Thursday, 31 December 2015

Tinder, Underwear and Music

TinderTinder

Monday.


TinderTinder.


I'd matched with a girl [let's call her 'Samantha'] the day before. We chatted on the phone and agreed to meet up for dinner and drinks that night. She had just gotten back from travelling overseas, and only just recommenced work, meaning she was very low on money. I was happy to pay for the date, as I would have been, anyway.

We talked and had a drink at a new bar in the city centre before going for cuban food. We got on pretty well. She teaches music to children, and so I asked her if she's like to hear some of my new songs. She said she'd love to.

We got back to my room, and I picked up my guitar and played 'Don't Worry', which she loved. I told her the story behind it- it's about being in a long distance relationship and reassuring each other that you'll be together again. She thought it was very sweet. I then played her 'Don't Ever Go', which is actually the same story, but about the pain of separating at the airport each time. She thought it was very deep and sincere. I told her it was my favourite song on the new EP I was about to record.

We talked some more, and then got pretty cosy, when she told me that it was our first date, and she wasn't ready to be intimate with me. I told her I was cool with that.   "Thanks for respecting me." She said. "That's OK- if you're not comfortable, you're not comfortable. I'm not going to pressure you into doing anything you don't want to do" I replied. "I really appreciate that" she responded.

We talked again, and I played her 'Beautiful Thing' from my second EP, 'V-Factor', and she was amazed by it. I told her it was my favourite original song of mine. "I really like your music, Victor- can I have a CD?" she asked.
"CDs are $10 each" I told her.

"But I don't have $10!" She said.

"Well, then, you can't have a CD...." She seemed disappointed, but I'd already paid for dinner and drinks, so I wasn't about to go giving away free music, which I very rarely do, anyway.

"Would you like a lift home?" I asked her. "Yes, please" she said.

I put away my guitar and went to open the door for her.

As she was about to leave, she said "I REALLY like your music.......

........ I'll take off my underwear if I can have a CD."

[yes- she actually said this]

Are you serious...???
Are you serious...???



I stared at her.


She was serious.


I couldn't believe it.


"You know what...?" I responded, "I value my music much more than that. Keep your underwear on. I'll keep my CD. Let me just give you a lift home like we said"

There was no second date.

"Why the Hell did I re-install that app, again...?" I thought to myself afterwards.

Those of you who know me will know that I don't make these stories up. Not least because you hear the Tinder stories that I DON'T write about...

However, as weird as that was, in probably the strangest possible way, it does say very good things about my new EP. You've read the stories, and the songs tell them all. I love each one.

My record producer says it's a maturation of everything I've done so far. They're not all love songs- 2 are about professional tribulations within medicine, and one is about a friend who died earlier this year.

When I recorded 'Factor This', I had no expectations. I just wanted something that sounded better than Garageband, and it was awesome beyond my wildest dreams. When I recorded 'V-Factor', I was actually quite nervous because I wasn't sure that it would be as good as 'Factor This'. When it turned out awesomely, I just had the feeling of "Phew! Thank God that's awesome!".

The new EP is called 'This Game'. Sean and I expected it to be awesome. I listened to it and thought "Yeah- it's awesome."





Even before it was professionally recorded, it was good enough to make someone want to take off their underwear. Now, those of you who know me will know that getting women to take off their underwear isn't why I got into this. I'm a storyteller. And a pretty good one even if I do say so myself. When I'm on stage, singing my songs, I'm telling a story, and that is one of the best feelings I know. In order to be able to do it more regularly, and on bigger stages, I need to show the music industry that I have something that people enjoy, and are willing to get behind. This is where, as friends and fans, I need you.

The new CD goes onto the market this week. As I've said previously, the first week of sales say to the music industry how much impact your music makes. I'm taking pre-orders, and these orders count towards that first week.

You probably wouldn't be reading this if you didn't like my music, and let's be honest, the story alone deserves a CD [even if 'Samantha' didn't].

You can actually help me take this somewhere by taking action [that doesn't involve removing your underwear], and ordering your own copy of 'This Game', and as a bonus, I'll send you an mp3 folder of the original demo recordings, so you can see how each song started, and compare it to the finished product on the EP.

You can order your copy here: www.victorsteele.com/this-game

You all know that I'm good enough. I just need to become popular enough for the industry to take me seriously. I'm very sure you'll love the EP, and if I see you at a show, I'll tell you without doubt the greatest Tinder story of all time. The one I can't publish. Ever.

Ever.

My music will be good for you. And your support will be good for me. Let's take this somewhere.   


And keep our underwear on.


With love [and swiping],


Victor.


Remember- the EP is available here: www.victorsteele.com/this-game

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Lesbians

I was home visiting family during the Olympics in London, and had an incredible time doing so. My parents were up in Cambridge at the time, and all my siblings and I were there with them on Super Saturday. My sister, Hilda, brought along her 2 kids. After the athletics, there was the commentary on the womens football. The 2 commentators were clearly 2 women in a same-sex relationship.

My 4 year old nephew, Nathan, pointed to one of them and asked "Mummy- why does that woman have hair like a man?"

