The Recording of War On Dreams Part 1 & 2

Part 1: Why dreams aren’t always easy and that’s ok

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When it comes to speaking of matters as serious as our dreams, the analogy of ‘a battle’ works for me. Having read Steven Pressfield’s book ‘The War of Art’, I can see that I am not alone: Pressfield highlights the various (and seemingly inevitable) opposing energies that we face when we embark on the pursuit our goals or creative ambitions. Inspired by Pressfield’s title, the song ‘War On Dreams’, reflects my own such experiences with music.

As with all creative endeavours, no-one else ever knows the full extent of blood, sweat and tears that go into a finished product or work of art. The song ‘War On Dreams’ was no exception. The irony that recording a song about the struggles of chasing a dream could then take so long to finish, was not lost on me. We can all laugh* about it now.

(*Laughs manically, flinches then weeps quietly) ;).

I want to share this process with you because I think somewhere out there is the misconception that things that are ‘meant to be’ should be easy and just some how fall into place. That if something proves to be difficult maybe it’s a ‘sign’ that it wasn’t meant to be, that we’re not good enough or that we should give up.

Not so.

Sure, some things do seem to just fall into place for some people and good for them, although this is rarely really the case. Nevertheless, you can’t compare your work of art, business, dream, or it’s journey to fruition, with anyone else’s for many reasons:

  1. You are unique.
  2. Your dream, goal, ambition, art, business, project is unique to you.
  3. Your journey, life experience, network, circumstances, abilities, confidence, vision are all unique.
  4. Your struggles, lessons, subsequent learning and solutions on said journey will also be (yup you guessed it…) unique and, quite possibly – NECESSARY.

Often, your struggles along the way better equip you to make your goal a reality and help you prepare for it’s arrival. This was certainly the case with the recording of ‘War On Dreams’. Allow me to illustrate:

Writing the song: I wrote the song over several months, the initial riff came easily but no words or other sections joined them for quite some time. Usually songs come together for me over a couple of sittings, a song that took this long was largely unheard of for me. I didn’t discard it, I just kept playing it often   and let the rest of the song develop very slowly over time. Patience paid off.

The Demo: When I was ready to record the demo, my computer broke, I needed a new one to record, but we were moving house so had lots of other priorities and time went by. I eventually bought a new computer for recording and miraculously completed a fully arranged and recorded demo in a 16 hours straight solo session. Phew – made up for some lost time there. The demo really captured the feel of the track and gave me goose-bumps when I listened to it. Win.

The Producer: I took it (along with a few other tracks) to a lovely producer friend of mine to re-do the strings, piano and vocals and add the professional polish it deserved. This took some time (and money) and although it did sound very polished in the end, it had somehow lost the great emotional feel and goose-bumps that were so strong in the demo version, (N.B. this is called ‘Demoitus’ and I’m told it can be fatal).

I took the new version home with me to work on but without all the same virtual instruments and plugins as used in his studio, I couldn’t get it anywhere close. The other tracks weren’t getting there either and at this point I’d reached the end of my producer budget without having one finished track to show for it. I sadly had to cut my loses.

At this stage things were pretty sucky. I’d spent a lot of time and money and seemed no closer to getting the track (or any of the others) sounding as good as I thought they should. I had three options:

  1. Settle for the very polished but unemotional professional recording that just left me feeling kinda cold.
  2. Give up, have a little tantrum, say that everything’s rubbish, drink too much and moan about my very ‘first world’ problems.
  3. Start again from scratch.

I chose option 2, but once I got that out of my system, I moved on to option 3 🙂

“They who have conquered doubt and fear have conquered failure”. 

– James Allen

 


Part 2: Backwards to go forwards

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Yup, it was pretty heartbreaking and incredibly daunting to start over. Whist I could record a demo with great feel, I didn’t have the skills or equipment to create a broadcast standard recording on my own, and that’s what I needed.

So (queue montage), I researched equipment, read reviews, went on forums, spoke to other producers, took courses, read books on the subject, watched tutorials, saved up, and over time started to build up my own studio and develop the best set up I could afford to meet my needs.

