Monday, 29 July 2013

Bishan


I was at work, trying to access the electronic medical record system, but had changed my password recently, but couldn’t remember what I’d changed it to. The nurse sitting next to me started shouting out some suggestions: “PENIS! VAGINA! COCK! PUSSY!!”


I turned to her and said calmly: “You’re single, aren’t you?”


She was speechless.


“I thought so.”


How is everyone?


Now, I wasn’t trying to make her feel bad, but I was just picking up on some desperation that I my self was very familiar with in my younger years. Thankfully, due to ‘the force’ I’ve long since moved on from that phase. Better late than never.


I remember at school Richard telling me “It’s alright for you, Victor, you’ve got these bulging muscles- you’re in there already” it never quite worked out that way, though. I weigh about 10kg less now than my rugby-playing weight, but I do infinitely better with girls because I dress well and am not afraid to express my personality. That will help you more than any amount of musculature ever could.

When I went to Dubai last year to visit my friend Yousouf, we went out clubbing with one of his friends who was a professional bodybuilder. 120kg of pure, albeit drug-assisted, muscle.


There was 120kg of loneliness happening that night.


The stereotype doesn’t usually bear out in real life. I’m in a much better place, now. The search continues.


There has been some turbulence at work, as I haven’t been doing that well due to some personal issues and simply being fatigued from studying so hard, meaning that I’ve been clinging to my music as my main source of redemption, although I did manage to escape to the NZ salsa congress last month, which was awesome. It was so good to see my dancing friends again, and it was actually only the second time I’ve done any salsa this year, because of work. I really needed that outlet.


One thing I found with moving countries is that making friends as an adult is surprisingly much harder than making friends as a child at school, and it gets harder as you get older, with people settling down in relationships and having children, and subsequently vanishing off the radar. At my current hospital, everyone there is constantly busy with exams and other academia, as well as having lots of patients to see. The result is, you feel alone when you’re at home studying, and you feel even more alone when you’re at work because you’re surrounded by people, but you don’t really know anyone.


Producing my EP was an interesting time, however. I was supposed to be presenting my research project at a conference in March, but one of the collaborators made a critical data error, meaning I couldn’t, so I took my music to the recording studio, where I met Sean, the producer I told you about. I think that part of the reason the CD turned out as well as it did was that Sean and I are both pretty laid back people, and we got on really, really well: he really respects the fact that I want my songs to tell my story, and I really respect the fact that he’s an amazing guitarist with more songwriting experience than me. About ¾ of the times he made a suggestion, I’d agree that it would be an improvement. The remaining ¼ didn’t result in any arguments, or even awkwardness. He and his wife came over for dinner soon after, and we all had a great time. We still catch up, and are looking forward to producing the next 5 songs.


I still went to the conference despite not making the presentation. There was a dinner on the Tuesday night, and I was by myself, and so asked to join a half empty table. The other doctors on the table were very friendly and welcoming, and I had a nice talk with them. It turned out that they were mostly from New Zealand. One of them was from Wellington. I told him that I used to work in Wellington. There were a lot of medical bigwigs at the conference, but I just had the overwhelming feeling that all of this just wasn’t really me. He shared the same feeling.

Me: I love seeing patients and making them feel better: that’s why I became a doctor, and that’s all I really want to do in medicine. When I’m not at work, I like doing fun, creative things like salsa.

Him: I dance salsa, too.

Me: really?? Have you been to Jambalaya (New Zealands biggest world music and dance festival, with salsa as its focus)?

Him: of course. Every year since 2005.

Me: me too! Although I missed the salsa congress last year because I couldn’t get time off work, and I’ve been studying for exams. I haven’t really done much dancing at all, so I’ve been doing some singing, as it’s simply less time consuming.

Him: do you write your own songs?

Me: yes- I started guitar lessons last year, and I’m actually recording an EP at the moment- I’m going back to the recording studio tomorrow.

Him: I write songs, too!


I told him of my salsa solo at the congress in 2009- you may remember that that style of salsa is traditionally performed topless. Salsa dancers loved it, but when people at my current hospital found out about it, nobody said anything to me directly, but I started hearing background whisperings of how unethical it is for a doctor to be ‘flaunting himself’ in such a way online. I was initially quite upset by that lack of understanding, and took the video down. A week later, I changed my mind and put it back up, but with an annotation explaining the traditions of the dance, basically telling those people to go f##k themselves. If you haven’t seen it, here it is:


http://youtu.be/xT3Jmyk0GWw


It turns out that he’d done similar salsa solo performances, and it caused him even greater problems within medicine, such that he actually had to change his speciality.


