Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Under the Moon, a poem and some inspiration

Under the moon is

Where my heart lies;

Beneath the stars

In the darkening skies.

Greatness sits deeply

In your (myopic) eyes,

And sets as the sun

Falls gently and sighs.

Deep in your heart,

In your blood and veins

There is an eternal longing

That will ease you from pain.

Open your arms and

Let the moon in,

The light will carry you

And so the journey begins.


A little poem that I wrote while at work. It is funny where the muse comes from, I tend to do a lot of writing and gain a lot of inspiration when I am busier, and find it difficult to concentrate in the quiet of home.

When I write at home I am constantly on the move, getting up, pacing around the room, making coffee, staring out of the window. However at work I cannot do that, and find a moments solitude to sit at the pc and write a couple of hundred words, or a quick poem.

I find that inspiration can come from anywhere though, it doesn’t matter where you are and somehow it strikes. For instance, I am in the maddening throes of writing another children’s adventure novel and have hit a bit of a brick wall, but I am not panicking over it as I know that at some point, as so long as I keep a notebook with me, I will be struck by how the story progresses.

I have written notes on the complete novel but am in a bit of a quandary, I read some advice once and I can’t think who it was from that if you hit a flat moment in your book then you add something dramatic. Well, I have done that but have reached a situation that I have put the heroine in that I can’t work out how to get her out of it and why. Perhaps at some point I will share it on this blog and ask for some sage advice.

In the meantime, keep writing everyone. Whatever it is that you are working on, whether it is fiction or fact, keep writing and always carry a notebook around with you, because you never know where that next big idea is going to land.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Graham Taylor and Star Trek (not connected)

Sad to hear the news of Graham Taylor dying. For those who do not follow football he is the former manager of Watford, Aston Villa and England. Sad because his story coincided with my childhood and  it always makes me feel melancholic when someone from my childhood memories dies.  I remember Watford getting to the semi-finals of the FA Cup and John Barnes, my absolute footballing hero when I was at school, starred for both Watford and then Liverpool. He also performed in the Anfield Rap, a quite hideous song from Liverpool Football Club. Of course, I bought the record. Taylor became England manager when Bobby Robson quit following the Italia ’90 World Cup. He took us to the European Championships in ’92, retiring Gary Lineker in the process, and then failed to get us to the World Cup in ’94 from which he resigned as coach. It was an unfortunate time for him as England manager, seeing as how there was very little talent coming through for him and most of the team from Italia ’90 were retired or injured. Taylor was depicted as a turnip when Sweden beat England in a qualifying match, he never lived that down, and the despicable paper never let him forget it. He seemed like a gentle man, with good grace and it is a shame that his voice and opinions will no longer be heard on BBC Five Live football commentary.

2017 has so far been rather short of deaths, perhaps 2016 was one of those years when everyone seemed to die. I hope that this year is far more positive. For me I have started the year not doing one of the things that I said I would do, stop drinking. I said on New Year’s Eve that I would stop for a couple of weeks but so far have been very bad at doing that. I blame work, but then if it wasn’t for work it would be some other reason. I have succeeded in quitting smoking for the umpteenth time, and this time the quit factor is permanent. I can’t believe how expensive it is to smoke, a packet of fags now costs upwards of £8, so you are more or less losing a tenner for twenty smokes. Yet I still see youngsters and young mothers smoking, how can they afford it, I couldn’t and I earn a pretty decent salary!

Salaries are over-rated. It comes to something when a person in the city earns my yearly income in less than a month. It’s disgusting, and I wonder if we will ever reach that Star Trek utopia of not having to deal with money any more. It would make the world a far better place if money no longer existed and we didn’t have to trade any more. But what would we do? We are not at a stage where we can travel amongst the stars so we would have to find something else to occupy our time. Certainly no wars, humanity should be done with those by now. Perhaps we could all take up sewing or something. Just think a world without money would mean a world without poverty and starvation. We all cater for each other and each person can have the finer things of life. I suppose we cannot rid the human race of greed though, so some will get more than others. It’s tricky, this no money lark!

Friday, 6 January 2017

Dreams, can they come true?

Dreams are a strange occurrence in our lives. What do they mean? And if they mean anything why do we have them.

I had a dream last night that was all too real. It felt as if it was a glimpse into the future. I was with a woman and her child and for some reason we had fallen in love with each other. The woman I know, but she does not yet have a child. We spent a lazy day on the sofa and then I decided that I had to go back to my flat, although I don’t have a flat. It was then that the truth came out and that we had fallen for each other. There was nothing more to it than that.

