The Obvious

The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple.

Albert Einstein

When people talk about brain health, things often get complicated – I think that they really aren’t. To prove my point, I made a little experiment and asked some simple questions. Have a look at them and the answers I got.

How to look after your brain?

In one sentence: engage in healthy habits such as regular exercise, a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and staying mentally and socially active.

What if you find it difficult to do this?

In one sentence: Making significant lifestyle changes can be challenging, but starting small and building up gradually can help make it more manageable, and seeking support from friends, family, or a healthcare professional can also be helpful in achieving your goals.

How long will it take to make these lifestyle changes?

The amount of time it takes to make lifestyle changes to improve brain health can vary depending on the individual and their current habits. It may take several weeks or months to establish new habits and see significant improvements in brain health, but the benefits can be long-lasting and can help reduce the risk of cognitive decline and other health issues. It is important to remember that making lifestyle changes is a process, and it is okay to take it one step at a time. It is essential to make changes that are sustainable in the long-term and to be patient and persistent in maintaining them.

Easy peasy.

Here is where I need to make a confession, well: really two.

Confession #1: You will have heard about those artificial intelligence (AI – whatever that is) programmes that generate text for you. So I tried Open AI’s ChatGPT to get the answers to my questions.

Confession #2: I had to look up how to spell “peasy” as in “easy peasy” and when I did I came across – which is another AI programme. This one doesn’t just answer simple questions, it writes entire documents for you based on your specification. “Easy-Peasy.AI is the AI Content Generator that helps you and your team break through creative blocks to create amazing, original content 10X faster.”

So I asked it to write a short, enthusiastic blog entry on how to support Pádraig Schaler who suffered a sABI while, at the same time, also trying to support other families in a similar situation.

You can stop right here – or read through Easy-Peasy’s “enthusiastic” blog post. Ok, he was not eight years old when he had his accident and he did not break his arm and his leg – but he is “leading the way” and “through his fight for himself and others with sABI, Pádraig is demonstrating that we can make a difference when we work together.”

There are a few inaccuracies and repetitions in the text the programme generated (below) which you would correct if you wanted to publish it, but it certainly isn’t a bad start.

This is so simple and it is “free”. The only information you have to give to sign up to this service is your email address which needs to be confirmed, and off you go!

I find it a bit spooky. What’s next?

Join the Fight for Pádraig and All sABI Survivors: Let’s Make a Difference Together!

When it comes to advocating for survivors of severe acquired brain injury (sABI), Pádraig Schaler is leading the way. Pádraig is an inspirational figure for people around the world who are living with sABI or supporting someone who is. His story is a powerful reminder of the importance of raising awareness and asking for support for sABI survivors. Through his fight for himself and others with sABI, Pádraig is demonstrating that we can make a difference when we work together.


Pádraig, who is from Ireland, experienced severe brain injury when he was eight years old. He sustained multiple skull fractures, a broken arm and leg, and a traumatic brain injury. Since then, Pádraig has been fighting to survive and to ensure that he, and all sABI survivors, receive the help and support they need to lead full and happy lives.

The importance of raising awareness and advocating for sABI survivors cannot be overstated. Even with advances in medical technology, sABI remains a tragedy that too many people and families are facing. There are still many unanswered questions and inadequate support systems in place to address the unique challenges faced by sABI survivors and their families. In order to create the systemic change that is so desperately needed, it is essential that we join forces and make a difference together.

Understanding sABI

sABI is an umbrella term that is used to describe a range of acquired brain injuries that can include a traumatic brain injury (TBI), an anoxic brain injury (ABI), or a stroke. Most sABI survivors experience a range of physical, cognitive, and emotional difficulties, as well as the disruption of their daily lives. The cause of sABI can be either traumatic, such as a car accident or a fall, or non-traumatic, such as a stroke or an anoxic event.

sABI survivors often face a range of hurdles and difficulties on their journeys to recovery. Depending on the severity of the brain injury, sABI survivors may experience physical, cognitive, and psychological changes, which can have an impact on their ability to focus and interact with the world around them. In addition, sABI survivors, as well as their families, often face financial and emotional challenges, as well as limited access to resources and support.