I smiled, and patted him on the head and said "That's because she's a lesbia-"

"VICTOR!!!!!!" my sister screamed.

"What?? He's 4 years old! He'll have to learn at some point!"

In truth, I knew it was completely inappropriate [but not altogether harmful], which is why I said it. My sister shouldn't have been that surprised. I did tell him when he was 2 that his daycare teacher were bastards....
Later that night I was playing him some songs on my guitar. My sister poked her head through the door and asked "You're not telling him about lesbians or anything, are you??!!??"
"No- just playing him some of my music..."
"Good!" She said. She turned away, and as she was walking, I heard her mutter "Bloody clueless...!!"

How is everyone?

I remember as a teenager being really scared of lesbians because I thought that all lesbians hated men. I'm really not sure where this belief came from. Part of it must have been my single sex education, and being a relative academic recluse, meaning that I didn't know many girls at all, let alone girls who were gay. The weird thing is, with life and experience, and subsequently growing a brain, I actually found that, far from having anything to fear, if anything, I actually tend to get on better with gay women than straight ones. Particularly when you talk about relationships. They have an insight into aspects of life as a straight male that straight women don't, and a very vocal minority refuse to even try to understand, or even acknowledge. They get it.

If you remember one of my entries from a few years ago, I was on a date with 'Gillian', when she told me that a man who was afraid to approach a woman was probably really weak, and a poor partner, and that she'd have no problem approaching a man she was interested in, despite never having done it.  I asked her to approach a man at a nearby table. She nearly cried. I didn't mean to crush her like that, but her ignorance and lack of insight were really getting to me. I've never had such crazy logic come from a lesbian. Lesbians know, from first hand experience, that if everyone sits around doing nothing, nothing happens. And that if you want to have relationships with women, you'll generally have to do something.

They get it.

They know that the process of getting a woman to go out with you isn't the social equivalent of taking a can of beans off the shelf at the supermarket. One of my capoeira teammates came into my ED one day having hurt her elbow. She's a very attractive girl. I had previously asked her out, but she politely declined. One of the nurses said to me "She's hot- why don't you go out with her?" I looked at her and replied "Um.... because she has free will....?".
Lesbians know that the process of taking a woman from being a complete stranger to someone willing to give up several hours of their free time to spend with you in a romantic context is horrendously complex and fraught with obstacles, because they have to do it.

They get it.

Remember my story and song 'Beautiful Thing'? It's about meeting 'Freda' in Melbourne, and finding that we both lived near each other in Sydney. As well as one of the most beautiful women I've ever met, she was also one of the smartest, and nicest, and most suited to me. If she didn't have to leave the country for study, I'm pretty sure we'd be married by now. I got a phone call recently from a senior female doctor near me who found the story and proceeded to lecture me on how badly I treated that woman, and that my mother would be ashamed of me, and that this was exactly the kind of sexist behaviour that she wants to eradicate from the country, and that no woman in the world would employ me if they read it.

I saw a woman I admired. I said hello. We got on well. We formed a relationship. That makes me sexist.

Wow.

It's not the first time I've had a straight woman tell me that admiring a woman constitutes a form of disrespect, but it was the fiercest and most involved. I simply couldn't believe what I was hearing.
I've never had such craziness come from a lesbian. Lesbians know that admiration between individuals [whoever you happen to be attracted to] is normal. It's natural. It's part of who we are as human beings. Lesbians admire women- it's not disrespectful. How you act towards that woman may be disrespectful if you choose it to be, but if you're a socially balanced person, and treat people the way you would like to be treated, then it usually won't be.

They get it.

I have 2 good lesbian friends. One come over with her girlfriend for dinner recently, and we shared stories about online dating, and had a raucous time- they loved my stories. Including the Tinder story that I won't publish.

Ever.

Ever.

At the end of our story-sharing, she looked at me and said "Women are crazy". As a blanket statement, I don't think she meant it absolutely, - she and her girlfriend are very much in love, and we both have wonderful straight female friends who are far from crazy. However, experience shows that you never have to look for crazy women. They will find you. And with no undue delay. Lesbians get that.

Go lesbians.

You rock.


On a complete tangent, I'm sad to say that  friend of mine died recently. She is one of my salsa friends from Wellington in NZ, and it was so saddening to hear that she's gone now. She had complications from surgery. It might surprise you to know that, as one of my regular dance partners, she's actually in her late 70s. Rae was the first person I danced with in Wellington. I met her the same night that I met Rachel at Latinos when my rugby team went to play a 7s tournament in Wellington. It was February 4th 2005. My team mates went out drinking, and I went out to dance. Latinos Bar was pretty quiet early in the night. They had DJ music playing before the band came on later on. I noticed an older lady doing the basic step by herself, and thought 'hang on- she looks like she can dance...'. I asked her to dance, and she gladly accepted, and despite being 45 years older than me, she moved really well, and I didn't have to tone it down at all. We were the only people dancing at the time, so we had several dances. However, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a table of younger people [I assume just at the venue to drink] looking at me and laughing, presumably because I was dancing with a woman 3 times my age. I didn't say anything to them, but I pitied them greatly for their ignorance and thought to myself "You sad, sad idiots. You clearly don't get this."