What if this was a glimpse into the future, can dreams do that? I think that they can. I once had a dream that I was with the woman that I am with now, and the actual dream came  true in all of its fine little detail. It was scary, almost like a déjà vu moment, I had to stop and remember the dream as it was playing out before my eyes. The exact wording and movement I could predict, and it all came to fruition.

We dream all of the time and not every dream that you have can come true, for instance I once dreamt that I was mates with Bruce Willis, now geographically there is no way that is going to happen. But when you have vivid dreams, that feel real, the ones that you can remember without even thinking about it, are they a look at what might be, or will be? Perhaps it is a look at your destiny, a glance at what the future holds for you if your life plays out in its current form. But then we could make changes to our lives, people come and go, what if the woman in the dream no longer remains a part of my circle, then perhaps destiny plays its hand?

What I do know is that some dreams do come true, I am witness to that. And when I have these vivid dreams it makes me stop to think: is this where my life is going?

It’s a scary thought, because it means that your life is pre-ordained and not one of random choice. But it is also quite magical to think that our brains have the ability to see into the future.

Our brains are complex and detailed instruments and something that we don’t understand fully. I like to think that we have a destiny, not that a life is already played out but that we can trust in the universe and the universe has a place for us. That brings me satisfaction.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Poem entitled Crimson Heart

Here’s a little something that I wrote a short while ago,

Divulge in delinquent devilish dalliances

Crimson heart leaps from your mouth

An exciting skirmish, a never ending point

Of ecstasy.

Simple minds cannot contain the after-world.

They simply choose to be, and in that they

Buzz around their lives like a bumble bee.

Droning workers, intent on being content

And content with being intent

Destroying the land like a swarm of locusts

Devouring the heart as if it were a whimpering

Sleeping animal that beats no longer for freedom.

Supplying fresh meat for the archbishop

To eat in his sleep, and beat with his fists

While around him men weep as if they

Are in the presence of an angel and kneel

Before the lamb of God that hisses in

Apparent disgust at their foolishness.

Ghosts linger in the mind, like hanging

Chinese lanterns blustering in the breeze.

And they howl as the wind catches their tails

Leaving trails of mist from their mouths.

For now is the time for remorse.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

My Movies of 2016

It has been a lean year for movies and me this year, which is something of a shock to my system after reading the list of films that I have rated. But of the ones that I have seen there are some better movies and some not so good movies.

Let’s start with my worst movie of 2016. While it would be safe to say that worse movies would have been made and if I were a paid critic I would probably have had to sit through a number of them, none that I have seen this year disappointed me as much as Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. Here was a great opportunity to build on the universe that had been created by Christopher Nolan and continued with the bleak but interesting Man of Steel. Pitting Superman in a real world environment was a refreshing change to the superhero mould, and something of a departure from Marvel. What we were served instead was one long mess that had a sense of its own importance and had a serious removal of any fun.

The Batman films, though set in the here and now, at least had some elements of humour and this was offset by some very exciting set-pieces. Man of Steel followed suit and though it was ponderous at times offered a nice allegory of an alien in an alien environment. Batman Vs Superman offered nothing. It had a small child as a protagonist (Lex Luthor as a pampered whiny man) and a huge fight at the end that just seemed to go on and on. Whereas Marvel have humour, it seems DC does not, and I hope that the new Wonder Woman movie at least shows some flashes of fun. I gave Batman Vs Superman one star, marking it as average and ponderous and oh so serious. My hopes for Justice League are not high and feel that DC have missed the mark on these superhero reimaginings.

So what was my best film? Well, lots of films this year got three stars, which is good; Doctor Strange; Captain America: Civil War; Rogue One. But what film or films got the elusive four star treatment? Well, one was a release on Blur-ray that I missed out on the cinema and another was a re-release on Netflix: Bridge of Spies, directed with real poise by Steven Spielberg and starring a beautiful turn by Mark Rylance, for which he won the Oscar; the other film was Touch of Evil, directed by Orson Welles. Both these films were the only two in 2016 to get four stars, and both were masterfully directed and perfectly acted by their cast.

Notable three stars should also go to Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, brilliantly written but a tad overlong for me, it was a little self-indulgent; All Is Lost, Starring Robert Redford who is alone at sea and John Wick, starring Keanu Reeves, which I loved and we are lucky enough to have a sequel out soon.

For me it has not been a great year for movies; we have seen a lot of money go to Disney with their Marvel output and Pixar film, together with the enormous success of Lucasfilm’s Rogue One.  Warner Bros are trying to get in on the act with their slate of superhero movies, although Suicide Squad was better than B Vs S, it did not perform better at the box office. They still have not got the formula right and until they do it is Disney’s race to lose.

