Tag Archives: Arts

Love, camaraderie, freedom

In my lifetime I have watched hundreds of television shows, I have enjoyed a fair amount and I can count on one hand the amount of television shows that I can say that I “love”. I have never however had a television show that I have felt I can relate to, most of my favourite shows are a bit outlandish and far fetched. There is however one television show that I feel that I can relate to – ‘Sons of Anarchy’

Granted, my life wasn’t as violent or as crime filled but in my teens I made some very heinous choices which affected those around me. For years I was on a path of self destruction, convincing myself that I was on the right path. I brought a gang fight to my parents front door, I was arrested, I caused a lot of misery and truth be told, even for a lot of my adult years some of those patterns stayed in place.

‘Sons of Anarchy’ may not reflect my life as a mirror image but some of the underlying principals of some of the characters just resonate with me. I’ve lost people close to me and then used it as fuel for my anger towards others, I’ve deceived my friends and manipulated people. For a very long time I didn’t care who I hurt, friends, enemies or family. My life was a clusterfuck of bad choice after bad choice for so long that there came a point where enough was enough. I could have carried down that path and ended up in a perpetual solitude handcrafted by my own design but I made the choice to take a different route and thankfully it was the right choice.

I like to believe that I am somewhat emotionless these days. I’m sure that if you were to converse with anyone in my close circle of friends that they will tell you that I tend to never show emotion. However watching ‘Sons of Anarchy’ has reduced me to tears on a number of occasions. The show is hard hitting and it doesn’t slow down to let you recover your emotions. It’s a barrage of kicks to the gut and to me it’s something that I’ve maybe needed.

“Chasing cash we don’t need and spending every dime to stay alive”

If you haven’t watched ‘Sons of Anarchy’ then I would highly recommend it to everyone. Next week is the last ever episode but it’s never too late to jump on the wagon. The first six seasons are on Netflix and Amazon Prime to watch. It’s a show that will tear you apart and put you back together within minutes.

Over seven seasons the show has given some monumental moments. Opie’s death and Tara’s death are two which I think hit every fan just as hard. Bobby’s death was a moment that was unexpected and just left a hole. Without spoiling last nights episode for anyone who hasn’t yet seen it, it was possibly one of my favourite episodes and it sends us into the finale ready for closure.

A side note for SoA is the music. Never has a show had such a perfect soundtrack, where every song choice works perfectly with what it is accompanying.

You’ll be hard pushed to find a show quite as compelling. It’ll be hard to say goodbye next week.

 

One of the hardest scenes in SoA to watch.

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The Rucksack Project

Every year thousands of people are out on the streets, sleeping rough and struggling to eat. It’s a sad part of life and one that no matter how hard we try, it’s never really going to go away. What we can do however, is make a small difference to the lives of those who are affected by it.

The Rucksack Project was set up in November 2009 when founder Matthew White saw that the season of goodwill was more centred on people stressing and worrying about the unimportant stuff.

“We have really lost the meaning of Christmas, so I did something in 2009 that was so simple and anyone can do and it will make a real difference to peoples lives.”

The Rucksack Project is a project that takes place on different dates, in different cities throughout the United Kingdom. The aim is to pack a bag of warm clothing, food, a flask, books and any other items that can make a difference to those living on the streets.

Making up these rucksacks and taking them out to give to the homeless is not only a good way of doing something helpful but you’re also making a huge difference to someone’s life. It’s hard enough for someone living out in the streets during the warm months of the year but to live out in the street during the winter months is an entirely different situation.

While the rucksack project isn’t a long term solution to helping these people, it does make a difference and you are helping to keep them warm and give them something good in their lives, even if it only last a short time.

I don’t ever use this blog as a means to promote charity and perhaps I should do it more often, however this is one that I do feel strongly about.

If you want to get involved then please visit http://www.rucksackproject.org/ to find out where your local event is taking place and for help in what to donate.

There are no strings……on me

The title of this blog is there for no other reason than that one line in the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer still has me excited. Although this entry into the blogsphere will no doubt have some Marvel information in it. As I write that, it sort of gives away my way of writing blogs. I come in to them with no clear idea of what I’m going to write. Some of them are outlined before I sit down while most of the are just whatever tangent my mind decides to take me on….

I purchased a new book last week, well there were a few books, but the one that I’ve started reading is called “The Girl With All The Gifts” by M.R Carey. I recommend it to anyone reading this and while it’s hard to actually say what it’s about without giving away spoilers, I will say that it has me hooked with the twist near the start.

