All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…


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Ten positive memories…

After the darkness and depression of yesterday, I’m due some happiness. So brace yourselves for another installment of the Ten Times to Be Happy challenge. Today, we take a look back at some of the happy memories scattered throughout my life! :)

1. Licking the bowl

Some of my favourite memories in life revolve around licking the bowl. Is there anything better in life than being handed the dregs of a cake mix and being allowed to spoon the sugary, doughy mixture into your mouth? Whenever my mum or dad made a cake when I was younger, I was the first of us siblings in line to munch on the remnants of whatever recipe was being made. And nine times out of ten, it tasted better than the actual end product!

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A young Addy, loving every second of his cake mixture munching! :p

2. This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time…

It had been a particular brutal and boring day at the North of Scotland Water Authority. I’d been working there for several weeks as a general office dogsbody. I hated the work. I hated the boring monotony of it. As the day drew to a close I decided I needed to end it with some excitement, with some happiness, before doing it all again the following day.

So after finishing work I walked the three miles to the nearest cinema where I chose to watch the film Fight Club. It felt strange watching such a film wearing a suit and tie, but as the movie progressed, I became spellbound. I didn’t care about what I was wearing or the banality of my pointless existence. I cared only about the story that was unfolding before me. When the movie finished I left the cinema dumbstruck. I walked back to the hostel that night in awe of what I had witnessed; the greatest piece of cinema that has ever been made.

3. Why does it always have to be snakes?

One of the happiest periods of my life were the three months I spent traveling the length and breadth of Canada. From May 2000 to August 2000, via VIA rail, I journeyed from Vancouver to Halifax to Vancouver to Montreal, having all manner of adventures and escapades along the way. Featuring heavily in these escapades was Annie, one of the brightest and most loveable human beings I’ve ever encountered. We met one balmy evening in the Rocky Mountain town of Jasper and became firm friends.

For a week we trekked, drove and swam our way around the various locations that made up this stunning part of the world. We boated on a crystalline lake, we bathed our troubles away in hot springs and, on one occasion, threw ourselves into a lake only to find some snakes enjoying their own dip in the water. They startled us, but fortunately, didn’t attack us. It was remarkable fun, hanging out with Annie, hours spent laughing, smiling and cajoling our way through waves of happiness. When the time came to part, it was painful, but inevitable, for nothing can last forever.

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Annie and I, moments before we discovered snakes in the water! :)

However, a month later, I decided to spend six days straight on a train in order to journey back to Vancouver to spend more time with her. It would be truthful to say that this was partly because I had fallen head over heals in love with her, but true to form, didn’t act on my desire because I found out she had a boyfriend. Such heartache, however, didn’t stop us from having fun. For seven days we tore up Vancouver. Relishing the Vancouver Folk Festival whilst sitting on a beach at sunset. Hurling seaweed at each other as we basked in the ocean. Hiking the stunning, breathtaking, Garibaldi Lake trail at Whistler and playfully threatening each other with spankings if our behaviour descended into mischievous territory.

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Annie and I; posing like the awesome pair we were at Garibaldi Lake! :)

I will never forget my time with Annie in Canada. She turned my vacation from spectacular to special and I will never forget the friendship we had.

4. Parental leave

I had been in Australia for two years. It was weird, being so far apart from my family, so when my mother and father decided to come for a visit, I was over the moon. I promptly organised for three weeks off work so I could spend as much time with them as possible.

We visited Melbourne Zoo, where my mum fell in love with the wombats and koalas. We visited the aquarium, where we all fell in love with the octopi and sea horses. With my girlfriend, Louise, behind the wheel of the car we traveled across Victoria; taking in the Great Ocean Road, Port Fairy, Halls Gap, the Grampians and Daylesford. We went for a two-day sojourn to the island of Port Fairy where we saw more koalas than you could shake a stick at and marveled at the gorgeous Fairy Penguins who come home to roost, night after night.

