Saturday, 30 December 2017

Closing 2017 and all its Memories


It is so pleasing (! J ) that an announcement has been made in which we are all going to be getting blue passports again. Woe, oh I have longed for such a thing, feeling that my travels have always been hampered by the burden of burgundy. I always felt like an idiot passing through an airport knowing that Johnny Foreigner was laughing behind my back at such an insult of colour in my hand. Because of this, and to celebrate, I have written a song:



The Passport Blues



  da do de di do - I got a new passport, it has a rich hue, it helps me to travel and the colour is blue; I got the passport blues, I don't know where to choose, but they give me the blues in my shoes. Now I'm too scared to go a' travellin', all because of my passport blues.

Burgundy is for suckers, blue is for blue, I'm an old English toffee, and the world is a piece of shit on my shoe, oh I'm a blue passport holder, I can now be bolder, and wear my chip on my shoulder. But hey, I won't be goin' nowhere, 'cause I don't care about you all; I got the passport blues, and I ain't gonna use it on you. 

 



And in the red corner, weighing in at 615lbs and 50 pence, the King of the Oompa Lumpa's, it's Deeeeeeooooooonaaaaaald Teeeeeerump; and in the blue corner, weighing in at 5lbs, the forgotten lady herself, Taaaaaaaaayraaaaaaaaysa Meeeeeeeeay. Tonight they will match against the other in a tense battle of the minds, the leader of the FreeWorld  (©) against a tyrannical lady from the United Kingdom of England...




WHO WILL WIN? Only you can decide with the latest Fighting Fantasy novel, starring the prime minister of Briton meeting the rest of the world, in Appointment with F.E.A.R.




 











Louis Armstrong may be dead but he has left a legacy of wonderful music which will enrich us forever; can't say the same about Bono.

 

Have you noticed how elderly people always tend to have a chat in the doorway of a shop? (That is my observational comedy moment for the end of the year.)

 

In the spirit of fair play for the football world cup of 2018 I think that all the outfield players should writhe around on the pitch as a starting point and try to get up without being pushed over again. The referee will thus have more power by standing directly over their sorry faces and whistling in their ears.



“GET UP YOU LAZY ANIMALS!”



COVFEFE, gold blend…I say matron.

 

Finally 2017 is coming to a close, like that scene in Dumb and Dumber (circa 1994) where JC lights his farts in front of the fireplace in a lovely Christmas jumper. 



Zac Thraves is a storyteller and writer living in Kent; please contact if, you so wish, on zacharystories@outlook.com        


Friday, 10 November 2017

We Are All Super


Everyone is a superhero.

 


That’s a pretty broad statement, and of course, not everyone is a superhero on account of some not being very nice, you probably have an idea of those types of people. But the rest of us are superheroes and we all have gifts which make us unique, we just think they’re normal, that’s all.

So I would suggest that most of us go around our daily routine not thinking that we each have a super-gift which aids us along our way. It is invisible, and so much a part of you that you don’t know it is there, but it is unique to you and by understanding it will give you power.

Perhaps the only way to understand YOU is to give time to YOU. I know that seems impossible when you have to go to work and then put on the dinner and wash the clothes and etcetera but I’m talking about paying attention to you and what you do, how you think and the processes that led you there.

Life can be so noisy at the moment, mentally and physically; you almost have to be superhuman in order to survive it. Imagine though giving yourself ten minutes in the day to take in some calm and to listen to yourself. Maybe you could even use this time to thank yourself and realise how amazing you are at juggling such a hectic schedule. Would this be more beneficial to you than watching half an hour of miserable, supposedly realistic soaps?

I’m all for conspiracies, and JFK is a great movie, have you ever wondered if you have spent your entire life being told by authorities that you are not special? Take a moment to think about school and how that has shaped the way that you think about yourself, did your school experience make you feel good or indifferent about your ability to succeed?

Everyone is the same and as such, must be treated the same. Wrong.

I suppose the big question is:
ARE YOU DOING THE VERY THING THAT YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO DO?

As you become conditioned to FIT into the world structure you set out on a journey to please others: notably bosses and banks. You are lucky if your boss tells you that you are doing a good job, because the truth is it doesn’t matter as you are ultimately expendable, it is all a ruse to try and convince you that you are HAPPY. The fact is you are pleasing them, not the other way around, and the same goes for banks: you do not own the home, they do; and if you fail to pay them they will have it back.

So, the lies are large and are there to put you in your place, the truth is that you can achieve anything that you want, and that is done by using your super-powers.