I also reread “The Dark Knight Returns” comic by Frank Miller a few days ago. While most people know it as the best Batman comic that there is, I often fear that it hinges on becoming idolised too much. However every single time that I read it, I realise that it really is the best one and the only one (in my opinion) that comes close is ‘The Killing Joke’ One Shot by Alan Moore.

DC are trying hard to make an impact on the live action scene. ‘The Flash’ is fantastic, I’ve been watching it for the past few weeks and it’s so different from ‘Arrow’ but it still has the same gravitas. ‘Arrow’ has really hit the ground running in season 3. The end of episode one really set the course for this season and episode two was a bit of an emotional roller-coaster. ‘Gotham’ needs some work in my opinion. I like it but it just doesn’t yet seem to be consistent from week to week with its quality. The portrayal of James Gordon is fine but it feels like it could have a bit more to it. The James Gordon that I’ve always been familiar with was a layered individual but this version just doesn’t seem to have anything other than what you see on the outside.

Of course there is also DC’s line up of movies to come. ‘Dawn of Justice’ is still a year and a half away from release, something which still baffles me. I really thought that DC would want to capitalise on the boom in comic book movies sooner rather than later. It looks to me like Dawn of Justice will be in preproduction for almost two years which I just don’t understand.

Marvel however are still knocking it out of the park with movies. Yesterday saw the press event and the announcement of ‘Phase Three’ in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The line up is a fantastic one and is as follows;

2015:
May 1: The Avengers: Age of Ultron
July 17: Ant-Man

2016:
May 6: Captain America 3: Civil War
November 4: Doctor Strange

2017:
May 5: Guardians of the Galaxy 2
July 28: Thor: Ragnarok
November 3: Black Panther

2018:
May 4: The Avengers: Infinity War, Part One
July 6: Captain Marvel
November 2: Inhumans

2019:
May 3: The Avengers: Infinity War, Part Two

I’m not going to lie, I lost my shit when the ‘InHumans’ announcement came. I was sat in front of my computer, watching the live newsfeed on Marvels website and when that announcement came I jumped with a cheer.

Chadwick Boseman being announced as the Black Panther is also a very interesting choice. I look forward to seeing him in the role.

Something else that caught my eye this week was Ewan McGregor and his comments about Star Wars fans…

“The people I meet are the f**kers who want me to sign Star Wars photos so they can sell them on the Internet or the people at premieres who are crushing children against barriers to get me to sign their f**king picture of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

“They’re not fans—they’re parasitical lowlifes and f**king w*nkers

I’m not entirely sure if I see his point or not, of course I’ve never been a celebrity so I can’t see things from their point of view. I do however agree that there are some fans, no matter what they’re a fan of, who take things too far and have no respect for anything or anyone.

One final thing, which I shall leave here for you to watch is the exclusive scene released last night for ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’, it is attached to the start of the trailer in this clip and it just feels so big and epic.

The greatest speech ever made?

I think that everyone has their “go to” video, song or book. I myself have many of them, in fact I have a “go to” library when I think about it. There is however one video that always draws me to it. I could write about it but nothing that I put into words could ever do it justice and so instead I’m just going to leave the video here.

I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone – if possible – Jew, Gentile – black man – white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness – not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost….

!/images/photos/0000/0874/Great_Dictator_Pub_140-6_normal.jpg! The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men – cries out for universal brotherhood – for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world – millions of despairing men, women, and little children – victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.

To those who can hear me, I say – do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed – the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. …..

Soldiers! don’t give yourselves to brutes – men who despise you – enslave you – who regiment your lives – tell you what to do – what to think and what to feel! Who drill you – diet you – treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men – machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate – the unloved and the unnatural! Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!

In the 17th Chapter of St Luke it is written: “the Kingdom of God is within man” – not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people have the power – the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.

Then – in the name of democracy – let us use that power – let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world – a decent world that will give men a chance to work – that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfil that promise. They never will!

Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfil that promise! Let us fight to free the world – to do away with national barriers – to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers! in the name of democracy, let us all unite!

Warrior

They always say that you should make the most of life because you never know when it’s going to end. I don’t think that’s ever been more true than in the case of one of my childhood heroes over the weekend, the Ultimate Warrior.

