The Power of Film

Film is important: 

And there are many reasons for this as it is such a vivid combination of so many arts; cinematography, music, sound design, editing, storytelling, acting…they all play a part in this unparalleled form of expression. It also possesses the sufficient wizardry required to transport us to faraway places and times – both physically and mentally…we can also experience a character’s life and gain an insight into their point of view, however wacky and odd their personality may be. This can serve to make us more accepting, and less prejudice people…or more unaccepting and discriminatory people – with great films comes great power, and (often) well…irresponsibility.

POwer GIF

For a quick example I watched the new James Bond film recently (Spectre), and I found myself nodding along like…“yeah…yeah…I AM in essence 007!” I mean I like clothes, travel, and alcohol – also I’m not a huge fan of overpowering authority figures – the only mark against is that I don’t shoot people for money: but that’s only a minor part of the whole movie franchise, so there we go! I am Bond, James Bond: and I don’t want to hear any arguments about it…

In other news my kindergarten kids have just got into Star Wars…I suppose they’ve been playing it on the TV recently, what with the new one coming out next month – and we’ve been delighting in having non-stop lightsaber battles throughout the duration of the day. I’ve also realised that I am more than likely closer to the dark side than most would say is normal…case in point I have been delighting in killing my six year old Jedi students with my force lightning ability. I mean someone has to be the Sith bad guy – and the red swords are a lot better looking…and yeah, yeah, I know I will eventually lose – but at least I get to look cool while doing it…

Darth GIF

« So you see there is this sense of escape, fantasy…or perhaps even unattainable galactic dreams – and it’s not a thing which can be easily shaken. Or stirred… (urgh, see what I mean?!) »

It’s always been this way though: perhaps I’m easily influenced, but there’s never been a time I can remember where films and their characters haven’t played a pivotal role in either how I want my life to be, or who I wish to be as a person. And naturally I haven’t adopted these roles entirely like some mad life-long method actor – but rather I have just absorbed certain elements which I then begin to endorse…case in point with The Lord of the Rings I became aware through Gimli that running for long distances wasn’t fun – and with Merry and Pippin, that second breakfasts were not something to be embarrassed about. And in Dumbo I learned that if you drink too much bloodthirsty pink elephants will appear in a frenetic dream sequence intent on killing you. All of these things are totally necessary, and I’m thankful for the world of film for enlightening me in so many ways… 

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this ramble…would love to hear of some characters and movies which you have enjoyed – especially ones I haven’t heard of! Always on the hunt for a new favourite!

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What If? (Poem)

An old man and a young boy were both sharing a chair – one’s skin was grey with wrinkles, the other’s freckled and fair. They glanced at each other every now and again, but nothing more, nothing less…so silence sustained.

But as he sat the old man thought to himself: “What if, what if, what if? …what if I’d followed Sally from Dover’s cliffs? What would I have seen, and what would I have done? Where would I have been, and what would I have become?”

(He wrinkled his face further, and furrowed his brow – because that story had been circling for quite some time now.)

But as the young boy sat he thought to himself: “What if, what if, what if?…what if I create a rocket jet pack – and fly away with one fiery lift? What would I see, and what would I do? Where would I go? And would it work in the snow?”

(He scratched his head and thought one more time. Knowing that soon it would be real…yes, soon he would shine.)

…anyway, some minutes passed and they were still sharing that chair, one’s skin grey with wrinkles, the other’s freckled and fair. You could only hear silence but they had the same question there:

“What if, what if, what if?” – both a dream, and a nightmare.  

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The Struggling Artist (USA)

USA – Atlanta, Georgia ~2010

As a kid I could sit at the kitchen table for hours and hours drawing – whether it was superheroes, monsters or my teachers – my imagination was my own limit, and I did it all on reams of cheap copier paper (my Dad “knew a guy”)…unfortunately this passion was sidelined to the meager position of hobby once I was pushed into university. Sad times, but that’s life I guess. OR SO I THOUGHT!