We just stared at each other.


Me: did you ever get the feeling that you just didn’t belong in a place?

Him: a lot of creative medics feel the same way. Even if you spend the majority of your time working, the fact that you’re expressive in any way just doesn’t sit right with a lot of people in medicine.

Me: I’m so glad to hear you say that. I thought it was just me.

Him: no- it’s not unheard of. I’m trying to change that.


His name was Bishan, and as well as being a great guy, he is actually quite a visionary with his music, poetry and medical education, in particular, encouraging doctors to be more human. His music is a little more abstract than mine- being about peace and love in a humanitarian sense, while my songs are about love in a romantic sense, but we both like each others music:

It’s actually surprisingly rare for me to make medical friends. Since leaving university, I’ve made many acquaintances, but not many friends.


Actual friends.


People that I can phone and just talk to without them thinking that you want something from them, or are just wasting their time.


In the 12months since the X-Factor disaster (watch this space, by the way), although work has predominated, I’ve produced an EP that I’m helplessly in love with, and made 2 genuine friends. It’s been tough, but I wouldn’t change it, now.


However, as much as I love my music, any thoughts of being a full time musical performer have to be put on hold at least for now. In 3 months, although virtually everybody who hears my songs likes them:


CDs sold: 10.


ITunes downloads: 8.


Apple gives you the postcode of everyone who buys your songs, and so I actually know everyone who’s bought them. I never did this for the money, but it is a harsh reality check as to how good you have to be and what you have to do to be successful in entertainment.


Bishan shared a joke with me: who puts $5000 worth of equipment into a $500 car for a $50 job?


A musician.


Sad, but true.


Until the next time.


Victor.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Beautiful Thing



Last year, my friends Derek and Chris from Canada were visiting Australia. I didn’t get to see them much in Sydney, so I caught up with them in Melbourne for a long weekend.


On the Thursday morning, I took a walk through St Kilda and the city centre, via Federation Square, where I saw a girl strolling along taking in the sights. She looked like she’d been exercising- wearing tracksuit bottoms and a T-shirt wet with sweat, and long blonde hair slightly roughed up, but even with all that, she was gorgeous.


Absolutely gorgeous.


I had to say hello to her.


I plucked up the courage to do so. Her name was ‘Frida’ (Frederika) from Norway. She was very friendly and we got on really well. I complemented her on being in tremendous shape, and looking really sporty. She told me that she played football. I told her that I played at school and university, and there’s a local 5-a-side team that I play with, sometimes as well.

I told her that I love to dance- mainly salsa, but I’ve also done some jazz and hip hop. She told me that she does breakdancing. I was floored. It’s so cool to meet a girl who can breakdance. I told her I’ve only done a tiny amount of breakdancing, but I’ve done a couple of years of capoeira, and some of the moves are similar. She said she does capoeira, too.


We just stared at each other.


“Hey, I think you’re really cool” I said, “I’d really like to take you out for a drink”

“That would be nice, but I’m going back to Sydney tomorrow” she replied.

“Oh. I’m going back to Sydney on Monday!” I said. “Whereabouts in Sydney do you live?”

North Sydney” She replied.

“I live in North Sydney”.


We stared at each other again.


“We HAVE to meet up!” I told her.

“Sure.” She said.


We swapped numbers and made plans for the following week.


I was waiting outside the bar we were meeting at, when I saw a stunningly beautiful blonde girl walk past, who was immaculately, and stylishly dressed. I couldn’t help but wonder who she was, but then had to remind myself that I was meeting Frida that night. A few minutes later, I got a message from Frida telling me that she was in the bar.


I went into the bar. The girl that walked past me just before was Frida. I was floored. As the night went on, we got on like a house on fire. As well as cripplingly beautiful, she was also very smart, multilingual, and a really nice person, too. She told me she was glad I came upto her that day. I said I was, too, although it was a bit of a scary thing to do.


Conversing with her was never an effort. She was actually 10 years younger than me, and I don’t normally date girls that young, but she was different. I felt like I could talk to her about anything, and she’d always have something smart to say.