For three long weeks I relished the chance to be with my parents again and it showed. They informed me that they had never seen me so happy. And at that point they were right. Things were working in my life. My relationship was strong, my job enjoyable and I had been granted the opportunity to show my parents around my adoptive home. It was happiness personified, those three blissful weeks.

5. Babe, I’m on fire…

This list wouldn’t be complete without the delectable Samantha. She whom I spanked in Adelaide. She whom I spanked even harder in Glasgow. But don’t worry, she was a kinky wee thing and loved every second of her butt roasting sessions. However much I loved our time together in Adelaide, my mania riddled mind means I don’t remember it very clearly. But I remember every second of our time together in Glasgow. I remember the one liners and sarcasm that flowed freely from her mind. I remember the atrocious karaoke session to Common People. I remember her obscure way of eating Sausage and Egg McMuffins. I remember how utterly peaceful and serene it was curling up on a hotel bed to watch My Neighbor Totoro together. And I remember with crystal clarity, the fifteen minutes I spent fulfilling her lifelong fantasy to the score of Nick Cave’s seminal Babe, I’m on Fire. Which is, without question, one of the happiest fifteen minutes of my life! :D

6. The Stornoway Way

I had never been to the Western Isles before. During the months I had spent backpacking around the country this particular district of Scotland had evaded me. So when Deborah and Elle invited me to travel with them when we decided to leave the hostel that we’d been long-terming at, I jumped at the chance to visit this beautiful, rugged and inspirational part of Scotland.

We rose early one day to catch the bus from Inverness to Ullapool, where we hopped on a ferry that carried us across the Sound to the port of Stornoway, on the Isle of Lewis. The hostel we checked ourselves into turned out to be a stinking dive, so a group decision resulted in us finding B&B accommodation for the second night of our stay.

We spent the second day of our adventure touring around the Isle of Lewis. Visiting the Butt of Lewis. Feeling awe-inspired by the Callanish Standing Stones and generally falling in love with this neck of the world. I loved Deborah and Elle. Not love as in sexual love. But love as in friendship love. They made me a better man. They made me like myself. And I don’t think they ever really knew of how deeply and firmly I cared for them. But they knew they made me happy. That was impossible to hide!

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Deborah, Elle and I; larking about in a Stornoway B&B! :)

7. A Link to the Past

I don’t have many happy memories of my teenage years. They were a particularly brutal, unforgiving and morose time. But I do remember with tremendous fondness the days I spent playing The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past with Meadhbh by my side. We both relished exploring the world of Hyrule, rescuing the princess and saving the land from the machinations of Ganondorf, so much so, that we replayed it almost instantly.

It was the first time I had played a Zelda game and it began a lifelong love and fascination with this stellar video game series. To this day, Meadhbh and I play at least one Zelda game a year. Reliving those heady days of old where we had nothing to worry about bar what minion was going to attack us next! :)

8. Elephant Love Medley…

People think I enjoyed managing the backpacker hostel I was once in charge of. To some degree, I did, but it was never what I wanted to spend my life doing, and as such, I spent a large portion of that period of my life seriously depressed and borderline suicidal. However, the leaving party that marked the end of my tenure in charge is one of the happier occasions that occurred during that period.

Myself, my trusty crew of employees and several special guests from head office, gathered in the hostel’s back gardens for an evening of sausage sizzles, music and merriment. I danced like a diva to Britney’s Oops, I Did It Again. I made a fool of myself during the (expected) leaving speech. I sung a killer duet of Elephant Love Medley with Grace. However much Kathy, and her subsequent abuse, has tainted my memories of that time, she will never take from me the awesomeness of that night. The smiles, for a change, were genuine.

