Only Human After All

It’s now February 2021.

I had the Oxford jabsy vaccination yesterday.

It’s 5am. Our cat Rambo is pestering me in bed, and being a pesky annoyance harassing us for the last few nights lots…in his springtime excitement

My arm is hurting. Otherwise – feeling pretty good so far. Bar lethargic today and needed an afternoon kip.

I received a shielding letter yesterday – even though I’ve been very safe, careful and home working for the majority of the pandemic. I have some box ticking underlying health conditions. (Which I’m working on to improve, with support from my health providers)

Yes sometimes in moments my worse fears have been present. To my knowledge I haven’t had COVID or needed to test for it. But for all I know maybe I have? I’ve had the odd few days in the last year of feeling a bit rough, some sinus headaches, weather changes and a nasty UTI when Tipsy our cat got ill and put to sleep.

All those other viruses did not just go away. Bar getting it from the local cob shop. We’ve been pretty lucky when ‘super spreading’ has been allegedly rife everywhere.

We had a good virtual catch up via Zoom with friends last night. Netflix binge watching recommendations were plentiful. Along with a hilarious sleepwalking ‘checkout operator’ In bed story. Involving the contents of bedside cabinet being scanned into ‘under the covers.’ The realisation that nearly a year of this has gone by. Reminiscent recalls of those old times of hugs, holidays and socialising in the flesh. Wow! Facebook memory lane!

Watched a really funny film ‘Booksmart.’ Our sense of humour too.

With an easing of lockdown in the UK on the horizon. We are accepting – this year will, in many ways be restricted with movement and interaction with loved ones. This thing can’t last forever… well we will see!

Making the most of a crazy circumstance been the enabler for us : A productive working from home regime with the many facets of what we do.

Indeed opportunities knocked, were manifested and embraced. Adapt and conquer, or don’t.

With an improved and growing international reach of my Music. Ange’s businesses in the world of Tarot, book publishing, herbs, oils & candles are thriving.

Survival – financially, physically, practically and emotionally was the goal from lockdown 1. Yes we did it.

Be in no doubt, we have had our ‘moments.’ Some domestic arguments, irritated each other at times.

But perseverance and positive thinking remains the dominant thing. Days job stresses are my main trigger, followed by the approach to perimenopausal beginnings. Yes some low days. (See previous blog) But mainly good and productive days.

From the start of lockdown 1. I made a promise to myself to be productive with my passion – music. An album ‘GODS’ some enriching and ongoing collaborative work. I’m now working on a new album Goddess 2 for 2022. Let us not forget, the release of our live, raw improvised album via Stinking Rita band – Live From Studio Five (recorded in between lockdown restrictions last year in a rehearsal studio)

Spare time from full time day jobsy in the NHS & studying for a CIPS qualification is spent musically. (Bar killing a few zombie hoards on the PlayStation) it has become a productive Groundhog Day.

Leisure time is spent holidaying and exploring otherworldly interests and posting cooking videos via YouTube.

After a brief cold spell. We are venturing out locally for nature walks- the cross trainer has been my winter mode of good sweats.

Ange & I have indeed become weary and frustrated of our lack of freedom to travel – but have been good girls with the imposed ‘rules.’ The long dark winter months are never a favourite time of the year. Switching off the horrors, speculations of the media and reading books, listening to podcasts has been the way for me to distract from the shite of what we are presented with.

Disconnection has been healthy for me – as am not a social butterfly. Becoming even less so over the years. Keeping good friends close and everyone else at a distance virtually is good for me. Yes you can see my activities and sharings, (a record of memories for Clange)

I don’t look much at what others are up to, which in some ways is disconnecting.

In our home environment – we are de cluttering slowly. Filling every wall space left in the house with wall tapestries. Mystical additions to salt lamps with mellow lighting has improved our surroundings and limited space.

I did have a very busy and in some ways shitty dark January- good riddance you sticky stinky arsehole with fleas and piles!

Even my sad lamp stuttered. But a Gousto delivered meals regime of some very nice food, cooked live on Facebook & YouTube 4 nights a week by Ange is like eating out, at home.

https://youtube.com/channel/UCPQcD0P6MHFET1ksQ0XT2fA

Whilst not costing us the earth. Our food waste has definitely declined. It’s just the extra cardboard packaging. (That we recycle)

This new, free from supermarket visits life is great. Once a month, a staple goods online delivery. Weekly fresh food from Gousto & our farm shop. Has saved time & money for us.