Myself, Adrian, Sonia and Rae at NZ Salsa Congress 2015


I've lost count of the number of times I've had to explain to people that salsa isn't about getting your rocks off with the person you're dancing with. Like all dances, it's about musical interpretation and expression, and connecting socially through that. I dance with my sister and my mother the same way I would dance with any other woman. The current world champions are brother and sister. I'm pretty sure they're not getting their rocks off together behind the scenes...

There's a lot of physical contact involved in salsa, but it's through that that you learn a lot of social skills that you cannot learn from solo dances. Or drinking. Firstly, touch need not, and usually is not sexual in its intention. As a male, you learn how and where to touch a woman in a respectful fashion that doesn't overstep boundaries or creep her out. As a female, you learn how to set boundaries as to the kind of physical contact you are prepared to accept, and know that you always have the option to walk away from a situation that you are not comfortable with. Also, as a male, you learn how to lead an interaction with a woman without controlling her or being domineering. You propose a step, and it's her choice as to whether or not she accepts. But if you're nice about it, she usually will. I think these are very valuable life skills, and when I go out in non-salsa environments, I frequently see that a lot of people don't have these.

In the 11 years since we met, I've seen Rae at every salsa congress in Australia and New Zealand that I've been to. We dance every single time, and she puts a lot of younger women to shame. Next year will be the first time I'll be at a congress without her, and I'll miss her terribly, as will the rest of our salsa family.

Salsa kept Rae smiling right to the end. There's an energy and positivity about it, to the point where, in a salsa club, it's often very difficult to tell how old people are because we're all so joyful.

When I was working at the trauma hospital, about 3 weeks into my time there, one of the domestic staff came upto me and said "You're not like the other doctors here."
"What do you mean...?" I asked.
"You smile a lot" He replied.

I do. No matter what happens in medicine. I will always have this, and I will always do this. It's just in my blood now. The title song on my new CD is a salsa track. The video tells the story.



Until the next time.

Victor.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Don't Ever Go


I met Rachel in February 2005. I was working in Invercargill, and playing rugby for Marist. We went up to Wellington to play in a 7s tournament and watch the international 7s as well. On the Saturday night, my team-mates went out drinking, but that's not really my thing, so I went out to dance salsa instead.
Latinos was the venue, but there weren't that many people there when I arrived, but I have no problem dancing by myself. In the second half of the evening, a live band played, which was awesome. Rachel was the saxophone player, and during their interval, I asked her to dance, as I would ask anyone in salsa to dance. We seemed to get on pretty well, and swapped numbers.

I was flying back to Invercargill on Monday, and asked her if I could see her on Sunday. I offered not to go to the rugby, but even with that, the logistics didn't work out.

We messaged with increasing frequency for the next few days, and she knew that I went to Christchurch roughly every 2 weeks to visit my salsa friends, as there was no salsa in Invercargill. She messaged me saying that she would be visiting her family in Christchurch the next weekend, and wanted to know if I would be there. As luck would have it, I was. We went to 'Sams'-  a jazz restaurant, and got to know each other a bit better, and just seemed to click.

The following fortnight, we met at Jambalaya- a world music and dance festival, focussing on salsa, and she and her band were playing. We spent the entire long weekend together, and everything just seemed to flow.

From then on, every other weekend, I'd usually fly to either Wellington or Christchurch to see her, and it was quite clear that we were becoming more and more enamoured with each other, as leaving was getting harder and harder each time.

About 3 months in, we were at the departure gate at Christchurch airport. Everyone else had boarded the plane to Invercargill, but I stayed and hugged her until the very last moment possible.

"Final call for the flight to Invercargill."

I hugged her.

"This is the last call for the flight to Invercargill"

I kept hugging her.

The ground staff looked on.

"FINAL CALL FOR THE LAST FLIGHT TO INVERCARGILL!!!!"

OK- I had to go. I was the last person on the plane by about 5 minutes, and the crew gave me a knowing smile as I boarded. I smiled back. I imagine they see couples saying difficult goodbyes on a daily, if not hourly basis.

The flight is only 1hr 15, but that's more than long enough for me to remember how happy I was with Rachel and how desperately unhappy I was at work in comparison. I really wasn't enjoying the rotation I was doing, and felt like I was just living for my weekends with her.

I got back to the my room and messaged her:

[Me] Being with you eases the pain. Thank you for being who you are.

[Her] I think I'm falling in love with you.

[Me] I think I love you, too.

The song: https://youtu.be/qPQeFA3Fhe4

The words: http://victor-thediary.blogspot.com.au/2015/10/dont-ever-go-lyrics.html


Don't Ever Go Lyrics

You know the time will come when we will set the sun and we will have to go our separate ways.
But in the time we had, you made me feel so glad I  get to be with you another day.

But we know that we show we can't be held apart.

You know I always want you to stay.
Don't ever go away.

And when you held me so, I couldn't let you go until they called me for the final time.
And when I hit the ground, I looked and I had found that you had told me that your heart was mine.

