As we reach the end of another somewhat challenging 12 months, I hope we can all find time to relax and gather ourselves ready for what next year might throw at us. At one point this year, I let stress get the better of me and started taking camouflage lessons; I just didn’t want any more patients to see me.

On a more serious note, for too long I was in denial about of how stress can creep up insidiously on anyone and, if not consciously affecting me, affecting how I interacted with others. I will even confess to being cynical about much of the support available, such as counselling.

Thankfully, one of the benefits of being older is that I now recognise how stress affects everyone differently, but needs to be acknowledged and managed. Acknowledging stress is the difficult bit, I would argue, but this is more important now than ever before. How you then manage it is an individual choice, whether through support networks, talking, relaxation exercises, yoga, Airfix model making; whatever works for you.

After finding little relief through conventional routes, and less conventional or questionably legal routes proving more harm than good, I have found that, like John Miles (RIP), ‘music sees me through.’ So, I thought it might amuse you to see my 2021 top list of de-stress classics; all can be streamed by the curious and all need to be blasted out loud for maximum benefit.

  • Born Stubborn by Sepultura; best use of indigenous Brazilian drumming on outro
  • Rude Buddha by Transglobal Underground; best use of a zither
  • Red House by David Byrne; best early use of sampling
  • USSA by Butthole Surfers; best use of balloons (from 57 seconds in)
  • And, essential to any list you care to mention, You Suffer by Napalm Death. It is one second long and guaranteed to cheer you up.

I would love to hear your suggestions for de-stressing, email at

Peace to all and see you next year.