Monday, 21 April 2014

Today I... I Just Don't Know What to Say

Today I came across a video on Youtube advertised at inspirational. It was of a young man of 26 who is a sufferer of Down's Syndrome and his quest to become an MMA fighter and show that he was not a 'sufferer' at all. After a few exhibition fights where he fought against opponents who would not hit back, the young man went on to compete in his first real bout. With a stunted reaction brought on by his ailment he found the fight difficult taking blow after blow. However, he did give a good fight, connecting with a few good punches and executing some takedowns of his own. The documentary was simple and did pretty much what it said on the tin.

His father had faced alienation from family and friends after supporting his son's decision to be involved in the violent sport. On the night of the bout he took further abuse and criticism to let his son be in such a position. But when the referee raised both competitors' hands at the end, they audience changed its tune.

I say kudos to them both.

Kudos to the son for not letting himself be beaten and doing something pretty much unimaginable. Kudos to the father for giving his son the support that he so sorely deserved. It takes unique individuals to allow themselves to be inspired and to try and inspire others.

The MMA fighter now works with other individuals with the same condition, giving them much-needed strength and motivation.

This kind of story puts the majority of us to shame.

The most shameful thing, though - what inspired me to write this blog - was another example of sub-humanity. The restlessly cruel Internet struck back.

A comment on the video, which I do not wish to repeat, was completely vulgar and I cannot put my disappointment into words. I can't imagine anybody even thinking such a dreadful thing.

Cut a long rant short, I think that free speech should be policed more effectively.

Claimed to be the forefront of our progression, it is surely setting many of us back by giving them power to say whatever grotesque thing comes to mind and for no reason at all. Fines should be issued, online restrictions to the offenders at least.

'But Big Brother will rise!' you may cry. I am no fan of being controlled more than the next atheist, yet until we show that we can deal with control such as passing comment with germane civility, then we, as 'the greater species' (or more specifically the callous, cowardly individuals amongst us), should not have the entitlement to such power.

The Internet should not be used as a tool to vent belligerence. When people suggest things in the virtual world that they dare not in the real world for fear of retribution should surely come with virtual retribution at least.

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.

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