This all obviously took some time and was at points very frustrating. Interestingly enough, it took about nine months from the new equipment arriving, through to the release of my first two singles. A real ‘labour’ of love! I of course wrote and recorded other songs in that time and had various other projects going on, but was determined that ‘War On Dreams’ was to be my first solo commercial single to mix and release.

In hindsight, choosing the biggest, most complicated and dynamically challenging song I’d ever written as my first single to mix and release by myself, probably wasn’t the smartest idea. It did involve both my speakers and my ears breaking from the long hours of tweaking to ‘perfection’ and a two week music ban on doctors orders (I’m ok now and I have beautiful new monitors!).

During those nine months I also created my own website, learnt skills in Photoshop, Lightroom and Final Cut, created all my own artwork, and managed the various music rights and business administration associated with being an independent songwriter (song registrations/ tax returns etc). However, during that time, I never felt like I was achieving enough, quickly enough.

In my anxiety to reach the final goal of a release and have something to show for all my work, I hardly noticed all the progress I was making. It just felt hard and lonely and like there was always more mountain to climb. People would ask me how the music was coming along and I’d just feel like a fraud because it wasn’t finished yet despite months of hard work and skilling up. My response was always “nearly there”, said with a heavy smile that didn’t reach my eyes, self doubt palpable or I went off into incomprehensible rants about EQ and mix translations while peoples’ eyes glazed over. I sound like great company right?

In truth, not one day was wasted. Nothing can replace the experience you get by just putting in the hours. Every way that didn’t work was a lesson. I got quicker, more confident, I got better.

Ultimately I became a one stop shop for my own single release and all the other related creative necessities. During that time I equipped and future proofed myself to be able to do this for the rest of my life. Once you’ve leant something no-one can take it away from you. I will only continue to get better, work faster and improve. Naturally, I might not be the ‘best’, at whichever individual element of the process compared to those who have practiced it professionally for years, but I am the best person at knowing, hearing and seeing what my unique vision is and I will work harder and put more hours into realising that than anybody else ever would on my behalf.

Had I not experienced the previous difficulties, I would not be in this great position.

It’s ok for your dream to be hard. Just be harder.

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“Perseverance is the hard work you do 

after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.”   

– Newt Gingrich

 

“Never, never, never give up.”

– Winston Churchill

You can find my music at www.RuthAD.com

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Dust Or Diamond?

The song ‘War On Dreams’ – context and setting

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Sometimes with dreams, the struggles and apparent setbacks are essential to the satisfactory fulfilment of the dream itself. We just can’t always see it when we’re in the thick of it at the time.

That is the thing about great adventures and great ambitions; no-one can spare you the journey, the lessons or any struggles that you encounter on your way. Nor can they feel the swell of pride in your chest, the goosebumps and elated heart, fit to burst from a sense of fulfilment on it’s completion.  You can’t have the latter without the former. But you can find yourself living with the former, (the lessons and the struggle), longer than you ever imagined.

Many stories in films and books portray a version of the classic ‘Hero’s Journey’ that you’ll be intimately familiar with; a calling, a mustering of courage, a challenge, an awakening of some kind, a triumph and a return.

Usually, before Game Of Thrones ruined happy endings for everyone, it did somehow miraculously work out, every time. In life however, we don’t have those guarantees, it feels much more ‘Games Of Thrones’ than ‘Disney’.

So back to our scene, our crisis and soul searching. This is where the hero must go into the dark enchanted forest (or equally unfriendly territory) and face their nemesis. To top it all off, they must embark on this journey alone. It’s edge of the seat stuff. Very entertaining in a film, not so much when it’s your life and you’re feeling more ‘loser’ than ‘hero’.

The other difference with film (apart from the awesome outfits and potential for super powers to be written into the script), is that you tend to have only one main crisis, journey or battle, before it all ‘comes good’. However, in life you can easily find yourself at this crisis point many, many exhausting times. Each occurrence eroding your confidence and happiness until you just don’t know if you can carry on any more, or even want to.

This is where my song ‘War On Dreams’ begins.

In this darkest of moments, when you don’t know if you can take the pressure of the disappointment or struggle anymore: This is when the transformation happens. This is where you become dust or diamond. This is hard and it hurts. There are moments of weakness, regrets, and snakes in your head. The Dream Eater comes up so closely you can smell the rot on it’s breath and hear the gleeful beat of it’s wicked heart as it presses up against you.