We have enjoyed some weekend takeaway deliveries from ‘Filthy Vegan.’ A monster kebab with hot sauce!

As a regime of gradual and healthy weight loss fills us with wellbeing. (the odd blip week when the scales just say – “slightly disappointed, but don’t give up- if you don’t order naughty snacks – you can’t eat them bitches.”

Lessons… progress. Positive habit changes.

Ange did a lovely thing the other day. We are both very aware that others are not as fortunate as us. We are by no means wealthy with money. We are abundant and grateful of everything else.

We had a good month. So Ange went out and bought and donated some staple food stuffs (and a cake for the volunteers) who are providing cheap and free cooked meals at a local community centre.

Whilst also supporting animal charities, which we continue to do. It’s nice to not be selfish.

A big high five to those of you that have fund raised for good causes, volunteered, done your bit and philanthropists. Paying it forward feels good.

We were talking last night about how judgemental and dictatorial some folk have become… these post notification social media keyboard warriors, self professed experts ‘Ranting Twats’ in their chosen field of being fucking obnoxious and entitled. Yep.. we’ve all seen it and cringed, unfollowed, un friended. Not that this virtual reality of social media ‘friendships’ truly fills the void of human to human interaction.

The path to Dystopian nightmares in gaining traction. With technological distraction.

Ban your mobile phone for an hour and focus on the physical… wow… therapy for the addicts.

Weaned off the loneliness of virtual reality… now that is an impossible task for some.

I remember 10p in a phone box was the thing when I was a kid.

How times have changed.

Along with living amongst potholes, bodge jobs with no longevity of the fix, (as there is no money, a lot of wasted money in a failed energy company too. Why, when you are not experts or the monopoly in that field even attempt it!) – have a looksie too at Denmark’s plastic recycled roads. Oh and really bad inconsiderate drivers are everywhere, road hogging cyclists and a city that needs some TLC when it opens up again. I have visions of cities in the Walking Dead!

Then, there are the ones, that are able to articulate sensibly their opinions and have a decent debate, when these things differ from others. I prefer them.

Ange and I are intrigued by some Nordic areas and ways of life and are planning a visit.

We have been encouraged by ideas, proposals and support the Nottingham Green Quarter group, Nottingham Cohousing & Good Food Partneship. https://www.facebook.com/groups/nottinghamgreenquarter/?ref=share

I’m not a fan of the greyness and unsustainable greed of cities.

Ethical and sustainable approaches in business and living is paramount to our future.

Even though Ange and I are craving travel and road trips. (And are adventuring in food atm) Planning and researching is fun and fills us with excitement. Most importantly – hope.

Nearly a year of Pandemic (for whatever the real truths are around this thing) has left us restricted, grieving, struggling at times, but mainly resilient, productive and resourceful. Some have not opted for that route. I’ve interacted and listened with people who have experienced isolation, fear, rejection, mental health issues and it’s really is a sad thing.

Anxiety (I’ve had some worrying episodes) is the controlling mystery monster that never truly explains why when it exits its hole! But techniques, meditation, Reiki, reassurance, talking about it, has helped me combat that dark, bleak, empty, terrifying, panic entity in my mind.

There is also that elephant in my rooms of subconscious. The dreaming. An ocean of visual delights, horrors, strange need. My brain, soul, past lives are creating a murmuration of a party in my pants. I experience life times during those REM sleeps. The weird, the re digested is put into Claud’s mixing bowl of night movies and spat out. Recently hanging out with Tom Cruise (nothing sexual, even for a lesbian)

I don’t journal my dreams. I’ve already sought and found my mission and messages in the life (by no means does this mean I’m a complete enlightened being yet) I am cracking on with that journey. With the downs and ups that brings.

I’m now focussing on the beautiful awakenings of spring, walks by the river, blossom, the freshening of air.

The lilley pads in the lake. Those still moments of joy and breathing. Nature connection. The big wide sky. A little bit of tree hugging harmed no one and no thing.

As always – making music saved and saves me from an apocalypse in mind, soul and body parts. I can wrap myself up in it, never mind what is outside my creative cocoon.

Sobriety (mostly I have an unpleasant after effect of feeling depressed from drinking. Tea and a clearer head, has been the better version of me for a number of years) and spirituality is the path my twenty something I was weary of and uneducated in. This is now my (lot better) reality.

These thinking early woke hours, spent manifesting good things. Along with lesser times chewing over the bad and forcing myself free of those voices and frustrations. A mindfulness exorcism is something needed. Or a pep talk along the lines of ‘sort your shit out!’

