Sixty? FUCK!!!

Sixty? Are you sure? I don’t bloody believe it! I made it to sixty years of age!

Several weeks ago I had a thorough physical MOT: blood tests, heart and liver functions, blood pressure, cholesterol, prostate etc etc. and all of it came back “no further action required”. I was astounded tho’ not surprised: liver function good? Shurely some mistake? I guess reducing my booze intake dramatically over the last few years did some physical as well as mental good, although as George the Rats drummer said to me “you must have got someone else’s results mate!”. The Ruffle genetics are simply excellent: my family live long and healthy lives, tho’ of course I could still be the exception. When I was a young Punk Rocker I never thought I’d live much beyond 30, ( such were the excesses Will and I sustained ), let alone 60!

I must say, aside from a couple of minor irritations, life is good, and sixty feels really good too. Without a trace of irony, I have to say it feels really natural. It’s like either the first two thirds of my life are done, or six sevenths of it are. Either way, aside from losing a lot of people that were close to me ( and death sadly is as natural as life, except a good deal more permanent! ), life has been extremely kind.

I like the symmetry of the number 60, it’s clean and sorted, done: next.

I’ve always done more or less exactly what I wanted to do, and that makes me feel good. I really tried to be normal a few times in my life, but it just didn’t pan out. Against the grain is I guess as normal as it gets for me. Sorry. Not. As Lemmy once said “I march to a different drum!”. If I had to look back on my life having been a 9 to 5 guy, or someone who’d worked in the same job for 40 years, I’d have to throw myself under the nearest steam roller in shame. Not that you see many of those about nowadays, shame really……ok a big lorry then.

If my life ends tomorrow, I can float off ( float, float off ) and assure you I had a fucking good time, most of the time. I try to think how my life could have been better, and aside from more success with my music ( which probably would have killed me a good deal quicker, with the sudden influx of cash to buy more drugs and alcohol! ) I simply can’t ask for anything more than I haven’t already been given. Except of course, a soul mate. Aside from my dreadful reputation as a lothario, I think a lot of the reason why I haven’t met anyone over the past few years is my abnormal lifestyle, which few women can relate to, let alone live with. Added to that, a lot of the 50 something women I meet nowadays are very insecure: they can’t seem to stand on their own two feet, capable of facing life on their own. Many of them stay in a dysfunctional relationship rather than contemplate a change or the possibility of being alone. Good luck with that one ladies……

My Father was a bit of a lad ( a massive understatement ), as was his Pa ( another massive understatement ), and his Father too. They were ladies men: in extremis. I don’t think I ever consciously tried to emulate them, it just came naturally to me. I’ve always loved women, since I first became sentient I guess. Certainly I thought they were wonderful from when I was a wee lad. But I’ll have to say this again: I love women……I’m just not sure how much I like them!

I have this incredible attitude to life nowadays: very little bothers me. I simply can’t do stress: it’s like anger, it makes me feel ill if I indulge in it, so I don’t. After 16 years of meditation, I can almost totally understand my emotions, and most of the time negate the more negative ones, thankfully. I’d like to thank someone: naturally I want to say God. Then I remember, God lives in my head, so I can continually thank him/her. I’m alive, I’m healthy, I have a warm roof over my head ( which I have just about exactly as I want it ) how much more blessed can my life get?

I mentioned people dying earlier. My Mother, my Father, my two brother in laws ( who I seriously loved and adored ) two of my ex’s and one of my best friends, all gone. I talk to most of them everyday, one way or another. When you’ve spent a real long time with someone, you get used to their nuances and can replicate them. So I’ll say something to one of them ( in an appropriate scenario ), and know pretty much how they’ll respond, mostly to hilarious results……

I was so blessed to have a Ma and Pa like mine. Sure, initially they wanted me to be straight, get a regular job and become normal. But when it became obvious that wasn’t going to happen, my Pa ( and my Ma tho to a lesser extent ) really encouraged me to pursue my creative urges. I wouldn’t be a musician today if it wasn’t for them. And of course they backed me to the hilt when I went to Colchester Art school. Guess I fucked that one up a bit and I think my parents were sad when I got thrown out. A shame, and I used to get on so well with one of the life class models……

Amerika still looms large in my rear view mirror, but nowhere near as much as it used to. I’ve let go of so much shit, some good bits went too, the baby with the bath water so to speak. But it’s a minor price to pay for travelling light.
I loved living in FLA, the climate suited me just fine. The Keys were always a delight: Key West felt like the edge of the world, just like the extension on the prom did when I was a nipper. Except of course Key West was a good deal hotter, with better beaches and palm trees. America was the place I wanted to be as a child, with all of the blue jean nuances I could muster. I occasionally used to pretend I was American to myself, and when I was around 10 I had a pair of light blue faded jeans, inspired by something I’d seen on tv about the US. I’d stand and pose in the mirror of the front room at 118 Fitch’s crescent, imagining I was living in California or Hollywood.