One of the hook points when we realised that we were actually quite well suited came about quite comically. “I play right midfield. I love football, but not many people know much about Norwegian football”. “That’s not quite true” I said, “Henning Berg, Ole-Gunnar Solskaer – they were great players who’ve won the Champions League”


Her jaw just dropped.


“I think she likes me” I thought to myself.


We took a walk, and I made sure she got home safely, insisting she message me when she did so, which she appreciated.


A few days later, she came over and I made her dinner and we watched a movie.


Well, 20minutes of a movie….


I hope I’m not compromising her modesty when I say that without clothes on, she is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I’ve never been in that situation before and been completely speechless. Her golden skin was the softest, smoothest thing I’ve ever held close to me. She looked at me and told me that I should be banned from wearing clothes. I returned the complement.


We saw each other for a few weeks until she had to go to the US to start university again, as she was on a football scholarship.


We’re still on very good terms, but she has a boyfriend now, so out of respect, we keep our contact to a very friendly minimum.


I’m not sure if it was love, but it was definitely a special connection that I don’t feel very often. I wish her the best in everything she does. I’m not praying for her to break up with her boyfriend, as that would cause her undue unhappiness, but if I were to see her again, it would definitely be most welcome.

The song: http://youtu.be/RmVA63Rg4uY

The words: http://victor-thediary.blogspot.com.au/2013/06/beautiful-thing-lyrics.html















Saturday, 29 June 2013

Beautiful Thing Lyrics


(she knows who she is.....) ;)

Fed Square, last year

So glad I chose not to give in to fear.


Sydney, we meet

I can’t believe how close you are to me.


I can’t believe you're real

I can’t believe I see

I can’t believe that this beautiful thing’s next to me.


We’d begun to belong.

My finding you is a million to one.


We both play the beautiful game.

To me romance is the sound of your name.


I can’t believe you're real

I can’t believe you came

I can’t believe that this beautiful thing feels the same.

I can’t believe you're real

I can’t believe you came

I can’t believe that this beautiful thing feels the same.


So beautiful……

Nothing more to say

Perfect in every way

To all around you’re a beautiful thing.


For all the joy you bring

My soul just wants to sing

I can’t believe that I’ve found such a beautiful thing.


Glimmering…. Shimmering…

Inside and out you’re a beautiful thing.


Feel that I (could)

Touch the sky.

Beautiful thing, you belong by my side.



I can’t believe you're real

I can’t believe you came


I can’t believe that this beautiful thing feels the same.


I can’t believe you're real

I can’t believe I see

I can’t believe that this beautiful thing’s next to me.



So beautiful……

Nothing more to say

Perfect in every way

To all around you’re a beautiful thing.


For all the joy you bring

My soul just wants to sing

I can’t believe that I’ve found such a beautiful thing.

Beautiful thing

Beautiful thing

I thank my stars for you, beautiful thing.

Beautiful thing

Beautiful thing

I thank my stars for you, beautiful thing.


So beautiful…...

I can’t believe you're real

I can’t believe you came

I can’t believe that this beautiful thing feels the same.




I can’t believe it now

Couldn’t believe it then

I can’t believe I’ll see beautiful thing once again.

Copyright 2013
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Monday, 22 April 2013

Gangnam Style


A couple of years ago at my sisters place in London, I was playing with my nephew and talking to him about nursery rhymes:

 [Me]- “Nathan, just remember that Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and Baa Baa Black Sheep are actually the same song with different words.

 [try humming them both to yourself right now- same melody, different words. See…? I was right, wasn’t I?]

 Don’t let the people at daycare tell you any different- because they’re bastards!”

[My sister]- “Victor!! You know I don’t like you talking like that around Nathan!!”
[Me]- “but it’s the truth! It’s false advertising! He’s almost 2, now! He’ll have to learn at some point!”

 My sister doesn’t like it when I discuss the harsh realities of life with her son. But for some reason, 2 years on, he can find Gangnam Style on YouTube and dance along to “Heeeeey, sexy lady” without any objection.

 I don’t get it.

 How is everyone?

 
My trip to London last month was one of the shorter ones, but I think I managed to get around to see most people despite being unwell for some of the time. I think that was actually a blessing in disguise, as it forced me to actually rest for most of the time, instead of hooning around the way I normally do.