I ask myself, are the homeless, drug addicts, drunks, and all others who have gone “against the grain”, people that have unique gifts whom society has turned away from? Imagine living in a world that doesn’t accept you, labels you as a freak, a geek, even eccentric; this means that those who have decided to follow their uniqueness are all the braver, whether that is by following your career, your sexuality or your gender. It is your life, it has to be true to you despite what others might expect.

Society is, by default, the SUPER-VILLAIN; and YOU are the SUPERHERO who must thwart it. You will find your unique ability inside you, it is your soul and heart, your dreams and desires. All that is required of you is to push the FOCUS of YOUR life onto YOU, for the only person responsible for you is…

You.

I don’t fit into this world and I am often labelled because of it; I feel it, I think it, and my soul knows it. I have tried to follow the expected footsteps and pathways which society wants you to follow and it only makes me deeply unhappy. Society, the level of intelligence of those in charge, decisions that are made, what I see in the real world around me, our human politics and the control money has over us, makes me sad inside. Sometimes that sadness is overwhelming and I have to disappear for a time. But what makes me sad, the emotion that it causes, can also give me strength; it makes me, ME and that is my super-power.

I don’t need a cape to be a superhero, but I am a superhero on my journey.

And I will win my battle.

Zac Thraves is a storyteller and writer living in Kent; please contact if, you so wish, on zacharystories@outlook.com        


 

Saturday, 4 November 2017

I've Been Meaning to Say


It would appear to be from various conversations I have undertaken with an assortment of different people that their view of the council is one of an organisation who simply take, take and take; this is in contrast to the point of local government, whose duty it is to supply services to the local area. It would appear that, in selling off these services to companies whose sole duty is to record profit, that local governments are failing and only furnishing the higher echelons of the authority with substantial financial reward.

I would then be drawn to the conclusion that the local councils in most areas are obsolete and pointless.

 

But that is for someone else to consider…

 


Once upon a time, when marble-washed jeans and white denim jackets were all the rage, we had a cinema in the town centre where all the young people would go to on a Saturday afternoon. In the town’s planners wisdom, that cinema was knocked down and replaced by a cinema out of the town with infrequent buses and no way of getting to on foot; the site where the cinema once stood was long empty and after twenty years of negotiating and thinking, it has been decided by greater minds than mine to build a cinema on that site. Such forward and outrageous thinking always brings me joy.

 

Once upon a time, there was no internet. What did we do?

 

 

Stranger Things has sparked a wave of nostalgia towards the 1980’s; I am a living and breathing child of such a time who was of the age to witness Witness, touch The Untouchables and gratefully receive Gremlins. Pop culture for that decade has lasted, and I struggle to think of much that came out of the 1990’s. Jurassic Park is about it! Oh, and Tony Blair, but people don’t like to admit that one anymore.

Of course, those magical days of a brightly coloured and shoulder-pad-wearing Eighties also gave us Ronald Reagan as an actor posing as a president. In much the same way as now, where there is a failed businessman pretending to be president. How the world moves on at such pace is beyond me. I wonder if the Enlightenment hadn’t happened where would we be now?
Zac Thraves is a storyteller and writer living in Kent; please contact if, you so wish, on zacharystories@outlook.com

Thursday, 19 October 2017

John Williams Saves My Soul


This week, either as a writer, human or otherwise, has been a terrible week. Let me EXPAND

Perhaps it has to do with Ophelia, the potential wife of the doomed Hamlet as well as the name for the most recent storm which descended on the British Isles. Ophelia brought with her the end of the world, or, a red sun casting a sepia hue over the murk of Kent. This apparently was caused by Saharan sand picked up from the Southerly winds, and the fires raging in Portugal. Sand in the air and hellish fires burning do not paint a picture of a world at peace with itself.


Ophelia also caused animals to behave in peculiar ways; including birds flying around disorientated. It is this reaction to the storm that has got me thinking that perhaps such atmospheric conditions affect our behaviours and has contributed towards a negative week.

Perhaps…

I have also succeeded in being ill, which is something I rarely aspire to. Our bodies and minds are very powerful, far more than we care to know, and it is not uncommon for our minds and bodies to conspire to sabotage ourselves in order to prevent an outcome. Doctors and the such would give medicines for those with a cold or other ailment, but if you know that you have caused this then would you need to take medicine to cure it? Or maybe you could just switch the way that you are thinking.

You go in with a negative mind to successfully predict a negative outcome. Congratulations, you are right!

Who wins?

My conscious brain will not take responsibility for being unwell, nor for the negative emotions that being unwell brings. Yet, it is the fault of the conscious brain, and it has prevented me from moving a few steps closer towards my ultimate outcome; thus successfully predicting that it is all a waste of time and is simply a dream which can never be realised.