This is your test. It’s always further along the path than you think and harder than you imagined. The tougher the test, the closer you are. You must dig in. Just as you are ready to give yourself over to this despair, there will be a small, tiny voice that is barely a whisper of a thought that will tell you to keep going. Hold on to that voice as if the best part of you depends on it. It does.

When you abandon a dream, you abandon part of yourself and people rarely get over that kind of betrayal. It creates a disconnect, an incongruity, a wound. It’s the stuff bitter people are made of. Be kind to them, it’s an awful pain to carry around and the hardest person in the world to forgive is often yourself.

I’m not talking about the dreams or whims that you abandon through logic and natural causes. When I was four I wanted to be a Fairy Princess – I grew out of that (although my husband might disagree with me). At nine I wanted to be the first female president of America. Bless my little ambitious (and British) 9 year old heart, I let that one go too.

I am talking about dreams that feel like callings and are woven into the very fabric of your being.

Dramatic, much?

Ok, I appreciate that not everyone has a dream that they feel that strongly about. I’ve heard people say that they envy those with clear ambitions and callings. I can’t help wondering if it’s a little easier without them though? Is it worse to feel compelled to follow what might be an ‘impossible’ dream. Or is it worse to be free to choose your own callings and mission based on your sane mind and preference? Some of the most interesting people I know have never had a clear or urgent dream and lead incredibly varied and exciting lives. Some fall into their professions and excel, some just take things as they come.

Others feel fulfilled being the muse or rock to the dream chasers. Behind every successful dreamer is a sane person holding the the strings of the kite/dreamer, keeping them up when there’s not enough breeze and making sure they don’t fly off in strong winds, or storms of their own making.

More often than not though, when a dream or calling is strong, you don’t get to choose it as such –  it chooses you.

This might sound like arty waffle to those who have never felt such a ‘calling’, but believe me, if I could choose something else, something easier, (something less expensive!) I would. That’s not how I’m made though, I need to create in this way to feel ‘normal’ and as much as it’s a pain in the ass sometimes, it is incredibly fulfilling and I would be completely bereft without it.

My point is, (and there is one I promise you), the reason it is hard and you can’t just let it go, is that it’s chosen you. Otherwise, when it got hard, it would be easy to just let it go and choose another dream, but it’s not, it’s heart breaking.

Also remember that it wouldn’t have chosen you if you didn’t have a fair chance of being able to bring it to fruition. Dreams might be crazy but they’re not stupid.

The song ‘War On Dreams’ is for all those people that have that strong calling. It’s for all those that have worked harder than they ever thought possible, hung on to distant glimpses of hope against hope, remained positive in the face of disappointments, put the hours in, done the work, studied, mastered their craft, visualised, networked, taken action upon action, sacrificed, sacrificed, sacrificed and still found that their dream seems to allude them.

It is a rallying song to stay positive, keep going, keep marching in the right direction no matter how hard the terrain is. Your dream counts. You have no idea of the ripples you will create on the journey towards it.

You don’t have to be the best, you just have to be you and do the best you can, from where you are with what you have.

As much as you are moving towards your dream, it is moving towards you too.

Remember, it chose you.

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“Follow your dreams; they are yours for a reason, 

not the least of which is to make them come true”.   

– Mike Dooley

Democracy? Is that you? You don’t quite look yourself.

Divided Kingdom

Knowledge is power. Democracy only works if people are given accurate knowledge to base their decisions upon. Anything less is corruption.

It feels a bit like the UK was pissed off with its boss so it went out and got really drunk, had a fight with all its friends, set fire to its work place and got ‘F*** You’ tattooed on it’s face. It’s woken up, hung-over, with no friends and no job prospects, looking at itself in the mirror thinking ‘what the hell have I just done?’

You can’t un-do nights like that. Even though the fury was justified, it was so completely misdirected that we may as well have just thrown a financial grenade attached to a boomerang; Half the country starring out to where it was thrown, congratulating themselves on their strong and very British right arm, the other half facing the other way, watching its impending return in sheer horror.

