This post was inspired by Aunt Jackie at Deep in the Forest.
My first ambition was to be a musician – it’s so old I can’t remember where it came from. Before I was at school Mum had bought me a little play guitar and I’d stand in front of the huge stereogram we had then playing her collection of singles. Beatles, I want to hold you hand and This Boy a couple of my favourites, The Shadows who my sister like, we had an EP from the film The Young Ones with the red Fenders on the cover, Elvis – “Devil in disguise”… etc. I remember at a birthday party before I was 10 telling everyone I was going to be a guitarist – I remember they mostly laughed.
Then I started to buy stuff – Ha ha said the clown by Manfred Mann was where it started and then others until Supertramp, Hendrix etc. started to take hold. Then the flood gates with Rush, Yes etc. etc. by then Mum had forked out £20 and I had a nylon strung acoustic I tried to learn on. She sent me for classical lessons which was a great way for me to learn.
So to school, at secondary school I got all political and was in the Young Socialists and the various left wing campaign groups – anti fascist league etc. For a few years I was going to be an MP get into government and change the world….
Then I was 16 and wanted to leave school. I went to college briefly studying engineering – realised that was a mistake and went back to school after almost getting a job but my Dad had the one and only stern fatherly advice chat ever where he pleaded with me “not to waste my brain”. As I came to the end of school I then decided that whilst my ambition to still be the greatest guitarist on the planet was there I decided I needed to have a stopgap career. So I got the opportunity via a local employer to go to college to learn about computers and get into IT. So 25 years in it been a useful stopgap.
The other day someone asked me what was my ambition and I was actually a bit flumuxed as to an answer. I burbled on about living comfortably probably near where I’ve always lived as I like it – definitely in the UK whatever happens, maybe somewhere else like Dorset but probably still Kent. Kids still talking to me and able to do stuff I like doing.
That isn’t a bad ambition I suppose but it seems a bit flat compared with changing the world through political action or inspiring a generation to learn some song I’d written. If I had stuck with a couple of the bands I was in that had some of the characteristics necessary or dedicated myself to music with a bit more dedication I wonder if I would have ever been the next Jimmy Page? Irrelevant really it was never my destiny clearly.
Still there are a few people today walking around clean and sober because I was the person they turned to when they needed help into rehab or AA. I’ve two wonderful kids who are smart, witty, think for themselves and have opportunities to experience many things and will be great adults. Who knows what’ll come of their ambitions maybe my legacy will be their success.
A colleague of mine who has known me for 10 years said to me the other day “You don’t realise sometimes how respected you are by others around here do you?” That was a bit of a knock as I don’t do compliments at all well but after some time processing it I know it to be a genuine comment and therefore if I’ve done stuff that has influenced others in someway that they respect then that isn’t a bad thing at all either is it.