Thursday, 17 April 2014

Today I... Begin to Bring an End

Today I begin to bring an end to a chapter of enlightenment and discovery. My time teaching in Greece is coming to an end. Two long years of unbridled beauty will soon become but a memory.

Dougal.
If you don't get the reference, it's OK. You won't be judged
At times, I believe myself to be somewhat of a person. As somewhat of a person, I like to think deeply about each experience; the ups, the downs and the magic roundabouts. In most cases, I envisage my life as a story, choosing to see each it as chapters in a book - admittedly, not exactly a page-turner. Who would want to read about the highlights of my general day-to-day life? For instance, yesterday my greatest victory was skimming 50 cents of a cold chocolate because I swore blind that it was 1,50€ and not 2€. As a read, such a hard-fought battle would bore folk to tears. Besides this is not the general purport of my remarks. I don't evaluate my life in the minutest detail, if I did I would most likely not feel the need to express myself through blogging.

We tend to evaluate our performance as humans when faced with a major change in our lives, be the change in question our choice or not. This is when my self-taught book analogy seeps into prevalence. When something life-altering happens - mostly when you hit a low point - its the end of a chapter. A gutting low tends to follow a high period in your life making the sting worse. You sit and mope, comparing the past glory with the current situation and you get nowhere. Fair enough, we are all entitled to our emotions. Misery is something to be embraced. Our emotions, our sentiments are said to be highly developed and attuned responses of human nature and, for this reason, in no way should they be ignored. Some of the greatest pieces of art have come from the lowest points in the lives of some of the most fortunate human beings alive. How can you truly feel pain if you haven't experience true pleasure? And through my book analogy, if you have experience true pleasure, surely it can be realised again? It is only a state of mind.

When I am faced with a big change in life I look back on my life since the last big change. I look back at the chapter. All the highs. All the lows. It bring me happiness and closure. All of the things that I experienced over this period, all of the people I met, all of the things that I had learned, how much I had grown, how much I had receded, all contributing to the man who is closing the chapter. Leaving always brings a sense of sorrow. Even just saying goodbye to a friend is a shade glum. It means that your socialising with them on that occasion has come to an end, never to be re-lived. Your thoughts and feelings from those moments, pictures etched in memory.

Then I look forward to the next chapter. I imagine what changes they will bring. What adventures will the next chapter bring? What challenges? What hardships? The idea excites me no end. I turn my sorrow into excitement and euphoria. The faces of the past, bolstering my future.

Misery into marvel.






Song of the moment:






Sunday, 6 April 2014

Real Talk: Is there too much news?

Seriously, I can't keep up with anything these days. Trying to find time outside of work to socialise, write my book, music, this incessant blog is too exhausting. Filtering out necessary information from articles has simply become a task so impossible that I literally have no idea what's happening anymore - even in my own life. On some nights I return home, put my feet up and ask myself, 'what did I do today?' and try to list things off.

'Well, my dear,' I say to myself affectionately, 'you probably woke up.' This is a given. 'Soon after, you made yourself cereal, the indicator being the bowl next to the sink in the kitchen, which also evidence that you didn't wash up. And apart from work, I guess that you did little else but drink tea and what you believe to be writing.' Thus failing to make arse nor tail of my day. This confusion is furthered by the fact that I fail to make arse nor tail of the World's day.

Nonsense aside, with such collosal news stories as the Crimean disrepute, the Malaysian airline mystery and the Alan Pardew crisis* churning out mountains of information from speculated facts to fabrication passed down the grapevine - let alone completely unrelated splooge - it is difficult to get an idea as to where to begin reading. Give me facts not a load of spruced up coincidence, convincing at a stretch!

Could you possibly imagine the news as told by
Gary Linekerwith special guest analyst Paul
Gascoigne? Compelling to say the least...
For this reason, I propose a news service that sifts through it all - every story, plausible opinion, comment, remark, youtube autotune parody - and just give us squirming trogs a quick summary of what the hell is happening. A bit like a Match of the Day, only for news. A play-by-play of the day's happenings that cuts the crap and gives us digestible chunks of intelligible, tasty mouthfuls of fact. In my naivety, I am guessing that this service already exists somewhere (logically, it must) and, in my juvenile haste, have overlooked it. If so, I urge that you not read on and humour me for I do not need the encouragement.

In summary, with the mass media being more vast than ever, and showing no signs of decreasing its rate of expansion, there should be a more condensed and convenient service for those too lazy to read through the swamp of news that, nearly literally, relates every issue of every day to everything that has ever happened. The Internet is becoming too big and invaluable for its own good - and I am too lazy to use it properly.