Wanting change and being furious at the government for its many misdemeanors is completely understandable; the cuts, the broken promises, the benefit reforms, the lack of funding and support in so many areas, the unfair distribution of wealth and influence, tax cuts and loopholes for the rich, concerns about the NHS, suffering a financial crisis that we didn’t cause (and the buggers that did getting away with it). Drastic changes are needed and long overdue, we’ve been lied to too many times. People want to be heard, to stick a middle finger up at the government and make them feel their pain.

But this wasn’t THAT fight, or that vote.

This was voting to exit the EU, our friends, our allies.

There are always compromises, no group of friends are perfect but they are your friends and despite any internal bickering, if someone started on you in the ‘playground’/ bar/ street/ social media, they’d have your back and you’d have theirs.

To expand on the friends analogy – say you all put money into the ‘rounds pot’ so everyone can have a good night out. Sure, some drink more than others, but you never go without. They don’t always go to your favorite pubs, but as one of the three main personalities in the group, you have a big influence and often do get your own way. Besides, mostly you can opt out of the plans you don’t like.

Besides, the benefits of being in that group far outweigh the cost; you share ideas, resources, plans and information. You stay at each other’s houses. You get introduced to great new people and places. Being in the group is also good for your social standing and how other people see you. You have access to places you wouldn’t otherwise. It’s an influential group of people and being a big personality within them gets you noticed and taken seriously by others. It’s a great network and good for your job prospects and other opportunities too.

Getting drunk and taking your fury out on them, is never going to solve your problem with your boss.

I’m going to take this analogy further (bear with me):

Having set fire to your place of work, your boss got fired for it happening on their watch – they gave you the keys after all. Maybe that gives you a warm glow inside, ‘you showed them!’ But the larger company you worked for, who actually paid your wages and make the rules, still go on, disgruntled, but relatively unharmed and will just replace the old boss with another, possibly/probably worse one.

However, there are now lots of redundancies being made because you burnt the building down and the financial security of the area you live in is in jeopardy because that building housed many of the companies that supplied jobs for the area. Your recently ex-friends ran some of those companies and have no intention of setting up shop anywhere near you because you are now just a liability and besides, you’ve kinda hurt their feelings. A lot.

To add insult to injury you have ‘F*** Off’ tattooed on your face so everyone now thinks you are an intolerant, angry, people hater, (to put it politely).

I know this isn’t really you, UK. I know you were just drunk with fury, in pain and wanting to be heard. Now in the sober light of day, part of you might want to un-do this mess, start over, not have those other 6 shots of absinthe and the lap dance.

You didn’t really think the building would burn down; you just thought the bin would blaze for a while. You didn’t realise your boss would get fired; you just wanted to send them a message and be heard. You didn’t really want to alienate yourself from all your friends; they’d agreed to go to your favourite pub only last week. You never wanted your spouse to leave you; you just hadn’t thought through the consequences of your actions.

You were just so used to your actions not counting, of not being heard, your vote being amassed into a majority that doesn’t represent you. You were just lashing out. This isn’t the real you.

It’s not entirely your fault of course, there were those awful guys that wanted your bosses job, whispering in your ear, telling you lies and buying you shots. They were the ones that got you all fired up and handed you the match. They seemed so convincing when you were drunk, you were already angry so were an easy sell. You wanted to believe them, they listened to you made you feel heard and important. Your boss never did that. You don’t even remember the last time you were made to feel like you mattered. Their words made you feel good, you felt alive and empowered.

They used emotive phrases like ‘take back control’ and played on your fears. Pointing at your group of friends, they questioned the money that you all put in to the ‘rounds pot’, and told you all the other things you could do with it. It’s your money after all, “take back control”. You don’t need to be paying for other people’s drinks, let them get their own. You don’t need a group of friends to go out with, “take back control”, go out on your own then you can do as you please.

You didn’t realize you only got into your favorite places because of the other members of the group. You didn’t think about what happens in a bar fight with no one to back you up.

They started questioning some of the people your friends brought out with them on a night out, some of whom had crashed at your place occasionally, like you had done at theirs. Your bosses rivals starts whispering in your ear that you can’t trust them, that there are too many of them, what are you doing letting them in your house, they might take things that aren’t theirs, like your jobs. Don’t stand for it “Take back control”.

You’d forgotten that these people are you friends, all the times you’d stayed over at theirs, that most of them didn’t want your job, in fact many of them did the jobs that you specifically didn’t want to do and things would fall apart without them.

