Happy birthday, Trev

Today would have been your 39th birthday.

Magical TrevorWe would probably have come down to Bristol and gone to the pub with you.

I’d have called you an old bugger, or somesuch.  You’d have replied “But not as old a bugger as you are!”

“Ahh,” I’d have retorted, “but that means I’ve got wisdom on my side.”

“No, it doesn’t, it just means you’re old. And I’ll always be younger than you.”

“Not if I go into space in a rocket and travel at close to the speed of light.”

“Do you have a rocket that can travel at close to the speed of light?” you’d have asked, mock seriously.

“No,” I would have had to admit.

“Then I’ll always be younger than you.”

And now, even if I miraculously did have a rocket that could travel close to the speed of light, you’ll always be younger than me.

Trev never could stand to lose an argument.

Do the dance

Children – they’ll always surprise you.

I came home from work yesterday to find Millie still up (although just about to go to bed).  I had my headphones on and was listening  Bleep: A Guide to Electronic Music  which I’d just bought – 55 tracks for 15 quid, you can’t go wrong! – covering the  development of electronic music over the past 80 years.  The first 40 years are mostly quite hard going, frankly; mostly of interest as history rather than music – if I never hear an example of musique concrete again I won’t be too sad!

Some of the later stuff then gets interesting (and melodic) and by the 70s there’s a lot of familiar tunes in there (although, not all of the songs are familiar – I could’ve sworn Love Reaction by Divine was Blue Monday by New Order!).  Then the 80s and 90s is very dancey, but only sporadically interesting.

Like I say, for £15 you can’t really go far wrong, but 55 tracks is a LOT of music!

Anyway, where was I?  Ahh, yes, Millie was still up.  She came and gave me a hug and asked to hear what I was listening to on my headphones (Millie loves headphones, remember).  So I put them on her head and waited to see her face as she jumped right into the middle of  Go Bang by Dinosaur L (an Arthur Russell side project, apparently).

But – as I said – children, they’ll always surprise you.

Millie closed her eyes and did a funky little dance for a minute or so, until the Lovely Melanie took the headphones off her, saying “Bed time”.

She’s got her father’s groove, that one. 😉

The Internet Talk

It’s the modern-day equivalent of the birds and the bees: the talk about how to use The Internet safely and well.

Millie has started to get the idea of the internet lately, mostly because she’s been looking for Harry Potter videos on YouTube – by which I mostly mean fan compiled excerpts from the films set to bad emo.

But she’s discovered the web’s fatal attraction: when you go looking for one thing and find three more; follow one of those and find six more; follow one of those and find 12 more.  Before you know it, it’s midnight and your eyes can’t focus on anything more than six inches away!

Man, shockedBut the serious side of this is the worry of “inappropriate material”.  The Lovely Melanie has suggested somehow “locking” the computer (and, presumably, the tablet and her phone and my phone) but I’m hoping we can talk to Millie about about the power and diversity of the internet, amaze her with the good stuff and warn her about the not-so-good stuff.

I don’t want to frighten her with talk of paedophiles in chatrooms, and I don’t want to obsess about the possibility of her seeing adults in – ahem – compromising positions.  We’ve got SafeSearch switched on in the browsers, and there are worse things to discover than adults having sex (emo, for one!)

So, I want her to discover how to use the internet for good (and for me, a big part of that is to give her largely unfettered access to it).  But I want her to understand that she needs to be a little bit careful and aware that the internet isn’t always a nice place.

Any suggestions…?

After school and after work

Another week, another school milestone for Amber.

This week it was her first session at after-school club.  Fortunately for her her she’s got it relatively easy. Millie knew absolutely no one at after school club – she was the only one from her class!  Amber, on the other hand, has a big sister and TWO classmates.

So, to be honest, after school club shouldn’t have been a big hurdle.

And it wasn’t.

I’ve been busy since I got back from the Isle of Wight with freelance work.  I spent the night before we went trying to polish off some emails for my old employer, and again most of last night was spent doing the same.  It’s all money in the bank (or it will be, when I get paid) but it’s hard work holding down a day job, trying to be a good Dad, and spending every waking hour churning out copy.

Did I mention that that I’ve set up my own company?  StuPC Ltd has one shareholder – me, and one reason for existing – as a vehicle for my prodigious copywriting talents.  I’ve even added a new freelancing section to this blog, which you may/may not have noticed…

The Big Trev Trip 2012

To celebrate Trev’s birthday we spent the weekend in the Isle of Wight, honouring his memory with a large group of dear friends and a lot of booze.

Crikey, where to start?

It was adults only, so first off, a big thank you to my dad for looking after the girls while we were away.  Not such big thanks to the train company who caused us to miss our connection (and almost our ferry) because they wouldn’t hold a train for ten seconds (literally – as we pulled into Brockenhurst station our connection pulled out in front of our eyes).  We piled into a taxi for the five mile journey to Lymington, threw some money at him and ran for the ferry…only to find sea lapping calmly against the pier where the ferry would have been had it not also been delayed.

