|  Uncategorized   |  That’s entertainment ….

That’s entertainment ….

Went to see Paul Weller’s pre-tour warm up show on Tuesday with my friend and neighbour as trailed last week. I’ve seen him many times over the years – for good and bad. And this was one of the best – maybe because it was a ‘warm up’ the band were able to be more relaxed, take more risks and make some mistakes. He played for well over two hours and we sang our hearts out.

But this is not really the point of the blog – I bought tickets for myself and my friend to mark the last day of her blood tests being ‘stable’. She has stage IV cancer which is inoperable, lives on 4 monthly cycles of blood tests and and she says ‘stable if the best it’s ever going to be’. I’m also not going to tell her story – its hers to tell and she’s a much more powerful communicator than me.

I mentioned in a response to Vicky Beere a couple of weeks ago that ‘we’ are generally crap at endings, talking about endings or creating good endings. So faced with a life changing / shortening diagnosis my friend has gone on a mission to make the most of the time she has left and to raise as much awareness as she can about early detection and testing. So here is a plug for #coppafeel an important Breast Cancer Awareness charity she’s raising money for. If you read this – check them out.

We talked a lot about endings, avoidance and stigma – she describes many situations with people she knows professionally or loosely in a personal settings where they literally look away rather than asking ‘how are you’ (or hearing the response). Professionally she’s ‘careful’ about who knows about the diagnosis in case it impacts on her work engagements.

We can be better than this surely.

The end of March was significant in that it marked the end of the delivery phase of a Social Outcomes Contract delivered by The Skill Mill. I have served for the last three years as the Independent Chair of the investor lead special purpose vehicle that supported the scaling up of the Skill Mill along with the support of the Life Chances Fund.

If you have the time check them out – the project provides genuine ‘environmental’ work and training programmes for young people supervised by Youth Offending Teams through a range of commercial organisations. The work is demanding, the young people are incredible and the impact in terms of reduced re-offending are impressive.

I accepted the offer to chair the SPV so I could learn more about the world of Social Investment and Social Outcomes Contracting as aside from engagement in one of the early SIBs at HMP Peterbrough I had usually been fairly sceptical (surprisingly enough) about this as a vehicle for investing in public services. I might make this a substantive blog at some point once the programme has fully closed down.

In other news – as I found myself with a bit more time than I planned I signed up for the Cancer Research ‘100 push up a day in April challenge’. So 4 days in – I’ve done 400 more push ups than in the last 40 years combined. There’s bits of me aching that I didn’t know I had…. at some point I’ve promised video proof – but not until I look less ridiculous.

Started re-reading Dr Carl Hart’s book “Drug Use for Grown Ups” again – which I’d recommend. Last read it usually whilst commuting up to London for work – full of usual distactions of having a full time job. So it’s good to actually focus a bit more and think about some of the intersections he describes between race, ‘justice’ and drug use. A powerful personal testimony in accessible and engaging form.

Musically – aside from Paul Weller who is just about to release his 20+ album, he was supported by a great band called The Goldborns, we also went to see a band at the the opposite end of the career spectrum. Kid Kapichi – someone may correct me but I’ll state that they are the best band to come out of Hastings. Young, energetic and great lyricists. With a guest appearance from Suggs in their last video – what’s not to like?

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