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Grace, Kathy and I; impressionism style! :)

9. I am come home!

After six long years baking in the unforgiving Australian sun, I returned home to the UK in January 2008. It was a return borne out of necessity. My time in Australia had descended into a pit of mental illness, loneliness, poverty, homelessness and chaos. I needed the warmth of the UK winter to soothe my soul and renew my vitality to keep fighting this crazy little thing called life. After weeks of living in my parents house I decided the time had come to return to Scotland; the country where my heart lies. I sold my possessions like a crazy Ebay obsessed person in order to afford the two weeks I wanted and, on 14 February 2008, boarded a plane at Bristol airport to fly me to Glasgow, where I would catch a train to Fort William.

This is the second blog video I made during my trip to Scotland in 2008. The first can be viewed here.

The two weeks I spent travelling my old haunts (Fort William, Glen Nevis, the Small Isles, Loch Ness, Drumnadrochit, Inverness and Stirling) were manna from heaven. They were exactly what my ravaged, lonely soul needed. For fourteen days I walked the glens, explored the festivals and threw myself back into Scottish culture. I let the music of the nation soothe my soul and the literature of the country warm my heart. Being back in Scotland, after so many years apart, felt perfect. It has, and will always be, my home. And even though we’re apart once again, I know deep down I will return there one day. It is a source of tremendous happiness, serenity and inspiration; and it will live on in my heart forever.

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10. Mummy and baby…

There weren’t many happy times during my homelessness years. It was a constant battle to survive each day, so there really wasn’t much time or opportunity to crack a smile and enjoy life. But amidst the pain and torment, there were moments, moments that thrilled me, moments that made me giggle, moments that reminded me that we must always seek out the joy in life.

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Mummy and baby possum

One such moment occurred late one night as I was bedding down in my park. Out the corner of my eye I spied something moving, and sat back to watch a mother possum with her baby nonchalantly roaming through the undergrowth, seeking out tasty grass to nibble on. I watched that possum for nearly twenty minutes, merrily going about its business with scant regard for the smelly, bearded man sitting a few metres away.

~ All photographs in this post are © Addy Lake ~

~ You can read thirteen more of my happy memories here ~


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Ten places that make me feel positive, inspired and happy…

In today’s installment of the Ten Times to Be Happy challenge I take you on a whistle stop tour of some of the places that make me feel positive, inspired and happy. And surprisingly, most of them are in Scotland! :p

~1~
Glenfinnan, on the shores of Loch Shiel

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~ Glenfinnan, on the shores of Loch Shiel ~

I have Highlander to thank for this. My obsession with the TV Series during my teenage years was instrumental in my decision to run away from home in 1997. For some reason I needed to visit the location of my fictional hero’s birth. I needed to walk the glen that had featured so prominently in the episode Homeland. When I arrived in Scotland I walked twenty-six miles to Drumnadrochit, on the shores of Loch Ness, before catching a bus to the quaint town of Fort William (see 4). Once in Fort William I hopped on a train for the twenty-minute journey to Glenfinnan. And as the train weaved across the viaduct (made famous in the Harry Potter films) my heart skipped a beat at the most beautiful view I’d ever seen; the glen opened up, all eyes leading toward the loch, and the Highlander statue that stands at its tip. I was instantaneously smitten.

I have returned to Glenfinnan many times in my life. After that first visit it quickly became my favourite place on earth. I loved the serenity of the glen. I loved the beauty of the loch. I loved that it always provided me with such peace and solace. Although it is tinged with sadness (it being the site of a suicide attempt in 2000) it has never failed to bring me positivity, inspiration and happy fuzzy bunny feelings. I cannot speak highly enough of this magical place. It is a location that everyone needs to visit at least once. It is a site of such majesty, such ravishing beauty, it cannot fail to move you.

The following video was made in 2008, during my return to Scotland (and Glenfinnan) after six years in Australia:

~2~
Berneray

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~ The Sound of Harris, Berneray ~

When I first visited Berneray in February 2000, I fell instantly in love with this far-flung island of the Western Isles chain. A tiny island off the coast of North Uist, Berneray is blessed with a rugged beauty that few places on earth can match. Home to otters, a flower covered machair, and miles of unspoilt white beaches, you could lose days of your life exploring this magical, inspiring locale. As I have done over the years. But Berneray means more to me than just another ravishing Scottish Island. It was the place my life changed when I met Louise at New Year 2000, and it was the place where I lost my virginity, one wind-swept New Years day. And ever since that magical moment occurred, I have loved Berneray with an intense passion.

