Let's Get LondonReal | Danny Jones

01 May 2016


Okay, so it's been a while since my last post and I apologise, my graded unit took its toll on me so I ended up taking a break. Like I was dead to the world, essentially haha.

Anyway. So on Monday 25th April 2016, my favourite band in the whole world dropped a bombshell on me - they were having a comeback gig! It couldn't have come at a better time, I was feeling like complete shit and I was heading towards a "dip" (I was heading into anxiety territory.) but this news completely lifted me up - I'm sure you'll agree if you have me on Facebook or Twitter. I was devastated because I don't have any money, so wouldn't be able to buy any concert tickets, and within two minutes I had two people who had offered to buy me a ticket so that I could go - and this ended up doubling as another friend and my mum also offered. In the end, I got tickets for all three Glasgow nights thanks to my mum (thank you!)
So, over the course of the week, I'd been listening a lot to McFly, and reminiscing on their past concerts I've been to - all of which have been phenomenal, I'll never forget that one date at Glasgow's Armadillo when Danny shouted to the audience that we should push past security in order to get to the front of the stage to dance! (I didn't, but was very tempted. I was maybe 17 at the time.)  McFly have been basically my life since I was 10 years old, which is 12 years. I remember the first moment I saw and heard their music, I was watching Top of The Pops Saturday when they supported Busted. It blew me away and I fell in love with them immediately.

Anyway, on Saturday, I decided to type 'Danny Jones' into Youtube, just out of curiosity as to what would appear. I was enjoying myself watching things like 'McFly's best moments' and 'Dougie funny moments' so for some reason I decided to try with Danny, and that's how I found this video. And it hit me.

I had had no idea that Danny suffered from anxiety and the loneliness that comes from it. I have no idea why, I mean I have their autobiography from years ago but I haven't finished it. Perhaps it was mentioned in there? I'm not sure at all. But I do know that for the time that interview lasted, I was mesmerised and found myself totally agreeing with his experiences. Though my anxiety has been different from his in that I apparently just feel physical pain from it (apparently that's most likely what my muscle pain and fatigue has been as of late.) there were points I could totally agree upon.

I had a panic attack a few weeks ago, my last panic attack (06-04-2016) two days after was my first day anxiety free (and I'm almost at a month now!) but on that night.. My brain was wild.

I am about to explain exactly what went on during my last anxiety attack. If reading about these things triggers you then please skip this paragraph. I will make it noticable that I have stopped talking about it the next time you see emboldened text followed by another picture. The following text is my recollection of the panic attack:

So, I had been watching a video about 'what people with anxiety don't talk about it' and that in turn pushed me to write a massive Facebook status talking about what I go through with anxiety. Of course this lead to a lot of people commenting on it to show support, my mum also commented on it which I felt so guilty about because I never want her to think she hasn't done enough. My mum is incredible and she does so much for me and my brother.

Anyway. I was sitting in my room, my window was open and I had started to shake. Naturally, I assumed that I was shaking because I was cold, so I got under my duvet, and then I noticed that I was still shaking, but not only that but my breathing was really uneven, and then it started to dawn on me that I was panicking.

The weirdest part was, I was totally calm, like my thoughts were so calm, I was able to think straight, which is unlike any panic attack I've ever had. But my body had gone into fight or flight, and I had pins & needles in my face and hands. So, there I was. It was late at night, maybe about 11pm, and I was lying in bed shaking, with pins & needles and really bad breathing, it was as Danny described it in his interview - like an elastic band around my chest.

The only lucky thing is, I have dealt with anxiety since I was around 8 years old (Primary 3), and the last few years since I've known what it was have been me learning how to deal with it. So I knew what was going on, and I knew that in that moment, I needed to talk to somebody. So, I sent three of my friends a message on Whatsapp. And all 3 helped me through it. I'd been panicking for about 20 minutes, but the thing that made me calm down was when I mentioned to one of them that I'd bought CDs, and then decided to focus on that and think about which ones I'd bought.

