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Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Push The Big Red Button ..

What pushes your buttons ? Can we narrow that down even further ? What pushes your work buttons and what pushes your personal buttons ? Are they the same ? I doubt it. Then again, how many of us are the same at home as we are in the office.

It is something I ponder, as I do believe I am myself as much as can be expected at most times. However this is the rub. No one knows you like your family right ? Then again, you spend more time with your work colleagues. So who knows you best, the real you, and do they know which buttons to avoid. My take on it is that the work buttons are quite well known, and your colleagues want to avoid them, so in most cases do their best to avoid pushing the big red button and watching the fireworks that ensue, although, sometimes, and I have to say it is rare, risky and sometimes doesn’t work. It is worth pushing the big red button to get something done, however the key to this is to light the touchpaper and retire, thereby the explosion happens somewhere else (hopefully where you had planned it) this as noted is risky and you could get caught in the crossfire. Just depends how much collateral damage you are willing to receive to get the desired end result.

That is where it gets complicated for my brain. For me pushing buttons at work is only worth doing if you need a specific result, an end a reaction that makes something else happen. There would be no good reason to do it otherwise, that’s just pointless and not harmonious for the workplace. The very point of teamwork is to avoid winding people up, working together and working out how others best work to get the best results. That’s the point. Or at least I like to think it’s the point.

Family, they can push the button for no reason at all, by accident, by design, by coincidence. There is a slightly less worrying edge to it, because you are family and it will get resolved, there is some level of sibling button pushing that is expected, without which we wouldn’t learn boundaries nor would we learn what’s important to us, our siblings. It is sometimes quite surprising to me what sets me off. That is a learning curve, the buttons you didn’t know you had, suddenly someone has flicked a switch and you realize that actually you are hugely offended, and had no sign that you might be.

Then you get to friends and partners, somewhere in the no mans land between family and work. Not family enough to just push the button and damn the consequences, that would imply a complete lack of care, thought and consideration. The very basics of which your friendship / relationship is built upon. As above these can be stumbled onto with complete ignorance, and at that point it is usually too late to stop the process. Best to just chalk that one up and remember it for the future.

Me ? I wont lie. I have many buttons. Some result in minor sparkler type fireworks and some the full C4. I am still finding them as I grow older, and also that some of the bigger buttons have somewhat decreased in size as I mature. Ask 8 year old Maxine about Fox Hunting and all hell would have broken loose, button deployed, stand back and watch her foam at the mouth. Ask 32 year old Maxine about Fox hunting and whilst I still feel extremely strongly on the subject, you would have to be going some, and be quite the ignorant fool to get me riled to the extent where I would lose my temper. However, insult one of my friends, or much much worse, my family and I will go up like the Atlantis hotel on New Years Eve. That’s a guarantee and quite an obvious one. My other major bug bear is inconsistency. If you are going to argue with me make sure you recall what you said. Make sure your story is consistent. Make sure you have a point and you can make it, make sure you are not going to back track or change your story or try to pretend you meant something different than what you said originally. If you are going to say something. Mean it. Mean it and back it up. I cannot bear to listen to half stories and explanations of, no I meant the total opposite to what you heard. No I didn’t say that. I said something very similar but marginally different. Another thing to add to the list. I have (currently as I have had no kids) an amazing memory. I can quote you back word for word. This comes from my days as a padless waitress. Sounds worse than it actually was. But, I can, and I will. I get immensely frustrated with people who cannot be true and truthful. People who disguise reality with half truths and smoke and mirrors. It is probably one of the worst offences. It implies that I am stupid, it implies I can be misled and it suggests I am easily fooled. I am not stupid, I am hard to mislead and I am no ones fool. These things are not hard to note.

I also have a long memory, which is totally different from holding a grudge before all the men pop up and start claiming they are hard done too. Women store up things like this. Not because we are mythical creatures who love to beat you over the head with past errors, but because no doubt the last time it happened, it hurt. Therefore it makes an impression. You do it again, it reminds of the time before that and the time before that. So we bring it up in an effort to show you (the idiot) that you are not learning. You are continuing to push the big red button. Over and over again.

They say the definition of a psychopath is a person who does the same thing over and over and expects a different outcome. Note to all of you button pushers. If you are having the same argument over and over again, the answer is why ? Change of behavior perhaps ?