Then they handed you the match after lighting your last shot of Sambuca, pointed you in the direction of your place of work and said – “stick it to the Man, take back control!”

The rest is a drunken, angry blur with tinges of shame around the edges and a sinking feeling in your stomach.

Seduced, manipulated, wound up and lied to, you wake up wondering what the hell happened. Your boss’s rivals now looking close to stepping into their recently vacated shoes. Your life, social and financial status is in ruins.

You were just a pawn in someone else’s game. Everything they convinced you of was a lie for their own personal gain. You sparked the flame that they imagine their delusional phoenix will rise from. The last 40 years of peace and progress, the ash.

All alone, the most expensive divorce in history heading your way, with one of them as your new boss and ‘F*** You’ tattooed on your face.

That morning after feeling

A rather stretched and simplified analogy perhaps but in the wake of the consequences of the successful Brexit vote; the in-fighting and collapse of our governmental parties, the crash of the sterling, and drop in the UK’s credit rating, Scotland and Ireland wanting to de-unite the Kingdom, the increase racial tensions and hate crime – a portion of those that voted Leave, are equally horrified and expressing deep ‘morning after’ regrets.

The rather belated serge in Google searches for ‘What happens if we leave the EU’ speaks for itself. Especially now that the Leave campaigners have admitted that the points they peddled as their main campaign promises are in fact undeliverable. Or as some might say – a blatant lie: £350 million will not be going to the NHS, in fact the Leave leaders are all for privitisation of the NHS. Immigration is unlikely to be reduced by leaving the EU.

The fury of the Remainers is because they believe a the Leavers, or a portion of them at least, have been sold a lie. That this portion are realising Brexit was perhaps not the solution to the problems that it claimed to be and therefore not what they voted for at all. Had they not been lied to and made such false promises by the Leave Campaign we most likely wound’t be in this mess.

Additionally, some of those Leavers, didn’t think their vote would count – as it so often feels like it doesn’t. They wanted to send a message of discontent, which is completely understandable, but they didn’t really want or expect the leave vote to win and would vote differently now given the choice and having seen the immediate consequences.

Why the UK has such a split Personality

Now I am not foolish or arrogant enough to believe that the majority of Leavers feel this way. Many truly believe that leaving the EU is best for the country. They’ve done their research, they knew the consequences and despite the risks and uncertainty ahead for the country, truly believe it’s worth the risk.

When you see the decline and blatant neglect of some parts of Britain, who could blame many for wanting change – whatever that looks like.

On the point of immigration; being concerned that your market is being flooded with cheap labour that prevents you from either making a decent living or even getting work at all, is a legitimate fear for some and does not make someone a racist.

Most people, I believe (maybe naively) are very tolerant and even embracing of other cultures, when their own culture, territory, identity and ability to put food on their table is not directly challenged by another. But if you attack these intrinsic human needs of survival and identity, I don’t think it matters where you come from, you are going to experience some very instinctual and emotional defence, push back and even fury. Rightly or wrongly, this is what we are experiencing right now in some parts of Britain. People are feeling a threat to their livelihoods and the EU has been blamed.

The grossly uneven division of wealth and opportunities was clearly illustrated on the map of results. It has never been clearer that our country has a split personality caused by deep historical wounds and years of neglect by those charged with its care, in preference of its favourite child: London.

But our government did this – not the EU.

Cameron gave an (understandably) angry man an axe and someone to hate, then expected to come back to find wood all nicely chopped by a fire that he could warm his feet next to for the rest of his term. Instead he got handed his proverbial head. So very out of touch was he with the climate of his own country.

So who are we?

So, as the dust settles and we analyse how we ended up with this result, a few main groups seem to have emerged:

  • The ‘Remainers’: Pro EU (They have researched and believe their reasons, or some may have played it safe)
  • The ‘Genuine Be-Leavers’: Pro Leave (They have researched and believe their reasons)
  • The ‘Stick it to the Man’-ers: Screw the Gov and send them a message! (Basically turned up angry to the wrong fight and shot themselves in the foot)
  • The ‘I just want change-rs’: Whatever it bloody looks like, we’ve got nothing left to loose. (Will probably be some of the worse effected by Brexit)
  • The ‘Nihilists’: Let’s just F*** S***up. (There’s one at every party)
  • The ‘Regrexit-ers’: I didn’t think that would really happen, opps, what now? (!?!? Insert your own unrepeatable words. Ok, at least you’ve admitted it, now get over here and try to undo your mess)
  • The ‘I can’t correctly put a tick in a box-ers’ (enough said really)
  • The ‘Lazy Git-ers’: (They couldn’t be bother showing up to possibly the most important vote in their lifetime. Just wow. Obviously those with health or family emergencies excluded).