My first real memory of wrestling is watching Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan one Saturday morning while my mother was doing the weekly ironing. I have no idea whether it was the full match or whether it was just highlights from Wrestlemania but that’s the first image that I have in my head from wrestling. I remember turning to my mum and asking her “Do you mind if I watch this” to which she replied “no”. At that age, I didn’t understand the question that I had just asked and so her telling me “no” caused me to take it that I couldn’t watch. I remember sulking until she explained to me what it meant and so with renewed happiness I turned back to the TV to continue watching and have been captivated ever since. Ultimate Warrior not only got me hooked on wrestling that day but also helped me learn something new, he was a man of many colours.

Over time the Ultimate Warrior slowly faded from public conciousness and it wasn’t unexpected, many old school wrestlers do fade away from the public eye. However, Warrior never stopped putting his name out there and with regular YouTube posts and tweets in recent years, it was easy to keep up with what the legend was doing.

For many Warrior fans, the dream was to see him inducted in to the WWE Hall of Fame but for many many years, that looked like nothing more than a pipe dream. WWE and Warrior had seemingly destroyed all bridges and there appeared to be no chance of rebuilding them. It was sad but many of us came to terms with the fact that we would never see Warrior anywhere near WWE again. Then something magical happened, in 2013 WWE released a trailer for their new video game WWE 2k14 and right there, right in the trailer, was Warrior promoting the game, dressed in full Ultimate Warrior gear. It was one of those rare and unexpected moments that just was so exciting that I don’t think I’ve ever watched a trailer as many times over in my life.

Earlier this year WWE announced that FINALLY the Ultimate Warrior would take his place in the WWE Hall of Fame. If ever there was a collective cheers from a group of fans heard around the world then it was at that moment. There are a lot of people who don’t have a lot of good things to say about Warrior but he was a legend and he deserved to be there.

This past weekend came and on Saturday the Hall of Fame aired live on the WWE Network. Being in the UK it didn’t start airing over here until 2am (yes I know it’s not launched over here, but I wasn’t going to wait until next year for it so I had to be sneaky sneaky) As I do with most wrestling events I sat up late waiting for it to start, I then sat through all the speeches, not complaining about it because all the inductees deserved to be there but the one I was waiting for was Warrior. At around 4.45am he finally took to the stage, walked out arm in arm with his daughters and the man looked happier than I think he had ever been. He gave a speech that at times bordered on rambling but it was still fantastic all the same.

On Monday he appeared on RAW for the first time in almost two decades. As soon as that music hit, I felt chills going up my spine and excitement pulsing through my body. Ultimate Warrior was back in a WWE ring and I was as happy as any other Warrior fan. The obligatory rope shake occurred and at that moment, I looked at Warrior and thought to myself that he didn’t seem the same but then I chalked it up to his age and his not being an active competitor any more so I brushed it off. As he spoke I felt like a child again, Ultimate Warrior was in a WWE ring and I was watching it and it wasn’t a repeat, this was happening and this was happening right now. As he left the ring I found myself looking forward to his next appearance, he had recently said he signed a multi-year deal with WWE, and I couldn’t wait to see him again. However, there wouldn’t be another appearance.

Yesterday morning I woke up to a Facebook message from a friend which just read    Capture

It was a crushing blow, like being punched in the gut. I never met Ultimate Warrior, I didn’t know Ultimate Warrior but I was inspired by Ultimate Warrior. Without him I doubt that I would have been as captivated that Saturday morning all those years ago, I doubt that I would have discovered my love of wrestling at such a young age. I’m a grown man and I know that wrestling is pre-determined and there’s no competitiveness to it but I also know that I don’t care about that. I watch it because the storytelling that can be done in the ring is tremendous. I watch wrestling because a very young me sat cross legged on the floor watching a man in face paint captivate my mind.

Load up the spaceship with rocket fuel Warrior because wherever you’re going there’s a ring set up waiting for you with all the greats. You will have one more match and your legacy will live on forever.

Friday my old friend….

Friday and I used to be old friends. As a day that is named after the great Norse goddess Frigg, who herself was the wife of Odin and thus the Queen of Asgard, I had more respect for Friday than any other day of the week. Across my lifespan Friday and I have been through many things together and even though she has often plagued me with a hangover to meet my mate Saturday, we never had any disagreements……….until now

You see today, the name that was given to my dear friend Friday by the masters of the sea back in times of yore seems much more appropriate. For today “Dies Infaustus” is a much more suited name as she has brought me nothing but bad luck. I have lost a bank card, had a power cut, stubbed my toe, smashed a mug and fallen off of a bus. Of course these may not sound like the worst luck in the world and you would be correct in thinking that. However, all these incidents happened before 10am this morning and as a result I am afraid to move for the remainder of the day.