America is like the UK, except ten years into the future…..

Friends? Well, I guess I have few close friends nowadays, in fact I can count them on one hand…..minus the thumb! I see friendship like the gift of a beautiful, exotic flower. If you tend to it, nurture it, and give it TLC, it will continue to blossom and flourish. However, if you put it to one side and neglect it, it will surely die……

There’s certain perceptions I’ve come to as I get older, via meditation and of course digesting the wise words of the Lovely Roshi. One of the less positive revelations I’ve had is essentially there are very few people one will meet in this life that really give a fuck about anyone else other than themselves. It’s a sad fact of life, and if I’m honest I reached that conclusion 10 years ago. Now finally, being almost all growed up, I can accept it and move along, nothing to see here…..

It’s just human beings, their big lizard controlling their thoughts and deeds, so we’ll forgive them and jog on. I know I’ve said this before but once your Ma and Pa depart this mortal coil, unless you have a soul mate you are on your own matey. Sure, you’ll meet some beautiful people, but they’ll move on with their lives: wives/husbands/children, and of course for others, when you are no longer useful you are no longer worth the effort. And I’ve certainly felt that way a few times in the past and been treated that way too.

I realise now what’s fired my passions all these years, what’s stimulated my imagination and kept me enthusiastic about life: Pop culture. Anything coloured or shiny, pleasing to the eye/ear, 3D/flashing colour lights/glow in the dark/whatever……

I’ve always had a passion for comics, since I can remember. I was probably 4 when I got my first comic, which was the Bimbo ( I kid you not! ) but I recall getting tired of the baby-ish tone of the comic quite quickly. I guess I’ve been collecting comics for almost 50 years now, as the oldest comic I have in my collection that I bought myself is the Fantastic summer special, from 1968. Comics suit my imagination: where anything is possible, everything is fantastic and super powered. Then of course there were the free gifts ( Bimbo had a couple of neat ones, but Wham and Smash were far better ) a fetish that’s stayed with me for my whole life. I recently had the pleasure of dealing with an American collector of great taste: I seemed to have activated his enthusiasm for free gifts too……

I loved comics so much as a child, if I behaved badly my Pa would threaten to “stop my comics”, which back in the 60’s and 70’s were ordered through a newsagent and delivered by paper boys or girls. And it was a threat he continued into my adult years, albeit in a jocular fashion.

And speaking of fetishes and passions, one word: FIREWORKS!!! When I was a wee lad, maybe around 9, life simply wasn’t complete in the Autumn unless I had a banger or 2 in my pocket. Everything about “blue touchpaper” fireworks was exciting: their labels, the smell of the blue touch paper, not to mention the wonderfully psychedelic effects and the sensual smell of the smoke. It’s like time travel for me, just to see those beautifully designed coloured labels and blue touchpaper.  Like a drug, they send me somewhere alien but also familiar. Fireworks are one of my biggest passions still, along with MUSIC!

Once of the most flattering things anyone ever said to me was “you’ve got an ear for a good tune”. Paul Sullivan once said: “Terence Ruffle, a man of impeccable taste in music”. I can’t tell you how much joy music has given me in my life. For a long time I thought sex with a loving, willing and tuned in partner was the most wonderful experience I could ever have. But I guess 25 years with the Surf Rats, not to mention the Gene Tryp and Thee Light Brigade changed that. There were evenings when the Rats were playing at the Mill Beach and time just stood still. I wasn’t singing or playing the music: I was the music. The audience just fed my energies, I guess it was like making love, because the pleasure was definitely mutual. Somebody once asked Dali if he’d taken LSD, he replied: “I don’t take LSD, I am LSD”. And that’s how I feel about music: I don’t play Rock’n’Roll, I am Rock’n’Roll!!! My instincts take over, I cease to exist, I am completely at one with the music, whether I’m listening to it or playing it. I go back to something I may have been, before I was me, not thinking, not feeling, no negatives, just a rush of incomparable energy and pleasure……

So at this point in my life, in this approaching 60th year, I feel empowered, strong, confident, capable….and fit as fuck. I’ve been through a ton of shit which would kill most folk. I’ve visited and lived in other countries and experienced other cultures. I’ve bashed the fuck out of Rock’n’Roll, and after I’m long gone, people will still listen to the Accidents, the Gene Tryp and the Surf Rats. And hopefully they’ll still be reading these words after I’m dust……

 

 

 

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