However, there is another segment of society that has reared it’s ugly, angry head and have been conducting themselves in a manner that can only be referred to bigotry and racism.

This is not ok. The Leave campaign, The British National Party and UKIP have somehow made it seem acceptable to unleash your hate and venom on anyone that doesn’t share your view, beliefs, faith or looks. We’ll call this segment the ‘Haters’. Like any fundamentalist, they are very much in the minority, but boy do they kick up an ugly stink. They of course do not represent many of the Leave voters but the Leave campaign’s focus on immigration and the finger pointing at immigrants by both them and the lowest of the low media, is undoubtably responsible for the unleashing of the vilest hate we have seen on these shores for a long time. What did they think was going to happen? How is this different from other moments in history when angry, hurting people have been pointed in the direction of a minority group that have different faith or look and been told – “They’re your problem, you want to get rid of those folk over there and everything will be ok’? Angry people in pain do not make good decision makers, especially when they’ve just been whipped up into a fury of hate by a fist full of lies. Farage – here’s looking at you. The phrase ‘incitement of racial hatred’ and word ‘prosecution?’ spring to mind. What we now do to prevent these lies and vile behaviour from dragging race relations back 30 years is going be the next big question on the table and deserves it’s own discussion piece to do it justice.

It’s one thing (and an important thing) to have all voices represented, it’s another to have the most bigoted and hateful, shout the loudest and mislead the country by fear and lies into its own demise.

And this is where I am going with this. (Thank you for bearing with me thus far!)

Democracy?

If the referendum campaign was conducted fairly and accurately on both sides and the result voted for by Genuine Remainers and the Genuine Be-Leavers was still Brexit, then our impending doom would be somewhat easier to swallow. It would still be a very bitter pill and one worth fighting at every turn,  but it would at least look more like democracy.

I’m going to believe that the Haters and Nihilists are in the minority and that they alone would not be able to swing the vote. Any thing other than this being true is too depressing to contemplate right now. Have they also been lied to and incited? Yes, but every society has these lurking somewhere in the minority, usually under rocks or trolling social media comment sections.  However the campaign was conducted, they would have done their best to be their hateful and unhelpful selves.

So this leaves us with the ‘change-ers’, the ‘Stick its’ and the ‘Regrexiters’, which as I discussed above, expressed understandable fury, fear and passion with the only chance and voice they’d been given. And it is this fury, fear and passion that so many of the Remainers believe has been exploited and misled for political gain, not to the benefit of the people that need it so much.

We laugh at Gove saying that the people are ‘bored of the experts’, but to be fair, ‘experts’ led us into a financial crisis and recession. Experts told us to eat less fat and sparked a health crisis. You can understand why some, already angry people might do exactly the opposite of what the ‘experts’ suggested. It just so happens that THIS time they were right but trust had already gone, and with it the stability of not only our dear country but also Europe. This has serious global implications. This was just too damn important to have become the sh*t show that it did. Too important not to have a second barrier in place, to prevent a Nation’s demise being activated by the transitory emotion of the people on one rainy Thursday in June.

Maybe, with accurate information the above would still have all voted they way they did. Maybe, however, the regret that millions are now expressing means that on the basis of accurate campaign promises and information, they would have voted the other way and our current financial and political ‘predicament’ (putting it very mildly) could have been avoided. We just don’t know, and that doesn’t feel like a good model of democracy. It feels like trickery. It feels like corruption.

There should be something like the following in place to protect the people from such corruption and its consequences:

  1. If a referendum or electoral campaign is won of the basis of promises, statements, inferences or implied actions, that then turn out to be untrue, misrepresented, misleading or inaccurate, or if the party has no intention, or clear plan for carrying out such actions: The result must be considered null and void.
  2. The accuracy of campaign information should be monitored and over seen by a neutral party.
  3. A second referendum or election should be conducted where appropriate or Parliamentary intervention considered.