Song of the moment:



*This is really not worth knowing about. The less you know, the better.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Today I... Question Love

Love doesn't exist everywhere in the world. Did you know this? I bet you didn't. Its a Western construct that is spreading with globalisation. The Beatles were wrong, as history dictates, many people live without love. Some civilisations actually survive on a healthy mental diet of respect and life-saving water.

No, no, no! This is not one of those heart-broken, forlorn examples of someone whose expectations have fell short and have taken to the keyboard to confront an injustice bestowed upon them by someone who, once a ray of sunshine, turned out to be devoid of a heart. This it is not. It is, however a rant about 'Lurve' and 'Harleywould' derived from the sheer abundance of content that passes by without scrutiny. So, here is another petty blog. Enjoy!

American Hollywood romance creates unrealistic expectations for the rest of us brainless specks. Jude Law is nothing more than a marionette, a prop. Real men are addictive creatures who are afraid or pretty much feckless when it comes to showing a shadow of their true feelings. I couldn't tell you how many times I have been in a situation where I couldn't put words to my deepest, most inner desires; moments when overused, worn out phrases just don't cut it. 'I love you' and the ideology of 'forever' seem to be the easy way out and a segway to an impersonal relationship.

'I love you' or 'I am in love with you' should be savoured and cherished, not a time-filler when you are entangled with your love of 9 months, struggling to find something to say about their eyes, bodies, personality, taste in clothes, style, impact on your life, hot mother, cooking, good graces, similar choice in literature, and so on, that you have not said before. Don't get me wrong or distort my message to produce an argument of your own, because I know how easy it is to 'troll' by deflecting an argument and take a holier-than-thou approach, but I feel love is losing its value.

Love in itself is a magnificent concept; the idea that a bond between two people can make life more meaningful, adding to it what words do not dare begin to explain. It is something of fairy tales and has often been reflected and reproduced beautifully with grace and splendour in classic literature. I just feel that today, it has lost some of its sheen. It has been over-exposed, tailored into a manufactured, promotable product embraced by the media, aimed specifically at the consumer serial sharers amongst us. You know the type, the 'selfie tweetagrammers'.

What initially fuelled me to write this blog was something that someone shared on Facebook that infuriated me. It wreaked with banality. The old same old, same old. It was an image consisting of two frames of a film. The first had a man, looking as forlorn and disappointed; wrinkled forehead - the works. The caption with the first image read, 'Don't go.' The second frame was that of a woman by a door, looking back into the room all forlorn and upset, the very image of the sorrowful goodbye. The accompanying annotation: 'Don't let me.' And you know what? This really got on my nerves, and I can't explain exactly why. This also got on my nerves. I can only go over my train of thought. Which went something like this:

'Dont' go!'
Don't let me!'


There is a choice here? They have a choice? Why the sad faces then? Surely there should be a third frame!


'Don't go!
Don't let me!

Ok, then.'
 

If he wants her to stay, she will? And he wants her to stay? So, what's the problem? Unless, in reality, he doesn't really want her to stay. He is just saying what he thinks he wants her to hear. Ease her pain and his guilty conscious for not caring enough. That's it. The selfish bastard! What a poor woman having to invest her emotions into such a man let alone have it witnessed by millions of viewers then shared by some fool on Facebook who believes it to be a true act of romance.

I know! I know! I may be being a tad bit petty here but can't we relate the concept of love to something a little less trivially contrived than this? Please? Can't we just? Please?


If this article gets enough recognition I will post a second one about being 'in love'.

In the meantime...enjoy my song of the moment

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Real Talk: Grab that Chalice

'Wealth is not pocket deep.' - Me, just now.


I was shaken over the Summer by a friend who professed a revelation in character that he had discovered within himself.  Amidst a year-long period of deep thought and contemplation he came to realise something new about his character: that money meant a lot to him.

Making money was his prerogative in life.  He went on to explain to me how this was the result in certain behaviour choices which led into our physical and mental distancing as friends.  Over a year ago, I regarded him as a close life friend and could see us being brother fo' life.  Alas, the elements of drama fell into place as expectation fell short of reality.  Alas squared, the idea of making money was not following an exciting career path with prospects, yet simply to work a job that I left due to the lack of prospect and/or personal satisfaction/challenge.

In general, one must respect the decision another makes in life, as it is theirs to make and theirs to live.  From this, I decided to step away from this friend.  Change is good, after all.  That part of my life has dwindled and flickered into a frame - forever a memory.

This example moves me onto my point: Ambition.  Such a misunderstood word.  'Ambition' (contemporarily) seems to mean 'dreaming' and 'being an individual with an outlandish opinion' seems to mean 'I found an interesting post on the Internet, so I staple it to my virtual forehead and say I agree or disagree'.  And that's it.  That's all we got now!  That's all we know as a way of defining ourselves in the majority of cases.