At the end we all have buttons that can be pushed, bad ones like I describe above or good ones. The good ones are used to manipulate, the bad ones for reactions and the average ones in between are used for everyday life. Because everything you say or do elicits a reaction from another person, in some way. We push buttons all day long every day.  Stop and think about the next one you intend to push and the reaction it will get. It’s worth it in the long run.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

About a Blog ..

A little cup of irony for breakfast rather than my usual strong cup of coffee today. Whilst I sipped it I realized that I may have changed. The old Maxine used to dash straight into things, without a thought or a care, sure in the knowledge that the fact that I was right was enough. That moral outrage would see me through and that the world was such a place that everyone would see that I am right and order would be restored.

Maybe I haven’t changed, maybe I have just learned that this world is not based upon the right thing, but cowardice and the easy options. The irony of this morning is that I am blogging about blogging. More specifically my distaste for certain bloggers. A blog is a blog is a blog. That is it, they are used for so many reasons, even as a business. More usual is that they are a diary, an online diary, a voice, interesting words written by people who want others to read them. Some have topics like weddings, events, photography and more recently, food. This is where I begin to lose my mind, and all sense of reason. There are many food blogs, of which I am a major fan. They discuss recipes, and tips on cooking, and foods and display a love of food in general. They have advertising, links to other blogs, and websites that are useful.  Then, and this is where I get frustrated, the reviewers. They are a different type of blogger.

I myself in the past have blogged about restaurants, usually when I have had a bad experience. I have blogged about hotels, holidays, the state of the driving in the UAE and Christmas cards and the lack of desire I have to write them. I write about my life and what’s happening in it.

I see a rise in Food Blogs that are actively e-mailing PR Managers of hotels and suggesting that they have a ‘reach’ or a ‘following’ and that a review by them, of the hotel restaurant would (if it is a good one) improve the footfall into the restaurant. How anyone has the balls to do this is beyond me? Dear PR manager, I think I am aces, I have loads of followers on twitter and if you don’t give me a free meal I will tell them that your restaurant is terrible, kind regards Food Blogger. It is mind boggling.  My main problem is these reviews are done not by a food critic who has discussed the finer ins and outs of the food itself, not by someone who knows food, not by someone who loves food with an obvious passion, but by someone who loves Social Media, and the power that it wields.

I happen to have, due to my 16 years in the country a large and varied network of people in the hotel and PR industry, and it still amazes me that people here forget that Dubai is miniscule. However, and this is my major problem, the ‘reach’ that these bloggers have is real, it is not as the blogger themselves believes to be, it is not an ardent following of ‘foodies’ who are hanging off every typed phrase and horrific photograph waiting to either rush out and book if the blogger says so, or to neatly cross of the list of potential outlets if the blog says no. Indeed it is not. The reach is that a hotel or outlet or brand can become hounded on twitter. They can be besieged by the blogger and the close knit group of people who follow. It becomes a witch hunt and then the word of mouth. Before a hotel knows it, they have been discussed on twitter and a few retweets later the damage is done. The reality of it is that the people who follow don’t enjoy it either, they just don’t have the balls to say so. I will no doubt be harassed for doing so myself. However, I care not. I have the many emails these food bloggers send to people to read through and laugh at.

If I hear one more PR Manager say to me, but if we don’t give them the free dinner they asked for they will come and give us a sh*t review, I will scream. Let them come. Let them review. The people who listen to them are not your customers anyway. If you would read a food blog and make a decision on a restaurant that you like the look of based upon one persons review then who would want them.  We live in a world of sheep, if one person has a blackberry, then it becomes the ‘must have’, if 2 sunglass clad fools spend 12,000 dhs at a nightclub, then it must be the place to go. Regardless of if everyone is standing about wondering what they are doing there. If I hear one more tale of emails about free hotel stays, free holidays, free samples I think I may have to resign from twitter. It isn’t how it is done. When you show me your statistics and what you can do for my company in black and white, in numbers then maybe I will entertain you. Until then ….

What these bloggers don’t know, is there is a silent group of people who don’t barge onto twitter and share things, but email each other, from hotel to hotel, from PR to PR, from Journo to Journo, laughing. Laughing at you. Thinking to themselves that 1 dinner really isn’t the end of the world to just keep you quiet. That’s the problem. It’s easier to keep you quiet than to just put an end to it. One day. One day a PR manager somewhere will just hit print screen and this will all be over. Sadly it won’t be me.  I will keep the e-mails and I will re-read them and laugh.