Advocating for Pádraig and sABI survivors

Advocacy and awareness-raising are essential elements of making a difference for sABI survivors, and Pádraig is leading the way. Through his work with the sABI Support Network, Pádraig is advocating for improved access to resources, greater understanding of sABI, and improved supports for sABI survivors and their families.

There are many ways to get involved in the fight for sABI survivors. From attending awareness events and donating to sABI charities, to writing letters to local representatives and sharing stories of sABI survivors on social media, there are many ways to take action and make a difference. In addition, there are many ways to support Pádraig and his family’s campaigns and initiatives, such as by donating to the sABI Support Network or participating in fundraising events.

Making a difference together

Collective action is essential in creating change and making a difference for sABI survivors. By joining forces with other organizations, communities, and individuals, we can amplify our voices and make a bigger impact. There are many ways to collaborate with others to support sABI survivors, such as through advocacy coalitions, fundraising events, and research initiatives.


Advocating for sABI survivors is a critical endeavor, and Pádraig is leading the way. By joining forces and making a difference together, we can create systemic change and improved access to resources and supports for sABI survivors and their families. Let’s join the fight and make a difference together!


Some people are in such utter darkness that they will burn you just to see a light. Try not to take it personally.
Kamand Kojouri

One day, when we sat outside last summer, a dust bowl appeared out of nowhere. When the dust had settled, we realised that part of the 100+ year-old wall separating our garden from that of our neighbour had collapsed.

We now have a builder who is going to replace the old wall with a new one.

First, of course, he had to take the old wall down.

Now, anybody who comes to visit us, suggests to leave things as they are. The two gardens look fantastic without that wall separating them. The additional light our house is getting is spectacular. And while the weather hasn’t really been that great, the cherry tree in our garden doesn’t care. He is blooming as if there were no more freezing nights and dark, dull mornings.

Pádraig likes Martin McDonagh who made several great movies, including In Bruges, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and, more recently, The Banshees of Inisherin. He also produced a play called Hangmen which premiered in London in 2015 and now made it, just eight years later, to Dublin.

One of Pádraig’s carers invited him to see it and so they went last week to the Gaiety Theatre. They tried to share the storyline with me afterwards. I looked up the plot on wikipedia.

I kind of follow what happens in the play, but it didn’t make any sense to me. I suppose, I was missing the atmosphere of the play which might have helped me to ‘get it’. Maybe the play is just absurd. A bit like life. People get killed by accident or because their hangmen are too careless.

For the second time in two weeks, Pádraig had a music therapy session standing up. It seems like a brilliant idea. Few professionals sing sitting down in a wheelchair. The lungs are much more open and the air flows so much better when you’re standing. For Pádraig trying to produce sound, it must be similar. We’ll keep trying.

There wasn’t just singing, but also a lot of dancing, people tapping their feet, and even taking off the floor.

To celebrate St Patrick’s Day with us, students from DCU joined clients and their families in An Saol. They brought their dancing shoes and instruments with them and performed an hour of magic where we all forgot whatever troubles we were dealing with. Nothing better for Brain Health than moving your body, singing, breathing deeply, and being in the company of others.

There is so much light these days that the dark days seem to have gone. At least for a while.

No need to burn others to see the light. If there ever was a need.


Sometimes you have to go completely crazy to get a handle on things.
Steven Magee

Sometimes you do, as Steven Magee says, have to go crazy to get a handle on things. Sometimes you don’t. But it still takes more than the obvious.

There are three ways to use the handle on the arm trainer of a MOTOmed. For someone like Pádraig with (still) little upper body control, the obvious was to us an attachment that holds his lower arm in position and fixes his hands to the rotating handles.