~3~
Inverness

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~ Inverness, Scotland ~

My home in Scotland. My love affair with Inverness began in 1997, when I stopped off there during my ‘runaway’ period. I fell in love with the river Ness, that winds effortlessly through the heart of the city. I fell in love with the islands, a chain of small islets in the middle of the river. I fell in love with the cobbled streets and myriad of independent shops that populated them. I fell in love with Leakeys, the finest bookshop I’ve ever visited. I fell in love with the music that played in pubs and clubs on a nightly basis. I fell in love with Craig Phadrig, a forested hill that dominates the skyline. I fell in love so quickly, so hard, that I began dreaming of this fair city. In 1999, during my backpacking odyssey, it was always my final destination; the city that I had chosen to make my home, and for many years, it was. I attended college in Inverness. I fell in love in Inverness. I lost my soul to Inverness. Even now, tens of thousands of miles on the other side of the world, my heart yearns for that majestic city in the Highlands. One day, I will return. That much I know to be true.

~4~
Fort William

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~ Morning mist over Loch Linnhe, Fort William ~

If Inverness is my wife, Fort William is my mistress. Many times whilst I was living in Inverness I would travel the 66 miles to this quaint little town to spend night after night in its warm, loving embrace. I fell head over heels for its location on the shores of Loch Linnhe, for its arts scene, for its mountain festival, for its proximity to the mighty Ben Nevis and beautiful Glen Nevis. Fort William burns in my heart. It always will.

~5~
Orkney Mainland

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~ Me, at the Ring of Brodgar, Orkney Mainland (1999) ~

I’ve only been to Orkney twice. Once in 1999 during my backpacking odyssey around Scotland and once in 2001, when I visited it with Louise and her parents. On both occasions I was overwhelmed with the beauty of this fair isle. I fell head over heels for its history, for the neolithic sites, for the serenity of Scapa Flow and its turbulent, tragic history. I fell head over heels for its fishing villages, Viking lineage and treeless landscape. This love was cemented when Louise and I appeared in the Orkney tourist brochure; gleefully smiling away in the shadow of Kirkwall Cathedral. Of all the Scottish islands, this is my favourite. It has always been inspiring. It has always filled me with joy and happiness. I love it. Truthfully and totally.

~6~
The Western Isles

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~ Callanish Standing Stones, Isle of Lewis ~

Berneray (see 2) is the jewel in the crown of this archipelago. But it has stiff competition. My first visit to this island chain was in February 2000, when I traveled the length and breadth of it with Deborah and Elle, two friends I met in Inverness. I was overwhelmed by the Callanish Standing Stones. In awe of the mountainous Isle of Harris. And moved by the majesty of North Uist, Benbecula and South Uist. To this day I regret visiting Barra, the southern most island of the archipelago, but deep down I know that one day I will walk upon its unspoilt beaches. Like the Orkney Mainland, I carry the Western Isles in my heart, and regret living so far away from this magnificent collection of islands.

~7~
London

And so we leave Scotland and travel several hundred miles south, to the greatest city in the world. I have loved London for as long as I can remember. When I was in my late teens I would house-sit for my Aunt and Uncle, traveling the thirty minutes into the heart of the city each day to explore the history, architecture and art it had to offer. I would spend days of my life walking the stone streets of England’s capital, my heart singing with every mile walked. I would visit its plethora of theaters. I would wile away the hours in its shops, stores and shopping arcades. There is nothing you can’t do in London. There is nothing you can’t help but fall in love with. From the mighty river Thames, to the back streets of Soho to the expanse of parkland in the heart of the city. It is a wonderful, inspiring and altogether glorious city that burns in your soul whenever you are apart from it.

