Category Archives: From The Heart

These Four Walls – National Poetry Day

The first Thursday in October is National Poetry Day, and long time readers of this blog will know that I write poetry every once in a while. This years theme is ‘remember’, so I’ve chosen to share a poem I wrote back when I was 21. This poem is about a guy desperately trying to remember an intimate moment from his past, to stop it from slipping away and disappearing from his conciousness forever; and hoping that somehow, somewhere, she’s doing the same thing.

These Four Walls

These four walls talk less than they once did.
If I’m falling through a dream, into the real world;
can I follow a moment, and recreate the scene?

The intangible twilight and unspeakable senses,
a flawless hand could touch, but what?
A choice too boundless to imagine.
To hug the shore of unbroken law,
and beat the seams of every undreamt dream.

Flows of comes and goes, and the night of never-ending.
Then face the truth? And never see you again?
Since the change in pace, my heart has beat in one place.
The place you were, and left tired since.
See goodbye, but fake a new hello.
Why over remains? When everything else will go?

Without this flow of running lust,
and time ever after heartbeats forgot.
Custom a reason, or facet a plan,
I’m making my statement, to do what I can.
Come with me or reprieve, take a chance or make me leave.
I can’t watch your back again, when faces beautiful seldom fly from dreams into these four walls.

One final touch, won’t satisfy my lust.
Take a please, and find a place for me.
I won’t bother the dreams, just tuck into your head,
make a bed and sleep in your conscience.
Just to know I’m there will be enough,
to return to these four walls again.

Ukuleles: The Greatest Escape

I am no musician, and I certainly can’t sing, but about 18 months ago I bought a Ukulele… and I love it.

There’s something so simple about a four-stringed mini-guitar-shaped musical instrument that just makes you smile when you play it. My housemates might say something about the noise it and I make together, but I hope they’ll agree that after a year-and-a-half, it’s starting to sound palpable.

Back when we lived opposite a guitar shop, on one bored Monday afternoon, I took a spontaneous excursion across the road and bought myself a ukulele. I’m not quite sure what on earth compelled me, but I’ve always wanted to learn guitar, and a uke was much cheaper and looked far more within my abilities bracket. Within a couple of days I’d learnt a few basic chords (C, G, Am, F) and found a smile across my face that had been missing in recent weeks.

It’s no coincidence that the ukulele purchase came at a time in my life when everything seemed to be changing. I’d recently moved into a new place, started a new job and had lots of questions about where my life was going. The ukulele didn’t help figure any of that out, but it did give me an escape. Time to myself without any distractions to just let my mind wonder. And it still gives me an escape now. After a stressful day at work, or when there’s too much going on, just playing a few songs can slow you down and make you relax for a few minutes.

A posse of ukuleles (I'm sure that's the official term)
A posse of ukuleles (I’m sure that’s the official term)

I’ve started going to UkeJam, a collective of local ukulele players that meet bi-weekly in a local pub to play songs together on their ukuleles. I love it because I learn new songs to sing, and can play as loud as I like without annoying anyone :D

Ukulele playing in Richmond Park
Ukulele playing in Richmond Park

Turns out that there’s quite a few other people in the PhD offices that play ukuleles, so we’ve got quite a sweet little niche going on. Maybe I should start a ukulele society on campus…

There might not be a post next Thursday because I’ll be boating from Birmingham to Wales, but we can get in touch the following week :) x

Update: There will be a post next week, it will answer one of life’s greatest questions, “what the f*** is an arboretum?”

National Poetry Day

Today is national poetry day, and as the long-time readers of this blog will know, I am privy to a bit of poetry every once in a while. Kind of cheating because I wrote this poem in the spring of 2011, and it doesn’t fit in with the theme of water, but hey-ho. You know those times when you have an important deadline at work, but while sat at your desk your mind can’t help but think about something else… someone, else?

Distraction

I tried to write a line today,
Then you crept in my mind,
A smile swept across my face,
That I couldn’t leave behind.

I push the thought outside my mind,
To help my rhythm flow,
But soon it works its way back in,
And all my motives go.

I’ll imagine us in swimming pools,
In some faraway place,
And remember how you make the world,
A far more humbling space.

Why words on paper can’t compare,
To any of your charms,
And a thousand days I couldn’t bear,
Without you in my arms.

I cast my mind back to my desk,
Where all my thoughts must stay,
But how I’d wish, I could just kiss,
Your lips just once today.

On Heroes and Idols

I will get back to my progress on the horror short, erm, shortly. Right now I’m in the process of getting a new lens for my camera which I want to show off to you guys, but it’s taking some time to get my grubby mitts on it.

This morning I watched this video on YouTube:

If you can spare a few minutes I think you’d enjoy it because it raises some good questions about how time warps our perception of historical figures and events, using Nikola Tesla (inventor of AC electricity amongst countless other things) as a prime example. This got me thinking…

Does history paint a rosy picture of the past? Hiding the less inspirational parts so the message of the story is not ruined?