The point of my somewhat rambling note, is that the concept of a mystery shopper is a brilliant one. If you get a free meal, you will be served differently. If you don’t get a free dinner, but you let them know you are coming, paying and reviewing  Same. Thing. They will treat you differently. The only way you can guarantee that you get a fair idea of a restaurant and how it operates is to just book and go. Then try writing about the atmosphere, the parking, the service and the food. Because a night out is an experience, not just what’s on your plate.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Because of their love ..

Sometimes you think of the sad things. I was reminded the other day about Mums and Dads and all the things we, as horrific children, inflicted upon them as we grew. We are, musically told to apologise, to say sorry for the hurt and worry we caused them.

I think, I do. However whilst I caused worry, and hurt, and broken hearts, and nasty words, which we all do, some more than most. I think of all the things I would like to thank my Parents. When you are grown, you forget the things your parents did to entertain you, to make you laugh, to keep you happy and to make you smile. These things fade from your memory, but you should remember them. These are the times that mean the most to me. These are the things that scream love, way more than presents, material things or saying the words. These are the things that shape a child. These are the things that have made me grow up and expect that everyone had the same as me. When I find, and I find it more and more that other people didn’t have the same life as me growing up, and by life I mean love and family. Then I am sad, sad that no one went out of their way to make a child feel the way I was made to feel, for it be effortless and ‘usual’.

I bought my mother a necklace, I loved it. It was beautiful, it was perfect for her, it was shiny, and it sparkled, and I chose it. The reality was that it was vile, plastic and made her look like she was going to a fancy dress party. But. She wore it, she put it over every outfit she ever chose to go out in. She put it on, she looked in the mirror and she told me how clever I was, and how much she loved it. She went out, hid it in the glove box of her car, then put it on again to come home. To tell me everyone asked about it, told her how beautiful it was and how great I am. That, is love. My Father, where to begin, he hid behind walls for hours to jump out and scare me. He patiently sat and helped me stick fake blood to my knee to scare mum with. He built me my own fairy princess cabin bed, and a dressing table just for me. He hung every rosette I ever won on my walls, and he let me know every single day that I could ask him anything in the world.

I have millions of stories like these, that make me think of my life with happiness, fuzzy felt, meccano, 3 hour round trips to school trips so that I could sleep in my own bed, but still join in the school holiday during the day. My father and I Christmas shopping for mum, our yearly trip to the Metro Centre where we shopped, and he, the maestro of shopping patiently listened to me and my horrendous suggestions (see above plastic bead story). My father, the big man, trailing the Metro looking for a suit for me, spending hours trying to show me the value of class and quality.

These things, these are the things that make a family. Not saying sorry all the time, not wishing you had done things differently, but the memories of how your parents went out of their way, over and over and over again to make you who you are.

My family let me grow up believing that this was standard. That a phone call at 3 in the morning for a lift was ok, because they were there for me. No. Matter. What. That I could go to them, with any problem, challenge or upset and it would be fixed, that we as a family would have a conference, and fix it. That nothing was insurmountable, and nothing couldn’t be achieved. This wasn’t drummed into me. Nor repeatedly reminded. It was natural. I grew up safe in the easy knowledge that this was standard. Its not. Maybe that’s why I demand so much from people. Expect that they will be the same. Expect that family is the most important thing in the world. Expect that your first thought is how you can make someone elses life easier and better. What you can do to make someone happy.

This is the gift they gave me, and whilst it means the realization that everyone isn’t like that is damn hard, and really tough. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Look at me and my brother .. but he is another story.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

We Built This City on Rock and Roll ......

I love music, that is a well-known fact. It is also a well-documented fact, when I say documented I mean face booked, twittered and blogged. I have blogged about my love of music and where it started, I have blogged about how I believe people should be fearless in their love of music, not ashamed, not embarrassed but totally and utterly immersed in what they love, regardless of if people judge you for it. I certainly don’t care, if I did I probably wouldn’t be so vocal about my outright love of Michael Ball for instance.  However, and be warned this is a peril of the industry, you can make music your life, and then you can forget the point of music. Let me be clear, you can never really forget, because the instant you hear the opening notes of a song that means something to you, you are incapable of turning off the emotions that will flood through you. That is as obligatory as growing older. What you can forget is the all-consuming, passionate desire to sing and dance along to something. The inescapable sheer delight of abandoning yourself to damn fine music.