After I was accepted to the Georgia State exchange programme, I was told that there was next to no limitation on what I could select for my classes, and that it would all count towards my degree. Four hours of art? No problem! So yes, not only would I be checking out if the food portions really are that much bigger (British people are fascinated by this for some reason), but I would also be enjoying four hours of unadulterated drawing every week, and it would actually be worth something! Drawing?! Obviously, I thought I was well on my way to becoming the next BIG THING…all sorts of thoughts flooded through my head; maybe I should change my name to Salvador…or maybe I should start wearing some weird shit to throw people off…or maybe I should invent something life changing – how about, a sandwich, that never runs out?

Genius GIF

Well I was getting a little ahead of myself, clearly. But it was fantastic news nonetheless.

Let’s fast forward a little bit…so it’s a warm summer day in downtown Atlanta, I’m certainly looking the part of “artist”; that is to say I am lugging an obnoxiously large art folder with me and I have a regrettable hat defying gravity on the back of my skull, possibly cut off jean shorts? Who knows. Basically, I looked liked the kind of guy you would strongly dislike on first sight, the kind of guy who invited and endorsed that kind of bitter prejudice. The kind of guy…well you get the point.

Surprising then, that as I am standing at the “sidewalk”, a busy looking business man runs up to me and grabs me by the shoulders…”EXXXXX-EXXXX-EXCUUZ ME?!” he stammered, in a caffeinated flurry. “Err?” I manage to reply.  “ARRR YOU AN, ARTIST?” I pause for some time due to sheer confusion, you see I wasn’t sure if taking an art class and holding a folder meant that I was a fully fledged “artist” (whatever that means)…but then I remembered I was wearing a hat and cut off jean shorts, so I landed on a definite…

“YES.!”

YES GIF

AWESOME! I NEED AN INSTALLATION DOING, LIKE…SOON! DO YOU HAVE YOUR CARD?!

“Ah. No. I don’t have one of those.”

DO YOU HAVE…A NUMBER THEN?

“Ahhh, no. I don’t have one of those either.”

DO YOU HAVE A SPARE PIECE OF PAPER THEN?

“Sorry, no. I need this for my-”

WHAT THE FUCK, DUDE?

And that was that. He stormed off into the cosmopolitan crowd never to be seen again. He probably found another person wearing a hat, who DID have a card, or a phone number, or a piece of paper, or a fully functioning brain. Anyway, after this I carried on to my class and immediately told my teacher what had happened…she seemed intrigued, and asked me to repeat the exact specifics of the encounter at least a couple of times – after which she looked at me closely with comforting eyes, held my quivering hands in hers and with a reassuring tone said…

“You fucking stupid bastard.”

Shock GIF

And that was the first and last day I ever considered myself to be, an artist. It was a tough gig guys, not for me.

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Where Does The Time Go?

Something happened today – it was a seemingly every day, boring moment…but it seemed HUGE in its meaning somehow, actually, that is a colossal understatement…this realization shook my world by the shoulders and screamed ”WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT IZZZZ THISSS?!”

You see, I was in my kindergarten class, when one of my kids started wiping their runny nose with a clean sleeve, naturally I intervened with a tissue, rather than watching them leave a crusty yellowish snail trail on their shirt (that would probably be rubbed off onto my jeans later, foresight ladies and gentlemen!);

“Big blow! Come on…wheeyyy, well done, feel better now? Good boy!”

WHOA. In that moment I was suddenly frozen still, slack jawed and wide eyed, as the whole world faded to a halt around me…where… had that came from? It was just a few short years ago that I was in that seat with snotty nostrils! Wasn’t it? Seriously what happened? When did this transition occur? I don’t remember my child-self tagging in the adult version…in fact I don’t feel any different right now, I feel like I am that same child with sky high dreams and a vibrant passion for life…it’s not my fault that a big fat adult shape grew over that boy, and suffocated him to death with arguments over education, debt and career prospects…

But I didn’t ask for this physical growth spurt. No one did…I am sure we would all like to stay in our protective child cocoon, where people blow your nose for you, hold your hand and tell you everything is alright. But the fact is, it isn’t going to be alright, no one gets out of this thing called life, alive.