Good days and bad days exist.

But…. the future, as well as the present should be embraced with all the positivity the world can muster. Survival and wellbeing. I’m sure there will be lots with a whole bucket list of regrets in hindsight, who did not invent or embrace opportunities, but dwell and place blame. Effort is sometime painful, exhausting. When I’ve failed an exam. I studied harder, sacrificed more free leisure time and retook to gain a distinction. Pleased? Accomplished? Hell yes!

But even with successes and failures. The effort of doing and trying is very rewarding. I much more enjoy the journeys than indulging the end results. As soon as one journey is finished, I don’t want to remain still, but embark on another.

With a daily routine of gratitude and appreciating loved ones and all that extra time with our cats. We journey on in this….adventure.

I am only human here…. after all. (Please excuse typos.. you get the gust)

My music links https://linktr.ee/earthtreehealing

Rambo #hurtstits
Rambo #hurtsboobies

Where these mystical roads lead

We were travelling at night in the rain through Sherwood Forest Country. The skyline glowed with the orange city lights. Eerie. The flooded roads, as dark as addiction in denial, manipulation failures and that empty bitterness of self pitying rejection for some.  Opportunity knocks for all of us when we travel along the road of hope, good omens and vision. Friday night the Harvest Moon had shone brightly. Enlightened and changing times. Synchronicity and gratitude always. You all know who you are.

It’s all been positively busy the last month. Shutting one door when it came to the end of the road felt like a demon lifted from my soul. Diplomacy from my part. The escape. The casualties of departures that didn’t take advantage of opportunities lie bitter in ignoreland. With various projects on the go. I’m excited going into the autumn. Beautiful rustic colors.  a nip in the air. 

Last weekend. (14th & 15th September) I performed 4 sets of my Earth Tree Healing music at Newark Showground, Lizian Events Well Being Show. In the sunny garden. Tired out from a busy working no duvet days off for a while. Reinvigorated in the sunshine and creatively. My tools of communication = my instruments. Again, I am grateful meeting intriguing, spiritual folks. Fluke loop pedals, reptilians, crop circles, the Brexit pantomime….Belonging is a feeling I cherish. (Being one of the non fitter inners in the world.) Thank you Liz and Ian and the community for opportunities.

Reiki practice and meditation is helping a chilled out Claud with a positive, strong mindset.

I’m expanding my Library music portfolio.

Pond5

With my Earth Tree Healing single ‘Ethereal Sunset 432 Hz (Boho Mix) out on the 20th September. Followed by album ‘Western Mystical Tradition’ is released 28th September.

https://linktr.ee/earthtreehealing

enlight41

Another exciting new project will be unearthed publicly soon… winkety winner winky wink. Watch my instagram for sneaky stinking previews. @claudsville

IMG_4550

Not forgetting a big thank you for all the hard work uniquely gifted Angela Barker does behind the scenes for continued evolution, success and support for others. https://angelabarkertarot.com/

Love and Light ~ Claudine

 

 

 

Making Monsters

Oh yes we made it! The mid-season break for us is the opposite of a writers strike. With a 2 week break over the holidays and New Year. 2016 had killed my Banjo. (A new Hercules triple whammy guitar stand purchased for out of its case protection) catching up with sleep, countless games of drunken ‘New market’ and ‘Cards Against Humanity’ and indulging the sick horror of human nature when prompted.  Arse sitting whisky a go go was a luxury. When the over indulgence ended and the toilet rolls depleted, the detoxes began. Armed with a Garnet stone for creativity. 2 New Age albums ready to go in 2017. I began more work on the backing tracks for the new album. Plans as of this blog are: Making Monsters by Strange Currencies. It’s useful to lock ‘oneself’ away during the darkened months. I don’t get ‘SAD’ I get ‘Gutted’ =’ Godforsaken Unadulterated Traumatic Tedious Exhausting Darkness’

Pumped up with extra vitamin D complexities. Strange algae and red berry concoctions downed inspired by some doctor on my face book feed turned. Ones PP into rainbow bright droplets of strange waz. After a fleeting though of knowing now what I didn’t then ‘should I have not done ‘normal’ day jobs and dedicated myself to music full time when younger with gigging. Not drank, smoked, got stoned and let my shyness and rage rule too much.’ But then again I wrote and recorded loads. https://bogwoppit.bandcamp.com/   So not time wasted. But you see now. As my only left addictions to crisps and chocolate fade after getting some dietitian help. I looked at my  video reflection on facetime last night and thought no no NO!

