When I was younger the big screen was held as the epitome of the entertainment industry. There were popular television shows but if you really wanted your name in lights the cinema and the great red carpet premieres were the ultimate goal. Movie actors had a lot more credence than their small screen counter parts and the cinema was a treat for all the senses.
One of the first movies I remember going to see was Jurassic Park. (Yes the first one. Yes I am dino cups being sold in McDonalds years old). I’ll never forget the rumbling of those almighty notes as the park itself is first revealed. I still get goosebumps when I see it. I’ll also not forget being accidentally smacked in the jaw when the T-Rex burst out of its damn cage! (Too soon for spoilers?). It was a completely immersive experience you wouldn’t find in your living room with the television. Going to the cinema was an event. The smell of popcorn, the advertisements for the latest movies and the ridiculously expensive snacks all made for a great night out. The love of cinema continued for me with the release of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I was obsessed with the movies and Return of the King was one of the few I had went more than once to see. The only other exception to that was the Truman show which I saw five times. The quirky premise was unusual for the time. It was before reality TV became common place. Coupled with the beautiful Philip Glass soundtrack and the island setting, it was a cinematic experience I opted for again and again. But I digress. My point is cinema was an exciting place.
Television isn’t without its merit. What the cinema offered in experience the television made up for by giving families, companions and friends a place to gather round. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of my family gathered together to watch our favourite shows. When I first went to uni I was thrown into a hall with strangers but as soon as we put on the television and watched together we became friends. Where the cinema was an exciting out of town visitor the television was your constant companion. I often hear people talk of putting on their favourite shows for comfort as they fall asleep and I find that remarkable.
Which brings me to the modern day. Before the days of the disease which shall not be named, the cinema was already losing its grip on the collective imagination. Streaming services became common place and more and more people were opting to stay at home and watch their favourite shows. When cinemas closed for an extended time it seemed to be the final nail in the old girl’s coffin. The glorious cinematography of a Marvel movie is great but when there are shows and stories you can lose yourself in just as easily at home (the Loki series for instance) then it doesn’t seem the cinema is holding its worth any more. To me it seems that cinema is something of a bygone era now. The big movie releases are becoming a thing of the past and instead more focus and attention is being placed on the latest shows the streaming services have to offer. Maybe that’s just my experience. Maybe I’m just cynical. Maybe I should give our times of recovery more of a chance.
What are your thoughts? Do you think the cinema still has the same sway it used to? What are your favourite movies and shows? Let me know.
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With the world around us being something of a mess and more pressure thrust upon us each day we can all feel a little overwhelmed to a greater or lesser extent. We’ve just come out of January – the Monday morning of the year. A virus is still raging, threatening to dictate our lifestyle and politics is a hot mess across the world. There are many reasons to wake up and think, ‘this bloody place!’ Yes it seems dire but let me make a suggestion. Take the time to consider the best parts your day. I know that sounds like stupid advice from a grumpy author and it might seem a dreadfully simplified response to what’s going on. However, allow me to explain.
Like many I find myself falling into depressive episodes. Mental and physical exhaustion often manifests itself into a train of morbid thoughts that can’t be shaken off. Then the need to step outside and put on that smile sends a bag of wriggling anxiety worms chewing through that depression. I decided that although what I was feeling was valid I wasn’t going to let it consume me. So, now each morning (even on those days I’m struggling to get started) I ask myself to recite at least three things I am looking forward to in that day. I urge myself to focus on the little things that will make me smile or breathe a sigh of relief. These can be really simple things like I how I’m looking forward to grabbing a coffee in my favourite book store or I’m going to be having a visit from my niece or nephew. They don’t have to be especially life changing, sometimes the best things are the simple ones. I found that no matter how dreadful the day seems if I can point out little things that make me smile it shows me it doesn’t have to be all so bad.
I’m not a professional in mental health so this is by no means sound medical advice. I’m hoping that by sharing this little tip others will be able to calm themselves and perhaps find that road to recovery that can seem all so far away.
All in all, look after yourselves, look after each other and I urge you to pick just three little things about your day that you are looking forward to or will make you smile. It will make even the toughest situations that bit easier.
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We all want to be successful. I don’t know anyone growing up who would say they didn’t want anything from life. (I’ve known plenty who have been told they shouldn’t want anything from life and all ambition was knocked out of them but that’s a story for another time). There is a part in all of us that wants to succeed. Those ambitions differ from person to person. Some are simple ones like having a nice house. Others are more lofty like being an international superstar. No matter what, success is something we can all achieve. The beauty of success is it’s not something that is infinite. There is plenty to go around.
To some, success is monetary gain. This is quite often the first thing most people think of when they are asked to measure success. Sure, wealth can be a contributing factor but what about all the other measures?
Success can be academic. Good grades in school or an overall impressive education connotes success. It could be argued that academic success is a natural precursor to financial ones. In the real world this isn’t always the case but if you have set your mind to achieving an esteemed job by studying well and proving by exam that you are capable then that is success. If you set your mind to just passing a test and you do then that is also important. Success sounds academic but really it is about setting goals and achieving them.