It seems like you click your fingers and the next thing you know it’s a year later, five years later, ten years later, more! Indeed our wildest hopes and dreams may be limitless, but our time on this earth is most definitely limited, and the clock is ticking. I feel like…in fact, I know, that I will have a similar moment ten years from now, when I’m putting my own child to sleep…”Good night son, sleep well”WHOA, when did all of this happen?! And yet again I’ll pause and question time, space and the meaning of it all…well until I tune into my new favourite TV drama of course.

You see life just gradually rolls on, it doesn’t pause to check if we are okay, it doesn’t stop to pick us up when we fall, it just keeps going. This seems difficult for our brains to comprehend, so more often than not we ignore our worries and concerns until they pop up like an ugly hemorrhoid to remind of us of our morality, and it may squawk something like, “WAAAHHH, YOU’RE OLD! GET A NICE CAR AND IT’S BASICALLY LIKE THE LAST TEN YEARS DIDN’T HAPPEN!” But I think we all know that isn’t how it works.

If it is then get in touch, I would be ready to make that investment tomorrow.*

 

So I urge you to live in the moment, follow your passions and do what makes you happy. After all, you may snap out of a daze and realize a huge chunk of your life has just passed you by. I heard a lecture by a South Korean writer recently, who described how children do what makes them content in the moment and don’t possess that very adult worry of how long it will last or who else will see it and give it value, instead they pour their heart into creating the most fantastically wonderful sandcastle they can make and then shrug with a smile as the tide washes it away.

If only we could possess this mentality, if only we were not so obsessed with celebrity and legacy…after all, in a way we are all that sandcastle…we may build ourselves up and layer ourselves with the best decorations, but ultimately the tide of time will wash every one of us away too.

So tell me, when it’s all over, will you shrug with a smile as you enjoyed the time you had to the fullest? Or will you fade out as a blank…regretting those years that are now lost into the ether forever, the choice is yours. But listen, if there is a God I am sure he would want you to enjoy the gift of life…and if there isn’t, don’t you want to enjoy your life because it is all you get?

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So don’t let your childhood be “the happiest days of your life”…live so that every breath you take fits that bill.

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Caricature – Attack of the KENK.

Thanks to some significant peer pressure I faced one of my fears last week…getting a caricature of myself drawn – to my surprise (not really) the elephant pinocchio concord kenk stole the show:

Caricature

What do you reckon then? Spot on, or way off?

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KID’S DRAWINGS SUCK! (RANT)

I had to get this off my chest – it’s an injustice that should be made history, immediately! Why we put up with it I just don’t know! 

I think I made my point…ish…kinda

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The Forking Path

As this year draws to a close, I find myself musing on all that has happened up till now – and pondering on what may come my way in the future…the funny thing is, things never turn out the way you expect – which is what makes life so interesting! Or scary depending on how you look at things…

Fargo GIF

I could have taken a lot of different pathways already, and by not following certain ones it has in turn led me on to other things – for better, or for worse! 

Like when I was seventeen, or eighteen…or something, I found myself on the pathway to becoming an accountant. Yeah, exactly…ME…an accountant?! It was complete madness, as I have never been any good at maths; actually even now I find myself counting on my fingers out of force of habit! I recall in school I was often lucky to even get a C grade…that was probably because it didn’t engage, or excite me as a subject – instead I did a lot of looking out of the window, and day-dreaming, which for some reason didn’t pay dividends when it came to my exams. In English it did…which may be unsurprising, but more on that later…

But you see I wasn’t on the accountancy pathway by chance. I had purposefully plonked myself there, albeit with a somewhat faulty compass. I had my (first) girlfriend, who I loved a horrendous amount…you know, the horrible first love where you would tear your eyes out, and fry them for dinner should it ever be requested. It’s manic, and a total roller-coaster – it has ups, and downs,  makes you physically sick, and  leaves you full of regret afterwards. That’s why I only like the bumper cars at theme parks. Wait that sounds like a weird metaphor…

Anyway, as I was in love, like true Disney style love – and clearly this young lady was the one with which I would spend the rest of my days, and nights with – it would be necessary that I provide for my to-be wife, and our inevitable swarm of children. It sounds farcical, and ridiculous now – but at the time I was very serious about all of this. So I found an accountancy training programme with Proctor & Gamble, in which they would pay for me to do a finance degree (OH MY GOD CAN YOU IMAGINE MAN?!), whilst also earning a good salary. Sure, I would hate my working life from start to finish, and would probably eagerly await death to put an end to the constant Matrix style stream of numbers, as every day I would return from my toil to my resentful wife, and the children who hate me because I am never there – because I am at a job I don’t even like, to get things I don’t even want…but still, at least I would have money. Which is all that is really important, right? …wait, RIGHT?!