I’d hoped for a quiet return to the day job into 2017. https://strangecu.wordpress.com/2016/12/13/into-2017-strange-currencies/ This was marred by it not being quiet. Organised chaos where everybody pulls out the stops to help out. I like my NHS job. It is rewarding when you can help make a difference….. and never boring. I might ache from running about miles of corridors after ‘slothing’ on my hols. Regret purchasing the ‘on sale’  £21 walking shoes that basically shit. I’ll stick to my Nikes and shoes for office/ meeting days. Luckily my trouser still button up and I can bend over without splitting my britches!

I regress… So plans in motion for a video for American Saviour. Really.. Really soon. The album is taking shape over evenings and weekends. Got some late January gigs with Strange Currencies. The 30 min set has been chopped and honed. Last year we tested various songs; have buried the ones that got less reaction from the people ignoring us on stage.  We’ve got a set that we like playing more now.

Big thank you to Andrew Neil for some inspiring advice and opportunities via his Facebook feeds.

22nd-jan-2017-gig-poster-the-maze

We’ve had a lot of fun on Acacia Radio http://acaciaradioaw.weebly.com/ Big thanks to Ian Hales, Shaun and Lucas Jackson. Interviews and live songs without swearing of to many FCUK ups. I even shocked myself doing Xmas songs with enthusiasm.  I was even in a good mood and excited! Little Donkey and Jingle Bells all the way baby!  https://www.facebook.com/strangecu/videos/1136161273172057/

The last time I dressed as Santa ended up being my last gig. I quit the band  that I’d  cofounded and put so much creative effort into a decade earlier. So the curse of Xmas jumpers… Only time will tell 😉 Jesus seriously doesn’t want me for a sunbeam.

Doing the amount of gigs we did from July 2016 https://strangecu.wordpress.com/gigs/  (as well as a full time day job and recording an EP.) At times the enthusiasm to play live after a long day was hard, tempers were tested, moods low. Well there were times when I just wanted to walk away and quit. As did PP Johnson. But. Then we’d have a good gig. The bad gigs when we played to the bar staff or crowds with their back to us were atypical of the growing expectation for musicians in the wrong venues to be background noise or karaoke with a guitar. There were nights after a long day I was tired and questioning, full of PMT and just want to cozy up with the Walking Dead. Resilience gets one through. The drive to achieve and surprise myself is strong like the force. My strumming fingernail has still not recovered and I’ve had to resort to more plectrum usage when used to my usual finger picking style.  Evolving….

I love technology. Xmas also produced make over  app fun! (My zombify pictures of Ange over xmas didn’t go down too well!)  But putting her Dad who had fallen asleep and provided an opportunity… Alan in make up and wigs did!

alan-1

Then I went blond

15622013_10154423425514565_8568397730589268394_n

Then we went to Harry Potter World

harry-p-1

The end…..of 2016

Into 2017…

Onto the album Making Monsters

I’ve just bought a £23 self-assembly blues cigar guitar. I’ll be indulging along with the sitar to use on recordings this year. It’s very easy to get caught up with loops when in studio. American Saviour began as a mess about around the punch line. ‘Ride The Pony’ That Ange (My Wifey) and I were going to do for a piss take. We have some tracks nearly ready such as ‘Stay Down Kid.’ Originally a riff from one of my own ‘Sonic World’ reworked. I’m quite excited about Gypsy Disco. In Your World is a loopy starter for ten. The first batch is nearly there for final vocal takes. ‘This Girl’ is a haunting piano ballad. ‘Automatic’ is currently a bone of contention. The song ‘Making Monsters’ is near.    There is a new song ‘Mantaray’ that I’ve done some vocals on. This may end up on my next solo ‘Claudine West’ album though. There is a duet under the working title ‘Twosome’ about to be written. I’ve initially recorded a backing track and submitted some lyrics and concept ideas that may well be scrapped. I imagined a dark ‘Islands in the Stream’ around obsession and blame, about a lover and bit of a motherFCUKer that loses the plot and murders the man she is having an affair with. We will see what the next few months produce. PP Johnson has been producing lyrics and ideas.  I do love the writing and recording process. Big Thanks again to Angela Barker. Who organises, manages, drives, rodies, networks, gets the sh1t, gets the drinks at the bar and much more.  We are not easy Divas 😉

We spend the end of 2016 watching the winter sun setting in Portsmouth. Its rather lovely sat on a beach with a cup of tea readying for new musical adventures…

  • Claudine

Making Zaga Momma’s On Banjo

Sunday. The day for creating, cooking, fcuking and doing this. It’s been around or about 7 years since I should have written and recorded an ‘official song’ .. The relationship, love kind. Must be the Spirulina I’m taking waking my cockles up! For Ange my wife, lover, best friend. Here you go..Ange inspires daily and always has.