When people step further afield, making a risk to try and do something different, the same response befalls them:

'You're brave!'
'I wish I could do that!'
'I respect you for it.'

And you will find the people that make these comments sitting in the same bar every Friday with the same crowd talking about the same things.  Complacency is good for some.  There is a key to adequacy.  It's just some people have adjusted views of the World around them.  Unusual priorities.  It's no secret that materialism is at an all time high, and, although we moan about the lack of money, we still pay more attention to our phones than we do the evolving world around us.


A very nice cake, eh? An Annie Grace Bakery original!
Local businesses need to have faith in themselves as entrepreneurs and individuals with talent and strength.  They need to market, fight and elevate themselves to a level where they can be seen amongst much more powerful tycoons.

One of these is the Annie Grace Bakery.  OK, so this is not going to fully grab the interests of readers from outside of the West Midlands/Staffordshire area in England but it's the idea that should grab attentions.  Constantly striving to improve themselves with intricate designs and beautiful cakes, they are a great local business that DESERVES recognition for their craft.  Unfortunately, it is like swimming against the tide in most situations.

Most advertising falls on deaf ears, despite social networks - in essence - being  prolific tools.  They are just saturated with gibberish and statuses about something unimportant.  Similar to a scrapbook blog.  It's a real shame that one thing that should make it a lot easier, can't be utilised to its full potential.


Stand Tall is another example of a company that should be reviled.  It's another strain of DIY clothing company.  They are popping up left, right and centre these days.  I cannot say that this one is any different from the others as of yet, however, its founder is one of my best friends - so I must say that it is.

In all honesty, it is different.  The company is based in China and alongside selling their clothing range they are attempting to set up mirroring initiatives.  Alongside band endorsements and competitions, Stand Tall Clothing are going to set up the 'Stand Tall Foundation', which is aimed at creating, funding and developing arts projects within their area in China.  I am guessing in foresight, if this hits the ground running the initiative will spread further afield and we will have a new Bob Geldof without such leathery features


Over the Summer, I tried to set up my own business to build arts-awareness in my local area to no avail.  I could pin the blame on a lack of funding, or the lack of interest by the local art-loving community, but that contradicts my belief that anything is achievable by the willing individual.  The human spirit is far stronger than we think, yet is dulled by sullen routine and petty comforts.  Don't just want more, be more.  I can't bear to see talent wasted and youthful dreams stuck behind a counter, earning enough to enjoy their weekends and to cover their contract on their widget-filled phones.

Step up, people.  Grab that chalice.  You know deep inside you want something more, and - by 'something more' - I don't mean a car or bigger breasts, I mean something more for the soul.

Ask yourself one question... Is there more I can give?  If so, then do something about it.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

New Sneer's Resolution

It's a new what? What? Year?  A new year, you say?  What makes it new?  There is nothing new to me.  I haven't shed my skin like a snake, revealing a clean, raw layer of myself all fresh and pristine.  No.  I still have to wipe off the rim on most mornings. It is the same.  If you want a change this year you have to do things drastically.

Live in moderation as there is a key to adequacy.  If you really appreciate the simple details that you have in your life - those morsels of comfort bestowed upon you by the quality your life holds - then when something extravagant arises you will be able to truly appreciate it.  Try not to live in the shadow of someone that seems to be living a greater life than yourself, it can turn you bitter  Advice is not really my strong point as I don't feel I have my own life in check.  My winter holiday has mainly been in recluse.

I really hope that Britain isn't exposed to some God-awful whirlwind craze this year.  I hope that we don't just jump on some train of fashion, but shoot any trend-phrases like 'reem' dead in the water.  This will lead to a better quality of life.  Trash the trash and absorb the brilliance.  People should find fame for good reasons not for numbing the mind of couch-dwelling muppets.  The sad thing is that is this kind of person that holds consumer power in this country; buying into the new thang with a nice picture and  '#yolo'.  Yeah, you only live once, so why waste your time on Jersey Shore and its 7 British spin-offs.  If you want to watch this 'docu-tainment' (dare I call it that) series, just go to your local town centre and watch the goings-on of the local yout'.  If, after doing this, you aren't overwhelmed with depression and the desire to turn society on its head and gut it like a fish, then just go to Starbucks and buy a moco-choco-strawberry sprinkle gateau latte because chances are, that is all you can do.

Personally, my only aims for the year are to finish my book and record my music.  Potentially both of these could be done in the first quarter of the year.  Then what?  To be a better me?  It is difficult for me to define myself so I have no real grasp on this kind of thing.  I believe I am within the state of Moratorium, which I find comforting. Uncertainty is interesting.

All in all, the only thing we have to look forward to is the next variety  of Gangnam fever to give our hatred and adulation a new form.  Here's to 2014; another nothing year.

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