That turned out to be a bit difficult because he (still) has a slight problem stretching out his left arm.

So we tried the ‘hand-shoe’ variant. Much better – but still a bit problematic because at times he pulls his hands and arms towards himself, lifting the MOTOmed up and bringing it to a halt displaying ‘spasm’ detected.

Then someone real smart started to think a bit out of the box and took away that stuff and just invited Pádraig to hold on to the handles himself, without any of the support and hand-shoe ‘restraints’ aimed at helping him.

And voilà, it worked – with just a little manual support for his hands when needed.

The strap-ins designed to help him to hold-on to the handle bars in fact restricted his movements and ‘encouraged’ him to pull his hands and arms away towards his body, making the upper body, the arm trainer, very difficult for him to use.

Allowing him the freedom to interrupt his use of the arm trainer by allowing him to pull his hands and arms away from the bars when he wanted to do that from time to time, relaxed him and made the exercise a near doddle for him.

Sometimes, you don’t have to go crazy to get a handle on things. Sometimes thinking out of the box is sufficient.

I was trying to do that during the week in a meeting in Leinster House, the seat of the Irish parliament, between member organisations of the Neurological Alliance of Ireland (NAI), clinical leads of the HSE, and politicians.

There is a national programme in place, supported by all, to set up Neuro Rehab Teams in all of Ireland’s different community health areas. Nobody in the room could explain, why this has not been done yet. Because it is so badly needed.

I felt like standing up and shout loud out: Get a grip. Get a handle on this. Who, if not us, will have to make this happen.

Sometimes, you have to go completely crazy to get a handle on things.

That day, I wasn’t sufficiently crazy.

Nobody was.

Which is an altogether sad affair.

One thing happened that brought smiles and laughter to nearly everybody. Snow.

Adults became children. Building snowmen. Throwing snowballs at each other. Even Pádraig tried to throw a snow ball at one of his therapists. It was a brilliant attempt, but he will need to practice a bit more.

And he will. When and how he wants to.

Without any ‘helpful’ restriction.


It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s one of these nights you wish it never ended.

I am in Dortmund. Although the city feels run down, dirty and overrun, it’s home to me. I met up with old school friends and we were planning, well talking about, the 50th anniversary of our ‘Abitur’, or Leaving Cert, in a few years time. Would we try to do something special in Dortmund? Would we re-live one of the school trips we went on when we were still together in school? Or organise something completely bunkers, mad, insane, and different?

I was thinking why we were interested in doing anything together at all? We really don’t know much about our lives. Yet, we like our company.

I have no idea why Dortmund attracts me. I have no idea why I enjoy the company of people so much who I only see every couple of years?

Maybe there isn’t any reason. Maybe it cannot be explained. Maybe there isn’t any need to explain it.

I might have mentioned at some stage that I wanted to write a book about what happened to Pádraig. There are so many approaches to the idea and I never could make up my mind.

This morning, this very early morning, sitting on the plane to Düsseldorf, I had what I think is an idea. I will use the title of songs to structure the book. Like: Forever young. Skyfall. Wake me up. This is me.

I have thought about June of this year. It’ll be ten years since Pádraig’s accident.

Is there any point in trying to explain to anybody what that accident and its aftermath did to Pádraig and us? Going back to Cape Cod. Inviting to meet the driver, Mr Couto, to meet us?

There is a sadness and a horror that is not just in our minds but in our bodies. It’s physical. There is also a purpose and a power, a love, commitment, and deep friendships, we’d never have experienced if life had been ‘normal’.

There is nothing we can change about what happened.

There is much we can change in the way we deal with it.


Even if I walked on water my critics would say: what an idiot. He can’t even swim. (Selbst wenn ich übers Wasser laufen könnte, würden meine Kritiker sagen: was für ein Idiot, der kann ja nicht mal schwimmen.)

Berti Vogts

Hybris, in Greek tragedy, is the overweening presumption that leads a person to disregard the divinely fixed limits on human action in an ordered cosmos.