But we know that we show we can't be held apart.
And you know that I hold you right here in my heart.

You know I always want you to stay.
Don't ever go away.
You know I always want you to stay.
Don't ever go away. Ay-ay-ay-ay…………….

But we know that we show we can't be held apart.
And you know that I hold you right here in my heart.

You know I always want you to stay.
Don't ever go away.
You know I always want you to stay.
Don't ever go away.
[ay-ay….]

You know I always want you to stay.
Don't ever go away.
You know I always want you to stay.
Don't ever go away.
[ay-ay…..]
[But we know that we show we can't be held apart.
And you know that I hold you right here in my heart.]

You know I always want you to stay.
Don't ever go away.
You know I always want you to stay.
Don't ever go away.

But we know that we show we can't be held apart.
And I know that you hold me right there in your heart.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Don't Worry

Another one about Rachel and I.

We met in Wellington when I had travelled there to play in a 7s tournament, with my team from Invercargill, which is at the bottom of the south island of New Zealand, so for the first year of our relationship, we were in a long distance, north island- south island relationship.

It was hard only seeing each other every few weeks, but we managed. At the end of my first year, I was going back to London for 6 weeks to spend Christmas with my family. She knew that my parents weren't approving of our relationship, and she was worried that I might not come back.

I asked her if she thought I'd start seeing someone else while I was away. "No- I don't doubt you at all. I've never met anyone like you." She said.

I'm very emotionally transparent- I'm easy to read. It was pleasing to know that she trusted me to that degree, as it's difficult to verbally express to someone that you are that trustworthy without giving the impression that you are exactly the opposite.

"Don't worry." I told her. And I came back.

The song (rough draft): https://youtu.be/BsmnKf0wESA

The lyrics:

Don't Worry Lyrics

You're an island away, you hear my voice every day
I know it's not quite the same, but there is no-one to blame
And now, I'm gonna be gone, you are still number one
And now that I've go to fly, there's no-one else on my mind.

It's not hard to see, you know I'm easy to read
Don't worry, don't worry.
You're never alone, I'm at the end of the phone
Don't worry, don't worry.

It's always gonna be hard, we're normally far apart
But we know we pass the test, we're better than all the rest
Next year is gonna be better, we'll be living together
No more heavy goodbyes, no more wondering why.

I… do…
Hope… you….
Know…. that….
I'm coming back.

It's not hard to see, you know I'm easy to read
Don't worry, don't worry.
You're never alone, I'm at the end of the phone
Don't worry, don't worry.

It's not hard to see, you know I'm easy to read
Don't worry, don't worry.
You're never alone, I'm at the end of the phone
Don't worry, don't worry.

It's not hard to see, you know I'm easy to read
Don't worry, don't worry.
Don't ever be sad, you know I'm coming back

Don't worry, don't worry.

This Game

On a microscopic level, this song is about being in charge of the emergency department during phenomenally busy shift, and feeling like it's all getting out of control. You will have to hand over the department to your boss when they come in for the afternoon shift, and you're not quite sure how to explain the situation to them without appearing inadequate.

On a macroscopic level, it's about the game of keeping up appearances within the profession of emergency medicine. What constitutes being part of 'the club' and what does not. It's a long and involved story. I'll write more on it later.

The song (rough draft): https://youtu.be/3cXMEvQ7qoE

The lyrics: http://victor-thediary.blogspot.com.au/2015/09/this-game-lyrics.html

This Game Lyrics

To-day
You look right ahead, but you feel like it's running away
I .. do…
believe how you feel, 'cause I've been caught in that day, too.

This game they play can't be won by two
What you gonna say, now, what you gonna do?
They're all here and they're lookin' at you
What you gonna say, now, what you gonna do?

This… game
You just have to play, 'cause it's part of your life all the same.
This… fear
Not of who you are, but of how you are made to appear.

This game they play can't be won by two
What you gonna say, now, what you gonna do?
They're all here and they're lookin' at you
What you gonna say, now, what you gonna do?

This game they play can't be won by two
What you gonna say, now, what you gonna do?
They're all here and they're lookin' at you
What you gonna say, now, what you gonna do?

Solo

This game they play can't be won by two
What you gonna say, now, what you gonna do?
They're all here and they're lookin' at you
What you gonna say, now, what you gonna do?

This game they play can't be won by two
What you gonna say, now, what you gonna do?
They're all here and they're lookin' at you

What you gonna say, now, what you gonna do?

The Time Is Now

This one is about my struggle after transferring to a trauma hospital. It was quite a challenge, and I've actually already written about it in my diary entry called 'Hard Work'. Just when I appeared to have steadied the ship, it all started unravelling again when I lost Johanna, and I was fatiguing really badly from all the studying I was pushing myself to do.

It didn't work out there in the end, and although they wanted me to stay, I was much happier leaving and starting afresh somewhere new. It was the best thing for everyone.