This whole blog has to be dedicated to Rock of Ages, it brought me back to when I was 18, when I could forget everything, the time, that my feet hurt, that I had to get up the next morning, that anything else existed. That is what live music is capable of doing to you. I can distinctly remember standing in a bar called 49ers, watching a band having so much fun, and putting so much into their performances that I danced and sang until my shoes broke and my voice was hoarse. That gives me the same feeling as I got when I stood in front Tom Jones at the age of 8 and realized what live music really was. This followed me through concert after concert and night after night in rockbottom. It’s what makes me tick inside.

I remember, and I am sure my Mother and Father remember very clearly, my first ever night out ‘clubbing’. I was to all intents and purposes at the cinema. Unbeknownst to my Mother and Father, I was in one of Newcastles dodgiest bars (the only one I thought my brother wouldn’t see me in) having a fine old time. The next day I was duly grounded, my brother and his all-seeing network of friends were a little concerned as to why on earth his 15 yr old sister was in a bar called Bonkers at the weekend. Cue 2 months of misery, a month of being grounded, then more weeks and days of being grounded for refusing to speak to my poor brother, who I blamed with a massive passion for being restricted to barracks. At the end of all the teenage kicking off and moaning, my Father asked me had my one night in a nightclub been worth all that hassle and I calmly replied that yes, indeed it had been. He looked aghast and I explained that I had danced, sung, danced, twirled around and had the time of my life, and whilst there were bottles of two dogs on the go, that wasn’t my main reason for being there. It was the music. A plan was formed, and my brother became my guardian, taking me clubbing and allowing me to dance my little socks off in such places as ‘planet earth and legends’, fast forward to Dubai, and bars with real life people in them singing music. Old school music, heaven.

From then until now live music has been a part of my world. However I haven’t recently found myself in any situation where I have lost the sense of who I am, where I am or what I am doing. That’s what a real live concert should do to you. I watched Rock of Ages and I watched Tom Cruise capture the old school Rock Gods with perfect sweat inducing, jack daniels drinking strutting perfection and it made me yearn for a wild night out. Watching the shots of people crammed in bars having the night of their lives, made me wish to be in a bar, sweaty and tired and smiling like a kid at Christmas.

Tom Cruise looks into Alec Baldwins eyes and tells him he wants to set his club on fire, I get goose bumps, that kind of insane night out has eluded me for awhile, maybe it’s because I am no longer 22, maybe it’s a lack of the right kind of night out. It led me to think about todays music, and what will happen when I have kids. How I will apologise for our rubbish generation of music. My Father introduced me to Foreigner, Tom Jones, Hall and Oates, Doobie Brothers, Alexander o Neil, Def Leppard and many many more, that genuinely changed my life. Can you imagine the scene in my house in a few years, come on Redding Junior sit here and mammy will get you to listen to some music, this is Kylie, she spins around. This, right here, is J-Lo, she’s just Jenny from the block, very deep. Don’t forget this one here; LMFAO, he is sexy and he knows it.  Followed up by a little Beyonce, who suggests that if boys like ‘it’ they should put a ring on it. It makes me sad. You have to dig deep for the greats, the Alicia Keys, Oasis, Adele, who by the way is starting to get annoying. Stop over exposing her and let me enjoy her goddamn music. I will be telling my children to delve deeper, go back further and enjoy a time where Musicians wrote their own music, where they once upon a time had to carry their own instruments and gigged in bars for no money and lived on mates sofas. Unlike this nation of self-made, spoiled brats who wouldn’t know a snog lyric if it smacked them in the face. Call me maybe ? I’d like to call you something and it certainly won’t be ‘maybe’. You haven’t actually lived until you have owned and played an LP. This makes me sound old, and a bit of a wet blanket, however I don’t care. I just can’t get up the same enthusiasm for watching a man press play and play music he made on a computer to thousands of people, when I could don my boots, and go dance and listen to an actual musician growl into a microphone, telling me something about his life.

I will take songs, music, with depth, and history, and passion over One Direction any day. The new Beatles ? Please.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Hormones and Ovens ..

Is it just like being permanently pissed off ?

This is my darling other half trying to understand what it feels like to have your hormones de-rail. For your normal peaceful life, with a bout of PMS thrown in here and there. Not that we ever admit it, we just blame our men for being particularly irritating at the same times every month, you would think they would learn, to go totally off track. Here however I have to give him a huge barrel full of credit because he really does want to understand, and he really is a great support. Thankfully.