The idea that history is written by the winners is not a new idea, but somehow this video painted it in a new light for me. Maybe because I have a huge fascination and respect for Nikola Tesla, to the point that I got very excited in Croatia when every town had a street named after him; but I’ve also been touting this train of thought for a while now. During my Blog Every Day In April fiasco, I wrote a couple of posts about how people want to be perceived, and how they perceive others. Paradox played with the idea that we cannot be put into a single box, knowing someone likes Games of Thrones or is a Whovian doesn’t give you the whole picture. The second post looked into the falseness of idolising people in the way Elphaba, in the theatrical show Wicked, makes the Wizard of Oz her role model, only to discover he is as human and insecure as her.

Elphaba idolises the Wizard in Wicked, despite his shortcomings. Do we forget that we’re all 3D and no-one is explained in a single sentence?

History does the same thing. It has a wonderful habit of remembering the good about people, such as Tesla’s amazing scientific discoveries, while burying the weird stuff like his obsession with a pigeon… and racism. But, as the video above, and Wicked, go to illustrate, maybe this is exactly what the human race needs. We garner motivation from achievement, don’t we? If history didn’t paint a rosy picture of civil uprising, of underdogs and morals winning the day, how would we believe that within ourselves is something that can change the world?

I don’t feel like I’m jumping the shark to suggest that religion offers just that. A rosy solution to the past that preaches how positive actions can make a difference. You could point to terrorist attacks and religiously motivated hate crimes and paint a different story, but that debate is for another time. Everyone following a faith sees it as a way to find meaning and purpose, to help them make the right choices in life. If nothing else, religion helps with the stress and pace of everyday life. And why shouldn’t history offer that too?

The 21st century has brought about an information age where the lives of everyone are more public that ever before. You could argue that this makes finding a 21st century hero harder. Olympic athletes who fail drug tests, Popstars who twerk, Presenters who do unspeakable things to kids, politicians who sleep with rent boys… the media would have you believe that these people are the devil. But does this really change all the good things they did? I know the controversial one here is Jimmy Savile. Once he was out-ed for his atrocities, tens of memorials to the BBC presenter were removed across the country. Now I’m not here to say if that was right or wrong, but it goes to show how history is only representative to a point. This BBC story explores how this case, and other damnatio memoriae (the damnation of the memory) stories in recent and ancient history ask the question: “Is there an ethical duty to preserve the truth of what happened, no matter how unpalatable it might be?” Ultimately, despite the answer, there is no overarching vehicle for preserving public affection or opinion, so history will always be written by a lot of small decisions by many people.

Nobody is perfect. And in the information age this can possibly be seen more than ever, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have our fair share of heroes, even if they are a little rough around the edges. We all have a chance to make a difference, take it. The little things count more than you think.

I know this post didn’t really answer anything, but I don’t think the answer is the important or interesting part to this. It’s about the debate, and how it shapes the way we live our lives. Until next time x

BEDA: Mean Girls and Wicked

It was brought to my attention that the comments system wasn’t working on the blog. And there I was thinking that I hadn’t had any comments because no-one was reading. Well you’ll all be glad to know it’s working now, so you can comment to your heart’s content!

Last night I went to see Wicked, the West End Musical at the Apollo Victoria Theatre. While it was the second time I have gone to see Wicked, last time was five years ago, so a much needed refresher was in order.

About a month ago I let slip that I’d never seen the film Mean Girls, and apparently that’s a big deal, because for the next few weeks I was pestered by almost everyone I met, guys and girls alike, to take the plunge and watch it. So I did. And it’s fetch.

Now while Wicked and Mean Girls may not seem immediately irrevocably linked, there are a lot of parallels you can draw between the two. They both portray a teenager, who is deemed an outcast by her peers, trying to fit in to a new university/college. Trying to be popular by being someone they are not, and ultimately realising they are happy with who they are. In my eyes, a very typical girly plot. But they both brilliantly capture the essence of the battles young people face with peer pressure and discovering themselves. A subject matter I, like most, played out in real time during my university years.

The reality is that “grown-ups” are just as much a child inside as teenagers. When you start in Year 7 at secondary school, those big kids in Sixth Form look like real impressive people. And when you get to university, you think those postgrads must know everything. But the reality is that once you’ve reached that age, you realise that they were just the same all along. Sure, they might have sat a lot more exams, or been to more parties, or travelled to more places, but they’re not these idols that we make them out to be.

I remember my dad giving a speech at his 50th birthday party saying “I’m still waiting for the day I feel like a grown up” and that’s it for me. That’s what this life is.

Like Elphaba in Wicked who finally gets to meet the wonderful wizard of Oz, only to find out that he’s spent his whole life just trying to be accepted, to be popular. At the expense of what she believed in. Elphaba looked up to the wizard for what he’d achieved, without thinking that he might not be “perfect”.

It’s like the whole story about exposing Boris Johnson, well just because he’s mayor doesn’t mean he has to live a “model life”. I’m sure he’s done some superbly stupid stuff in his time.