The song (rough draft): https://youtu.be/jzdnDFpwJsI

The lyrics: http://victor-thediary.blogspot.com.au/2015/09/the-time-is-now-lyrics.html

The Time Is Now Lyrics

Ooh__ Ai___
Ooh__ Ai___

You know it's gonna be tough
But you hope that you've got enough
You'v been building all this time
To be sure that you get it right and it's now

S o you give it all you've got
You can't tell if you're right or not
And you think that you crash and burn
And you see there's so much to learn
and it's now

And the time is now

And you know that
You don't wanna go
And you know that….

And you find what you never thought was there
And you give till theres nothing left
And they say that you're someone new
But there's nothing else you could do and its now

And the time is now

You can't let it go
Cause you want it so
You won't let it go
Till you reach your goal

[instrumental]

And you find that here you are
And it's just that bridge too far
And you know you just can't stay
Live to fight another day

And you know that
you gotta go
and you know that

And the time is now

And you've gotta go
You can't' make it so
You just gotta go
You can't change it so

And you've gotta go
You can't' make it so
You just gotta go
You can't change it so


Crazy To Love

This is another one about Rachel and I.

It was often commented  how well we got on and how infrequently we had disagreements.
We were making dinner for her family at her parents place one weekend, and after a while, her Dad called into the kitchen "It's awfully quiet in there….!"
We were just getting on with it.

In comparison to most other couples, we communicated very well, and always tried to reason with each other instead of launching into conflict, but even when we did have disagreements, they were never toxic, and we'd always work it out.


The song (rough draft): https://youtu.be/VqFm1PmLr2c

The lyrics: http://victor-thediary.blogspot.com.au/2015/09/crazyto-love-lyrics.html

CrazyTo Love Lyrics

There's not many times when we don't see eye to eye but we still care 
We work it out, that's what we're all about and we're still there.

Sometimes I feel
When you're next to me that

You must be crazy to love me
I bless the day that I loved you

Remember the time when we would go for a ride just you and I
Even if we were lost you would never get cross you would just smile

You hold me and say
That it's all OK
Sometimes you think

I must be crazy to love you
You bless the day that you loved me

Sometimes I feel
When you're next to me that

You must be crazy to love me
I bless the day that I loved you

You must be crazy to love me
I bless the day that I loved you

You must be crazy to love me
I bless the day that I loved you

[You know we'll always work it out
Not like those lovers who scream and shout
They'll do what's easy and walk away

We'll stand together and be OK]

Final Goodbye

This one is about a friend of mine who sadly passed away recently.

P.J is a woman in her late 50s. She had terminal cancer, and I met her and her family at karaoke. She really loved my music and bought both of my previous 2 CDs.

I sang Elton Johns 'Your Song' for her one Friday night, and she cried. Then I cried. I nearly couldn't finish the song. We hugged and everyone was moved.

A few weeks later, she had a relapse of her cancer and came into the ED while I was on duty. I oversaw her treatment and made sure she was as comfortable as possible. I then visited her on the medical ward a few days into her admission, which she really appreciated.

I saw her daughter out at karaoke that weekend, and she thanked me for helping look after her mum, and said she would really appreciate it if I could pay their home a visit and play a song for her. I happily did so, and it was a real pleasure to meet the extended family. They all really enjoyed hearing the music live.

They all came out to karaoke that weekend and I sang some of my original songs for P.J., which again, she really enjoyed.

She appeared to be doing really well with her cancer, but without my knowing, she took a rapid turn for the worse and passed away.

I went to the funeral, where her daughter told me that she buried my CD with her mother because she loved it so much.

Bishan and I were out recently, and we bumped into her son. "You're the doctor that looked after my mother, aren't; you?" he asked. "Yes I am" I replied.
"Thank you for everything you did for her. She loved you. You're a beautiful man." He hugged me.

Again, I was moved to tears.

"That was really powerful, Victor." Bishan said. I agreed.

This song is for her. Bishan is playing the lead.

The song: (rough draft):

The lyrics: http://victor-thediary.blogspot.com.au/2015/09/final-goodbye-lyrics.html

Monday, 14 September 2015

Final Goodbye Lyrics

You came along
Then you were gone
Just glad that I
Could make you smile

Goodbye my friend 
It's not the end

but now I know
you're not in pain
Rest now in peace
In a better place

Goodbye my friend 
It's not the end
Goodbye my friend 
We'll meet again

[instrumental]

Goodbye my friend 
It's not the end
Goodbye my friend 
We'll meet again

Goodbye my friend 
It's not the end
Goodbye my friend 

We'll meet again

Fly

This song is about…. writing songs!

It's probably the strangest thing I've ever done in that everything else I've achieved in life has been the result of many hours of arduous practise, but songwriting is something I've never ever learned. It just sort of happens.

Literally at any point in time a melody can enter your mind and if you capture it (usually by humming it into your phone), you can turn it into a song.

I usually pluck out a matching baseline, put some chords to it, and then just write words telling a story in keeping with how the melody might make me feel.

I dunno. It seems to work…. :D

The song (rough draft):

The lyrics: http://victor-thediary.blogspot.com.au/2015/09/fly-lyrics.html


Fly Lyrics

You never know when it'll come
Be with anything or anyone
You never know how it'll sound
Or how long it'll stay around

You gotta keep it in your mind
Cause there's nowhere else that you might find
A melody that will grow
To a song that could move you so

Next you know
You can show

You will come to me and I 
Put it all together and I watch it fly
Sing a song for me and you
I can think of nothing else I'd rather do

Now how is this making you feel?
Cause you wanna have something real
Now think what are you trying to say?
And now how does that come into play?