Success could also be seen through how well turned out those in our care are. If you have children then success could be seen as how well they behave. Raising well mannered children ready to contribute to society is a success in my opinion. When you’re on your own with only the bare minimum finances to work with but your children are still fed, clothed and put to school that is still a success too.
There are different ways to view success and it doesn’t always have to be through the means society has taught us. We are individuals so it is really a measure of our own journeys. Where have we come from? Where do we plan to go? What have we offered the world around us? To me those are the true measures of success.
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Charges: Multiple murder (mostly children under twelve)
Wayne Grundy is a burly man with a natural strength about him. He has a naivety about him too that some see as a child like innocence. Others see it as simpleton stupidity. Then there are those who see it as frustrating psychopathy. And why wouldn’t they? They call him the Bamber Bear killer and he is caged in Coldford Correctional for the massacre that happened at the restaurant for little tykes. He maintains that he is innocent. Is anyone really innocent behind the walls of The Boss?
Raised by his father, Lenny, Wayne was bullied badly growing up. He was kicked around his whole life and some feel he just snapped. He played the role of cartoon favourite, Bamber Bear, at the restaurant for years. Perhaps it just finally got to him.
Wayne learned to escape into the imagination from his dad. Lenny was a delightfully delusional man who taught him to escape on fantastical flying machines made out of blankets and sofas. There’s not a flying machine that will get him out of his current predicament. Not even a heavily armed army helicopter would dare fly over the prison without permission.
Physically large and strong Wayne can take the beating. He is a bear after all but even the mighty bear has been made to dance in chains. If he is innocent he is in the wrong place. If he wants to prove it he’s running out of time.
They say he’s the Bamber Bear killer but anyone who knows Wayne Grundy would say he didn’t have it in him. Maybe he snapped. Maybe he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Coming April 2022
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I have hit on this subject matter before but since it is something that really resonates with me and it seems something that so many people have to deal with in their daily lives I am going to broach the subject again. Since we are now heading a little further into 2022 (I can’t stop myself still writing 2020. Where did 2021 go?) we are leaving behind the holidays that force you to interact with relatives and acquaintances that, shall we say, aren’t the most positive influences in your life. That means that you may find yourself a little freed from toxic people. I hear all to often good people putting up with toxicity because ’they’re family’ . Toxicity is toxicity regardless of blood. It doesn’t matter if she birthed you. It doesn’t matter if you shared parentage. It doesn’t matter if some DNA test would confirm you are related, toxicity is still toxicity.
Just the other day I was having a zoom call chat with a friend and they were telling me just how anxious and upset they were because their elder sister had been staying with them and she was making their life a misery. Now, if someone came to you and asked, ‘can you put me up for a little while? In exchange I’m going to take over your whole house, I’m going to treat your hobbies and interests like a joke and I’m going to make your life a misery to the point your stomach starts to rumble with nerves as you reach your own front door, you would say Hell no. However, when they come flashing that magic DNA access pass it seems to make the whole situation more difficult. It shouldn’t be. You have to prioritise your own well being. Being related is no excuse to disrespect you. Your home is your haven and you can’t let it be invaded by noxious forces.
Maybe you have that friend from school that their very company leaves you emotionally dehydrated. You listen patiently for hours as they list off the problems they face and their hatred of the world around them but never ask how you are doing. Life is tough enough. You need people who lift you up not put you down. Knowing someone for a long time and them still behaving like putrid ponce should tell you all you need to know about them. I’m no expert and I dare say I have my own share of behaviours some would consider toxic but to me any relationship is a partnership of sorts and requires mutual respect.
In ode to this I say to all of you have the best 2022 there can possibly be for you. Clear out those cupboards, wash up those messes and dry those tears because every day is another chance to start something new and it can start right now.
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Matthew (you can call him Matty) is a mild mannered man with the spirit of a poet. He hails from an artistic family. His cousin, Harper, owns the Dalway Lane gallery in City Main and his younger cousin Moony is a junior cartoonist for Roby Studios. Having lost his mother at a young age he was raised by his Aunt Gladys. Originally from the country of Subala the Lane family settled into Coldford and thrived for generations. When Matty meet his wife, Wanda, and she gave birth to their son Walter, it seemed like the perfect life.
After the birth of Walter, Wanda became absorbed in post natal depression. With a stubborn pride she feared being seen as a terrible mother so she shied from what little help there was available to her. When she fell to severe depressive episodes Matty was at a loss to be able to help her. He supported her as best he could but it appeared to be a battle he could not win.
Tragedy struck (and was somewhat prevented) when Wanda tried to kill their infant child in a murder suicide. She saw no way forward. Matty in turn shot his wife dead in order to save little Walter. It didn’t matter his intentions, a grisly murder was still committed and he was given ten years at the behest of The Boss.
Quiet, polite and agreeable Matty never poses any trouble for the guards of Coldford Correctional. He is pleasant to the other inmates and he is always where he needs to be and when. Not that he has much choice in that matter.