We are all fed up of being lied to and manipulated; this is our life, our country, our future. Not some reality TV show for clowns. They must stop treating us all like a dumb audience to be manipulated to ‘oooh’ and ‘ahhh’ at their trickery and slight of hand while they pick our pockets. They work for us, the people, remember? Let’s not get distracted, or divided. Let’s acknowledge each other’s pain and fear and work this out together. Let’s demand accountability and honesty so we can make properly informed decisions and choose leaders that will fairly and compassionately lead this country into greatness; unity, stability, growth, tolerance, wealth and influence, for all of us.

It starts with the knowing the truth. That is where the power to make good decisions in a democracy comes from. Otherwise democracy is embarrassingly reduced to nothing more than a puppet show, as we are currently experiencing. It is our responsibility to hold ourselves, our leaders and our country to a higher standard.

So what can we do?

Here are several options or petitions for you to further exercise your democratic rights:

1) Petition for referendum or electoral campaigns to be declared ‘Null and Void’ if it is subsequently proved that they have been based on claims that deliberately mislead the general public.  Demands a neutral party to oversee the accuracy of campaign material: 

http://bit.ly/Truth4Democracy

2)  Petition to make it illegal for any UK political figure to knowingly lie or mislead

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/119416

3) Website that directs a pre-written (but editable) email to your local MP to reject the result of the Referendum based on the inaccurate promises of the Leave campaign.

http://www.breentry.co.uk

4) Petition to charge Farage with incitement of racial hatred:

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/charge-nigel-farage-with-incitement-to-racial-hatred

5) Petition demanding a public inquiry into the UK Governments culture of lying to voters:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/128217

6) A campaign to end racism in our media:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/uk_reject_racism_/?kdigIeb

7) Petition asking for a second referendum. (Despite it’s unlikeliness it’s a popular petition for expressing discontent with the result).

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/131215

8) Petition for the EU to require a stronger mandate from the UK for Brexit on the basis that the Leave campaign lied,  38% is not a majority, many of these have already changed their mind:

https://www.change.org/p/eu-petition-urge-the-eu-to-require-a-stronger-mandate-for-brexit-from-the-uk-government

9) Show solidarity – wear a Safety Pin! Article on showing solidarity with those that might feel threatened by the current increase in race crimes and tensions: Wear a safety pin to show that you are a safe person for them and that you have their back.

http://indy100.independent.co.uk/article/safetypin-the-simple-way-you-can-show-solidarity-with-the-uks-immigrant-population–ZJzeRPz6kHW

10) Petition for compulsory teaching of Politics and International relations at GCSE level:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/134362

11) Join a political party

12) Join the Electoral Reform society: http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk

13) Petition for there to be a ‘None Of The Above’ box on the ballot papers for elections: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/inclusion-of-an-official-none-of-the-above-option-for-all-uk-elections-2

14) Get involved, sign up, speak up, stand up. 

We will not have democracy replaced by corruption or allow hate and lies to bring our country to its knees.

That wouldn’t be very British now would it.

Cuppa tea anyone?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Somewhere there’s an almighty party going on – but not here

Bowie & prince

I can’t believe that we lost Prince and Bowie in the same year. So many other greats gone too soon recently as well.  2016 will surely be remembered as the year of the celebrity grim-reaper and we’re not even through April yet.

I’m very grateful to have seen Prince perform live and to have had great musicians like Bowie, Prince, Michael Jackson etc be part of the soundtrack of my life growing up. Looking around now, perhaps we took the greats a little for granted?

I don’t currently see anyone close to stepping into those shoes or filling that void. Is it that the same level of talent isn’t out there or that the circumstances/ systems that support its growth and global reach have changed? It feels like the end of an era.

Somewhere there is an almighty party going on with the best musicians, comedians and writers ever to grace the earth, while we are all left reeling.

Once we move past shock and mourning, there will be a time to celebrate that they existed in the first place and for all the genius they gifted us before they left. The world would feel a very different place had they never visited at all.

The legacy of our musical royalty is phenomenal. The Kings, Queens, Dukes, and Princes that have influenced so much of popular western culture as we know it seem almost superhuman in their abilities to create and inspire.