Now it's all gotta start with the bass
Then the rhythm will fill in the space
And we'll throw in a beat as well
Now we have a real story to tell

Next you know
You can show

You will come to me and I 
Put it all together and I watch it fly
Sing a song for me and you
I can think of nothing else I'd rather do

You will come to me and I 
Put it all together and I watch it fly
Sing a song for me and you

I can think of nothing else I'd rather do

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Hungarian

I was selected to be an instructor for Advanced Paediatric Life Support some time ago, which was very pleasing. I had to go on an instructors course in the Bay of Islands in New Zealand, which was a great privilege as well. As I was checking into the hotel, I saw that the name on the tag of the woman at reception was Ildiko.

"You're hungarian aren't you?' I asked.

She was taken aback. 'Why- yes I am! How could you tell?'

"'There's a hungarian actress called Ildiko' I replied.

She beamed. "That's great! Has she been in anything famous?"

I took a breath. 

I paused.

"Um…."

After a few moments thought, I said " nothing….. you….. would…..have……. heard….. of……."

I thought it best to leave it at that.

How is everyone?

I'm writing this from the airport in Abu Dhabi, waiting for my connection to London, as my lifelong family and schoolfriend Winston is getting married next weekend. It will be great to have another big nigerian ceremony again, as I haven't been to one for such a long time. Those of you who have seen the pictures from my sisters wedding will know exactly how colourful and vibrant they are, so I'm looking forward to it. Of course, there will be inevitable inquisition from Mum and Dad as to why I'm not getting married, but at least this time I have the excuse of exams. 

I did my emergency medicine fellowship exam last Friday, which is one of the biggest exams I've done so far. It was 5 months of torturous trudgery, but such are clinical exams that you never ever feel like you know enough. I struggled with it, but the post exam discussion would suggest that I struggled as much as most other people at least. We get the results in 5 weeks. It's interesting- I've taken part in a 12 week course of topic-based practise exams in the build-up, and I remember looking around the room once and thinking to myself 'everyone here was at or near the top of their class in school. But I'm sensing quite a lot of apprehension, here.' I think that just goes to show how rigorous postgraduate medical training is- the even the smartest of the smart can struggle with it. At least I know I'm keeping good company. I don't see myself as particularly intelligent, but I am good at organising myself and focussing on completing a task in a methodological fashion. Whatever the result, I'll have learned a lot, and I'm a better doctor as a result. 

To that end, I deleted Tinder from my phone months ago [shock, horror], as I could use as few distractions as possible. I did go out with a girl for a few weeks before that, though, and we seemed to be getting on great before she got really cagey about seeing me again. I asked her what was going on.

"I have a boyfriend in america. He's coming to visit next week. I don't think I can see you anymore."

Not again.

I don't get it. I really don't. But then, it's probably a sign of my still s;ightly naive view of life and relationships to assume that everyone on a dating app is single. I can't comprehend the prospect of being in a long term relationship and flicking through Tinder on the side, but clearly for some people it's not a problem. Those of you who've been following me for some time will know that this isn't the first time I've been out with a woman who has conveniently 'forgotten' to mention that she was already in a long term relationship [ that 4am phone call in Tauranga from a guy telling me to stay the Hell away from his girlfriend has to be one of the highlights], which kind of makes me nervous about the prospect of settling down with someone at all…..

During one of my many trips to Germany, I was in Cologne dancing salsa, and having an awesome time doing so. I saw a woman that I liked the look of, and was about to go talk to her when I saw that she had a wedding ring on, so I stayed away. [I later found out that her husband owned the salsa club. Good move.] Another woman that I met shortly after seemed to be quite enamoured with me. We danced a couple of times, and we clearly had a great connection. [without going into any unnecessary detail] We were having breakfast together the following morning, and I noticed that, where there wasn't one before, there was now a huge wedding ring on her finger and she started talking about having a husband. I was only 23 at the time, with not much relationship experience, and didn't quite understand what was going on. 

"Hang on a minute-" I thought to myself. "If you……… have……….. a husband, how……… can……. you be………… going…………… out…………. with……….. me….? I don't get it- if you're……………. already…………… married, then………….. that…………… means………….. that……… you……. can't…."

I was really struggling to compute the situation until eventually, my conscience was saying at the back of my mind, with increasing loudness 

"Victor………….! 

VICTOR!!!!! 

She's….

having….

an…

affair…

with you……!"


"AaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH………..!" I thought, as reality dawned on me. 

Women frighten me sometimes. They really do. Not that men are any better. But women do seem a lot better at hiding stuff like this.

As you all know, I'm a hopeless romantic- I love the idea of being in love and sharing my life with someone special-, but I'm also very liberal and non-judgemental. If you're single and having fun without hurting anyone, I really have no interest in anything you do. I'll quite happily leave you to it. However, if you're unfaithful, I can't help but feel saddened by that. I don't see how that can't be hurtful to the person you say you love. 