Thanks conscious brain, you really are a piece of unwanted shit.

My subconscious brain, when the shitty one steps aside, realises this.

Illness is created by negative thoughts and subsequently creates negative thoughts, pushing you into a vicious circle to which the only person who can climb out from this is you. YOU must then create tactics to combat yourself.

It is while this is going on that I turn to John Williams; not the guitarist, but the composer, famous for Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Superman and to a lesser extent Home Alone. Many years ago, as a sprightly and innocent ten year old, I was taken to see E.T. at my local Classic. Following on from that harrowing experience of loss, I purchased the 7” single of the theme tune in what turned out to be the first ever single I purchased myself. Needless to say I will not be calling BBC Radio 6 Music to let them know my first single. It is fast becoming apparent to me however that it is by listening to this particular piece of music where my brain turns the corner and begins to fight back. It is a very dramatic and moving soundtrack, with some stirring strings and deafening horns, and it is just the medicine that agrees with me. I don’t know why, but I have just spent the last ten minutes listening to it and I feel much better than I did ten minutes before.


Music therefore is magic. Those who create music, whatever genre, are magicians. In a world where heroes either wear team colours or suits, we should remember that true heroes protect and create. Our heroes should not be the richest people on the planet, but the ones who can gift YOU life; those people are soldiers, medics, fire & police, composers and artists (and any more I may have missed who actually gift the human race with something not for their own agenda).

Let me ask, what music saves you when you are having a shit time? Think about its effect and the emotion that comes from it.

From a bad week to one of gentle melancholy. I have succeeded in allowing my ten year old self to give me a gift that I can carry for the journey forwards. That little person always sits in you, it deserves some respect.
Zac Thraves is a storyteller and writer living in Kent; please contact if, you so wish, on zacharystories@outlook.com

Friday, 13 October 2017

My Writing Day


How does a writer fill their day? Well, it does not include biscuits.

07:00 the alarm shrills my brain back into existence; it is a painful ride down, letting slip your dreams and realising that you are a lump of flesh and bone collapsed onto a pillow. Minutes tick by as the brain makes sense of what is going on; questions fill the space in front of you: who am I? Where am I? What day is it? Where am I meant to be?

Panicked, you stretch out of bed and your legs manage to guide you to where you keep the kettle. In the kitchen, the kettle slowly comes to a boil as I stare out of the window watching the world streak by in cars and lorries.

Coffee starts the day, yet tea is the order for the remainder of daylight; as darkness looms so the liquid refreshment becomes heavier and thicker. Straining the brain into different directions and running up and down on a snakes and ladders board.

I am reminded of the landscape painting from Top Secret, directed by the Zucker Brothers. All these people zooming across my life blurred into a brief moment of existence. Coffee has been consumed and it has forced the nerves into gear. I pretend to smile as the grey sky brightens from a dull grey to a lighter dull grey. Oh the joys of being in northern Europe in a country trying increasingly harder to extricate itself from the world.


All this is by the by; because writers create worlds rather than reside in the one that is being sold to us as the real one. It is time to get dressed, and I fumble with designs within my head. Happy with a nouveau Dr Who style I stride onwards towards my trusty laptop which contains a myriad of thoughts and ideas. I jump in, eager and keen to rid myself of the dusty British blues.

Writing is not something which I choose to do: it is something that I have to do. When I am caught staring out of the window it is not the sun I see, or the light dancing playfully on the current of the river. It is the grime that blights our green and pleasant land; the hatred that fills our tills with ill-gotten gains; the anger which fuels our lustful desire for snide remarks and hurtful asides. In those moments when I write, I am choosing to turn away from all of this and embark on my own journey into a place full of danger and excitement; populated by heroes who are heroic and villains who are villainous. Good always wins in creative worlds, that is why ours fails so dramatically – we have stopped being creative in our thinking.

Once writing has ceased I ponder. My mind turns to Star Wars and I ask the question, are we actually the empire in the great scheme of things? I’ve always wanted to be part of the rebel alliance, but I increasingly convince myself that the western world is the empire and I am party to that. Perhaps I carry the soul of a wandering Tie-Fighter Pilot (I certainly carry the action figure), lost in the galaxy and floating into extinction, far, far away.


Buoyed by whimsy, it is lunch and there is nothing more thrilling that cheese on toast with a boiled egg broken on top.

Writing is so desperately difficult to write about; the process of heading into your creative bubble, tasting of Hubba Bubba, unlocks all-sorts of liquorice and helps towards making things impossible to link to a fearful and bleak world. So I head back into mine, and lie down on the blue grass while dragonflies breathe their flames above me.


