Never Work Again.

It is said that if you can find, do and get paid for what you love, you will never work again, the intimation being that you enjoy it so much it does not feel like work. Hmm. Envy is such an ugly emotion. Unfortunately, as magnanimous or blasé as one wants to be, there very little as an adult, competing with unknown peers, in this media rich, know-what-people-like-you are doing landscape, that is as envy inducing as encountering those people who have found their ‘passion’ in life. Especially if they have REALLY found it.

How is it that some people know what they want to do, in life, from the time they are nine or ten years old, yet many of us, decades into our working and, supposedly, experienced lives, still blunder about, hoping for a lottery win or an unusual turn of events? At various points in my life I have had notions of being; a graphic designer, a fashion designer, a clothing shop manager, a dancer, a singer( I was very young), a fighter(haha), fitness superstar – I do fitness but….- and an author. None pursued with any great gusto for various reasons, mostly because, for the most part, they seemed like a great idea at the time, then on reflection and investigation, not so much. Except for the writing.

I have always enjoyed writing, even when it has not  been very good or particularly interesting to anyone outside of myself. I’ve always enjoyed writing to be seen as well. It would be a lie to say I do not care if anyone reads this. If that was the case, it would be a diary! I write for, I hope, wider consumption. It is why I like film and television. It is why stories and documentaries bounce around in my head and I have the urge to put it down on paper and make a film or blog or story.

I understand, like anyone who writes a lot, that it is a hit and miss vocation. Very few have the talent or wit to write words that  every iteration is a gem or worth reading. We still do it; still make the films, write the stories, blogs, books. It is a passion. Admittedly it has not made me a brass farthing, so the notion of ‘never working again’ remains a distant one. Still I will keep writing, making films and planning, whilst spewing out the contents of my consciousness on the blogosphere, until hopefully I never work again.

Fuck. Fucked. Fuckery.

There are few words in the English language that have the usability or flexibility of the word ‘fuck’ and its derivatives. It is at once an offensive word and a word of everyday lexicon. One can be ‘fucked’, figuratively and literally; can ‘fuck’; be a ‘fucker’; ‘fuck up’ and get ‘fucked’. It can, and does, replace perfectly good words and phrases for the sake of brevity or emphasis: “Please go away” becomes, “fuck off”. “I’m feeling absolutely knackered” becomes, “I’m fucked”. As does “I’m so drunk”. “I’m talking so much drivel” is, “chatting fuckeries”. Exclamations of literally any kind, that do not need to convey any information to another party, can be covered by the blanket term, “fuck!”. Then there is the use of emphasis, adding an ‘ing’; “what a fucking idiot!” “I didn’t want to fucking do that!” “What are you fucking doing?”

People of all social classes use it, some peppering their speech liberally with it. It use to be said, that those who swear all the time were only displaying their ignorance and lack of vocabulary. That is perhaps true. It is also more likely down to laziness and the proliferation of texting as a means of communication. After all, not to many of us are required to write letters anymore.

A text lacks floridity. As do most emails – the ones I receive anyway! The art of writing and speaking is alive and well, but brevity, short attention spans being the order of the day, is paramount.

Admittedly the word ‘fuck’ and its many variations, have not found there way into everyday print. Blogs, newspapers, emails and print advertisements have, thankfully, remained profanity free. And there are still many situations where the ubiquitous ‘fuck’ and its friends are still frowned upon. You would not go into a shop or bar and ask for a ‘fucking’ drink or to try that ‘fucking’ dress on. The urge to go into the bank and ask for your ‘fucking’ money, though strong, is also resisted. So even though you can barely go through a day without hearing the word, perhaps, if you are a user that is, it would be fun to try and replace it with another word and see how you get on. You could make the word up or go with something completely random, old English – balderdash!  – kiddy friendly – fiddle sticks! – weird and random – ah balloons! To tell the truth, with the right tonality, you could just make a guttural sound and convey some necessary disappointment. That all said you could just say ‘fuck it’.

The smartest guy I ever knew: ignoring the Joneses

Robert Jacobs was boy in my class at school. He was popular, funny, good at sport, though not outstanding, intelligent and able to get along with just about anybody. Let me explain; I went to an…urban school. The school was ninety to ninety-five percent black students, mostly of working class, labour parented backgrounds. It was the late seventies into the eighties. Before social media and blogs. Before the proliferation of ‘talent’ shows, before everyone owned a mobile phone, before having a new car was a common thing, before it was necessary to have a college degree to work in a retail outlet and before metrosexuality. I went to a boy’s school where being a man was not only an aspiration, it was expected.
Life then was about appearance. We were teenagers, some with older brothers, trying to be men. How tough you were – I wasn’t – what trainers you had – strike two – and how good you were at football – always a last pick – school was tough.
We aspired to the things most urban, cash strapped, youth do; to be respected, famous maybe, make money. This was the message we had got from our parents and elders; make money, live better, be respected.
For most of us, our family members and their friends were not exactly captains of industry. For a lot of boys, the ‘big’ dream was to become a mechanic, a footballer or an entertainer of some description.
Robert Jacobs was, as I mentioned, talented. In fact he was so talented, that he earned a scholarship to Italia Conti performing arts school, the best and most prestigious of its kind in the country. He was on the up. As I said, he was popular, so no one begrudged him the opportunity. Even so young, we understood that he was perhaps destined for better things than the rest of us. Good luck.
Fast forward a decade of so and I see his older brother, also a nice guy, but much more a background kind of person, chilled. We chat, pleasantries, and we get around to chatting about Robert. I ask what he is up to, expecting that he is on the road to some sort of media career. What I hear takes me aback. He’s moved to Jamaica, the country of his parents birth, grown locks and become a farmer! A farmer?! Why would he do that? It was simple. That’s what made him happy. He had the talent, charisma, intelligence to do whatever he wanted. He decided he wanted a simple life. He wanted to be a farmer.
I have recalled that moment a few times over the years; as I’ve negotiated the rush hour traffic, struggled with weight, tried to build a business, changed relationships and tried to keep up with the Joneses. Robert Jacobs was not only a talented guy, he was a smart one. He knew where his happiness lay; not through the eyes of his peers or expectations of the wider world. He followed his heart and found his bliss. How many people can say the same?