I went straight to my parents’ place from the airport, and my siblings joined me there the day after. They’re as crazy as I am, and it’s awesome when we’re all together. It was nice to see mum and dad, too.

For about 36hours.

Then mum sat next to me: “You’ve changed your mind about going to church, haven’t you…?”

Oh no.

Then later there came the inevitable “ALL YOUR FRIENDS ARE MARRIED WITH CHILDREN!!! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING??!!?? DO YOU THINK THEY’RE ALL CRAZY??!!??”

It was time to go.

I hung out in Winstons apartment in central London while he was on holiday and caught up with a different person each night while just resting during the day.

The main reason for my visiting at that time was Nathans 4th birthday, which was on the last day. I partied with him and his little friends, which was awesome, but the party reached a peak when his dad put on Gangnam Style. I swear- the way his eyes lit up was a complete transformation. He just went mental. I had to get out my phone and record it. Here it is:


I nearly died laughing, but I was also impressed with his rhythm and timing. He just went for it, and he genuinely didn’t care what anyone thought. When I played it back to myself, I found myself thinking “Hmmm….. he reminds me of someone….”.

Then it dawned on me.

 “Oh my God”

 “He’s like me…!”

Or it may be more accurate to say that I’m like him. That child-like abandon is such an incredible thing, and people can see it in me when I dance to a song that I really like. It’s probably most evident in my’ Getting Jiggy With It’ dance routine: when I was 19 (yes, 19) my sister was starting to come to my friends parties and cramping my style, so I thought I’d choreograph a dance routine so cheesy and embarrassing that she would never want to be seen at a party with me ever again.

It’s basically a collection of Will Smiths cheesiest dance moves arranged in increasing cheesiness.
I did it at Winstons 19th birthday party.

It worked.

In my last diary entry I told you all that the hospital I’m in at the moment (Royal North Shore) is pretty intense. I went back and did a few shifts at the smaller hospital I was at before, and was explaining a care plan to one of the nurses. As I was doing so, out of the corner of my eye, I could see one of the other nurses laughing at me.

“Did I say something funny?” I asked her.

“Something’s happened to you since you’ve been at North Shore” She said.

“What do you mean?”

“You’ve become dead serious!”

 She had a point. My new workplace is a very serious, formal environment. A lot of the time I don’t feel like I belong there. I can feel that inner child suffocating. I'm not sure I'll be there long term.

There’s a chance I may not have to.


You may know that I started guitar lessons and writing songs halfway through last year. That’s been my only outlet since I started studying for my exams, and you’ve heard 2 of the recordings I’ve done on my laptop with my guitar teacher, but I’ve actually done 5. Here they are:


Be This Way

You’ve read the stories for the first two, but they each have one. They’re all attached, if you’re interested.

 
I was put in touch with a music producer, Sean Carey, who used to be lead guitarist in a prominent Australian band called Thirsty Merc. I sent him the YouTube links above, and he sounded quite interested. We met up and talked about my songs and what we would do with them and how. We worked out it would take 4 full days to record all 5 songs. The first day, Sean made some minor adjustments to the song structures to give the music a bit more impact, and we recorded the main guitar parts. He sat me with my guitar in front of the studio microphone and I looked at him like he was crazy. “Um… I started guitar lessons 7 months ago…” I told him. “It’s your album- you should be on it” he replied. I played as well as I could, and it actually turned out OK. He added additional guitar parts on top, as well as the bass.

The next day, the drummer arrived. I hadn’t thought much about drumming at all, other than the steady bass drum beat I put in on my laptop. His name was Michael Quigley, and teaches drumming at the Australian Institute of Music. He would listen to a song once, make some notes and then smash out an amazing recording at the first attempt. I was just astonished. I actually cried when we did the first song “Be This Way”. That was when I truly felt it come to life.

I listened to the basic tracks we had so far, with Seans guitaring and Michaels drumming,  and thought- “Holy crap- my singing is going to be the worst thing about this..!” We had a week until days 3 and 4, so I did more singing practice than I had ever done before in that week.

Day 3 came, and so did the keyboard player. His name was Beau Golden, and he plays with Guy Sebastian (of X-Factor [shudder] fame) and other Australian celebrities. I held my laptop up to him so that he could hear the string parts to the songs. As he was listening, he was writing down the alphabetical names of each note, and then just played the parts as if he’d been playing them for years. Again, I was astonished.