After that I talked to them all a bit more, but then left them to let them go to sleep, but I was fine. I'd been taking pictures and videos of myself and posted them on my personal instagram, because my train of thought that day was that I was already being open enough about my anxiety I might as well post this so people can see what it looks like.

That is that section over with, the rest of this post is talking about the interview with Danny.

So, anyway, I was listening to this interview and I was so blown away at how someone I idolised felt exactly the same as I did. I ended up watching the full 2.5 hour interview because I had to hear what he had to say, and I was so happy to hear that he had approached LondonReal, and he was happy enough to talk about his experiences, and to bring awareness to this mental illness, because really, we need this to be talked about. It's such a huge problem, and people are suffering in silence, through my own experiences, I know how damaging it is.

There were a few points that also hit home a lot with me throughout these two hours. "It was being scared of having an anxiety attack" - Me to a T. That has been a huge aspect of my anxiety. Because you're just so scared of the unknown, if you're in a new place, you need to know you have an escape. I went to an induction for a job once and I sat next to the door so that I knew I'd be able to quickly escape. I used to always sit right next to the train doors because I was too scared of sitting next to someone that I didn't know. Anxiety has been a huge monster in my life, and the fear of having an attack was so huge, and lead me to not go to parties, and to miss out on a whole bunch of events because of a hypothetical situation. It's crazy.

It was amazing to hear how much he looks up to Bruce Springsteen, because to me, Danny is my Springsteen. The whole of McFly are huge inspirations to me, with everything they've gone through, I've gone through with them, and everything I've gone through, they have gone through with me. They are all so incredibly influential to me, and all such incredible people. I met them in 2011, there is a video of me getting to meet Danny, which was incredible to me. I brought them all a stick of Blackpool rock in Glasgow, and I made a cardboard 'pink bass' for Dougie.

"You create a fanbase that are so fanatical and they're hardcore, because they've got so much to buy into because you're... loving what you're doing but, it's straight from you to them."

It was so incredible to hear him talk about his relationships with the other guys, because although I know that they are best friends, to hear him talk about them as "brothers" and that the band was the best thing to happen to him was amazing. And you can see and hear just how passionate he is about it all, you can tell how much he loves the rest of the guys, and his manager, and his life.

"We try to put on the best show for our fans, so they always want to come back for another show."

To hear that they are also perfectionists, and that when they rehearse they "go hard", and are working pretty much constantly through the year just to make the experience for the fans. It's incredibly inspirational - but that they also truely just enjoy what they do.

"Thoughts are quite a lonely place, it's a lonely thing and you start panicking and you feel these anxious feelings and you think you're the only person in the world."

His anxiety was brought on because of family issues, and it was interesting to hear that he had also noticed things weren't right from a young age. I remember when my parents separated back in 2009, my mum had decided to leave my dad and had got a council house (where I stay now) just up the road - a 5 minute drive away, and I was to pack up a few essentials and that day, while my dad was at work, we left. Out of my brother and I (my brother who is a year younger than me), I was the last to find out, because my mum was worried about how I was going to take it. But, the thing was... I'd kinda always known. I'd sensed it from a young age. My dad would sleep on the couch, and things just didn't feel ...right, I suppose. So to hear that this was happening wasn't a shock to me. And now, my relationship with my dad and my brother's relationship with my dad are both poor. I'll always love him because he is my dad, and because he is a massive reason that I am a giant space nerd and he gave me the passion I have for science and the sports that I get enjoyment out of - fencing, marital arts, are because of him. Because he would try and teach my brother and I how to 'fight' and kinda self defence? He bought my brother a telescope and I would enjoy going to the back door and looking at the moon through it. I remember being in science in I think S2, and I would talk to my teacher about the moment I thought I saw an alien on the moon but it was actually just my hair in front of me. My dad had books about UFOs and I remember I decided to read one before I went to sleep one night, and it's given me a fear I have to this day that if I see lights outside my bedroom window then it's an alien, you know? But there was always something not right, and to hear Danny going through something so similar stuck home with me.

