The Fragility Of Life

2 February 2024


This mix is from around 2018 and it came following a break of a few months of doing any mixes or blogging. In and around this period things were really challenging in terms of dealing with care and health issues for my Mum. Not that things weren't always difficult in that regard, they were, the systems in place don't function as well as you might think. All the various moving parts do not align, and that was often a role that fell to me - being aware, vigilant, pressing the right people for the right things; it was a constant battle. 


This period of time was around the point where between the nursing, gp's and hospital consultants, they had really dropped the ball, and it was only because I pushed very hard for them to check specifically that they found a kidney stone the size of a 50p piece. Clearly it had been there a long time and the cause of many problems and it should have been picked up by professionals long before getting to this point. Choices were laid out to me that she could be put on palliative care (she wasn't far from that anyway) or risk an operation to remove it, which the chances of her surviving was put to me as being no more than 50/50. As her power of attorney and her voice, and due to her lack of capacity to make the decisions at this stage, this decision landed on my shoulders, and let me tell you, deciding that is not something anyone prepares you for. Leave her as she is and be consigned to pain and infections until her body gives up, which she had been dealing with for a long time already, or take action and hope that it might improve her quality of life and underlying health, but if it goes wrong in terms of post-op infection (a certainty because of the scale of the issue), that might see her off. It wasn't easy to be the one to decide, but I decided for her it was better to try and improve things, knowing if it went wrong it would end things quickly and wouldn't drag out the inevitable with pain, discomfort and impacting her dignity (as if it could be any more impacted), and conversely the hope that it would go right, and although her health through M.S had deteriorated extremely badly by this point, that it might stabilise things more generally and that perhaps some of that deterioration might have been through the kidney issues and may see improvements. So, she had the operation, she did remarkably well coming through it and things did stabilise in some regards for a while, but there weren't any improvements and she lost her battle at the end of the 2020, during the peak of the covid period. I am sure that it was the right thing to do, it gave her a chance and although her decline continued, there was no way of knowing how it would go. I carry that though, I often wonder if I did or did not do the right thing, there's little support or guidance and that's where this mix stems from, this period of time really made me acutely aware of the fragility of life. 

It's fair to say that I still live with the knock on effect of that decade, though it's not for a lack of trying to find a way forward. Dealing with health issues of my own among other things, well, it's all part of life really and not a patch on what my Mum had to deal with, but it feels like a very sad and sorry reflection on our systems and society as a whole that we do not look after one another as well as we could, that until things land on your doorstep, we too easily turn our cheek to what others are going through or fighting against. When I think of the way the UK has gone over the last 14 years, the purposeful dismantling and eroding of the NHS and other organisations, while nepotism in politics allows huge sums to be funneled into the hands of crooks, and worse that they get away with it and think it's fair game. It makes me mad, and I'd love to see these people held to account, but people are apathetic and generally people do not care. How did we get here?

So, I've gone on a bit of a ramble here. Oversharing / info dumping? Perhaps, but it's the honest background to the moment where I put this together, reflecting how I felt and still do feel, expressed to some extent in a soundscape. As I get the blog filled with more of the content, that vibe will probably be more evident and again it just reflects the mood, place and mindset of the moment for the most part, though not always. Though I'll try and punctuate that with some older mixes that are more upbeat, but perhaps not as good quality wise. It's all part of me having this corner of the internet, reflecting things I've tried to do over the years, whether good or bad.


The image by the way, is a photograph that has had very light touch editing, taken at sunset from a house I lived in for 8 months on the outskirts of Huntly in Aberdeenshire. If I could turn back time, I'd have carried on there, at least for a while instead of moving back to a house I've never felt settled in. Anyway... I've digressed, again.

So, onto the music and apologies for rambling.....



01. Fritz Schl - Liverpool Street Station Field Recording (Self Released)
02. Jonny Nash & Lindsey Todd - Mushroom Omelette (And The Prevailing Cosmic Anxiety) (Island Of The Gods)
03. Suzanne Kraft - Zé (Melody As Truth)
04. Vermont - Hallo Von Anderen Seite (Kompakt)
05. Halo - An Isolated Railway (A Strangely Isolated Place)
06. Hampshire & Foat - Lullaby (Athens Of The North)
07. David Darling - Cello Blue (Music For Dreams)
08. 36 - Heather Spa (A Strangely Isolated Place)
09. Matthew Halsall - I've Been Here Before (Gondwana Records)
10. Vangelis Katsoulis - If Not Now, When? (Utopia Records)
11. Arovane & Hior Chronik - Morning Fog (A Strangely Isolated Place)
12. Abul Mogard - Desires Are Reminiscences By Now (Ecstatic)
13. Unknown Artists - Field Recording - Thunderstorm
14. Etienne Jaumet - Orage Dans La Creuse (Tigersushi)
15. Tommy Awards - Hans Logan (Bartosz Kruczynski Remix) (Origin Peoples)
16. Trance - Ikarus (Growing Bin Records)
17. Jonathan Fitoussi & Clemens Hourriere - Le Chant des Dunes (Tigersushi)
18. Wilson Tanner - Odd Low (Growing Bin Records)
19. Peter Pearson - Come Closer (Dreamtime)
20. Troublemakers - Highway Blues (Blue Note)


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