A decade behind bars is a long time but he knows his son is safe in the hands of his Aunt Gladys. In the meantime it is up to his legal representative, the well known and respected Ronald ‘Ronnie’ Owen, to appeal to the Office of Law Makers on his behalf in the hopes his sentence can be reduced due to the circumstances.
In a desperate attempt to save the life of his child, Matty Lane wielded a gun. Now his wife is dead and he has been imprisoned in Coldford Correctional for ten years … At least.
Coming April 2022
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They call him ‘Lucky Lucca’ and he’s been in all the big magazines. His profile for ‘Eloquence Magazine’ received millions of views. He was much sought after. His public persona was played to marvellous effect. He had it all. That was until his modelling career came to an abrupt halt when media mogul Kathleen Gray discovered he had taken part in some adult films. Suddenly, life didn’t seem so pretty.
Lucca was used to putting on a pretty face for the public. But when there is such close scrutiny on your every move it’s difficult to keep up appearances. Lucca hit rock bottom. His fans called him an attention whore until eventually he made one final public appearance that resulted in a man having his member bitten off. There came the GBH charges Lucca finds himself caged for. He was Mr Popular. Behind the walls of The Boss isn’t really the place you want to find yourself that sought after.
Lucca could put on a show for the cameras but underneath there is far more to him than meets the eye. He is kind natured really, albeit a little vain. He was seven years old when his dad gave him over to talent agents. He was brought alone from his home country of Levinkrantz and he would be the first to say it was the best stroke of luck he had ever had. He wouldn’t have thrown all that away for nothing. Attention whore? Maybe it would do well to look at what really went on. He had a good life. Someone set out to ruin it.
‘Lucky’ Lucca Markov had it all. He was young, attractive and had the world at his feet. When that sweet lifestyle started to fall apart he tried to do everything he could to hold it together. Now he finds himself an inmate of The Boss.
Coming April 2022
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Jake is the head of the Fullerton Family who in Coldford City are the first in construction. They are responsible for building the Shady City into the modern beauty it is today. ‘Building Bridges’ is their motto and their most notable addition to the landscape is the great Fullerton Bridge which connects the city to the borough of Cardyne via the Fullerton home town of Filton. Construction in any city is tough but in Coldford you need real nerves of iron.
Like the rest of his family Jake has a steely determination. He is generally a kind hearted man who just wants what’s best for his family, especially his daughter Lucy. However, he does have a temper and nothing flares that temper more than when his family are attacked.
An incident on one of his building sites led Jake to lose that temper of his. His victim landed in hospital and he landed himself behind the bars of Coldford Correctional, better known as The boss.
Charged with aggravated assault jake has two years to serve (at least) so he had best knuckle under and keep that temper in check if he ever wants to leave again. However, The Boss has Her way of aggravating her inmates. Keep your hands to yourself there 2011 and stay behind your bars.
Jake Fullerton builds bridges. His daughter, his sister and his family legacy will all be lost if he doesn’t act. Where inside prison will he find materials to build a bridge that big though?
Coming April 2022
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I can almost hear the collective moan as we recover from a year long hangover of lockdowns and all sorts of other struggles. Regardless of that I hope you all had a great holiday. This time of year tends to bring a lot of stress on people (most of it unnecessary). We are conditioned to want to spend money on elaborate gifts, debt rises and the pressure of having to enjoy ourselves really takes it toll.
I for one like a quiet holiday with those nearest and dearest to me. I grew up in a raucous household so nowadays I like things more subdued. It makes me sound like an old woman but life is tough enough without some overly commercialised holiday forcing you to spend time with people you can’t really stand throughout the year. We’re told to grin and bear it, they’re family. They’re blood. Like Hell they are! Family are people who come into your life to make it easier, to support you. If Uncle Jim across the table is on his fifth glass of wine and demanding everyone listens to his racist tirades then that’s not family. When Grandma is guilt tripping you because you’d rather spend your Christmas day happy than crying in the bathroom because she hated your gift then that’s not family.
As someone with no kids I can only imagine how dreadful the approach of the big man with the beard must be for those who do. It has to be tough seeing all those photos of bragging parents with the mountain of gifts they bought their little precious when you are worried if you can even scrape enough together to get those shoes they really wanted. It’s unnecessarily showy. ‘What are you trying to prove?’ I always wonder.
I don’t want to put a downer on Christmas. The truth is I do find it a fabulous holiday. It’s message is to be kinder to each other, to bring joy and cheer to each other and to spend some time in celebration with those close to us. That is a principle I will always champion. I guess my point here is don’t let yourself get bogged down with the pressure of it all. Remember, toxic people are toxic people and don’t deserve a seat at the table even if they are blood and Aunt Kate will be really put out if not invited. Screw you, Aunt Kate. If you force yourself in then cousin Derek will have to come too and he can start a fight in an empty house.
We all have them. This time of the year is always a real test. But it can also be a marvellous opportunity of new beginnings. A new day, a new month, a new year. When you are given the chance of complete revival it doesn’t matter what came before. Look forward and make this the best year ever!
I love you all folks and I sincerely wish you the best time ahead.
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