I did the singing in the remaining time, and Sean did the remaining mixing and sound engineering.

The result was beyond my wildest dreams. I’m ecstatically happy with the EP. I almost can’t believe it’s me sometimes. I almost cringe when I look at my laptop recordings in comparison, and thought about taking them off YouTube, but then I thought “No- keep them. This is how it started. If anyone doubts that these are your songs, you can point them to the prototypes. This is your creation, and you should be proud.”.

I am eternally endebted to Sean for all of this. In particular, for song number 5. It’s both our favourite:

http://soundcloud.com/victor-steele/i-just
 

I sang over the instrumental recordings for my singing teacher, and she was over the moon. “You know what’s best about this, Victor? You have something that’s truly yours. And not only that- uniquely yours. You have all your ‘aha-aha’s and ‘hey, hey, hey’s and ‘mmm, mmm, mmm’s and ‘I-I-I’s. It’s truly your own sound.

I’m in love with it to the point of listening to it at least once a day. I’ve copied it and given it to about 30 people, most of whom love it, too. I think they genuinely mean it. Your friends saying they like your music is like your mother telling you that you’re handsome- they want you to feel good, but it’s not always an objective statement. But with this, I can see that each song makes a genuine impact on people who listen. I love it.

It’s on iTunes now, and it’s called Factor This (some of you will know why), and here’s the link:


https://itunes.apple.com/au/album/factor-this-ep/id638597165
 

It would make me incredibly happy if you could download it and/or share it with anyone you think might like it, whether it be via your Facebook page or otherwise. I’d really like to get this out there.

It’s under the stage name 'Victor Steele'. Let’s face it- ethnic names don’t fly in mainstream entertainment. Elton Johns real name is Reginald White: even a lot of standard western names don’t cut it in showbiz.

I’m looking into filming videos for each song, and will put them online, but be careful when you search- internet videos featuring black guys named ‘Steele’ may yield some unexpected results…..


Thank you for reading and listening.

 
Victor.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Hard Work

After the 200m mens final in London last year, Usain Bolt went to his hotel room with the entire swedish womens handball team.

If that isn't an example of hard work paying off, then I don't know what is.

Speaking of hard work, my diary entries have been thin on the ground recently. You may remember me saying that I transferred to a major trauma hospital early last year, and despite my doing lots of courses in preparation, it's proved to be much harder than I had anticipated. It's been good experience,though: I like being able to handle car crash victims more efficiently, as well as other critically ill and injured patients. However, the intensity of the environment, never finishing on time and often not getting to eat or drink during a shift was starting to take its toll.

During the first six months, I was only barely coping. While nothing overtly disastrous happened, it was quite clear that I had some adaptations to make, and my performance appraisal at that point reflected that. While I'm good at seeing and treating patients, running a department of that size and turnover was a big jump from anything I'd ever done before. Paradoxically, my supervisor, who gave me that appraisal, is actually the person I like most in the entire institution. Anyone who went to 6th form with me, imagine a medically trained Richard Coberman.

I know.

Frightening, isn't it...?

The parallels are uncanny, and sometimes I have to consciously remind myself of which one I'm talking to. They're both the kind of people who, even before they've said anything, will make you laugh, often because you know that whatever they say next is just going to be hysterical. Not only hysterical, but outrageous- and only they can get away with saying and doing things like that.

For example, at shift changeover meeting once, one of the female doctors was scratching her head, and found a pen that she'd used to tie her hair up. "Oh! I wondered where I'd put that!" At which point, my supervisor interjected "Thank God you weren't scratching your bum when you said that- that would have been a bit awkward, wouldn't it?" Everyone burst out laughing.
I laughed as well, but looked on in consternation, thinking "How the Hell are you getting away with this???"

Thinking back to school, I remember one afternoon when we were all about to get the coach home, Richard was sitting on the pavement when a very pretty girl walked past in her horse riding gear. I was standing on the other side of the road. As she passed between us, Richard said out loud, for all to hear:

"Kinky boots...!

Boots.... kinky...!

Boots that are kinky...!"

Far from being offended by this, she actually laughed, and merrily skipped along, positively buoyed by the experience.
I just looked on and thought to myself "How the Hell are you getting away with this???"

