I was destitute for a few months, taking bottles back, rummaging for loose change.  Louis and I kept arranging to busk and then something would always get in the way and we would end up not going for some reason or another.  The rent for the studio was adding up and up each and every week and month and I felt this mountain to climb and felt like giving up.  Louis had gone on tour in Canada for 3 months so now I was truly alone.  I tried busking with a few people, but came to the realization, that I don’t just need any busking partner, but the right one.  I thought that if I was busking with someone it would make me feel better, but in the few cases I tried, it made me feel worse!

 

 

Not only that, the heat took another shift in gear and went to no less than 35 degrees every single day!  No rest from the rays.  I am just not genetically built for that kind of heat.  I thought a little trip home might revive my spirits a little bit and re-invigorate my old love for busking and help me remember why I started.  I managed to get a flight back to Liverpool for 3 weeks and it was nice in many ways.  I was still dreading to go busking each day and just had no love for it.  The weather was nice though, cloudy and 18 degrees with a gentle Northerly breeze.  It was nice to spend time with my family; I read the whole Lord of The Rings Trilogy and a few other books and did some nice writing.  

I got back to Berlin in September and the heat was only just subsiding.  There were still 33 degree days, but there were also a few cloudy ones.  Still not much rain, though, and the grass at Mauer Park and Boxhangener was non-existent and it looked like a desert.  I wasn’t the only one to suffer in that heat, the trees and plants were hanging low also.  I had a few weeks of  still feeling a little in-between myself but started to pick myself up bit by bit.  Louis was due back any day and I was looking forward to having a nice catch up with me old mate.  When I put the trio together I was asking too much by saying we should busk 4 days a week and practise one day a week.  This is a lot to ask of anyone, but I felt it a sure way of us really becoming a solid unit and making some nice progress.

 

We met up at our usual spot and had a nice coffee and catch up.  I said you are more than welcome to join me if you fancy a bit o busking. But no expectations or commitment; just come if you feel like it! He was very up for it and so I started to get the permit again and get into a great swing of things.  Louis is such a brilliant musician to work with and what he played put such a smile on my face and made me feel alive again!  In-between his passion and amazing talent at photography we had some lovely busks at the Market and the Museum and some Ubahns.  This lasted a few months before he went back to Canada for some studio work and some exciting projects.  I was gutted to lose him again, but I still felt a great momentum with my busking and an enjoyment.  I was making some nice geld and really felt that my time in the studio had really evolved me as a musician.  Then I started to look back on the year and this is when I switched my mentality to a positive outlook. 

 

 

Even in all the turmoil I felt I was still productive and creative.  I never had a smartphone and I go through at least a book a week.  I was writing and drawing lots, learning and writing songs, vocalising each day, going for bike rides and finding great music all around me, but one of the most important things I have achieved this year has been this...

It sounds so personal a thing to write about, but whenever I sit down to write, even though I know people around me will read it and judge me, I feel like I am writing for the future.  To that person who finds these words and takes some comfort, inspiration, laughter or tears.  Like Winston in 1984, you are sending your words on their own journey.  The best thing I have done this year is become (almost) completely celibate.  It started when I looked at this horrible creation that is the porn industry and saw it like a poison for your mind and a corruption of the most special feeling we can experience as humans and men.  You feel sick afterwards, start to hate yourself, question the legality and morality and feel paranoid that the ever watching algorithm is building a deep psychological profile of you.  I thought it was time to purify myself of that poison and told myself that I would stop being a “wanker” and save that special sexual energy for making love.  (I wonder what the effects of having all this brutal, dark, loveless porn at the fingertips of pubescent teenagers will do to that generation in the long run.)

 

This was in September of 17 and I went the next 3 months completely celibate.  I felt this incredible build up of energy.  The first two weeks were the hardest, but then I started to feel something special building up inside me.  I was waking up at 6am every day, I would pace up and down the studio and my thoughts were like a high speed train.  It was like being on drugs, but your body’s own natural drugs!  I had such an abundance of energy and felt a real strength in my presence and train of thought.  I would never be lost for words, or feel weak in my presence and the girls really noticed it.  I would go to a gig and in the bar they would be touching me as they brushed past, coming to speak to me and I could just tell that they sensed something.

 

 

I met a very beautiful lady and we ended up making passionate love.  It felt so nice and special, but the moment I orgasmed I felt this energy leave me like a ghost.  It was like I could almost see it vanish from me!  Then for the next few days I started sleeping till ten, was a bit more lethargic and not as energetic.  Your brain feels that your job as a man is done and there is no need to try anymore.  We have found someone to reproduce with. (That is what your brain thinks on the basic level)  But when you save all this male energy it builds up and up and stronger and you want to push yourself further by being a stronger man to attract the perfect female.  I know all this sounds so personal to admit, but I have no problem telling most people I meet in person, so why not here?  Anyway...

I continued to save myself so to speak and felt like I was starting from zero again.  But after having a little taster of how it made me feel and be, it was incentive enough to keep strong and get back to that state.  I went another 3 months and was feeling incredible again.  You really start to feel the effects after a month.  After two months it is doubled, and three it is so powerful that your body starts to heal of all these aches and pains and scratches.  My hair was so thick and full, my voice deep and strong, my presence very powerful.  It was so addictive, but in a moment of weakness I met a beautiful girl and we made love.  As nice as it was to feel close to someone, the feeling was gone again and I started again from zero.  I am only human, and prone to the same temptations and weakness to woman as any man.

 

The same cycle happened after another 3 months and I started to wonder what it would be like after 4, 5 and 6 months!  (Nikola Tesla was also a celibate person and gave his whole life to his work and look what he achieved!)  Anyway, I still feel I have done myself great service to my body and mind by abstaining (mostly) from this release of energy.  I am going to spend 2019 by reaching the 14 month mark this time next year!  I am not closing myself off completely from a romantic relationship, if I meet the girl of my dreams I am not going to be silly enough to let her go.  I will share that energy with her.  But I have stopped ‘tricking’ my brain into thinking we have done our job and I feel great about myself.

 

I did some research on it and there is actually a big movement called NOFAP which says a lot of what I felt and wrote about here.  It was only after half a year I discovered this and it really helped to inspire me more knowing I wasn’t alone.  To any male reading this I ask you wholeheartedly to just try and go a month without FAPing and see how you feel at the end.  It will make your sex life much more pleasurable and passionate and will do your body and mind the world of good.  You don’t know until you try and it has been such a revelation to me that I must write it on my blogs as it is an important part of my lifestyle now.

 

 

Wow, well this has turned into a bit of a big and personal one and I am tempted to wrap it up here and just add some other memories of my time this year in additional entries.  So, here is to 2018, a great year and the start of a brand new one to get stuck in to.  Bring on 2019!

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