Until next time…

Friday, 6 October 2017

Mirror Universes


Do you believe in there being alternate universes out there?

So, you walk through a door and decide to turn left because you always turn left when you walk through a door. That leads you to a person who you have never met before and ZAP! You are dancing and getting close and your life takes on a new meaning.

Who would you have met if you decided to turn right?

We like doing the WHAT IF? scenarios. There have been plenty of books on the subject, such as what if the Nazis won the Second World War; or Napoleon had decided not to invade Russia. What if JFK had not been shot, or if the Soviets had sent the first person to the moon. Yet, is it a game to play, or is there another dimension where all of this is true?



We use 10% of our brain according to most things that you read; we are connected to the universe in the way that we are made of all the atoms which make up the fabric of what is around us. So, our brains are connected to the universe, time is a man-made construct, so we (tenuous unscientific link here) have the ability to open our brains up to more dimensions. At the moment we are stuck in a sort of 4D version of life which is potentially so much richer.

It seems to have been proved that we have doppelgangers dotted around the planet, so why not other versions of us dotted throughout the galaxy? Are we living on a planet surrounded by one vast mirror? We would not know because it would all be black anyway.

Voyager has passed into the deeper parts of the universe, out of our sphere and into another realm. On it, for some strange reason, is a gold disc with operating instructions for any life form who might be able to read a human language to construct a record player in order to play the disc. They will then be serenaded with a history of humans, mostly containing war I would imagine, and some music, probably not of its time, which would have been the Seventies. So, when the aliens land they will be expecting something very different to what the reality is. It wold be like thinking the world is like Live and Let Die, but actually getting Skyfall.

So, as far as Voyager is concerned, we are time travellers; time stands still for the small satellite but we continue to evolve, or devolve, depending on your political point of view.

I like the idea of there being an alternate universe where I decided to do the opposite of what I am currently doing. Does not make either right or wrong, just makes it alive, sometimes it would be logic versus imagination and vice versa. Lots of what ifs, it’s a good game to play, and opens up your brain training towards thinking outside of the box.

Life gives us all sorts of scenarios, we can play them out before making a decision logically or trust our instinct. Perhaps our instinct is our brain having played out all possible scenarios far quicker than any computer is able to do. If only we trusted in that, rather than algorithms, then perhaps we can be amazing.
Zac Thraves is a storyteller and writer living in Kent; if you wish to book him to come along to your party, young or old,  or to give a speech at your local school then please contact him at zacharystories@outlook.com

Friday, 29 September 2017

I Can Only Think of This


Things always come to a close, and life is like a book, play or film; everything ends, and then everything starts again.
 

In the myth of Doctor Who, here is an alien who reaches the end of a life and then has an ability to regenerate. Like a caterpillar, who re-forms into a butterfly. We all shed our skin, grow a new aura and renew our way of thinking. So, in effect, we regenerate, the idea is not fantasy at all.

I have felt this recently with my son, who has finished primary education and has moved up to secondary. This is a huge step, and will go a long way towards forming the character that he is going to be. It is very much a case of closing the book on one story, and then opening a new book up to start another thrilling adventure; and during this time, he will regenerate into a young adult, growing and changing physically and intellectually; exciting times ahead.

 

Does life play out like a movie, and the people that come in and out of your life are your supporting actors? An existentialist view would be that if you cannot see a person, then that person does not exist. The trouble is, by thinking like that, it means that you cannot be sure a person in front of you whom you love is real. Yet, they could all be waiting in the wings of your life, listening out for their cue to walk on and announce their presence.  Then, once the scene has played out, they return to their existence on the periphery.

 

Kent has a rich and varied history, but I cannot find anything with dragons. This is a shame, as I imagine that a dragon’s nest lies beneath The Archbishops Palace in Maidstone, in the thick walls below the ground floor. The dragon nestles between the palace and the river Medway,  and at night flies up over the Lockmeadow development, casting a spell over cinema-goers, breathing flame over the law courts. That is why the trees turn red.
 

There are some people who can be very rude. I often wonder if it is learned behaviour or if they strive to be like that. Either way, there is no need for it, and if you expect other people to acknowledge you from their world then at least acknowledge that they exist in yours. It does not cost, and it does not hurt, so why are humans so cruel to each other?

 

Does a ghost of me exist in all the places that I have previously visited?

 

Stories have a way of being both antagonistic and appeasing. They tell the truth within their fictions and perhaps it is only the really blind who cannot see themselves in the stories being presented.
 
 
Zac Thraves is a storyteller and writer living in Kent; if you wish to book him to come along to your party, young or old,  or to give a speech at your local school then please contact him at zacharystories@outlook.com