On purpose. And dogs.
Hello Dear Reader
Only a few days ago, I spent a happy evening regaling Gary Crowley and an attentive audience at The Exchange with stories and observations from my career so far. It was weird after a few months of self imposed hermitry to talk so much and to think about things I hadn’t really given much thought to over the years. But in the days since, I have been in a reflective mood which can only be summed up as intense gratitude for a wonderful adventure so far and the hope of more adventure ahead.
What has been the purpose so far and have I acquitted myself well? And what is the ongoing purpose I feel my work serves and what, if any, legacy to do I hope to leave behind me when I shuffle off this mortal coil?
‘The purpose of life is a life of purpose’
says a bloke called Robin Sharma whose book from whence this came I have not read but saw quoted in the book I am currently reading. (Haven’t finished it yet so will not share the name in case it’s a stinker by the end and you blame me for hours of your life you will never get back again.) It’s one of those annoying Japanese Koan sort of things that both enrage and enlighten and make complete sense even if it isn’t telling you anything specific or offering useful instructions.
What even is purpose? If I had to, I would say purpose is to leave the world better for your having been in it. Ultimately, I suppose, we all therefore have innate purpose that we can’t escape, just by the very fact of our existence. But I would venture to suggest that truly embracing our purpose and magnifying it is the end game.
Which leads me this International Women’s Day to talk about a woman called Maria Dickin, and how she found and fully embraced her purpose in founding the PDSA in 1917. If animal welfare is still pretty low down the pecking order (pun intended) of existence, just imagine how atrocious it must have been over a century ago. Recognising both the need but financial difficulty providing veterinary care for sick animals of the poor, Dickin rolled up her sleeves and got to work in the East End of London. Today, the PDSA is the UK’s leading veterinary charity and does the work of the angels as far as I am concerned.
When I think about purpose embodied in its highest form, it’s people like Maria Dickin and the work of the PDSA I think of.
So, it was with enormous pleasure I was able to contribute the music for the new PDSA advertising campaign. I hadn’t seen the actual advert when I was asked to rustle something up for it, but I was told there was a dog and a girl in it.
What could I offer but a song about the love of my life, Maggie? As she eases into old age, and sleeps more, snores more loudly than ever and has stopped barking at owls because she can’t hear them anymore, it occurred to me that never was there a better time to write a love song to my best canine friend, and what she means to me.
Then I saw the advert, and it is a Jack Russell. That, my friends, is serendipity.
The song is called You and Me (The Dog Song) and it is now available on various streaming platforms.
If you feel so inclined, and you have a few pennies to spare and have ever had to worry about a sick pet, I’d be ever so grateful if you could bung the PDSA a few quid to support the incredible work they do. It is an honour to lend my music to an organisation doing work that really means something and to a cause so incredibly close to a lot of our hearts.
In other news, as I watch the snow falling outside the window I am further cheered by the three Christmas trees - fully decorated - that I intend to leave up until Easter. It’s like Christmas arrived all over again. If it wasn’t for the fact that I’m off both booze and chocolate for Lent, I’d have started the day with a green triangle and a glass of mulled wine.
Merry International Women’s Day my loves!