During a study break one night recently, I was watching TV, and an advert for Ashley Madison came on. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. "Life is short. Have an affair". I was just dumbfounded. A website specifically for cheating is one thing. But to see one advertised on TV was a step beyond anything I'd considered a realistic part of everyday life.

Some of you will have heard me say something that I don't like saying, but I've been forced to concede. And stand by. 

Most relationships are a joke. Including marriages. You could even say especially marriages. In terms of fidelity and commitment and what the two people are prepared to do for each other. I honestly believe that. It's only a minority of relationships that I can look at and think "Wow, that's awesome. You're genuinely connected. You make each other really happy. I'd love to have a relationship like yours". 

I hope they don't mind me saying so but my friends Carl and Francesca are happily married with a child, and I've seen them together pretty much from the start. I've never seen them argue. Ever. They have a genuine warmth and harmony between them, and they are just incredibly easy to be around. I look at them and I think 'Yes'. I use them as an example of something that genuinely works.

Similarly, when I first moved to Manly, it became widely known in the emergency department that I was a salsaholic, and one of my medical colleagues asked me if I could help him out by choreographing his wedding dance for him and his finacee, and he would pay me for my services. They had already picked out a song- it was David Grays 'Please Forgive Me', which has a 1,2-1,2 beat, so I put together a merengue routine for them. They came to my house and I taught them the steps. They picked it up pretty well for non-dancers. At the end, they did the final twirl and dip, and he kissed her. I saw the way they smiled at each other. I looked on and thought 'I can't charge you for this. This is it's own reward'.

[I probably should still have charged them, though.]

They're real relationships. I can do a real relationship. I can do a casual relationship. I won't do a joke relationship. My time is just too valuable, and you don't have to hurt anyone if you're not in the right place to commit.

I'd rather watch a movie.

[but nothing you would have heard of ;)]


Victor.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Sneak Preview….

Hi everyone-

it's been ages since we spoke normally, but this year has been quite hectic for me. As well as trying to get on with medicine, I've been in court getting that stalker off my case. Thankfully, she's gone now, and normal life can resume. I had my exam yesterday- it was pretty harrowing, but no more so for me than for everyone else. I find out in 6 weeks. Fingers crossed. 

Ages ago, I met up with my record producer, Sean Carey, who is now also one of my best friends. We had a really good talk, and for the first time, I actually walked him through the creation of one of my new songs. I played him the humming on my iPhone, the melody creation, the matching of the chords, and finally the lyrics on top of it all. He was pretty impressed :D

I'll be back in the studio recording another EP soon, but as a fan, I thought you might like to hear how the songs start out before Sean and I get to work on them in the studio. There will be 6 songs on this CD, of which here are finished rough demos. As usual, I put them on YouTube and send them to Sean, who then gets thinking about how we can maximise their potential.

Here they are:

People tell me that this one harks back to old school Red Hot Chilli Peppers. It's about staying in love with someone despite each others flaws.



This one is probably my most Jack Johnson-like effort to date. It's about being in a long distance relationship, knowing you're not going to see your partner for a long time, but still hanging on for each other.


This one is actually about the same thing, but from the perspective of the pain of separating, rather than the joy of coming back together:

https://youtu.be/qPQeFA3Fhe4

This one is about my friends mother who died recently:

https://youtu.be/masDjKpR-rM

This one is about the difficulties you can face in a career in emergency medicine.


This one is also about emergency medicine- trying to keep it together when the department is heaving, and having to justify the state of the department to the incoming team.


I hope you enjoy them, and I'll be in touch when the studio recordings are finished.

You'll be able to sample them on my website www.v-factor.com

Speak soon,

Victor.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Moving House

In typical fashion, my parents once left a house move until the night before the start of my final school year, and we were still moving stuff the morning school started, so I arrived late to morning registration.

"Sorry I'm late, Sir, I was moving house."

Mr Glanville stared at me. Smiled. Shrugged his shoulders and said

"Only Victor could come up with an excuse like that, so I can only assume that it's true- come in, take a seat!"

How is everyone?

You may know that I've just moved back up to Manly after my year down south in Wollongong [just south of Sydney]. I'm glad to be back, as I love the life here. House-hunting isn't something I've had to do for a long, LONG time, so I found it a little daunting at first. I like sharing with people, and I found some places on Gumtree that sounded good. One in particular stood out- I walked into the apartment, and it just felt like a home, not just a place to sleep. The leaseholder was an english girl about my age. Her boyfriend and friend would also be living there, too. We had the standard talk, and she asked me what I was doing after.

"I've actually got a Tinder date that may or may not happen" I told her.

"Ah, good old Tinder- the land of hit and miss"

"Yeah, tell me about it- I've got the ultimate Tinder story…!"I replied, as I was leaving.

"OK- you can't say that and not tell me the story!!"

She was right. However, it's not the kind of story that you share with people you've only just met. I was in a bit of  a bind. I though to myself "OK. This could either go really, really well, or really REALLY badly!"

I took a deep breath and told her the story.

She offered me the room the following day.

