OK , I’ve made my peace with the phrase ‘the new normal’. It’s taken a while, I just couldn’t jam with it for ages as literally everywhere I turn it’s there – on t’internet , on the (bad) news programmes -even my mates are now saying it. Well Matt we’ve got to bump elbows now, it’s the new normal- I felt I was living in a communist state of clichés where everyone is forced to repeat hackneyisms ,   I’m trying to get the phrase ‘the new abnormal’ off the ground but no-one seems to be biting.

I wrote in my last blog (I’m not particular that enamoured with the word blog, but in light of this drivel that I churn out every so often which can hardly come under the title of literature, blog will have to do) how it took a while for me to get into the new normal of yoga teaching i.e cutting a yoga rug in the t.v. room* in front of my iphone which was sellotaped to the back of a kids chair – this was definitely not a House Wives of Beverly Hills Yoga goes to Hollywood level production. It reminded me of when I used to run a clothing label in Manchester in the nineties. Elk Desert & Forest clothing was the new hip men’s clothing kid on the streetwear fashion block –we were selling to high street, high end stores like Harvey Nichols plus a bunch of hipper than hip Japanese clothing shops in the East! The chief designer – well he was the only designer , would rock up at maybe midday smoke a couple of spliffs then naff of home leaving yours truly to run the show . I was the head cook and bottlewasher – head seamstress too as some of the garments would could back from the production lines with buttons missing (amongst other tailoring mishaps) and I’d be sat there having to sew (and I hold my hand up here, I couldn’t sew for love nor money) the buttons back on to jackets that had a retail venue of round 400 plus quid- we had Rolls Royce designs with a Robin Reliant production. Think Fawlty Towers goes Fashion and you’d not be far wrong. Anyway where were we?

So if you’re one of  the 5 people who actually read this Year 6 level nonsense ( hi Mum and 4 sisters , thank you J) , you might remember I also get Zen’d up to the max these days with this daily wall staring meditation practice . Meditation is a bit like Yoga – you do a bit on your own then every now and then you go to a class –sometimes when your wife allows it you go to a sesshin ( a bit like a yoga retreat only wall staring and silence instead of yoga and farting –see last blog). I’ve done a few seeshins in my Zen lifetime but not as many as I would like. This last one I signed up for in Sante Fe New Mexico (the only place to meditate, darling!) got kyboshed by the thing that created the phrase ‘the new normal’. I then got an email from the lovely people at Mountain Cloud Zen Center (centre) informing me that all their sesshin meditation retreats would now be online via yes you guessed it Zoom! There was also a PDF attachment on Zoom Meditation protocols – like where to put your laptop / smart phone / tablet etc when you were staring at a wall. So let me get this straight, I could now join in on an online meditation retreat with my laptop besides me logged into Zoom with live video conferencing streaming of a bunch of strangers around the world staring at their preferred wall sat next to their laptops – weird! Well not weird actually as this was the new normal of course. Ok I’m game. I booked on their early July weekender , explained to my wife about how I’d like not to be disturbed as I was going to the bedroom with my laptop and a ticket to sit with virtual strangers. She rolled her eyes – normally when I was going to the bedroom with my laptop it was to shout at the football for 90 mins but now I was just going to meditate in silence with a bunch of like-minded crazy normal people.

So the New Normal for me is teaching yoga in the tv room with my iPhone sellotaped to the kids chair a couple of metres away and also meditating in the bedroom looking at a wall sat next to my laptop with my new virtual friends – what’s the new normal for you  looking like?

Details of all my online Yoga classes can be found here.


* when I say TV room this implies that we had other rooms in our ‘Venice Beach Luxury Boutique Apartment’  – the warning sign here is the word boutique – which is basically a posh way of saying it’s feckin tiny mate but we’re still gonna charge you an obscene  amount of rent.