Holiday period insomnia.

Like most people, I enjoy the holidays. Not necessarily for the festivities, though they are nice, or even the presents – I am truly invested in the western aspects of a consumer society, i really don’t need anymore stuff! What I like is the time off. Even though I have a fair bit of free time, because of the nature of my work, I tend to work, even if just for a little bit, everyday. So most days i am up at six. On late days I am up at eight, even on Sundays. Not that I’m complaining (maybe just a bit, winter mornings suck!) If I should get into the field of work I really want to embrace – film – I suspect i would be working a lot harder than I do now.

So the holidays give me time to unwind and chill out and, with the better half galavanting around Scotland, do very little. And stay up too late. My body clock is completely out of sync now. The late nights, sleeping in and overload of sugar foods – I didn’t mention that my day job is fitness – has taken a toll and I am here at quarter to one in the morning writing even though i am up in a little over six hours!

I thought I may as well get up and write, as I was only laying in the dark thinking about a documentary I plan to make next year – sneaky segway into film talk and a bit of blatant self promoting! haha! –  I plan to make a documentary about the black influence, or lack of it, on British society. Most of my black history knowledge is US based; MLK, Malcolm X, civil rights movement, but black people have been in the United Kingdom for centuries, yet we do not seem to have made anything like the same progress our US counterparts have. Granted we are not running in fear of being strangled or shot – actually, we could still get strangled! – but I think that is more to do with our adoption of a no arms policy, rather than being a progressive society. This documentary is definitely something I want to get done.

Of course, with the end of year in sight, one turns to reverie. What did I get done this year? Truthfully not as much  as I would have liked. I had wanted to make at least two more films this years. Got one done. The second one was ready to go but got interrupted by my needing a knee operation. Hmm. Having to reschedule, i took the time to put together a crowdfunding page here. That has been….different.

Also, with the knee and sugar rush indiscipline – put sugar in it and I will eat it! – my fitness goals have taken a bit of a hammering as well. Phooey. Aw well, can only affect the future, though I am loath to make resolutions! I mean isn’t that something you should be doing all the time?

Enough of my random meanderings. I shall return to my bed and stare into the dark. Come up with some of my best plot lines that way.

Before I die: 101 Things to do – part one

I was watching a video on YouTube on Xmas night. Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup For The Soul, was giving a talk – see it – here he makes a lot of interesting points, speaking positively, he encouraged the listening to follow their instincts and do that which they loved. Not the most original thing ever said in a positive thinking seminar, but always worth repeating. Amongst the many wonderful titbits Jack offered, was the idea of listing things that you want to do before you become worm food. He suggested a list of one hundred and one. That is a lot of stuff for a person the wrong side of thirty! Anyhoo, what the hey, what is life without challenge eh? So, in no discernible order and – for some at least – no concrete plan, here is my list of 101 things to do before my final parade.

1.) Win an Academy award.
This is a, not to state the bleedin’ obvious, big one. I love making films. I would do it for free. I have done. Ultimately I want what everybody who works wants; to never feel like I am at ‘work’. Making films gives me that. I don’t want to make films to fill up YouTube however. There are plenty who do that already. I want to make big films, memorable films, Oscar winning films. Is that too much to ask?

2.) Visit Japan.
No reason. Just interested in visiting a culture vastly different from mine.

3.) Reboot the Xmen franchise.
This one is like my ultimate dream. It is a massive one. I will need to work really hard and get so, so, so lucky, I know this, but it is still going on the list.

4.) Take three months holiday
Because working only nine months of the years and living the other three would be awesome!

5.) Learn Spanish
I have been to Lanzarote over twenty times. Been to mainland Spain twice and can still only order beer, say hello, thank you and goodbye! It’s laziness and a certain English apathy on my part. Habla espanol?

6.) See a boxing match at Madison Square Garden
There are not too many greats about in the fight game anymore. Money, attention span, mixed martial arts and a paucity of genuine, mouthwatering match ups – the Klitchkos having singlehandedly made heavyweight boxing pretty much unwatchable – have all contributed to the decline of a once dominant spectacle. Still a show at the home of boxing would be worth it.

7.) Meet Joss Whedon
They say you should not meet your heroes, as it might disappoint, but the works of Whedon are probably the most inspiring reason for me wanting to be a writer/director, it would be great to meet him and thank him. Even if he turns out to be an arsehole.

Okay, seven in, ninety-four to go. I will put a few more in the coming weeks – or months – onward and upwards.