Phew!


[an unrelated Tinder conversation]



But now that I've thought about it- I actually didn't have much to worry about, as my dating experience has shown me, after countless reinactments of the American Pie-esque antics of my school friends during all of my dates, that, more than being robust, women actually love those stories: I've never had a bad reaction from singing Satyens rap, recounting Donalds end of year English exam story or Richards theory on parental marital arts. They actually thrive on it, and they usually come away thinking I'm the most fun guy ever, as guys simply don't tell them stuff like that when they take them out.

Although, having said that- I'm still not going to tell you the Tinder story. Not on here. Sadly, I'm starting to succumb to this crippling disease called 'growing up' that stops me from writing that stuff anymore. Ten years ago, I might have, but not now. I'm not so badly afflicted that I won't tell you in person, though.

Manly feels a little different this time around. Some people have moved away, some people have children, now, some have new relationships, or unfortunately, have separated from their partners. That's just life, I guess. Working your way back into peoples lives again isn't easy. One new development that I've warmly welcomed, and has warmly welcomed me, is Thirsty Thursdays. My ambulance officer friend Billy has a wide network of friends who meet for dinner and drinks every Thursday evening in the same area, rotating through various venues. It's ultra relaxed, and just a really fun time where guys [it's guys only] just hang out and chat, and it's just awesome. Made lots of new friends, and I know there's one night a week where I can just turn up and I know I can just have a relaxed fun time.

The first night I went, I actually ended up holding court with the Tinder story. They told me there was nowhere to go after that. There was a guy on the next table, who had long since finished his food, listening in and actually writing it down as I was going along "This is f*#king awesome!!!!" he said. So, I guess you could say that I made a bit of an impact with it.

I'm still not publishing it, though.

Tinder, for those of you not familiar with it, is a dating app on which you serially swipe through peoples profiles needing to like or dislike them in order to see the next one. Only if you match with somebody can you actually speak to them, or even view their profile again. I've been on it for about a year and half after Patrick forced me to get it, as he was sick of me moping about Johanna. I got off to a roaring start with it. And it helped…. a bit. However, it is very superficial and whimsical- it's flakier than a dandruff convention, so I'm on the verge of giving up on it. On the other hand, I don't remember rejoicing in the sheer volume of sane, non-flakey women I was meeting when I was out doing the bar and club thing, either, so it's difficult to know what to do. It's amusing, if nothing else. And when dates do eventuate, they're often quite entertaining. I think by far the best description of Tinder has to be the video made by Benjamin French [Frenchy]. I cried laughing when I saw it. Here it is:

https://www.facebook.com/SungaAttack/videos/vb.611984132154403/953089881377158/?type=2&theater

After much turbulence, I made it to my school friends wedding in Greece in August last year. It was a beautiful, and very private affair, with only about twenty of us there, including a handful of guys from school, including my other best friend from school, Stuart, who is already married, with a child.



In between speaking in Batman quotes, Stuart and I get on so well that we just laugh the whole time. We caught up for lunch the day before the wedding, and the people of Rhodes walking by thought we were completely insane. I updated him with life events since the last time we met, including the Tinder story [which I won't repeat], after which I told him: "You know- sometimes I feel like it's my duty to entertain my married friends". To which he replied
"Oh- there's no sometimes about it!"

As Chris Rock says "Marriage is some boring ass sh*t!". But what I think a lot of my married and LTR friends easily forget is that between these 'adventures', there are often quite long periods of silence, and a lot of nights spent by yourself. That isn't always comfortable. Companionship is a good thing. I think they take it for granted a lot of the time.

Wollongong is a lower socioeconomic demographic, but then that tends to make for more severely ill patients, which is great for developing your medical skills. I had a great time there, learned a lot and made some great friends [stalkers not included], but I'm happy to be back in Manly.

My neck is very sore, now, though…

Some of you have read my stalker story- I've taken it offline, now. We're actually due in court soon. I'd just had enough of her. Aside from her toxic behaviour, I can't help but be a little taken aback by the situation. I'm not saying I'm Gods gift or anything, but I think I have a reasonable amount going for me in life, and I do make a decent effort to look after myself. With that in mind, can you honestly see this…



……..with THIS????


REALLY????!!!!????

I would hope that even the most cretinous would be able to see some degree of mismatch here…!!
I was nice to her initially because I'm nice to everyone. Then she got vicious when I told her I wasn't romantically interested. I wasn't trying to be mean. I just have standards. I don't think having standards makes me a bad person.
Anyway, hopefully this ugliness will be behind me forever, and I can get on with things and people more deserving of my time and energy.

Like exams.

I'm actually out of contract at the moment in order to study for my postgraduate specialisation in emergency medicine. It's been a long road, but hopefully I'm coming to the end of it. When I was doing my UK internal medicine exams [MRCP], my Dad commented that I seem to like doing exams. He's probably right- I do like learning new things and pushing myself to the next level, but it's starting to wear a bit thin, now. I'd be very happy to make these the last exams I ever take. And once that's over, I can devote more time to things like Tinder.

But I still won't publish the story….

Until the next time.

Victor.