55 songs in 55 days - one for every year of my life...so far.
In 2010 I hit 50. It was a year that began with an unexpected work related triumph and ended in deep personal sadness. In the Spring, at the company's annual conference, I was named store manager of the year, in front of 3000 of my peers. The award was a complete shock and came with a significant financial reward. On the day, though grateful, my mind was elsewhere. After Christmas 2009, Mum's condition had deteriorated sharply. Up to then she'd still been quite active, but now she couldn't walk more than a few steps and was unable to leave the house unaided. Her medication was no longer keeping her illness under control.
Mum encouraging me to take my first steps in 1961.
I applied for a period of unpaid leave from work, which was eventually granted, and spent the next 6 months staying with Mum for 4 or 5 days a week, while professional care was given by daily visits from District Nurses. I bought a collapsible wheelchair that I could throw in the back of the car and, when she felt up to it, took her out for country drives, trips to the coast and pub lunches. Throughout this period her health waxed and waned and she spent a number of short spells in hospital, 'to recharge the batteries'. It was a privilege and joy to be able to share so much time with Mum during those months and when she passed away in December, the grief was, and is, exceptionally crushing.
My most prominent musical memory of 2010 is from Friday June 25th, when Mark E.Smith strolled onstage at Glastonbury, wearing one glove, to join Damon Albarn, half The Clash and the rest of The Gorillaz for a storming, glamtastic, 'Glitter Freeze' from the 'Plastic Beach' LP. It's just perfect, from Mick Jones' welcoming, '..alright Mark?', onwards. The only thing missing from the performance is MES's classic spoken intro to the studio version of the song - 'Where's North from 'ere?'.