"Screw it", I thought. The following week, after her horse riding lesson, that same girl was walking towards the coaches again. I thought I'd say exactly what Richard said the previous week.

It went badly.

Really....

REALLY....

badly.

Hmmm.... maybe that kind of gregarious sexual humour isn't quite for me. While I can laugh at it, I certainly can't execute it like those guys.
I do have my own brand of risque humour, but it centres more on subtle innuendo and speed of thought.

For example, I remember seeing UK comedian Jasper Carrott doing a sketch on men being unable to recognise that remote control batteries do eventually run out. He mimicked a guy in front of a TV set, repeatedly hitting the remote control saying "What the Hell's wrong with this thing?!? I put these in seven years ago- there should be plenty of life left in them!!" Both funny, and with a foundation of truth, to which I then added:
"Whereas women, on the other hand, can tell with remarkable accuracy how long a set of batteries can last... ;) "

Think about it......

Anyway, listening to my appraisal at 6 months wasn't pleasant, but everything my supervisor said was true and justified. I had to do something about it.

Such is the structure of emergency medicine training here, that you can take your consultant exam one year before you complete your advanced training, which, for me, will be this August. Like I do for every set of exams, I set myself a structured and intense study program basically consisting of 10 hours study for every day I'm not at work,and 2 hours for every day I am at work (that's why you haven't heard from me since September). I also called Russell- one of my few genuine friends at work- who's brilliant, and asked him for some advice as to how I should go about things.

I made a very conscious effort to put all of this studying and practical advice into practice. As the weeks went by, I was feeling more sure of what I was doing, but couldn't really tell if it was enough.

I had another appraisal with my supervisor 3 months later. I wasn't sure how it was going to go, but I didn't feel like I could do any more. We sat down.
"There appears to have been something of a Victor revolution!" he said.
"Oh." I replied.
"Yes- universal opinion is that you're doing very nicely."
"Oh." I replied again.
"How did you do it?"
I explained to him my study program, and my modelling myself on Russells method of working. He told me that all the bosses were amazed.
"It's almost unprecedented for someone to make such a big turnaround in such a short time as you've done".
"That's very nice of you to say, but realistically, what was the alternative?"

We both paused momentarily. He was about to say something when I interrupted:
"Do you mind if I draw an analogy?"
"Sure" he said.
"Have you seen the movie Waynes World?"
"Not for a long time..." he replied.
"Towards the end of the film, there's a scene when they're preparing for Waynestock, and one of the stage assistants keeps failing to pick up the microphone stand in time. Eventually, Wayne runs upto him and says

[at which point, I get up, start pointing, screaming and shouting]

YOU'RE USELESS!!!!! YOU'RE PATHETIC!!!! YOU'RE LESS THAN NOTHING!!!!!

WHY DON'T YOU JUST QUIT????!!!!????!!!!

[then, sobbing]

BECAUSE I'VE GOT NO PLACE ELSE TO GO...!!!"

My supervisor was rocking in his chair in hysterical laughter.
I then sat calmly back into my chair, folded my arms and said "That's the kind of situation I was really hoping on avoiding."

There's something very validating about making a funny person laugh. I'd never seen him laugh like that before. He's not just a funny person, but also a brilliant doctor, and I love him dearly, in the same way that I love Richard. However, I would NEVER do that in front of any other senior doctor, ever.

Ever.

EVER.

When he calmed down and wiped the tears from his eyes, he told me "It's funny you should ask what the alternative was, because a colleague of yours [who he quite correctly declined to tell me the name of] was also underperforming in a couple of areas. As I was explaining this to them, they said

[slams his fists on the table]

"I REFUSE TO LISTEN TO THIS!!!!!"

and stormed out of the room!"

I burst out laughing.

We concluded the meeting and left the room to encounter two of the other bosses outside, one of whom was the lovely Dr Swinburn who said to us "There was a lot of hilarity coming from that meeting- what the Hell was going on in there???"
I smiled and said "For a moment, there were two [my supervisors name]s in the room."
"Heaven help us all, in that case!" She laughed.
"It's OK- I'm back to normal, now" I replied. "The danger is halved".

At the end of our meeting, he explained to me that medical school is formed from an academic elite, who are exam-passing machines, at the sharp end of the intellectual curve, and at a big, prestigious hospital like this, that end is even sharper. Being told that you are less than brilliant at something is often met with fierce resistance, and sometimes frank denial. He praised me for not being like that.