And there are times where I've had out of body experiences, it's not been often but it happens, and it would happen a lot when I had to do public speaking, though it doesn't happen much, if at all any more. For me I simply just... think. And like I said my anxiety seems to come out in muscle fatigue. "And then my heart starts beating, and I start thinking about my heart and 'I'm not well' and you know, its a trail. You've got a massive list that goes down your brain. You see this massive list of things that you're worried about and it just gets bigger, and bigger, and bigger, and bigger, until you have a panic attack." - which is 100% me. Before I found out that I have anxiety, I went to the doctors to get tested for what I called heart palpitations. This meant I had to wear a heart monitor and had an ECG.

He also said that he feels other people's pain a lot, which is also incredibly true for me as well, and it's something that I've had to try and learn to disconnect from. Then he went on to say this, which was a quote from his grandad; "make someone smile and the day's worthwhile." Which is something I live by, and have done before ever hearing this quote. I try to believe that I should make someone smile every day, if I can. I will talk to people at the check outs, if I'm on the train and there is a lull while my train ticket is being checked, I will talk to the train conductor (which I did a few days ago), just to make someone happy, and to make them realise that their work is appreciated. I nearly started crying on the plane from Istanbul to Singapore because I was telling a cabin crew member how much I appreciated their work, and additionally I'm the exact same in that as soon as somebody is negative then it just kinda hits me and takes me down.

Then a quote from Dougie; "anxiety is living in the future, depression is living in the past and you've just got to live for now."

It was so lovely to hear how he talked about Georgia; "I said to her, look. I want to be with you but let's just talk. About everything. No matter if its going to offend me, or offend you. If you're a dick, I'll tell you when you're a dick, when I'm a dick, tell me!" which sounds like an incredibly healthy set up, and appears to work so well. I've learned a hard lesson about how important communication is. He went on to talk about how they don't necessarily talk constantly "No, I've only texted her once today!",  but that they have their own spaces and that that works really well, and I've found myself going to the opposite end of how I used to be where I needed constant communication but hearing this kinda hit home a lot. I started to think "hold on... Gail. You are being a dick. This isn't necessary" but the problem with it was, that it was my anxiety causing it. My anxiety told me that if this person doesn't talk to me, or reads my message and then doesn't reply then they hate me. And that I've lost any chance of being with them. And yeah, it still really hurts when I see those two blue ticks on Whatsapp, or when I see that my message hasn't been read but that they're online on Facebook or Instagram, because my anxiety tells me that they're ignoring me because I'm a little shit, but I have been trying so hard to remind myself that .. you know, they're allowed to not talk to me. The only thing I guess I could ask for is that they at least.. Talk first sometimes, just as a reassurance that they care. Because even though I am anxiety free for almost a month, it's still really scary to be so uncertain about where exactly I stand, and hearing things like "I like you" isn't reassurance. It kinda drags me down, because then my brain spirals and I think "well, if you like me why am I the only one trying?" and that is an incredibly difficult mindset to get out of, but I'm trying so hard to. The way Danny and Georgia are, and how happy they are is incredibly inspirational.