Just like Psy after Gangnam Style got a billion views, when he was asked about how much he enjoyed his success he said it was a burden. He never asked to be this role model. Now he has to be perceived as “perfect”, and PC, or his life will be ruined – sounds like a life already ruined.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that watching all these girly shows will make you crazy. No, not really. What I’m really trying to say is that it’s called a role model for a reason, because it’s a model. It’s not real. It’s another impossible ideal. Get drive from it, be inspired and motivated, but don’t idolise it. Don’t compare yourself to it negatively. Don’t change who you are to become it. As Oscar Wilde once said

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

until tomorrow x

 

BEDA: Paradox

This should have gone out yesterday, but it didn’t. Still, better late than never!

Sometimes I feel like my personality is a paradox, like I don’t really fit into any neat box or category. I had a conversation yesterday about stereotypes and I think this stems from that. I mean, you label someone a convict and you immediately assume several things about that person. Drugs, violence, abuse, volatile, outsider. You label someone an grade A student, and you think of glasses, social ineptness, shy, video games, etc. But in reality, no-one fits into a box. We’re not that 2-dimensional, it’s just a human trait that we feel like everything and everyone needs to be categorized. But these labels only lead to false assumptions about someone.

There’s a trend going around YouTube at the moment of people “drawing their life”. Think of it as telling your life story in a a few minutes, and drawing pictures along the way. One I found particularly interesting is Phillip DeFranco‘s. I don’t want to go too much into it here, you should watch the video yourself, but it made me realise that this guy that comes off very confident and head-strong has not always been like that – and I daresay, sometimes still isn’t. I’m very tempted to make my own “draw my life”, but we’ll see.

When people meet me they might make a few assumptions based on first impressions, we all do it, but it’s when you get past those traits in a person and really understand who they are, that you make a real connection.

You might look at my university grades and think I’m a massive workaholic and all the connotations that go with that. While it is true that I like working, it’s only when it’s on something I find very interesting. I struggle like everyone else when it comes to writing reports about stuff I don’t have an interest in. I find myself procrastinating a lot, but when I do get down to work I focus 100% and try my best. I never tried to just get a pass grade on anything, I believe that you should always do anything you do to the best of your ability, anything less and you’re only cheating yourself. Does that make me a workaholic? I don’t think so.

You might see my website, and videos, and “geek talk”, and think that I’m a massive geek and all the connotations that go with that. It is true that I’m very interested in technology, I like to read tech-y blogs, write code and design websites; but I’m not your “traditional geek”. I’ve never seen Star Wars, or Star Trek. I don’t really play video games (other than RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, back in the day), and I’ve never really been into shoot-em ups. I love climbing, swimming, cycling, walking, making videos… I spend my free time with friends in pubs, or making silly podcasts – not getting to level 100 on Warcraft. But then, I don’t know anyone who would probably be considered a full-on geek. I like poetry, but that doesn’t mean I listen to classical music or pick flowers at the weekend.

Maybe all of these stereotypes are just an unattainable “ideal” of sorts, forged from so much public perception that no-one is ever really like that. No-one is defined by just one thing. That’s what makes us so beautiful and unique.

until tomorrow (aka, later today) lots of love x

BEDA: A Poet At Heart

Blog is such a funny sounding word. B-L-O-G. Who’s idea was this?

I feel like we’ve got to know each other over the many years of writing this blog. Over the years I’ve shared a few of my poems on these pages: Leaving, New Sunrise, Every Day, The Moment and Never Too Late. I still write occasionally, when I need to. I find the process just helps me get my head straight, the actual end result is a happy by-product. Every one is very special to me because it reminds me of how I felt at a particular moment in my life, which makes them difficult to show to other people.

Time heals all wounds, and today I want you to read a couple of short poems I wrote back in 2010. Seems like a millennium ago. I was finishing my second year at university, and had a placement lined up at Sony starting in the summer. I had a group of close friends who I couldn’t live without, and I couldn’t be happier.

Time To Smile

The flow of time can be a trial,
But not when I’m with you;
For every time I see you smile,
It makes me smile too.

Little Things

Sunshine on a rainy day
Cut grass and summer dew
The calling birds and morning breeze
Or the moment I hold you

Control My Heart

This head has many secrets
From when we said goodbye
The heart did not control my brain
And the moment passed us by

I don’t know when we’ll meet again
But I hope it can be soon
And maybe then you’ll see the pain
My heart can put me through

Back To Me

Sing back to me,
To the soul of my brittle thoughts,
Clasp the treasure of this moment,
Calm the heartbeat time forgot.

Say back to me,
Let me long deeply in your eyes,
Soft words spoken through your lips,
Catch my mind, see you inside.

Whisper back to me,
Let your breathing count to mine,
Place our warmth together,
Hold me close to lead the blind.

If time could last forever,
And hate and war could stop,
I’d ask you “stand beside me,
And show love time forgot.”

until tomorrow x