It’ll make you stronger!

Taken in 1978. Live at Hereward College.

When the audience boo?


Never experienced an audience booing. Have experienced indifference. Or bored tolerance because they are simply waiting for the main act. They don’t engage with your musical proffering. They tolerate as the audience have something to look forward to. Happened when we supported the band Madness. Madness are such a great band it was always going to be difficult to open for them. Lovely guys. The Specials too. We both failed and succeeded to win those audiences over. It’s a learning experience that makes you stronger.


Mind you. What those days of playing to a handful of people or to hundreds of people has also done is to have left a weird legacy. It has produced some inherent fears of being unprepared for life’s challenges. Scenarios pop up in my dream state. Like watching Frankenstein’s monster when a child. I still get chased through dreamland fields of thick ‘swaying in the wind’ grass by the monster. It’s what extreme impressions from life can leave you with. There are deeper dream fears. Being caught out in the open with no clothes on your body. Or falling from a great height and no way of stopping the fall. They have happened a few times. Based on some unknown, and certainly unlooked for, inherent psychological insecurity I suppose. Some event awaiting in your life that you have practiced in order to tackle the challenge. Yet may feel subconsciously unprepared for?


I wrote a poem just now.

Woke at three and went downstairs to make a coffee. No! That’s not the poem. This is…….,


Dream state is dreamscape.

It’s chimera.

It’s standing separate and

Peering through the lens

Of a camera.

Guitar in hand

Not knowing the songs or

Notes to play.

Nor words to sing.

So unplanned, but

You’re with ‘The Band’

On stage unprepared

In no man’s land.

Yet not scared.

An important gig

And yet

Not read the script.

“I’ll wing it.” I say and

Self selfishly pretend

It’ll all be okay.

Word to Self?

‘Hey! Big up’

Tactic talking.

The others will play louder

And carry the day.

Yet I play like a king.

Where nothing goes wrong.

New found beautiful


Played like harps of angels and

Sung like only a bird

Can sing.

Screaming on the Inside. Photo taken by my daughter Kyleigh Chich.

Where reality bites

Is on those nights

Where true reality frightens

And suddenly

Enlightens you to the fact that

Preparation to the ultimate


Is fantasy.

Practice makes perfect?

Nah! Disagree.

Outside of dream land

The notes go awry.

Take a holiday from the Mind.

You’re grasping, gasping

Trying to reach

And touch the sky.


Come on.

Have a word with your nerves

Stop shivering

And shaking.

Ultimately breaking


Deeper and Down

You drown.

You’re drowning!


Understand that this overall blur


Implore the senses?

Please, please ignore.

It’s senseless.

It cannot persist


Just kiss and make up.


And realise.

Down life’s line

It’ll make you stronger.



Photograph of two members belonging to a dance group who performed at Aberystwyth Arts Centre. I took a bunch of photographs for advertising purposes. This one was used for the main poster. Whilst taking the photographs I watched the nerves growing and evolving, even in these rehearsals, and was reminded of times on stage in the past.

11 thoughts on “It’ll make you stronger!”

  1. Great post, Gray. Reminds me a lot of my former life as an actor. Same dreams, same audience reaction on occasion! Great times, though! Spotted a couple of lyric references in the poem 😉 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey! I never spotted any lyric references. Is my subconscious working in a weird and wicked way? I know you spoke of your past in performing and studio sound, etc. Those dreams though! Borne from fear of failing or letting people down in something or other maybe. We’ll have to get to meet up. The Den is now finished. So can now breathe. One of my nurse colleagues came to visit yesterday afternoon and stayed for supper with myself and Angie. She took loads of my nurse books for a couple of HCA’s who are now training for Staff Nurse status. It made me realise that it’s great to meet up for a chat. Helped me psychologically. Certainly helped her off load a bit too in the current NHS stretched climate. All the best ianto. Xx


  2. I’m so disappointed you didn’t give me an ode to coffee 😒 😁
    However I do agree with your thoughts. I may not be on a literal stage but no matter how much effort I put into class prep, things will not go according to plan. And as I sit in the silent classroom, sipping my coffee, enjoying the calm … its really the only part of the morning I can truly control. Class will turn up soon and despite my best intentions I will need to modify, adapt depending on who and how many come through the door – especially on the last day of term … roll on 1pm when my class is done and Easter hols can start

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank the heavens you are good at your work. It screams efficiency when reading your blogs. When I did teacher training there were individuals that were so full of nerves presenting their micro lessons, etc. They simply fell apart before our eyes. That’s when you know you have a great cohort of support around you. And a decent lecturer too. Same with lecturer and students. The students see you struggle and support you throughout the 2 hours and more. Poetry and Coffee! 🤔 I’ll have to have a drink think on that one. Tell you what though. I’ll never have an iced coffee again. A ball of ice cream came tumbling down from the bottom of the long glass and shoved the contents all over my face! An outdoor cafe in Spain. The people around on other tables were trying to hide their faces. But I could hear the stifled laughing. No poems about that little scenario thank you very much. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My wife, brother and his wife still laugh. It’s a standard joke when they visit Wales and we go for a coffee. ‘What are you going to order Gray?’ Your travelling recordings? You tell a good ‘visit’ story. So it would be very full with knowledge and descriptive content. I had one of those travel Mindfulness journals where they prompt with a question. It was quite nice to answer in different themes. By Emma Clarke. ‘You are here. A mindful travel journal’. I bought another because I liked the format, but still unused because Covid happened. Cheers Brenda.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Gray. 3 letters WOW! Supporting Madness & The Specials. Remember a bit of gob iron on Baggy Trousers. Reading made me think of a bit of advice Aussie Singer and harmonica player Broderick Smith (The Dingoes) had on calming nerves.
    “The only ritual I have if I’m nervous, and it generally works, is I imagine the whole audience on the toilet. That is the levelling image. We are all mortal at that point.”
    Enjoyed the poetry too!
    Cheers Shep

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Shep. Good to hear from you. We supported The Specials on their 2nd album promotional tour. An unforgettable experience. Madness was two gigs and luckily they had the Rolling Stones mobile recording unit for recording their own songs. We bunged the engineers a £100 and got 7 songs recorded. The original tape long gone! To where? Who knows. To be honest I preferred the 3 piece band the XCerts. Me on bass, my brother on drums and Pep on guitar. Real punk and rock and roll energy. Talking of gob. We won the a Battle of the Bands and were ‘gobbed’ at from the balcony to the point where I thought we were going to get electrocuted. Fun times. That toilet advice though. Priceless. Thanks for the poetry like. All the best.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You sound like you had a back up of knowing your subject well. When you feel confident in your knowledge, which oozes in your uploads of photography explanation, you feel there is always something in your contingency plan. Teaching is similar too. But there is student exchange on a continual ongoing nature which gives a breather in that process. Thanks for your observations. Much appreciated.


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