And I totally get that river metaphor about how no matter what goes down in life, just like a river, there is always a bend and there is always something around the corner. THAT is what has kept me going throughout my life, and throughout my depression and anxiety. I've always had goals. I was telling my counsellor this the other day, that from again, around the age of 8, P3 I had decided that I was going to go through the entirety of highschool, all 6 years, and then I was going to go to university. I've pictured it and I'm still working on making university happen. But even with other things, I'm very goal orientated, and I am also "Impatiently patient" and I think that's why I'm successful at the things that I'm successful at. There are things that I'm really good at, or I'm getting better at and it's all because I can see the end goal, and because I, too, am a perfectionist and this was actually something I was taught by McFly, way before this interview. I look up to them all so much, and they just made me want to make someone else feel the way that they make me feel. The way that Danny wants his fans to feel the way that Bruce Springsteen makes him feel - that is exactly me. I do go a bit crazy with it sometimes, because I get really offended if someone talks about McFly in a bad light, and it's not that I don't care whether they like the music or not, it's just the idea that the band are being pigeonholed into the 'crappy pop' category (a bit like Danny mentioned he used to do with pop music before Tom opened his mind to it) and that.. I feel like people can wonder how a pop band can have such a huge influence on people. I mean, people look up to Bowie, or to Freddie Mercury and they're rock and hugely influential on a global scale and I totally get it because they're also huge motivators for me... But McFly have that exact same spark, and it's the idea that people won't be able to see it, just because they create pop music. I get defensive and I guess almost territorial over it.

He said that they always put 150% into every gig that they play, and they play as if it is the last gig they'll do and I have to say... it shows. Like I said earlier, every McFly or McBusted gig that I have been to has been phenomenal. MCBUSTED JUMP TOGETHER. I'll never forget about that time they came back onto the stage on that space ship and started playing Star Girl because I was so blown away by it, I screamed so loudly and I think at the same time I was speechless. I love the effort and energy that they put into their shows, its one of the reasons that I love them as much as I do, they have incredible stage presence and it captivates you and you get lost in the moment. I'd say that their gigs are probably one of my happy places, and I think back on them a lot.

There was also a point where Brian asked him about the difference between McFly and McBusted, and to summarise what he said, there was once McFly and Busted. Then Busted were no more. The two bands were friends and helped each other out, and they wrote songs together. Then they decided it would be fun to play songs together for McFly's 10th anniversary and thus, McBusted was born. It was just an accident, but a great accident. And I would say that McBusted are a wildly different band from either McFly or Busted, and are more "punk" in the pop-punk genre than either of the others. Their songs are fun and silly, which is why they're successful.

I really could find myself going on and on about this interview, and I've written so much already, I've listened to the interview two times and I think it's going to be one that I listen to pretty much every week because it was so hard hitting for me. (And yes, Danny, I think you were right when you said your fans would love London Real, I do think it's something I'm going to be listening to a lot from now on, because hearing you talk about it has been something so important to me.)

It was reassuring to know that Danny gets distracted by things really easily, as well. Possibly more so than me because I think I can kind of control it a little, but I find myself in situations where I'll be at a restaurant and I start to zone into the song in the background, or on tv I zone into the song, or I get distracted by little things like pictures or lights or whatever. I would watch TV and hear a song and immediately go "that was used in the lobby scene of the Marix!!" (I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here, if you're wondering where that one came from.) It made me feel less... weird, I suppose to know that I'm not the only person that's like this.

I guess the theme of this post was just to really say, thank you Danny for being my Springsteen. Thank you to you, and to the rest of the band for influencing me with my life, for inspiring me and for teaching me, for holding my hand and guiding me, and for letting me guide you as well. Thank you for everything you do for you fans, and I really hope you get to do your zimmerframe tour like 50/60 years down the line, because I'll definitely be there to see it! Thank you for approaching London Real and for bringing awareness to mental illness, but also for saying that it's okay to not be okay. It's okay to be a bit weird. But also thank you to London Real, Brian Rose, for you know, having this set up which allows people to hear such inspiring people because it helps so much.

I feel like I'll round this off with a quote from "Friday Night" (album; Motion In The Ocean) which is one I actually used to name the Facebook album in 2011 when I met them.

"No, no, no, nothing's wrong with dreaming. Go, go go, dream it all away! One love! One life! And that's enough to get you through the night, tomorrow's gonna be a greater day!"

Danny, I'll see you and the rest of the McGuys all 3 nights at Glasgow in June. Galaxy Defenders, stay forever.

Oh, and I'm in Danny's hair in a McFly poster. (Because I was/still am? Idk, but I was) a Pioneer on SuperCity.

Until next time, be excellent to each other.


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