Oh well. We’re out and February is here. Occasionally daily life gets so overwhelmingly busy that I can’t get to the ranch. So much, I believe that exercising outdoors is a health-giver – a health saver.

When I can’t go, I get despondent and in a bad state of mind. I’ve managed to briefly get up twice this week to empty the horse muck. There’s still an overwhelming amount of winter stuff to do and it’s so mild that it’s effectively spring – the tree transplanting needs doing sooner rather than later and there’s still a lot of hedge laying to do.

I’m grateful for everything and I’ve developed the art of keeping afloat until the tide turns. There are irresolvable conundrums but I have the foresight to know that they will pass and that the graveyards are full of indispensable people. It’s a certain time in life when I have to chose a fork in the road and I’m choosing to not waste any more energy on certain things. The line in the song of course is yet another metaphor, but more than ever it’s me and the trees and it suits me fine.

Still dancing to a different tune


Our punk gig sold out and there’s an air of bristling excitement. Radicals, renegades, mavericks and misfits from two generations are organising something special. Just like back in the day, it’s the start of bigger things. There are no oligarchs, Etonian poltroons or billionaires involved, nor anyone who voted them in. Live in Burnley? Voted for Brexit? Voted Tory? Congratulations. Well done. I hear that around 60% of our fresh food comes from Europe. better get cracking growing my own.

Also, just like back in the day, Mid Pennine Arts (no hyphen) are sponsoring it all. Back then, I felt like we were naughty schoolboys and girls misappropriating all their resources. Not once did it cross my mind that what we were doing constituted a valid art form. There must have been some pretty tolerant people within the organisation. Nevertheless, it was a blast of youthful energy in an otherwise fairly stuffy local art and music scene.

After the local punk scene had fizzled out, I did a fanzine and organised an exhibition and once again Mid Pennine Arts (no hyphen) sponsored it. (That’s how I met Louise). Big up to them. In our cracked system, there’s still public money funding arty stuff.

Rehearsal days alternate with other-ranch days and trolleys line both sides of the corridor on a daily basis. We have to keep a positive frame of mind and do our best but we’re human too. I have a week off after the gig and along with the hope of disappearing somewhere quiet, I want to get the recruitment film done. I’m about to set off there now for a 12-8.

Sage and Louise pushing the boundaries at MPA


I have an uneasy discomfort about screens and computers. Being on the ranch with no internet feels right, but an unsavoury feeling accompanies what is effectively an addiction to social media and a deeply ingrained dependence on computers. What’s particularly sinister is the way that Big Brother uses and manipulates our data for its own interest – perfected at the general election. There are a few things that we still don’t need them for and those things somehow feel better – the ranch, letterpress printing, playing music and generally being with other people (or trees in my case).

I’m pretty savvy in some areas of computering but kind of dyslexic in others. I can build websites and do video editing but sometimes the tiniest things flummox me – particularly at work. It all came home last week when I dropped my external hard drive and lost everything on it – mainly music stuff and things that I wanted to put somewhere safe. A tiny little square box containing so much information but what does that information mean? Elusive shadowy pixelated whisps. How important are they anyway? I have a deep longing to switch it off, get rid of all the stuff that I don’t need and quietly disappear.