Vogts is a famous German soccer player who, in his later years, coached the national teams of Germany, Kuwait, Scotland, Nigeria, and Azerbaijan. In that order. He is 77 years old. It’s not known yet how the Gods will punish this mortal for his hybris.

The world is full of people full of hybris. People who believe they can take over other countries by terrible, deadly force; only accept the results of democratic elections if they get elected themselves; blame fate instead of their shady friends if houses collapse during earthquakes, houses built on greed, instead of solid ground; actively kill or passively ignore the desperate plights of those who don’t share their believes; lock away people who don’t dress as they should, who don’t love as they should, who don’t conform as they should; allow people to slowly and painfully fade away just because they have a brain injury; those who are convinced they know everything already. Fundamentalists of sort.

It’s reassuring that the Gods will take care of them.

Even if they think they can walk on water.

Seomara ne Gaeilge

Trinity College Dublin invited Pádraig last Monday to celebrate with them 10 years of the ‘Irish Room’ in the College. Pádraig had fought long and hard, and very successfully, to have not just bilingual sign posts in the College but also a Seomra na Gaeilge where Irish language speakers on campus could get together.

Some of his friends were there, the Provost of the College, the Irish language officer, and current students. He went with his sister and friends while we went into town to do some window shopping.

Next thing, we got a call to say that Pádraig’s chair did not fit through the door.

Here is what I found afterwards on TCD’s website, some of the few English language descriptions in the otherwise Irish language section of TCD.

The Room is located in the Dining Hall building, over the Buttery restaurant (on the top floor). Please go around the right hand side of the Buttery on the outside (past the tennis courts on Botany Bay) and enter through the wooden rear door at the back of the building. Go up the stairs to the very top. See images below.

Obviously, they had overcome the problem with the stairs but had ‘fallen’ at the last hurdle. By the time we got back to TCD’s main square, Pádraig had managed to get into the room – by whatever means.

At the time we didn’t ask. But later it transpired that the College had called a carpenter at home and had asked him to come in to fix that door. I think, they took out part of the frame.

I am not sure whether it was because of his quite dramatic entry or because he got so many mentions by the speakers, or maybe both, – he had an absolute ball and one of the best nights since his accident. Most importantly, we weren’t around, he did not need us at all. It was his gig with his friends.

After Pádraig and his friends had practically kicked in the door, or was it just the frame?, they had a few hours of celebrations, speeches, and good company.

Pat and I went to the Bank, a nice pub in town, had a drink, something small to eat, listened to Bob Dylan and Neil Young, thinking how strange it was to hear them playing in a building that had been converted from a bank into a pretty swanky pub. We also noticed how unusual it was for us to go out on our own. Anywhere. And whether it was as hard for Pádraig as we imagined it, to get to this room with is friends. Maybe it was harder for us to think about ‘all this’ than it was for him to do it.

I think in the end, we all had a great night to remember.

The week went by with Pádraig making great advances with his head control. I had noticed during transfers that his head is no longer as ‘loose’ as it was after his accident. He still struggles, but he can now hold and turn his head for several minutes with our any help.

On Saturday, the three of us went to IKEA to buy some small things. Pádraig had a few of the famous meatballs with noodles and tomato sauce in what must be the country’s largest sit-down indoors restaurant. The bill came to just over 13 euro. For the three of us. We felt we had got a good deal.

I kept the best for last.

One of Pádraig’s best friends, Andrew, sent this around during the week. – PLEASE READ

Dear friends and supporters of Pádraig

The time has come

Seo muid réidh!