I have experienced bad luck days on a few occasions in the past, the worst being back in 2006 when I lost my job and my place to stay in a matter of minutes (I was living in the same house as my boss) on that occasion I also lost my bank card. Fortuna clearly has no place in her life for me and also , it would seem, has a strange fascination with removing my  bank card from my possession.

I suppose that a lack of sleep could be causing some lapse in  concentration today, last night I found it impossible to sleep, no matter how hard I tried. A phenomenon which has apparently affected more than just I. I have spoken to seven or eight different people today who all had the same problem. I suppose this could be down to our nearing another full moon on the 27th or perhaps there’s some other strange reason behind it, I’m going with the full moon thing though.

In my  attempt to avoid moving in fear of more bad luck I’ve been reading the Three Musketeers. I picked it up the other day after watching The Muskeeters on BBC One on Sunday night (might I add I didn’t only watch it because of its ties to Doctor Who and Peter Capaldi as someone accused me of, I watched it because I’m a Musketeers fan). I haven’t read it in over a decade and I actually forgot how great a book it actually is.

Many people who have read The Three Musketeers find the idea enchanting. A story about friendship, loyalty and courage. D’Artagnan of course being the hero throughout. Myself, as much as I love D’Artagnans’ tale, I have a different hero in the story. Captain de Tréville for me is a fantastic character, who defends his Musketeers to the hilt. Strict and at times coated in a strange maniacal essence, he is the character who really pulls me in at certain points. I think that everyone needs to have someone like de Tréville in their life, someone to keep them out of trouble and make sure they’re towing the line (even  if they’re not).

I have looked out both Twenty Years After and The Vicomte de Bragelonne to re-read once I have finished with the Musketeers. The Vicomte de Bragelonne of course featuring The Man in the Iron Mask. The D’Artagnan collection of books is almost 200 years old and yet it’s amazing that when you read it, there are certain things that really haven’t changed all that much in the society of today.

As for my old friend Friday, I sincerely hope that you are merely in one your passing moods and that this type of behaviour will not carry on through to next week, otherwise we may have to have a heated conversation. Friday today you are a wretched wench…….

Time to starve it out….

I have made the concious decision to give up nicotine. After so many years and so many failed attempts to quit I have decided that it’s now or never. If that part of my mind that calls itself “will power” decides to fail me on this then I won’t try and give up again.

Giving up comes down to two reasons, the first being health. I’m not what you would call the fittest person alive nor am I the least fittest but I have every desire to become healthier.

The second reason is money, I sat earlier today and tallied up how much I spend in a year on tobacco products including lighters etc. and it nearly made my heart escape through my anal passage. I could be spending that money on much better things and things that are actually needed.

As I embark on this journey I realise that the next two weeks will be the toughest, I’ve never made it past the two week stage and so that’s my first goal. If I can make it to there then I will feel more confident about staying nicotine free.

I looked at my options to help me quit and I decided on cold turkey. Why? I believe that if I still have any nicotine going into my system then I’ll just want more, it’s my mentality. If I go cold turkey and completely starve myself of it then I’m less likely to want it after a few days. I know that doesn’t work for everyone but it’s how my mind works with everything else so I’m hoping it’s the same for this.

I have no doubt that over the coming two weeks I shall be a jack in the box of moods and agitation and so there will most likely be some extreme posts on here. Writing for me is a way to release some tension and I have a bad feeling that my nicotineless body will have a lot of tension over the next few days. I may be that agitated that even Doctor Who won’t settle me down.

I’ve been training recently for this feat. Little over a month ago I gave up my second addiction – Irn Bru. Ever since I can remember I have been addicted to the orange goodness that is Irn Bru. I could drink anywhere up to two bottles per day every day. I’m now 32 days clean.

Who knows whether I’ll succeed or not, I’m determined that I will and I have a good feeling this time. Only time will tell…..

Losing days…

I have been so engulfed in putting words on pages recently that I’ve lost track of days. I could have sworn today was Friday so I was confused when I picked up a newspaper to see it read “The Independent on Sunday” instead of just “The Independent”

At some point in my life, this entire tumultuous ‘forgetting which day it is’ debacle is not going to serve me well. Unless I can be two days late for my own death in which case it has served a necessary purpose.

