Things I can’t do

I watched a program on the tv this week where Sir Steve Redgrave announced very glibly that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Now while this is a good mantra for a positive outlook on life it is clearly a load of rubbish as Justin Bieber has thus far managed to avoid being savaged by rabid dogs, Camelot haven’t been on the phone asking me to collect my winning lottery funds and at the time of writing Millwall have proved to be utterly useless at winning a trophy. In fact so useless are they at winning any trophies,that the only item of value in their trophy cabinet is a piece of dusty blue carpet. Also despite some intense bouts of putting my mind to it, the cast of ‘towie’ still haven’t been infected by some hideous fungus, Katie Price still exists and 4 stone of my excess weight reused to go away this week despite 7 hours of intense dieting. Musically I cannot find myself liking the Rolling stones, Pink Floyd or Led zeppelin and god have I tried to .Having said that, Paint it black is a great song, Stairway to heaven is without a doubt 8 minutes and 2 seconds of musical magnificence and another brick in the wall is of course great,but I just can’t get into the rest of it.I own albums by all three and have tried to make myself like them by playing them many times, but it just doesn’t happen for me. I decided last year that as a music lover I ought to own the top ten selling albums of all time before realising that most of them were crap but I did decide to buy Pink Floyd’s Dark side of the moon which was number 3 in the all time list with just over 50m sales.In my opinion this makes this album the best selling sound effects album that there has ever been, and ever will be.


Being into rock music it had been (and still is) an ambition to be able to play the guitar. When I was in my late teens and early twenties I obtained an electric guitar and along with my best mate of the time as my tutor, we set about learning the skills required of a rock god such as Randy Rhodes or Eddie Van Halen. However after many hours of patient tutelage it turns out that that I have all the playing skills of Randy Crawford and Eddie ‘the eagle’ Edwards and worse still, the timing of Axl Rose. It’s not that I’m not a keen learner or an eager student it’s just that I’m rubbish. Bear in mind this was taking place over half my life ago and at a time when I should be able to pick things up without even trying but I was without doubt hopeless. My Right hand was amazing at being able to select the correct string to strum and at combining the strings to create a power chord. My left hand was even better at sliding effortlessly along the fret board selecting the correct one to hold and I quickly memorised the correct positions for the scales. The problem was that it seems that in order to be a guitarist you need to combine the two hands in order to make a decent sound. This instantly proved to be my downfall as it turns out that I have no ability whatsoever in being able to focus on both hands simultaneously. The closest I ever came to learning any song was the into and chord sequence to Metallica’s ‘Nothing else matters’ partly because the intro only requires the right hand to be used, and the chord sequence only requires the left hand to move a few inches at a time without the need to alter the fingers in any way. So anything requiring hand syncronisation is a no no.This is a trait that runs in my family as when my mum was a young girl she was perfectly able to ride a bike until it came to turning right.The minute sho took her right hand off the handle bars to signal a right turn she would promptly fall off.

Click here You can’t teach this, it’s just a gift.

Given that I spend most of my day involved in negotiations for the sale of new cars, I’m unbelievably awful at getting a discount myself. All the conversations seem to go along the same lines as:

How much is that?
It’s £150 Sir
What’s your best price?
£150 Sir
For cash?
£150 Sir
Seems fair.. I’ll take it
You’ll be needing a warranty too
Yes of course, whatever you say.

I’m spectacularly bad at complaining too. If I’m out for a meal and it’s not good I’ll very rarely complain. If its atrocious then I will but I’m very unlikely to mention it when the waitress comes along to ask how things are. Don’t know why, it’s just how I am. I always think that if I complain about a meal it’s taken away, gobbed in and brought back to me so I take the path of least resistance most of the time. DIY is another can’t do. Sure I can do all the entry level stuff such as saw a piece of wood (too short) hang a door ( so long as you’re not that bothered if it closes properly) and assemble self assembly furniture to such an expert level that I often find myself not needing some of the bolts or screws it comes with. More complicated pieces of DIY though are completely beyond me. I’m deeply admiring of other guys who can take a car apart and re assemble it AND make it work better, people who can actually make stuff and make it look like its not been a reception class project and men like my father who could fashion works of art out of a few bits of timber. He once made me my cabin bed complete with Ladder, wardrobe and desk. The closest I ever got to emulating this was attempting to build a book case/ cd shelving unit which turned into the base frame for the local Guy Fawkes bonfire. What I forgot to mention to the organisers of this event was the sheer quantity of varnish and lacquer I’d put on the on the wood in a futile attempt to make it look good, so when the torch was finally applied to pyre, it set a still unbeaten record for the highest flames ever recorded in the Tunbridge Wells area.


I realise that Sir Steve was trying to make the point that if you really try hard and dedicate yourself to something for long enough there is more than a good chance that you will achieve your goals and of course that’s true. If I was determined enough I could be better at the guitar and I could still get proper lessons and practice hard. I could probably also train to do the marathon and succeed if I gave it the required effort, and if called upon I could probably get to the stage of occasionally admitting that there are times when I’m wrong, although this would probably require more effort than the marathon! I’m pretty sure that the majority of successful people in life are born that way though.For example, No matter how much I practice my golf I’d never be a Tiger Woods or a Rory Mcilroy, I could spend the whole of the rest of my life taking free kicks but I’d never be able to bend it quite like Beckham and I could certainly never win 5 Olympic medals. Unless of course they ever relax the Olympic rules and introduce a kind of couch potato triathlon where events include a speed eating round involving crisps, a volume farting event plus a considered political debate whilst drinking copious quantities of red wine without once using the word ‘knob’ event. There have been times in my life when I have found the desire or focus to achieve things that might have been considered quite a challenge or times when I have made a decision to do something that I’d wanted to do for a while. This blog for example was something that I had wanted to do for years but for one reason or another never done and from a standing start I’m pretty chuffed at how many clicks and followers I’ve built up over a short time. But seeing as this particular instalment is about things that I can’t do perhaps the lesson is to recognise the difference between the things that can be achieved through effort,and the unobtainable skills which are out of reach no matter how much effort is applied. So whilst the world is no longer my oyster and there are now more closed doors than are open ones,perhaps the time for a few focused goals for 2013 has arrived and an increase in the determination levels is required.

But until then, another glass of red please.



  1. I have to admit i thoroughly enjoyed this post and the way you express yourself. The argumentation and reasoning is much like my own could be, and your choice of words makes the post timeless, sarcastic and amusing. I’ll be sure to read up on some of your earlier posts. Thumbs up!

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