~8~
Melbourne

Melbourne

~ Melbourne ~

My home in Australia. For the first ten years that I was in Australia I lived in Melbourne. It’s laneways, coffee shops, wide streets and intricate inner suburbs were my home. And later, it’s parkland, alleys and litter strewn streets, my bed. My homeless period in Melbourne has stained my love of the city to some degree. The memories of this traumatic, brutal life tingeing my memories with sadness and rendering me unable to love the city as much as I once did. I used to be able to spend days exploring the laneways and streets of the city, engaging in the vibrant arts scene and wiling the hours away in its beautiful art galleries and museums. But now when I think of Melbourne I think of curling up on stone concrete for a restless nights sleep. I think of the abuse I received from its residents; words and actions that made me think I was less than human. I think of the pain and trauma that my mind and body went through during those dark, joyless years. But I still love Melbourne. I still miss is. It is, after all, my home in Australia. It always will be.

~9~
Port Fairy

Port Fairy East Beach

~ East Beach, Port Fairy ~

This quaint little fishing village on the southern coast of Victoria, Australia, has always shone in my soul. From my first visit there with my parents in 2004, through to the traumatic breakdown I experienced on my last visit there in 2007, it has always been held with high regard in my mind. I love the wide streets. The expansive beaches. The plethora of outdoor activity. And the annual folk festival that fills the town to bursting. I love how the quiet allowed my soul to sing as I explored the township and fell in love with the inspirational arts scene that runs through the village. I miss Port Fairy. I used to go there often. Two, three times a year I would leave Melbourne to refind myself in this delightful town. But since the breakdown. Since the darkness that clouded my last visit. I don’t think I would ever return. Too much pain. Too many bad memories. But not even to dampen my love for Port Fairy. It will always be one of my favourite places in Australia.

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~10~
The Wodonga Public Library

This is the only place in Wodonga, the town I currently call home, that I like. I visit it several times a week, losing myself amidst the stacks of books and piles of DVDs, allowing the knowledge and intellect contained within them to wash over me. I cherish how it soothes my troubled soul. I love how it calms my anxiety. I love how it provides me a moment of solace from the usual chaotic nature of my life and illness. I have always loved libraries, ever since I was a child, and Wodonga library will always be one of my favourites. And not just because I have a crush on one of the hot librarians who works there! :p

~ All photos in this post are © Addy Lake ~


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Music for Monday: Six (random) songs to start your week

Of all the days in the week, Monday is probably the day most people need music the most. So to kickstart (yet) another monotonous week of work and woe, here are six songs that I’ve chosen by randomly shuffling my iTunes library:

Failure | Laura Marling

Best of You | Foo Fighters

Save Part of Yourself | Brandi Carlile

Somewhere Only We Know | Lily Allen

Xanadu | Sarah Blasko

Your Time Will Come | Amy MacDonald

Enjoy! :)


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What is the single best thing we can do for our health?

This video was shown during the Introduction Day I attended last week and – courtesy of the excellent illustrations and wealth of information – is one of the better presentations I’ve seen on the topic of “Exercise as Medication”.


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Thirteen of my favourite YouTube videos…

For those who aren’t aware, today is not a good day for me. I’ve spent the better part of it drinking through several bottles of wine and half a dozen cans of beer. So however much I want to write some random alcohol fuelled diatribe, perhaps now is not the best time.

Instead, I will share thirteen of my favourite YouTube videos; all of which I have watched at various times today to either (a) distract me, (b) make me smile/laugh or (c) distract me a bit more. Perhaps you too will get some enjoyment from them :)

Try (P!nk)

I still haven’t had the chance to listen to the entire of the new album, but I’m loving this track.

Doctor Who: Time Crash

This was filmed as a Children in Need Doctor Who special in 2007 featuring David Tennant and Peter Davison. I love it.

