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Archive for November, 2011

When I first heard the news of the death of Gary Speed my first reaction was one of disbelief, followed swiftly by shock, and then immense sadness.

Natural human curiosity then took over as I wondered how this could have happened. Surely it must have been an accident, perhaps a car accident, an horrendous pile up on the motorway. That would have been shocking but well within my capacity to understand. 

Failing an accident, perhaps then it was one of those situations where someone in apparent good health collapses and dies from a previously unknown condition that suddenly strikes. That would have been equally tragic, but again well within my capacity to understand.

When the news emerged that Gary Speed had committed suicide I was shocked beyond belief. I just couldn’t – along with everyone else who’s commented on this tragic death – understand why a man, who had so much to live for, should suddenly take his own life. 

I didn’t know Gary Speed, I’d never met him, I’d never been in the same room as him, although as a Leeds United supporter I’d seen him play many times. You can tell a lot about a man by the way he plays football though, and he’d always struck me as a decent, honest, caring man. 

It’s always shocking when someone feels they’ve reached the point in their particular situation where death is the only way out.  There will have been a reason why he took the course of action he did but it may well be a reason that nobody else will understand.

It has been said that Gary had everything, a beautiful wife, two lovely children. A successful career as a manager beckoned to surpass perhaps, even the one he’d enjoyed as a player. In the final analysis though, it matters naught if a man has everything but lacks the thing he needs most: a reason to live.

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Listen Here

Although I’m an avid and voracious reader – I have been known on occasions to have three or four books on the go at once – I’ve always been a bit sniffy about audio books. Surely they’re for lazy people who can’t be bothered reading, or the blind or partially sighted, who either can’t see at all, or have difficulty in seeing the printed word. 

Well, let me state here and now, I’ve had my Damascus road moment when it comes to hearing books being read. Recently a friend of mine sent me a link to The Guardian online with the offer of seven free John LeCarrie audio books. If there’s anything I like better than reading it’s summat for nowt, so I downloaded the books and more in hope than expectation started listening to Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. 

It turned out to be a complete revelation. The chap reading the book didn’t just read the book, he read it with characterisation and that made the experience far more memorable. Thinking that was maybe a one off, I joined http://www.audible.co.uk/ and took advantage of a free offer. I downloaded Before The Poison, by Peter Robinson, a favourite author, and again was amazed by the quality of experience. This is an excellent book by the way and well worth reading, or hearing.

Audio books I’ve belated come to realise are perfect for those times when you would read but can’t because to do so might have repercussions; cycling or doing mundane tasks at work.

Having a complete antipathy to paying for something if it’s unnecessary I thought I’d use the world’s premier search engine http://www.google.co.uk/ to see if there were any free audio books to be had anywhere, and discovered the amazing site, http://librivox.org/ where out of copyright audio books can be downloaded free of charge. Of course modern books are not available but all those classics that I never got round to reading can now be enjoyed. I’ve started off with Arnold Bennetts’s, The Old Wives’ Tale, and am finding it just as enjoyable as the others.

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