10 years on from Pádraig’s accident and 3 years on from the original planned date, We will finally be completing the hike up Croagh Patrick in aid of Pádraig on Saturday 06 May!
Everyone is welcome to come along, if you previously planned on doing the hike or if you’ve a new friend / partner that would like to come along too. The more the merrier!
The plan is just like before – We will hike at 11am on Saturday 06 May. A mini-bus/lifts will take people from Westport town out to the foot of the mountain and back after the post-hike music and pints session in Campbells, with Pádraig and family!
One change this time around is that we are NOT ORGANISING ACCOMMODATION for everyone. Westport town and district has a massive amount of airbnb, bnb and hotel accommodation, so please note that you do need to book your own place (though we will be organising a bus from town out to the mountain).
If you plan on doing the hike, please fill in this form by Sunday so as to help with our planning. Similarly, if you want to bring a new friend / partner etc. this time, please forward them this form and get them to fill it in too. . If you are not free to do the hike, simply ignore the form.
Finally, Oisín managed to get our original fundraising page back up and running (well done, folks, you raised over 18k without so much as taking a step, the last time!). So that means that all of your individual fundraising pages that are linked to the central event (Cruach Phádraig do Phádraig) are active again too. Obviously, you’ve probably already raised quite a bit for this event and we understand that we are unlikely to raise a massive additional amount, but if you would like to spread the word again and get further donations, please do! We will be doing a fundraising drive in the immediate run-up and during the event itself. If you want to set up a new page / if you have a friend that is now going to do the hike, you or they can easily set up an individual page that will feed into the main event’s pot by clicking on this link and clicking on the orange “start fundraising” button. Pádraig’s needs and expenses are as urgent as ever, so every cent is a great help.
Rather than choke up people’s notifications, please keep any queries to direct messages to me etc. I’ll be setting up a new (admin-comment-only, dont worry!) whatsapp group for this resurrected challenge in the coming days, when I know who is doing it! Grá Mór agus Beirígí bua!

Please fill in the form today if you intend to join to allow for the best possible planning.

If you cannot do it today, please do it as soon as possible.

See you at the foot of Croagh Patrick on 06 May at 11am for the big climb!

Ní neart go cur le chéile

Brendan 100 (me: 64)

If you greatly desire something, have the guts to stake everything on obtaining it.
Brendan Behan

It was Brendan Behan’s 100th Birthday last week. Pádraig went to Glasnevin Cemetery to visit his grave. It’s the only grave always adorned with at least one pint (and the lady in the Gravediggers knows who looks after the grave so diligently).

We decided to follow his spirit and, on our way home, visit the Gravediggers, arguably Dublin’s oldest pub. They serve Dublin’s cheapest pints and – tapas. It was a really nice evening: with a bit of a Spanish flavour in one of Dublin’s oldest institutions

The reception in the Gravediggers was fantastic. Staff there were so helpful and kind that we will definitely be back there soon.

Tonight, I am tired. On the way back home this afternoon, our car broke down. Luckily, Pádraig was not on board and we were only one hour away from home. We had gone for a night out and away for a special occasion. Like many trip the two of us went on without Pádraig, this one too was challenging. The car broke down, the engine stopped, in the middle of the motorway. It seems to be very close to something that happened before: smoke from the engine, and then a complete standstill. We’ll find out soon whether it’s worthwhile to even think of a repairing it – or whether we should just go for a new old one.

That blue Kia Sedona really served us well. It would be a pity to just abandon it. Whatever will have to be done, will have to be done quick.

We have the guts to stake everything on obtaining what we really wish for. A proper car. A proper rehab routine. A proper life.

Oh –

I got older losing my hair
not many years from now but yesterday (when my troubles seemed so far away)
No one ever sent me a Valentine
but yes, birthday greetings bottle of wine

I’ve been out till quarter to three
no one locked the door
The question is:
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
Now that I’m sixty-four

One thing is for certain: You’ll be older too:)

I hope you’re having a good weekend. One day, we’ll celebrate together.


I put my mind to it

Antaine ó Raifteirí

In Ireland, with Bríd’s Day on 01 February, spring has come. The passage from darkness into light. And one of the best known and most beautiful Irish language poems and songs about this time of the year is Cill Aodain (Anois Teacht an Earraig) by the blind poet Antaine ó Raifteirí (aka Raftery) 1770-1835.