Doctor Who: The Unicorn and the Wasp

This is one of my favourite Doctor Who scenes of all time. Never fails to make me laugh.

Taking Back the Land (Paul Mounsey)

Paul Mounsey is a Scottish musician whom I have adored for years. This, is one my favourites.

Black Books: Bernard and Manny write a children’s book

One of my favourite sequences from UK comedy Black Books.

Doctor Who: The Pandorica Opens

An epic speech that I know off by heart. One of my favourite Matt Smith moments.

Supernatural: The French Connection

Okay, so it was season 2 that I watched five years ago, but this scene from season 6 is magnificent (Jared and Jensen play Dean and Sam who end up in a parallel universe playing Jared and Jensen filming an episode of Supernatural)

Slacker (Opening scene)

One of my favourite indie movies of all time.

Doctor Who: The Last of the Timelords

This episode, and the preceeding two parts of the trilogy, helped me during my long depression this time in 2007.

Skins: Season 1 ending

I love this show. I love this season ending.

My Neighbor Totoro (Theme)

A beautiful piece of music with lots of memories attached.

Eddie Izzard: Cats and Dogs sketch

My favourite stand-up comedian, bar none.

The Story (Brandi Carlile)

A song that will always remind me of the period when I began writing this blog five years ago. So much more relevant to me now.

Hopefully normal service will be resumed tomorrow. Until then, take care of yourselves, and have a wonderful day :)


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13 Songs I can’t stop listening to…

Now, you lovely people probably aren’t as excited as I am over this installment of the 20 Day Challenge. It’s difficult for some to understand in this smart phone age that some people just don’t have easy access to music. Every day I mourn the loss of my near 250,000 track music collection (sob). These days my homelessness means I must rely on YouTube for musical shenanigans.

Hence why I’m so excited, because today I have an excuse to kill an hour by listening to some of the songs I never – ever – get tired of. The songs I know back to front, top to bottom, note for note. The songs that I will always sing whenever they’re playing! So sit back, hook up your headphones and take a journey into the eclectic musical taste of Addy.

Note: Given my utter love of everything ever released by Serena Ryder, Runrig, Paul Mounsey and Scottish artists in general, I am hereby excluding them from appearing within this post otherwise they will, as always, take over!

I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free (Nina Simone)

A song  I’ve loved ever since discovering the magnificence of Nina Simone courtesy of the oft-maligned movie Point of No Return (aka The Assassin) in the late 1990sIn a slightly hypomanic/delusional state I once spent ten hours listening to this song on repeat whilst I wrote a feature-length movie-musical (a la Moulin Rouge) based on an instalment of my Chronicles. Whilst one of my happiest homeless moments was stumbling on a DVD of Nina Simone: Live at Ronnie Scott’s at Coburg library which I spent a glorious night enjoying under the stars.

F**kin’ Perfect (P!nk)

What? P!nk f**ckin’ rocks, deal with it. I love her voice, her personality, her stage presence, her energy, her politics, her everything. Of all the mainstream acts out there she’s the person I’d commit a naughty act to see her live in concert. As for this song, it’s become an almost pseudo-anthem for my abuse-traumatised soul. Everybody now, sing like you mean it: “Pretty pretty please, don’t you ever ever feel, like you’re less than fucking perfect…pretty pretty please, if you ever ever feel, like you’re nothing, you’re fucking perfect to me!”

Unwell (Matchbox 20)

Just listen to the lyrics if you need to know why this is on the list!

Born to Make You Happy [Acoustic Version] (Britney Spears)

What? Britney F**kin’ rocks, deal with it. Okay, so maybe there was a moment when she was producing, well, crap (Crossroads anyone?) but Early-Britney and Circus-Britney are contiguously awesome. In fact, I’ve stripped to Britney’s music more than any other artist…ever! As for this song, one of the most important turning points of the Chronicles is the death of a central character, who is randomly mown down by a drunk driver whilst this song plays from a nearby house. Hence, why I once spent two days listening to it as I worked my feckin’ arse off to nail that scene to perfection!

