Sunday, 8 December 2013
Friday, 6 December 2013
I have been listening to this song constantly for the last couple of weeks, I really enjoy it. Jake Bugg is, to me, a kind of Woody Guthrie. Yes. He writes about working class issues which resonate with me. His voice, and the quick tempo beat of this song, gives it pace to the basic, but good, lyrics. I have been singing it all day.
I like it a lot. Well done Jake. More like it please.
This is a face that took on two years of homelessness, and won. This is a face that did not give-up even when times were testing. This is a face that believes in standing up for what is right and knowing what is wrong. This is a face which does not tolerate lies. This is face which through perseverance has now got himself a job; yes, that's right: I have now a job. And it is in a sector which means a lot to me. This is face which took on many, many, many hurdles and stuck-it-out and cleared them all...
This is face which is the Albert Camus/D.H.Lawrence Outsider in the small town mentality of the local literary scene. This is the face which has compassion in his heart for others. This is a face which is now content within. This is a face which will write on and learn more. This is a face that does not give-up.
I know there will be many more obstacles in life to come. I know there will always be people with difficult and self-serving mentalities. There are plenty of misguided people in the world. But not me. I have asked for inner-strength, guidance, and I have been given it.
This is me.
Hi. Yesterday, for some, was a terrible day weather wise - but for me, I absolutely loved it - those brighter moments when the sun breaks through after a particularly bad pelt of rainfall, amazing. If you have a good waterproof jacket on, you're fine. Just fine. I must have cycled ten miles yesterday; you see, I had a few appointments in various places on the outskirts of Belfast to attend and I cycled to get to them. And do you know what folks? I loved it. I absolutely love cycling about this city. And it also happens to keep me fit! When I started cycling again, recently, the lactic-acid in my legs was a wee bit sore as those muscles which I had not been using much were not used to a work-out. But now, this is changing and I am beginning to feel good. No. Not just "good." But great!
Like, two months ago, I bought a second-hand mountain bike with front suspension; when you're going into pavements and hitting kerbs, hard, it's important that you have a bike which can deal with the wear & tear of inner-city cycling. I recall a funny situation, from four years ago, of me cycling with a cheaply made mountain bike, and I hit the kerbs very hard on that bike, well, one day whilst I was cycling over from the Lisburn Road to Elms Village at QUB, the next thing I knew that I was standing on the road with the handle bars in one hand and the bike lying on the road, below me. What had happened? The bolt which kept the handlebar to the bike frame came loose and "Bob's your uncle": the handlebar came away from the frame. See the good suspension system that is on the bike I now own -
Crucial for tough, city streets. Absorbs that hard energy.
City cycling - you have to be very mindful of motorists and crossing the street; yesterday there was a close call for me at a pedestrian crossing: I waited and waited and upon going to cross on my bike, an older motorist did not see me to the last moment and hit the breaks, abruptly. I signalled my hand to acknowledge "sorry" although it was her fault as she was not looking, and I cycled on and thought "that was close."
You need a good bike with a good thick tread on the tyres as there is a litany of broken glass which can cause many a flat. And also, I would advise a proper bike-lock. As in "proper" I mean, an expensive one of good quality. I bought one recently and it has broken already, see below -
The inner-locking system is broken and does not catch the two metal prongs when you put them in; pretty pathetic. And a waste of money. I see the above bike-locks all over Belfast at bike parking places in the centre of town. Left behind. I always wonder, " Are/were the bikes stolen?"
*The above photograph of the bike in this post, isn't of my bike; this is a picture I snapped at the Lagan one day during the summer. I like the lines of the handrails, they seem to correspond well with the form-lines of the bike and off-set with the three circles: the two of the wheels, and the smaller one of the chain-housing. By the way - how high is that seat?!*
I always try and acknowledge fellow cyclists with eye-contact and with a nod-of-the-head. And smile :)
Best wishes. Neil
Tuesday, 3 December 2013
Hi, I have written an essay entitled, The Art of Snooker & Zen, see here if you desire to read
Sunday, 1 December 2013
Hi diddley ho, neighbourinos. Last night, I was transfixed watching this fantastic documentary: Indie Game: The Movie; I did not know about this movie before - but, it was a complete revelation - not only was it like turning the pages of a brilliantly written novel to find out the next part of the three narratives, it was inter-cut, very cleverly, with a guy on a beach using a metal detector to try and find his treasure, and in the macro-scale: this was the bigger narrative too: these guys all wanted to get their piece(s) of work out into the gaming world and find their treasure, whether it be financial or acceptance.
Jonathan Blow's narrative was somewhat a retrospect of his computer game, Braid; so with the benefit of hindsight, he was more philosophical about his experience(s). The other two narratives were completely engrossing for me as a viewer; you were along with the guys as the dramas unfolded: the tortured computer whizzkid, Phil Fish, as he was on the brink of erm, insanity at times, as he worked, and reworked on his game, Fez. The dual working cordial relationship that Edmund McMillian had/has with Tommy Refenes, which was/is a friendly one. There were no legal actions. No big fall-outs. Just coasting along whilst their game, Super Meat-Boy, was released to critical acclaim on X-Box Live. Edmund was much more relaxed than Tommy, who emailed Microsoft demanding to know " Where is the game?!", because it had a delayed release on X-Box. He did not need to fret because it came out and latterly sold one million copies, making the two rich, and put them into the record books.
On the other hand, Phil Fish's narrative was one of unmitigated disasters. You felt sorry for the guy when he opened Fez at an event, as the game was beset with bugs and technical glitches; you face-palmed yourself and wondered, " This guy just seems to have no luck at all; this won't work for this guy."
I too echo you guys in feeling lost and lonely, but, committed. Because I am a writer. And I have written my first fully realised novel and trying to get it out into the world has been VERY taxing. I comprehend the frustrations of not getting a piece of work out there; a piece of work which you have agonised over, which you have paid due attention to, which you believe is strong and people might like it - yes - I too know this boxing ring of unrelenting ducks, dives, spars and punches. It is a sequence of battles. Inner battles and then many external battles with other bodies/institutions which you feel you have no control of which leaves you in the porcelain hands of destiny.
Edmund, I know what it's like to be the Albert Camus Outsider, I know what it is like to be holed-up all day and night at a computer screen whilst life out there, in the thoroughfares of the social world plays out; I know too that feeling of "the fascination in what is difficult" and trying to have your idea ironed-out to it becomes as strong as possible to be given to the masses for their comprehension.
Indie, alternative, outsider, independent, some of the words which I know are important to me, they are on my moral compass as a struggling writer.
But, none-the-less, it's as Samuel Beckett said, " I can't go on. I'll go on."
I rate Indie Game: The Movie: ten out of ten. It is up there with John Pilger's The War on Democracy, as on of the greatest documentaries of all time.