Sigh.  Still, at least we didn’t miss the ferry.

Trev watching over the MillArriving, we were all overjoyed to find the big rasterised picture of Trev we left on the walls last year was still there, behind an oil painting!  Trev had been watching over the inhabitants for 12 months and waiting for our return. 🙂

And it was just a lovely weekend.  Not quite as drunken as last year, I thought, but just 48 hours of almost 40 old friends laughing, joking and remembering.  It was barely sad at all – which is what Trev would have wanted.

But, you know, there’s a huge smile on my face and tears running down my cheeks as I write this.

I took hundreds of pictures with my new camera – some of them I’ve put on Flickr, although if you weren’t at the Mill then many will be a bit…perplexing.

Friday night was a late one, of course. Thanks to Amit and Caroline for lining everyone’s stomachs with the 15 kilos of delicious chilli they made for everyone’s dinner. It definitely helped us withstand the onslaught of various multi-coloured and interestingly flavoured punches produced from Trev’s Gay Bar – it’s the law on the Big Trev Trip that everyone brings the gayest drink they can find to the Isle of Wight.

Congratulations to Ian for being the first ever entrant into the Big Trev Trip Hall of Fame, and the first name on the beautiful trophy. 😉

But I was up early and a group of us set off to Freshwater in the glorious sunshine. Although, it turned out I was more slightly hungover than I thought, and the walk was hard! When we got back after four and a half hours I went for a lengthy siesta.

That night we had a bin bag party (based on some shenanigans that took place back in the early 1990s around Richie May’s flat, where everyone spontaneously decided to dress in bin bags). That’s why so many of this year’s photos appear to show people wearing bin bags. Some people are quite obviously wearing bin bags, but others did a really good job with their costumes and you’d be hard-pressed to tell! Oh, and there was also fluorescent face paint and glowsticks for the first time. Not sure where that came from, but it definitely fitted the mood.

Sunday dawned wet, cold and windy – so I was glad I’d gone to bed at 11 the night before and was feeling really rather chipper – it made the long journey home tolerable.  Oh, and we saw Johnny Depp at Lymington ferry terminal.  Yeah – Johhny Depp!

The Lovely Melanie, Conny , Sagar and myself had stopped to grab some food in the cafe when we arrived back on the mainland.  We were just about to leave when a smartly dressed stranger who looked like Johnny Depp strolled past us onto the ferry.  We were just commenting upon his resemblance to the famous actor when some locals overheard us and said that, actually, it was Johnny Depp, who had recently bought a house on the Isle of Wight!  Sagar and I looked at each other and then ran after him, but he’d already gone through the ticket gate.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s BTT, but this time I’d really love for the girls to come, too – just during daylight hours, before Trev’s Gay Bar fires up.  I don’t expect them to understand why it’s important to us but I think they’d fall in love with the place itself, just as ourselves and so many others have.

Victorian Dad

Sometimes you need someone to nudge your behaviour before you realise that maybe – maybe – it’s not as good as it might be.

Last night was a case in point. I arrived home from work to hear Amber wailing upstairs and a stressed Lovely Melanie trying to teach Millie about tens and units in the dining room.

I’m trying to teach Millie some difficult stuff that even I don’t properly understand,” she said to me. “Can you go and sort Amber out, please? She’s been doing that for ten minutes now.

I’ll go and have a shout at her,” I said, assuming she’d been naughty.

No, don’t shout at her, she’s been saying she doesn’t want to go to school tomorrow because they didn’t give her enough time to eat her lunch today. Millie had the same trouble when she started, remember?

I did my “heavy walk” up the stairs, the one which tells the girls “I Am Approaching! And I Am Full Of Wrath! Beware!”

But by the time I reached the top step I was chastened: why on earth was I going to yell at an unhappy little girl?  My unhappy little girl!  Surely there were better ways to deal with this than by shouting?  Good grief, is this what I’ve become – some kind of horrible Victorian father? 😦

I say down with Amber, gave her a cuddle and wiped her eyes. For the next ten minutes I patiently explained that there was nothing to be frightened of at school; that, yes, it was a bit new and strange, and it might even be hard sometimes, but all her teachers were there to help.

Within two minutes she’d stopped crying; after five she was laughing.

That wasn’t so hard.

The hard bit – as always – was remembering that she’s only four, and that ten minutes of love and patience is worth any amount of anger and shouting.

New camera

Yay!  We have a new camera!  And just in time for this weekend’s Big Trev Trip 2012!

But not just a new camera – an amazing camera!  I played with it for briefly before work/school this morning, and these were the staggering results.

Seriously, this is me just pointing and shooting and zooming and pressing buttons and saying to the girls, “Just hold still for a second…”  And look at the results! 🙂

But don’t ask me why Amber is pulling that face.  Like so many things connected with Amber, I have no idea. 😉