From Paramedic to DIY Punk Pt 2
PART TWO - Depression and a little yellow van
In part one of ‘Paramedic to DIY Punk’ I had gone from a drummer in a rock band to frontman of a pop punk band - postman to registered paramedic, and at the time, feeling quite happy. But soon it would all change.
Before we continue on the journey of music, I feel I must, as this is a tale about me, talk about, well me.
Being different can of course be fun and enigmatic, but it comes at a price. Depression and alcohol are mine. I’m not bitching and I’m certainly not moaning about what gifts I been blessed with throughout my crazy journey, I’m just stating facts.
Throughout my youth I was pretty much happy-go-lucky, not many things bothered me and I got on with life and enjoyed every second. Once I hit my twenties my depression began. The first signs of it started when I began to push my own boundaries. I wanted more, I wanted what others had, and music was playing a big part.
Back then I was working in a factory, newly married, and like many, paying a mortgage. Normal living pretty much. But it wasn't enough. My temper has always been an issue, not in a violent way towards others, but mostly inwards. I would become quiet then enraged, briefly happy, and then begin again. The drinking started around this time, and looking back it wasn't extreme but it was creeping in.
It was at this time, as I mentioned in part one that I began writing again, mostly poetry but lyrics also. Back then I couldn't play any instrument – some would argue I still cant – but fuck em, they're right of course but fuck em anyway.
The pills helped a little but it was the rut that I was in that contained my depression and held me firm in the quicksand that had become my life. Not many things lifted my spirits, other than drinking and writing. The ‘second’ bedroom in our small terrace house became my sanctuary and I would quarantine myself there daily to write. I had an old, brown suede chair that we acquired as part of a house clearance sale, and I would write all over the walls and ceilings. Lyrics and poems adorned my surroundings, along with a strong whiskey and coke.
Before long eleven am drinking was normal and I began to confine myself more and more to the home – frightened to leave the house and face the public. Yet other days and I would feel better and curb the drinking. My temper, however, was always loud and fierce, and the poor doors of our terrace took a battering, and within a couple of months we had none left. People that visited found this amusing, and I guess I played along, but I felt ashamed. I was ashamed that I couldn’t control my temper, and my own life.
I continued to visit the GP and was signed off again form work, so much so that I never returned to that employer.
The following year and my daughter was born, and as the tattoo clearly states across my abdomen – my angel had arrived. This however, was not happy ever after, but a massive step in the right direction.
My focus now turned to her, and soon enough she became my whole existence – and still to this day, 25 years later – she still is.
Slowly I found myself again and began building myself up. The writing was fierce and songs were being born – but it was shite. I submitted a few, very rough demos to labels and publishers and even got a meeting with a London producer, but all came to nothing – and rightly so.
A year later and I joined the post office, and so we join ‘Part One’.
My depression, which I will go into more later, still plays a massive part of my life but it has become part of me, and without that side I would feel strangely empty.
And so where were we… Oh, yes, I just registered as a paramedic.
Soon after registration I worked solo on the rapid response vehicle (RRV), this was what I had been working towards all those years ago when I joined the service. I wont go into all the 999 calls that I went to, you can see all that shite on the TV with the clowns that allow the film crews to follow them. I will just say that every job that I wanted to be involved in from births to major road traffic collisions (RTC) I did, and a lot of jobs that I would rather I wasn't – I was there.
Throughout my life I have gone through many morphic stages, and this was yet another. The people that I knew ten years prior to this wouldn't know me, and the people I know now wouldn't recognise the guy back then.
The ambulance service was boring me already; I achieved what I thought I wanted and I was getting irritable. My daughter, my angel, was away at university which left a massive hole. And it is sad to say that my marriage of 22 years was failing, or rather I was failing it. And in the most part it was due to my change of character yet again, which finally put an end to that partnership.
I will not go into the gritty details of the divorce but I can say that we remain good friends to this day and she is now very happy and due to be married later this year.
The ambulance service gave me three things: a way back into music, an act of confidence, and Catherine.
I met Catherine in the service, as she one one of the assistants and we would work on the buses (ambulances) together occasionally. We hit it off straight away, and aside form my daughter, she is the sweetest person I’ve ever met.
Six months later and we were living together, which led to the next big change in my life.
We were both working long 12 hour shifts but somehow managed to be on opposites all the time. I then came up with the fab idea of selling up and moving into a camper van. So we did. We bought a 2011 VW Transporter panel van and converted into a camper van. And on 29th March 2017 we headed out of swindon, Catherine, Indie (my german shepherd), and I, and set off for our six month tour of the UK.
Coming in part three..... As the nights got colder it was time to get out of the van and find a house again, enter Hereford and the birth of TransAm Forty...