I tried to explain it, but it’s difficult, it’s hard to explain how your body can do one thing, and your brain another. How you can look down on yourself sitting on the floor in front of your new oven in tears and think ‘WOAH Maxine what on earth is your deal ?’.  The same way as when I have decided that a romantic meal, the night before my darling has surgery is the correct time to have a massive rant at him about things that aren’t exactly important at that moment. Whilst again, there is a small part of me tugging on my shoulder and telling me this is a) really not very nice and b) totally out of character. Back to the kitchen floor……

Oven in, shiny, working, marble intact and everything I needed and wanted, aside from 1 tiny tile. Easily fixable, and yet my usual go get them attitude totally deserted me, and my mother’s suggestion of popping to the shops to get a replacement was met with a rapid of tears so big you would have thought someone had told me that I could never cook again and that I could never eat chocolate ever. It was tremendous. My mother took one look at me, popped me on the sofa and called in for back up. An appointment with our GP, a woman who has the heart of a lion, the patience of a saint and the humour of Billy Connolly. Thankfully she is a whizz and I am now fully back on track and will not be crying over ovens in the near future, fear not those of you who have been invited for dinner.

Hormones are quite the things. They are so much in control of you and yet most people know little to nothing about them, they also know little to nothing about how they can be knocked off track, what affects you and how you can put them right. For me its progesterone, me and it have a shaky relationship, and when it builds up to high, added to my insomnia, a 3 hour commute, and 6 weeks of visitors and a house move, it means that all the walls come down and Maxines hormones have a party. The boss is gone, no one is in charge and they are willy nilly doing whatever they like. So therefore inappropriate responses become standard, new tiles = tears, end of a book = end of the world, no cable for a TV that I barely watch = rage equal to that of a wwe wrestler. However this hormone imbalance can affect more than whether I am a nightmare to live with or not. It can affect fertility, sexual drive, ovulation, headaches and can go on to other things. It’s something to note, something to watch for and then equally something that you need to fix. I caught it early, thanks to my family and my man having the ability to say to me, you are not yourself. This is not you, what’s wrong ? Albeit having to have a couple of goes at getting me to listen whilst dodging left hooks and proffering tissues. In all my long travels with my health, and my many issues and revelations, I have learned that the most important thing you can do for yourself is to listen to your body. Sounds easy ? It’s not. You have to learn to hear what its telling you, and why, and how you can placate it, or ease its pain. It’s difficult, but once you learn the language your body can tell you things you never dreamed it would say. I have learned, and it’s been the best thing I ever did. I talk about it with friends, or here in my blog because if I help just one person to get to where I am quicker than it took me, then it’s worth sharing my internal life struggles.

If your body is tired, and tells you so, then it is, listen to it, slow down. Don’t tell me you can’t, because I am the queen of the excuses. My job, my life, my world, I need too, I must, I have too. You don’t. You don’t HAVE to do things. You can change the things you are in control of. Take the right vitamins, ensure you eat the right way, feed your body right and it will help you out when you need it too. 4 hours sleep ? Come on body you owe me one, you need to man up and get me through til its home time. If you have been good to yourself most times your body steps up and helps you out. Me ? it took my body totally shutting down on me and refusing to work until I listened to get its message across. I am much better now. I stop sometimes, pop the ear plugs in and do what I want to do. My body just reacts by doing one of many and varied things to spite me. Bloating, migraines, restless legs, rashes. Just a little taster of what it could really do should you choose to continue to ignore the signs and notes it is leaving for you.

A busy few weeks, with not enough sleep and a fairly laisez faire attitude to the vitamins meant that my body was knocking on the door for me to sort myself out. So my hormones decided to fall out of sync. Major league. So for now its good food, sleep and a multitude of different vitamins and exercise to get me back into listening mode. Helped out with a few well-placed drugs along the way. What ? You thought I was a do gooder ? No way, I am never against some artificial help to beat the buggers back into submission.

Listen to your body though, most of the time you don’t end up needing to fight, you can get along perfectly well. Otherwise it’s just like being permanently pissed off !!


Sunday, 22 January 2012

Noisy Neighbours

I don’t think it is too much to ask for a quiet nights sleep. It is something that is becoming ever further out of my reach, and it seems that unless I resort to sleeping pills and ear plugs it will remain unreachable.