Cup of tea and some Ocean Colour Scene to kick off the day as I prepare to attempt to construct some more comprehensive yet esoteric undertakings.

It’s fascinating to me how something can entirely distract you from the rest of the world. Had I not left the house and ventured to the shop this morning there is a chance that I would not realise it was Sunday until next Sunday arrives.

I’ve been contributing to various writing projects as of late, that has also led my mind into solitary confinement. However, come the end of this month most of those projects will be completed and so I should have a bit more time to enjoy the wonders of life.

I am however making time tonight to watch the latest episode of Sherlock. After a fantastic start to the new series I am eagerly anticipating the remaining episodes.

Anyway, back to the grind.

Good golly that’s strange.

I was scrolling through some of the “Year in Review” posts around the internet recently. Most of them are drab and mainly about things that I couldn’t care less about. For example there is a “Best Celeb Twitpics of 2013” post doing the rounds which I outright avoided. The celebrity world is too over exposed, it’s mind numbing and honestly can anyone really say that all the media attention directed at celebrities serves any real purpose?

Every so often I would come across a “Year in Review” page that I did enjoy and that did interest me. One of my favourites being “The Years Best Space Pictures” which looks back at some of the breathtaking images captured from the far reaches of space. My favourite of these was the image of the Horsehead Nebula, which if you take a wander over to the page you’ll find it more astonishing than my words could ever describe.

Another image that really captured my imagination was the image of the apparent “Space Invader” heading towards earth. It has been explained that this is just the image of a far off Galaxy which appears to take that shape after some light manipulation.

Whether that is the case or not, it really got me thinking. I am not what you would call a conspiracy theorist, I don’t think that aliens walk among us. I don’t believe that they have control of our governments or influence the path of the human race. Frankly I find that idea ludicrous and wishful thinking on many peoples part.

I do however strongly believe that there are some organic lifeforms out there in the far out corners of the universe. The universe is around 16 billion years old and is so vast that it’s impossible for the human mind to fully comprehend. Our own galaxy is only 4.5 billion years old and thus far we still are not aware of everything that happens in it. Therefore it only stands to reason in my mind that there are life forms out there who are older than the human race, who most probably have more advanced technology than us and who are possibly on a planet millions of light years away looking through their own telescopes pondering the same questions that we are.

Do I think we’ll ever find these lifeforms? Do I think we’ll ever make contact? Honestly, I don’t know. If we do then it certainly won’t be in my lifetime.

Supposed Space Invader

He is……

Sometimes I like to write short stories, sometimes they’re pointless and other times they just don’t make any sense. This one was one that I just sort of put together when trying to exercise my brain. It’s a short about Doctor Who. If you read my “About Me” page you’ll realise that DW holds a special place in my life.

“He never looked back, he never stopped and he never blinked. Time couldn’t catch up with him because he simply strolled through it. Of course he remembered but remembering and looking back were two different things. When the time came – just as it always does – he slowed down, just briefly, just for the shortest moment.

In every solar system, in every galaxy, in every corner possible, there was blood. Dark blood dripping from the hands of one man. If he stopped for just a minute, it would drip and drip and drip, eventually he would drown in the blood on his hands.

A warrior, a goblin, a trickster, a storm, all who he never intended to be but all who he inevitably became.

From the junkyard to the Valeyard, a Grandfather to a son in law. The longest of lives and the largest of hearts wrapped in the smallest of boxes that was bigger than thought.

The warrior, the teachers, the journalist, the shop assistant, the man in the kilt. They all came and they all left, each taking a part of him. Evolving and moving and running and dancing and crying and watching and fighting and saving and shouting and being alive, so alive.

This man was not a man, he was a hero. A hero to many and an enemy of more. The healer, the wise man, the old man, the young man, the new man, the new men! Always changing but staying the same.

The corner stone of the universe and the centre of hope. Joy and happiness and love and loss – so much loss. So much lost but so much saved. He has seen it, he has walked in the eternal light he has created stars and watched lights flicker out.

His story can’t come in a book, his story can’t be placed in chronologies, his story is for everyone to see. Every star, every planet, every solar system has been touched by him.

He is the one that always comes, the one that always runs, the one who can make time stand still and scares the monsters away.

He is the Doctor.”