I have many more non-medical than medical friends, and I've succeeded and failed at enough things to know that the most important step towards being good at something is to be objective and recognise that you are not good at it in the first place. Then, you can make an objective plan as to how you can move forward.

While I try and do well at everything that I do, and be almost terminator-like in my pursuit of it, occasionally, I get a reminder that I'm just as human and vulnerable as anyone else. This was one of those reminders. But, while you can't always control how you feel, you can always control what you do. Apologies and excuses, no matter how well-meaning they are, don't actually achieve anything. If you want to achieve something, you have to do something. I do something.

Tony Robbins is touring the country at the moment, and as you know, he's been around for decades trying to get people off their lazy butts and do something with their lives. I look at him and think to myself "Yeah... this all sounds great, but I don't see anything here that can't be achieved by a set of strict parents telling you to sort your life out. Seriously, just think of your Dad pointing and shouting at you- "F*#KING SORT YOUR SH#T OUT!!!!"

I think that's much more cost-effective than paying thousands for a Tony Robbins seminar, don't you...?

Until the next time.

Victor.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

I Just...

About a year and a half ago, I was running along the beach, and I saw a girl run past me who I thought was absolutely divine- not cheesy-supermodel-type beautiful, but very pretty and very athletic in a very down to earth and real way. I wasn't sure what to do about it, but I was almost home, so I just finished my run. I was riding my bike shortly after, and I saw her at the other end of the beach doing a warm-down. I went over and politely introduced myself, telling her how pretty I thought she was. She was slightly taken aback, and possibly couldn't believe that I was being serious. I assured her that I was. We talked about sport and exercise for a while, and we actually got on pretty well. It turns out I used to live where she's from in New Zealand. Her name was Sally. We swapped numbers and I messaged her as soon as I got home.

We messaged back and forth for a few days, and I told her I had Thursday and Friday nights free the following week. "See you Friday", she said. Cool. I told her to meet me at 7:30 at one of the local bars, and she agreed.

On Friday morning, I messaged her lightheartedly, ending "See you tonight :)". I didn't hear back. As it turns out, my shift ran over by about 3 hours to about 7pm, and I got home feeling really tired. I thought 'Well, I haven't heard from this girl, so I think I'll just have a quiet night in, watching Family Guy'. It got to about 7:30, and for some reason I thought to myself 'You know- I'll just call her, just to be sure...'

[Her] Hello.

[Me] Um.... hi!

[Her] I'm at the bar. Where are you?

[Me] Errr... I.... er... well... my, um.. shift ran over- I'll be right there!

I then had the fastest shower of my life and raced to the bar- I think it took 7 minutes in total. I told her I wasn't sure we were still meeting anymore, as I hadn't heard from her that day. She said she knew, but she didn't cancel, either. We both laughed.
In any case, we had a drink and went to a tapas restaurant, then to another bar. We had a great time and I really enjoyed her company. It's not often you meet such an attractive girl who's warm, smart and fun to be with. I walked her to a taxi and we made loose plans for me to make her dinner.

We kept in contact, but she told me she had exams approaching, and that it wouldn't be a good idea for her to start anything at the present time. I told her that I completely understood- when I have exams, I don't want to see anyone or do anything other than study. She said she appreciated that.

The following weekend, I was lining up outside a bar with some friends, when a familiar figure walked past. It was her. She turned to me with a huge, beaming smile. I smiled back. I really think we both had fun that night.

I messaged her the following day asking if she'd be interested in catching up after her exams. She said we could work something out.

I started singing in bars about a month later, and one of them was a bar she works at on Mondays: the 4Pines. The open mic night was Tuesdays, so I never saw her there. I'd send her a message occasionally, and often she'd respond. She lives not far from me, and I'd sometimes see her around, but I only really spoke to her once.

4 months ago, they changed the open mic night to Mondays, and she was still working there. I'd been doing lots of practise, and I honestly don't think I'd ever sung as well as I did that night. Everyone in the bar was staring at me in amazement. I couldn't believe it was me, either. Everyone was watching.

Except for her.

It was clear she just didn't want to acknowledge me.

I said hello to her at the end of the night. She said she liked it, but it was a shame it was a relatively quiet night. I told her that my song 'Be This Way' was about Nikki, who broke my heart, not about her- she was a much nicer person than her. She laughed and was clearly flattered.