The RTA seems to take a great delight in going silent around 5pm, the monotonous drilling noise that I am ever so attached to grinds to a halt, and normal everyday noise (noise that can be tuned out) commences. This, at a time when the radio is on, the TV is on, you are chatting with your loved ones, is nice. Not necessary at all though. However, the moment, and I mean the moment your little head touches the nearest pillow, they begin drilling. Not quiet drills. Not slightly in the background and can get used to them eventually drills, and not drills they may just have on for an hour at most. No, major, huge, beyond loud, drills. Drills that sound like they have taken up residence on your balcony if not inside your ear drum. They sound like they have brought some crystal tipped behemoth to drill through a mountain. On the Sheikh Zayed Road. They carry on this wonderful performance until you are so out of your mind that you are tempted to commit a murder. Then abruptly around 5am. Peace. Just in time for you to go to sleep and get little enough sleep that you then feel like a zombie all day long.

I appreciate that this work needs to be done. I accept that in order for me to get home 30 minutes quicker it’s a price I have to pay. I understand that they work all the hours that god sends, and I empathise with those that have to do it. What I don’t understand is a tiny little thing called humanity. It is a heavily residential area, why can’t you drill from 6am til 10pm, surely the project (and I know all your project planners will start whining about timelines at this point) wouldn’t fall behind that much if the noisy work is restricted during the hours of the night that are required by me to sleep in order to not murder anyone. Also, the Emirates girls live next to me, no-one needs a grouchy airhostess, they are too damn important to be tired, its tiring enough doing what they do, without you lot keeping them up all night. Me ? I have to drive up the long road to Abu Dhabi, as do countless other morons and tired people. The less people who are slightly tired and not at 100% the better as far as my safety goes.

It’s a boring moan, its nothing new, but its what’s making me grouchy this week, along with my event report, but I know we are all very sick of hearing about this, almost as sick as I am of writing the damn thing.

Back to work it is, then back to the long road back to the long night of noise and pursuit of sleep. Ear plugs tonight.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

To Change or not to Change

As we role inexorably towards 2012 we see the inevitable, good riddance to 2011,  heres hoping 2012 will be better comments. A lot of store is set by new year, people make fresh starts, new diets, new resolutions and make changes to their lives. I have never really understood it, aside from the human physche needing an actual push and shove to get them to do something that they could have done at any given point during the year. It has always confused me, and it is one of a few reasons why I don’t a) get excited about New Year and b) why I don’t make resolutions. This year I chose to lose weight, I chose to drop the kilos, and I did. It didn’t take a momentus occasion, or a special date, or a change in the roatation of the earth. I just woke up and decided to do something about it and I have. I am now over 17 kilos down and it didn’t require a calendar change, it did however require a wardrobe change.  This means that I walk into January with a smile, no long terrified to stand on the scales, and no longer scouring the back of the rails in stores to find clothes that will fit. It took me a long time to figure out what was wrong with me, and once I did I havent looked back. Except to look at pictures of my old self and think how sad it was that I hadnt found the key to my success earlier.

I wont be making a new beginning this year, I am making plans, but I do not want to brush 2011 aside and pray for a happier year. I would indeed hope that 2012 brings more of the same for me, in the sense that 2011 gave me a lot. It gave me a project that taught me a lot, and not just in work terms, it taught me a lot about who I am. 2011 brought me my family to the same building as me, strengthening a bond that was already unbreakable. It brought me my other half who in turn brought me a sense of calm and a sense of priority.

This year there will be no flippant remarks about ensuring that I don’t die my hair purple or drink too much, that is inevitable. The drinking, not the hair dye. Their will be more of what you have seen of the junior Redding in 2011, more music, more events, more working my ass off. Less ranting, less partying and less tears. I will remain at my desk doing what I believe I do best, working with some remarkable people to bring what is quite clearly one of the biggest loves of my lives, great music, to your doorsteps and to your ears. I shall also continue to be delighted by the man in my life, who has to be the most patient man alive, I shall remember how lucky I am to have him and to have the life that I do. I shall strive to be like my Father, who still to this day pushes boundaries and has vision and strength that men somehow lack these days, I shall celebrate my Mother, one of the most special and remarkable women I have ever known who is so much to so many but remains the most to me, and my brother, the man who quietly shines, and with no pomp just silently goes about being my brother in the best way he can, in a way that no other could.

New Year should be a quick pit stop, time for us to look back and note the things in our lives that we love, and want to continue to cherish, you don’t need a date, or a countdown or fireworks to help you make a change. If you want something badly enough, no calendar date will stop you.

I wish everyone a great New Year and I know I am looking forwards, and not back to what will be, I am sure, another great year.