Tony Breathnach writes that the poet announces that with the coming of spring and the days getting longer that after St. Brigid’s feast day he will start again on his travels around County Mayo, visiting places he names in the poem. Once he arrives in Cill Aodáin and is back among his own people, age will drop from him and he will be young once more. You’ll find an Irish/English language version here.

Now with the springtime
The days will grow longer
And after St. Bride’s day’
My sail I’ll let go
I put my mind to it,

(Thanks, Catherine, for reminding me of this beautiful poem.)

Meredith Grey said in Grey’s Anatomy: You can waste your life drawing lines. Or you can live your life crossing them.

Whatever I choose, it is unlikely that I will change other people. It’s about myself, not others.

Or, as Rumi said: Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.

Which is not too far away from W. A. Ward: The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.

There is a big picture in the An Saol Centre with a similar quote: It is the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go.

In summary: you can take responsibility and initiative, or you can go with the flow and stay within those red lines drawn by others. You can try to change others (and go crazy in the process), or you can change yourself and be wise (and happy).

The story of the Blind men and the Elephant once taught me how people can disagree profoundly about the same subject, just because of their different perspectives. Seen in isolation, they are all right. Mostly, because they can not see the elephant in the room.

Rather than wasting energy on the impossible tasks to convince ‘the blind men’, it’s wiser to change myself, to cross red lines, to adjust the sails.

Of course, I’m hoping for a movement, for something like Arlo Guthrie described in Alice’s Restaurant (warning: the song is from the 60s and contains some non-pc language) where he recommends to his audience what to do when they are examined to be conscripted to fight the Vietnam war.

You know, if One person, just one person does it they may think he’s really sick and
They won’t take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony,
They may think they’re both faggots and they won’t take either of them.
And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in
Singin a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and walking out. They may think it’s an
Organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day, I said
Fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and
Walking out. And friends they may thinks it’s a movement.

And that’s what it is, the Alice’s Restaurant Anti-Massacre Movement

Let’s all go to Cill Aodáin and be back among our own people. Age will drop from us and we will be young once more.

Maybe even Forever Young.


We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.

Charles Bukowski

This week, I had plenty of reasons to laugh. It doesn’t happen often enough.

I went to my Vaterland to visit two Neuro Rehab Centres. More about these later.

The first thing I notice each time I go back to Germany is that my pocket gets heavy with all the coins. Germans haven’t taken to credit cards. They use money. And they charge you what the items you buy costs. None of that up-rounding to the next 10 cent. —Carnival in Germany starts on the 11th day of the 11th month at 11:11 hr. So, when you go into one of those local pubs (Eckkneipen), you’re likely to meet a funny-dressed carnival prince or princess. — You can open windows in hotel room, even on the 5th floor! — Surprisingly, some coffee machines let the cup overflow, even if you go for the mid-sized coffee. So much for “Vorsprung durch Technik”. — Less than a minute after breakfast TV had reported on the asteroid that had passed very close to Earth the previous night, and joked about what could have happened – a technical fault first showed the test picture (I hadn’t seen that since I was 10) and they were taken off the air. — Finally: everything is taken very seriously, including the energy crisis. Some department stores have taken their moving stairs out of use to preserve energy.

There’s so much more. Even in just a day. Even on the day of my arrival when a young police woman was incredibly cranky telling me that she was having a really shitty day. And that it didn’t look like as if it was getting any better.

Welcome to Germany!

Once back into the Vaterland, I realised how much I miss it. Especially when I visited two privately organised Neuro Rehab Centres. They are run, in very different ways, by people with a passion for what they are doing. In one of them I saw what we should be aiming for in Ireland. The range of services is endless: from the ‘classic therapies’ (physio, ergo, speech & language) to robot-assisted gait training, upper body/arm/hand/finger training, rehab sports, medically guided fitness training, Neuro Psychology (including cognitive therapy), social (care) services, case management, and transportation – all coordinated by Neuro and Rehab Consultants. For daily rates of less than 200 euro to the various cost centres, from public insurers to insurers covering work accidents (Berufsgenossenschaft or “BG”).