Common People (Pulp)

A song that not only reminds me of my angst ridden teenage years (self-harming in my bedroom whilst this played in the background) but of a drunken afternoon in Glasgow as Sammi and I consumed copious amounts of hard liquor to summon the confidence to karaoke it. Which we did with astounding awfulness! Pray you never see my Jarvis Cocker impersonation :p

Holding Out For a Hero (Bonnie Tyler)

One of the greatest songs ever recorded! I’ve danced to it, karaoked to it, kissed to it, had wild naughty sex to it, cried to it and become ratarsed to it. Once upon a time (whilst insane) I wrote an epic eight minute single-take scene to it! I envisioned it to be the opening of a movie version of The Ghosts That Haunt Me; an action packed motorcycle chase across the city of Inverness, which just happened to be falling apart because of an apocalyptic event! Cue demons, mermaids, giant lizard-bat thingmejigs, a sword fighting Faerie, random Mario Kart references, earthquakes, collapsing buildings and copious one liners as a twentysomething couple race to save the world from total annihilation. I can no longer listen to this song without seeing the entire sequence playing out in my mind!

In My Sleep (Austin Hartley-Leonard & Kendall Jane Meade)

A song the marvellous show Chuck introduced me to; simply beautiful.

We’re All Going To Die (Malcolm Middleton)

Just listen to it. I even broke my self-imposed ‘no Scottish music in this post’ rule because it’s so bloody good!

I Wish I Was the Moon (Neko Case)

This song reminds me of Louise (a big Neko Case fan) and of that fleeting period where I had what people consider a ‘life’. Sipping wine on a lazy Sunday afternoon, cycling the river, hanging out with friends, being a productive member of society that – shock horror – for a moment there people actually cared about. She is a divine singer with a magnificent voice and another person I would be all naughty for to see live. Perhaps one day I’ll be able to embrace my mischievous genes again!

The Staunton Lick (Lemon Jelly)

If you’re wondering what television show you’ve heard this in, it’s Spaced. It may have been used in others but Spaced is all that matters. I was so tempted to put my other favourite Lemon Jelly tracks in here (Ramblin’ Man and the much teased Nice Weather for Ducks) but there is something magical about this piece of music. Enjoy.

Fuel (Ani DiFranco)

A song that reminds me of Annie; of Canada; of singing my own version during a college radio production (!) A song that contains one of my favourite song lyrics ever! The brilliant: “People used to make records, as in a record of an event, the event of people playing music in a room, now everything is cross-marketing, it’s about sunglasses, and shoes, or guns, and drugs, you choose,”

Whisper (Evanescence)

Another track I listened to on repeat for days on end as I wrote a major sequence for my Chronicles. A pinnacle moment that saw the death of Megan, the beginning of the end for Beth, the fire that results in The Smiling Turtle, the nadir of Finn and the commencement of the hardest sequence I’ve ever had to write; the collapse of Shay and the subsequent hell he unleashes on those he loves. And of course, none of this will mean anything to anyone bar those two ‘lucky’ people who received my novel in 2009 (apologies to Steph and Grace for inflicting it on them) so forget everything I just said and listen to – Britney excepted – the darkest, most hardcore track in this post!

Northwest Passage (Stan Rogers)

If I was Prime Minister of Canada I would immediately issue a decree that this is the new National Anthem. No offense to Oh, Canada, but this song is utterly magnificent in every way, shape and form. Recently, an article was published on The Conversation about the Northwest Passage and I swore off the website for days for not seizing the opportunity to insert this video into the article. My counsellor told me I should have posted the link as a comment but he knew I wouldn’t, given my lack of comment-confidence. So here, for those who have never heard it, is the song Rachel and I sung whilst ratarsed in Halifax. The song that should be the anthem of that great and wonderful land!

Tomorrow: 12 Facts About Me