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It's no good. After several evenings of cheap ready meals and the leftovers of my fridge, I felt there was no choice but to succumb to temptation. So I took the oportunity to blow some of my savings on a takeaway meal to stave off dietary diseases and boredom. At the local fired chicken store, one I frequent now and then when I have money to spend, I selected my favourite peri-peri meal. It'll blow my head off but for the english, this culinary torture is a masochistic pleasure, and for me, a welome relief. As a patient and indullgent father proceeded to order the deaths of several more hapless chickens, his daughter and a friend were turning the fast food establishment into an impromptu dance floor. I wonder if they're students at the performing arts school up the road? Not quite the colleges we get in England for that purpose (there's one in Swindon too), and far away from the psuedo-professional arts education parents throw thousands of dollars at every year to try and get their kids into a child-actor role in their summer break, but the result is the same. These two kids clearly believed utterly they were going places. "When we're famous..." One started, listing her favourite and desirable lifestyle accesories to achieve before her career implodes in a haze of drugs and divorces, the other simply giggling at the prospect. At this point I have to be honest. I have after all some experience of the performing arts, even professionally for a few years, and at a glance I noticed something. Despite these two girls confidence, their movements were less than elegant, their voices unpleasant to listen to at giggling volume, and whilst I'm sure their fathers think the world of their little angels, they aren't going to grow up to be lookers. It's a tough world. Especially when you want to be famous. Was I like that at their age? Dreaming of fame and fortune? Yep. I was. The difference is that I had parents who refused point blank to tolerate my adventures in music and so I did them anyway, pushing at the inertia of world ignorance with every ounce of my feeble efforts. These two young ladies are going to learn sooner or later that fame costs. And this is where you start... Well, you know what I mean.... I shook my head at the foolish ambition before me then hurriedly explained to the fast food assistant that I did want my meal with fries. Lacking Balance The sun has come out this morning. That's pretty much the good news today as I wade through the formalities of keeping the authorities notified of changes in my circumstances and benefits claims. My first gripe is my sense of balance. I'm reaching the age when falling over is no longer funny, and tends to get a bit painful. Caught in one of those 'banana skin' moments with wet leaves this morning... Woah!.. No, I've recovered, no I haven't... Uo-oh, this is embrarrasing....AAARGH! Thud. Ouch... I discover I've thumped my hand on the ground leaving very uncomfortable bruises and skin abrasions.What is happening to my life? Forty Things To Do Last week I saw one of those news items on my email service, the sort where someone lists all the things you should before you're forty. Most of them are faintly ridiculous, impossible, or self contradictory, written by some moron who thinks that visiting Paris is romantic, or jumping from an aeroplane an achievement, or that eating at a michelin rated resteraunt says something about you. One of the things to do was having children , which the commentator corectly pointed made the others more or less unachievable. But there's something more important here. It's the idea that we can claim a measure of esteem from our peers if we conform to their ideas of achievement. It's nothing more than keeping up with the Joneses. Do you really want to measure your life to a list of social requirements made by someone else? Or would you prefer to strive for something you decide is worthwhile? I suppose you could argue that wanting to be a rock star as I did in my younger days was nothing more than attempting to conform to some ideal. Perhaps. It didn't feel that way for me - that was far more of a personal struggle to free myself of family restraint and become my own man, forge my own future, and not have the fixed plan laid out before me that my mother and father clearly were striving to foist upon my shoulders. My mother always manipulating me, my father always making arrangements behind my back. I was so angry in those days - no wonder I became a rock drummer. Die, audience. Feel the power of my percussive wrath. Well I had my few moments of fame. Not so fortunate, as it turned out, but life throws those banana skins at us. Performer of the Week I came home a couple of days ago and ionce I'd thrown off footwear, jackets, shopping, and had the chance to sit and catch some breath, there was some weird music coming from somewhere. Sort of like Gary Numan's Tubeway Army when they're feeling sad and lonely. It was my downstairs neighbour, whose attempts to be deep and meaningful in the medium of song was seriously mournful. I turned the television on, raised the volume, but she didn't get the hint, the music was still audible. So there was nothing for it but to raise my morale and lift the mood with a blast of death metal. Ahhhh....... So peaceful.....