So there you have it: Bridge of Spies and Touch of Evil, my two best films of 2016; so what will the new year have to offer us? I look forward to Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, Silence and Blade Runner 2049; but we also have Wonder Woman, Spiderman: Homecoming and another Thor coming along, so 2017 has promise, I hope that it delivers.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Merry Christmas to All

It’s Christmas time, and good will to all the human race. But where is that good will? When you look at the recent atrocity in Berlin and the continuing war in Syria you could argue that Christmas means next to nothing to some people in the world.

And why should it? Christmas after all is a Christian celebration that has been hoodwinked from the winter solstice celebrations that we used to do pre the birth of Christianity.

The Christmas that we know now I would argue has its originations from the Victorian celebration of the event. The trees, the festive decorations, the presents and the atmosphere all generate from Victorian times. You could also argue that the consumerism started at this point as well.

I heard people say this year, as I have been trailing around the chaos that we call shopping, that they hate the fact that this festive time has become too consumer led. This may be true, but it is not new. Christmas has been a consumers delight for many years now and the signs are that this is only going to grow unless something changes with our society, which is very unlikely.

We do not yet live in the utopian world depicted by Star Trek where there is no money and no need for anything, the only human need is that of knowledge. Whether that will come is another matter, signs are at the moment that we are nowhere near that time as of yet.

But let’s talk about the spirit of Christmas; it is a time of good will, a time for sharing and caring, and these are not just Christian values but are felt throughout the world. Yes, Christmas by its very nature is a Christian celebration, but its sentiments should be felt worldwide. It’s the spirit of Christmas that is important, and echoed by the literature that has become so synonymous with this time of the year, like A Christmas Carol. Here is a book that does not have its message in a celebration of the birth of Christ, but in the spirit that all people should hold in their hearts, and surely for one day a year we can stop to think about others in need and to help others who need to be helped.

Christmas is a special time of the year, and should be taken seriously as a time of caring about others; remembering those that we have lost and making better our lives. It is not about money, and how much has been spent or how big the present box is. It is not about television and ratings or sales on-line. It is about us, the human race, living on this planet and sharing the air that we breathe together. We are all the same, even though we are individuals, we all hurt and laugh and have emotions and sing when things go well. We should celebrate what we are, rather than what we have got, and make this world a good place to live in.

Wouldn’t that be the perfect Christmas present.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

The Art of Being Surreal

Surrealist poetry has to be one of my favourite forms of writing; this is because it gives you licence to let your imagination wander into all sorts of weird and wonderful avenues that you would not necessarily have wandered into when following a certain pattern, for instance, if that pattern happens to be making sense of the whole picture.

Surrealism is exactly that, weird, surreal, off-kilter; look at the work of Salvadore Dali or Picasso to really get a sense of what surrealism can truly be in the art world.

We are all artists in our own way, and we all have the ability to go out on wild plains and let our imaginations take over. We also have the licence to do so, and this is something that popular thinking does not seem to allow.

When we think of eccentric people we tend to think of people who look weird, perhaps behave oddly, do not fit into the world as we see it. But why should they? Everyone is entitled to be the person that they want to be, it is only society that has created the conformity that does not allow this and puts all of us, round and square, into a peg.

There are some wonderful collections of poems that are surreal at Allpoetry:

I especially like Surrealist Chick and her poem 60 Year Cycle Pow Wow. Check it out at the above link.

I like the fact that she has not conformed to the regular way of writing and that her brain takes her on a journey of tangents. And that is what we should all allow ourselves to do, take a journey within our mind and see in what direction it takes us.

After all, we are connected to something else in one way or another. Whether you believe in God or believe in something else, we are all connected to the stars and the planets that surround us. Heading into space shouldn’t be a challenge for us, it should be like going home.

Thank you for allowing me to indulge myself into a little bit of surrealist bloggery, if any of this makes sense to you then all the better, but if it doesn’t, and if it feels at odds with a regular way of writing, then all the better still.

We all have the chance to be different: to think differently, to change our lives and to be daring in our futures. If you look at how things should be done normally then you would wonder where does the progression come from, where does the ingenuity come from. The human race would not have moved forward as much as it had had it not been for those wishing to push things, in their own small way, and create something a little better, not necessarily for the human race, but just for themselves. That is was surrealism is, not a movement or a way, but a chance for something else, an acknowledgment to yourself that you can expand your mind and that you are allowed permission to seek out something that you once may have thought would be impossible to find.