IMG_5514

It began like this:

Lyrics:

She’s got a teapot bladder

Seeing Jacobs ladder

The love I have

Is the warmth of hand

Glowing shadow bugs

With this years bladder rugs

The love I have

Is the tough demands

 

Shaky norks boobie

Big zaga mommas

Beautiful blue eyes

Groovy summers

 

Ange is popular socially

Does a bap dance during holy molys

The love I have

Is the light I am

Kind and loving and good with the oven

She like cheese muffin and a sweet tap bum bum whooping

The love I have

Is the love I am

 

She’s a Tarot reader and gifted beaver

Not to mention a bloody stubborn bleeder

The love I have

Got me off the bad

Ange is the woman that I love love love most

The kindest soul and my past life tug boat

The love I have

Is all I asked

 

Then with Banjo, Acoustic Guitar, Piano and some vocals plopped on I made this.

ZAGA MOMMA’s (ANGE’S SONGS)

I’d also done some of this. Lots  of bad words!

I do love my Fender Stratocaster: Working on an as yet untitled song.

  

  

 An old one about the suicide of a friend.

 

Now it’s winner winner chicken dinner time!

 

~ Claudine

 

 

 

 

Noctis Labyrinthus : Instrumental

There is a lot of instrumental composition work going on at the moment.  As well as looking for some fellow multi-instrumentalists for a new project to take out live and in studio. Something I’ve been wanting to try for years.

I find the universe fascinating and found and article via Twitter Jarosite in the Noctis Labyrinthus Region of Mars via NASA.

NASA

So I bought the tiny M-Audio 32 ‘mini’ midi keyboard to link up to pro tools. It looked bigger on ‘Amazon!’ My large hands don’t feel the same as playing weighted keys on my electric piano. But… we work with what we have.

 

 

Listen

https://www.reverbnation.com/claudinewest

https://bogwoppit.bandcamp.com/

 

And then there was Piano. Rhinos

I wrote this late last year while going through a pretty bad time mentally and emotionally. What do us songwriters do? We write, we exorcise the demons. Therapy.

I was inspired naming it with this article Rhino

words:

Shine a light upon my mountain

But I’m still filling up on dread

World hovers on my shoulders

The past, the present the future then I’m dead

 

Release, release Rhinos

 

Unreachable devastation

The Meditation said

To look outside my inner anger

See what Buddha said

 

I’m making up preservation

I’m talking to the wise

The mechanics of coping

Are practiced many times

 

When I’m a lone with the demons

 

I set in motion lots of dealing

On my darkest days

My instruments of adjustment

Stop mental state delays

 

 © Claudine West 2014

Citadel – 2015

If you look towards that horizon. Beyond it lies the Citadel: The centre that is fortified, the core. Protection.

I’ve yet to decide whether this as yet unwritten but bubbling away at the gates, will be Bog Woppit alternative or New Age meditation music project.  Maybe a hybrid? The title was born yesterday and belongs within my walls. The inspiration for this new work?

Maybe its the smell of the new incense I’m burning today. Maybe its the arrival of this?

IMG_9557

Yes its a ART Multiverb Effects unit. I’m a big fan of Flange and Chorus! Even though my Boss Multi Effects is a bad boy in itself. I love an old piece of vintage kit. Plugging straight into a laptop and adding technology somehow doesn’t feel as realistic as plugging in a chunky piece that crackles. I am old school that is slowly embracing home studio advances. I used one of these in the 90’s with my music mentor Grimm. Its arrival has brought back many memories and his Ghost. Memories of the dark, good times, indulgent times. My musical output was massive as my day to day commitments were small then. The portal is once again sending stuff through. Be it sober this time.

So I’ve freed up more time and am focussing more. Without pissing my pants, 2015 is going to be a very exciting and active year. Subway Circus will be out there live  on the shits and gigging circuit very shortly. It took a while! But getting the right band members who play their parts and give inspired input to a very high standard is imperative in my book.

I’m going to do more solo live mic nights this year. As I just fancy a bit of it.

Its nice to have my drive and focus acknowledged by the least likely people. Thank YOU. So while a splash new paint and create more colourful canvases. Listen to all.

PS I’m not going to mention my eye lid crabs! Whatever next? !