People were incredibly dedicated to what they were doing. They had a deep knowledge of new developments and approaches. Mirror Therapy (“Spiegeltherapie”) and a gadget called HandTutor especially took my attention.

In an hour, I learned new things about the Lokomat and had tried out a brilliant new walking aid.

After 4 hours of conversations and walk-throughs, my head was spinning.

The generosity of the people who met me, taking their time and sharing their knowledge and expertise was incredible.

This is where Irish politicians should go to see what is possible and realise that spending money on Neuro Rehab is not only a human right that needs to be inshrined in law, but that it is also much less expensive than paying for regular hospital and intensive care stays of people who are literally forgotten about – not unlike those mentioned in the recent interim report by the mental health commission.

Before all that happened, Pádraig had the biggest smile of us all when he tried out the new design based on the HandScupe, prepared by a UCD PhD student who has been working on this project for some time. He was incredibly engaged and demonstrated to all around how well he is able to use all the fingers of his left hand to play music.

And if he can move his fingers to play that synthesiser, and if the Scupe was connected to a different interface, nearly anything should be possible.

A big laugh at the odds!

What’s Happening

L-R: John Sebastian, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, Joni Mitchell and David Crosby perform at the 1969 Big Sur folk festival in California.

I’m older than I’d like and I’m creaky, but I’m doing alright.

David Crosby

He forced his fellow Byrds to listen to a collection of Ravi Shankar ragas and John Coltrane’s Africa/Brass over and over again while touring the UK: the two albums inspired the groundbreaking Eight Miles High, widely considered to be the first psychedelic single ever released. He was also the Byrds’ most enthusiastic chronicler of the LSD experience, which informed the frantic I See You and the suitably dazed-sounding What’s Happening?!?! on 1966’s Fifth Dimension – writes Alexis Petridis in The Guardian.

Eventually, the Byrds fired Crosby.

This week, Pádraig used his voice forcefully and purposefully and on cue. Clearer and louder than ever, and without a trigger like a cough, he repeatedly said “Ya“.

The enourmous difference such a short word would make in his life. How differently people would perceive him having a voice. How much more empowered he would be and feel.

Here is a picture from the week before last. Pádraig’s PAs took him out for a late Christmas and New Year Lunch.

They had burgers and a curry, except the man himself who went straight for the steak. If you think about all the things that went on that day: being able to go out by himself with people of his age; ordering food and drink (he had a coke:); eating and drinking in company; tons of banter.

It is also so nice to see that his friends are making time for visits, now that the pandemic is more or less over and visiting becomes easier. Nothing like a bit of a catch up on what’s happening.

During the day, he is working more with his upper body using resistance bands.

He is also helping significantly more with his upper body when sitting up in bed, and is helping, occasionally, positioning his feet in the right position before standing up. Something to improve and work on. We were thinking to use the arm trainer of the MOTOmed more often and more regularly. Having better head and upper body control would make such a difference.

When I was reading Alexis Petridis article about David Crosby, I learned that, “by all accounts, including his own, David Crosby could be a tricky and difficult character. His career was regularly punctuated by angry arguments, bitter fallings-out, sackings, general discord. Joni Mitchell once waspishly suggested he was “a human-hater”. His former bandmate Roger McGuinn described his behaviour while a member of the Byrds as that of a “little Hitler””. – “I was a thorough prick”, Crosby said of himself.

I like his music. Today, I listened, for the first time, to his song What’s happening ?!?!

I don’t knowWho you think you areI don’t knowWhat you’re doing here
I don’t knowWhat’s going on hereI don’t knowHow it’s supposed to be

Crosby’s music is great and it will outlive him for a long time.