They have created a legacy that will far outlive them and the greatest respect we can pay them is to truly let that inspire us, raise our game, our standards, work harder to chase our dreams, be our unique selves and occasionally ask – what would Bowie or Prince do?

In that way they live on, not only on our sound systems and hearts, but in our spirits too.

 

In Bed With The Dream Eater

We are all at war. It’s just that some people don’t realise it. The enemy is sneaky; a master of disguise and it’s already inside.

It sounds like your best friend. Sometimes it even employs your best friend to do its bidding. It comforts you. It soothes you. It buys you chocolate. It pours you a glass of wine and puts on a box set. It backs you up when you cancel your plans. It cares about your comfort and will always prioritise pleasure, relaxation, lie-ins and treats.

It reminds you of all the other stuff you could be doing rather than going to the gym. It points out interesting distractions on social media. It orders you curry; we’ll start the diet tomorrow. It hits the snooze button for you. It convinces you of why today isn’t such a good day to start your action plan after all. You agree that ‘tomorrow’, for real this time, is the best day.

But tomorrow never comes. You will always be distracted, entertained and safe in your comfort zone because this is exactly where the enemy wants you. “That doesn’t sound so bad”, you say. And therein lies the power of this frenemy – you are complicit in your own imprisonment.

Your comfort zone is where dreams go to die – and that’s exactly what the Dream Eater wants.

 

In Bed With the Dream Eater

The Dream Eater has many faces. It will often use a coddling, friendly tone. “I won’t tell anyone about the lie-in and missed gym session. It will be our little secret.” But don’t be fooled. As soon as you start questioning its motives, going against its advice and turning your back on it, the Dream Eater turns into another monster all together and it will Take. You. Out.

Once provoked, its other faces manifest. These include, but aren’t limited to, the internal critic, the self loathing, the self doubts, addictions, jealousies, resentments, and regrets. It’s the voice that tells you that you’re not good enough, that people are laughing at you. It asks, who are you to think or create or do or act or say such a thing? It scans your memory and connects together all the negative past experiences that have ever made you question yourself.

It creates conversations in your head and plays the antagonist with all the gusto of a seasoned theatre pro. It knows the right things to say and the right buttons to push, until you throw that script, song or business plan in the bin. You’re left reeling from imagined humiliations so convincing you forget they haven’t actually happened.

The Dream Eater won’t show up for just any old goal though. Want to smash 3 Seasons of ‘Game Of Thrones’ in one ice cream-fuelled weekend? It’ll approve wholeheartedly, no resistance at all. This is how, without realising, the Dream Eater gives you a gift.

Its mere presence alerts you to the very thing you are most called to do. The bigger and more important the goal is to you and the higher the potential impact for good; the stronger, nastier and trickier the Dream Eater will become.

If you feel no resistance to pursuing something, the chances are that it isn’t a dream that’s gonna set you or the world on fire. But if you have ever pursued a goal close to your heart – a creative, physical, social or entrepreneurial endeavour that moves you, or others, forward for the better in some way – you will be all too familiar with the feelings of resistance that the Dream Eater provokes.

The key is to recognise it. See it when it shows up, call it out and have a strategy for crushing it before it steals another dream from us all.

I say ‘all’ because, although we are on unique paths, we are all in this together. The world needs our light. It needs us to be the best version of ourselves. It needs art, music, courage, healing, new businesses, charities, social change and movements that fire us up and move humanity forward.

I want to share my journey as a creative person and songwriter with other like-minded people trying to achieve their goals. I want to be accountable to my fellow ‘warriors’ in this battle, and to share inspiring resources and tactics that can help us become the creative ass-kicking ninja warriors we were all born to be. My blog and resources page will explore these topics in more detail.

I believe that, despite how it may feel, and indeed look some days, the odds are in our favour. Focus, practice, commitment, intent, gratitude, visualisation, tenacity and bloody mindedness will get us there.

The Dream Eater is beatable. Battle is inevitable but nothing is more important for you and the rest of the world than that we show up, continue to fight and win with small daily victories and bigs leaps of courage.

Come chase dreams and slay demons with me.

To arms! (Not arm-chairs!).

Ruth A-D