After my next show at that venue, she was singing along to Fleetwood Mac. I went to say hello to her. We chatted briefly, and I asked her what her favourite Fleetwood Mac song was. She said it was 'Landslide'.

I ordered a copy of their greatest hits CD from England, being sure it had 'Landslide' on it. I gave it to her the following week, telling her that I thought she was really cool, fun, smart and pretty. She said thanks, but not much more.

When I tried to arrange another show at that venue, the music coordinator became really difficult to get ahold of. Unless I'm singing there, I don't go to that particular bar very frequently. I popped in once just after New Year for a study break. She happened to be on that night. I stood at the bar and smiled at her, hoping to order a drink. She looked at me like she wanted me to die. I ordered my drink from someone else.

Arranging another performance was proving to be impossible- the music coodinator ordinarily confirms me to sing very quickly, but I just couldn't get hold of him. 2 months ago, he eventually messaged me:

'Hi Victor. Apologies for the late reply. I'm very sorry but the 4Pines have asked that I don't have you back to play at the venue. It's not a reflection of your performance but that staff member was made to feel uncomfortable during your last performance. Thanks for the times you have played here.'

I figured it must have been something like that. There was no point arguing with it. I remember her staring daggers at me in a manner that was beyond negotiation. At that moment, however, I did think to myself 'What have I got to do to make you notice me...?' It fit quite well with A minor7, F and G. I hummed it into my phone. I got home and started writing. More accurately, 'it' started writing itself. I just happened to be there.

One thing I hate about myself is that when I meet someone I think is really special, I can often push too hard, and hold onto something so tightly that I lose it. I'm not mad at her at all. I hate myself for pushing her away from me, and also not daring to ask her out again when we were still talking, instead of buying her gifts when she hadn't responded to any of my messages for months. Something seems to happen most times I meet someone who's just uncomplicated and nice, and has everything that I look for, compelling me either to say and do the wrong thing, or just fail to see what to others would be glaringly obvious.

I recorded the song on Garageband about a week later, and thought it was OK, but I've just spent the weekend in a recording studio, and to my surprise, of my five completed songs, this was the one that brought the studio to a standstill.

We all just stared at each other.

I cried.

"That's my favourite. That's special" The producer said.

The professional recording is now on Soundcloud and iTunes. I still have the laptop prototype. It's a strange situation to be in: I wish she didn't dislike me, but it's that dislike that has given me my most moving song to date. A part of me wants to thank her, but I'm not sure how that would be received.
I sent it to her with an apology, saying it was never my intention to make her feel uncomfortable. I haven't heard back from her, but then, I wasn't expecting to.

The song.

http://youtu.be/vgAL2xhdmPA

The professional version.

http://soundcloud.com/victor-steele/i-just

The words.

http://victor-thediary.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/i-just-lyrics.html


Saturday, 2 February 2013

I Just... Lyrics

I... I...

See you running on the sand, I stop and wonder "Who is she?"
So I come and talk to you, I like the way you talk to me.
Taking you out later, felt so natural to hold your hand.
But your life was busy and I said that I could understand.

Then we pass in the street.
We both smile. Our eyes meet.

Never meant to make you feel this way, I hope you see.
I just wanted so much for you to notice me.
Hurts me so much when I see that you won't look at me.
I just tried to find a way for you to notice me.

I.... I...

Every bit as beautiful as when I saw you on the beach.
Love that you're real, that's why I hoped you'd still meet up with me.
Scared I was losing you, and couldn't think of what to do.
You might forget me, so I thought that I would message you...

Once in a while.
Just to try to make you smile.

Never meant to make you feel this way, I hope you see.
I just wanted so much for you to notice me.
Hurts me so much when I see that you won't look at me.
I just tried to find a way for you to notice me.

I.... I...

I just try, try to say
That I'm so sorry you feel that way.
Didn't mean to make you mad.
I just loved that day we had.
I just hope you understand
That all I wanted was to see you again.
Please know that this is true.
It's hard to find a girl like you.
But if you don't see you and I,
Well I guess this is goodbye.
Last thing I want in the world
Is to hurt a special girl.

I.... I...


http://youtu.be/vgAL2xhdmPA

Copyright 2012.
 
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