So I told my plan to one of my best friends…who in turn told me I was a fool, and reminded me in no uncertain terms that this was a silly choice to make. I tried in vain to create circumstances in which my life in accountancy would be one of excitement, and thrill…

Accountancy Cool GIF

But he came back in amazing style, bombarding me with text, after text, after text, of cruel accountancy jokes – of which most centered on the premise of how boring that career path would potentially be for me, a person with no interest in mathematics whatsoever. I wasn’t convinced, or at least I told myself I wasn’t. That is until my girlfriend broke up with me out of the blue, (leaving me utterly destroyed may I add) and I came to a new clearing in which another pathway emerged…after the soul-blackening anguish that was getting over her, of course. But after that I saw the pathways more clearly – filled with real dreams, and hopes – not made up ones that were only fueled by money, and things.

So sure I headed on with my heart as my guide, rather than my head – but I am glad I did. Even if my Mother does often hark back to those times whenever I am hard up; whether it be facing rejections, unemployment, or general urghhhhhnessss frustrations – all things that will come to writers/English graduates. She likes to reminisce, and remind me that I could be driving a “flash sports car”, and living in a “classy apartment” now, like the guys in American Psycho. Well, nerr. It’s not me.

Instead here I am, suddenly at a spaghetti junction of pathways, which stretch out, and wind in all different directions. And despite all the madness…I am happy, and I am hopeful. 2015. I am pretty much blind to what you may have to offer along the road, but I am walking with you all the same. 

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I Will NaNoWriMo No-Mo

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Winner-2014-Web-Banner

Well mission accomplished ladies, and gentlemen! Kinda. The novel is nowhere near finished, and is an absolute train-wreck of a narrative…but I reached 50,000 words, so technically I have won NaNoWriMo. 

My work in progress, named: Delusions of Grandeur, follows the daily life, thoughts, and ravings, of an average middle-aged man, who is seeking something more in a world he truly doesn’t understand. The novel is a dark comedy which will hopefully taunt, and tease the reader…but also serves as a social critique of many pressing issues, mainly the treatment of mental health, and the desire to fit in to the confines laid out in front of us…

I hope you are intrigued! I will be back at it tomorrow, and editing away until it is done! This month was stressful…but it has forced me to put pen to paper – well, you know, fingers to keyboard. And now I have the bare bones of something I hope will be great. 

Thank you for your sustained support my friends, it is more than appreciated!

Winner Certificate

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How I’ll Die.

Just found this in my pocket…

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…I think I get the message…

(In the future I’m a Tellitubbie master-criminal, with a penchant for wearing  Scream masks – and the police are after me…and will no doubt shoot me dead? No? Other thoughts?!)

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Meet my Monkey!

I have literally JUST got this through! And as promised I am IMMEDIATELY sharing it with you all! (I hope that is allowed…oopsies!)

Anyway, I am more than proud to welcome Morgan the Monkey…so here is a brief overview; Morgan is a spacecraft test pilot who finds himself stranded on the moon after crash landing – he is taken in by the alien population who live there, and quickly becomes an exciting (if not a little mischeivous) part of their community!

I believe we are swaying towards the one on the right – has the balance of cheeky, and totally confused – don’t you think?

Monkey (Rough Sketch)One little, ickle problem though…he wants me to re-write the episodes I have submitted – says they need to build up to a big something, rather than “funny, funny, funny!” He says he isn’t worried, but now I am! I hope I can deliver…it’s amazing to see something like this actually come to life, as I said before I am/was somewhat frustrated with the pace things were moving (crippled snail clambering uphill speed) but now they are moving ever so slightly, I am getting that warm tingly feeling.

Maybe it’s just trapped gas. I hope not.

Anyway, let me know what you think my friends!

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