Sunshine Blogging Award

Thank you to Lee Hall for nominating me. I read his blog every post and I enjoy the updates. It is a great mix of life, films and books. you also get book reviews too.

http://leehallwriter.com

The Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

These are the 11 questions Lee asked me

Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging as I was writing a book of “poetry” and I saw that others had done so before me. It also was an opportunity to get some thoughts out there. I realised that I’m not that great at it but I am getting better.

Who is your go-to blogging influence/blogger that inspires you?

I follow only 4 blogs at present:

Lee Hall who nominated me

Matt Streuli who has been blogging for a while and promotes his life infused with mental health positivity that has helped him.

Tim Walker is a writer who I follow and has featured me in his blog.

Name 3 music albums that shaped your life?

Shaping life is a strong thing to say. Queen’s Greatest Hits started me on a journey to have something that I liked and was able to proudly love. Even went to see Queen in concert.

y second album would be Sgt Pepper by The Beatles. Why it has shaped my life is that I remember it from music lessons in school and when I was 21 I bought it as it was 20 years since it’s release. I was able to remember some of the songs and that one of my best friends from school was into the Beatles. My other reason for how it shapes my life is my wife (girlfriend at the time) is from Liverpool.

My final album would be Costello Music by The Fratellis Somehow I heard some of the songs so asked for the album. Luckily I have also seen them in concert too. This got me out of some ‘old fogey slump’ that I got myself into and started to feel a little more up to date. Sadly I am now in this old fogeyness again but will find some more music to inspire me.

Is there something out there who you think is underrated?

I think that Marmite is underrated.

Which season of the year do you prefer and why?

I love all Seasons but if pushed I would have to say Summer.

Name a television show or film you couldn’t live without?

As a nerd I couldn’t live without quiz shows. Need to see one a couple of times a week. Really like University Challenge

What are you currently reading?

I have a couple of books on the go. Arthur Dux Bellorum which is a new take on the Arthurian story written by Tim Walker- friend. I am also about to start a poetry book written by a new friend

 What are you currently writing?

I am writing my 3rd poetry book as well as thinking about writing a book or play. My ideas are around a tv show but haven’t got vey far with that.

Name something you don’t like but ‘everyone’ else does?

people seem to like Love Island or Big Brother but I think it is mindnummung garbage

Do you have a profession outside of writing/blogging?

I am a mental health nurse

Name a place you’ve always wanted to visit but never have?

I want to go to the US

My questions for the nominees are:

1. Why did you start to blog?

2. what are your 3 favourite books from childhood

3. If time-travel was a possibility, what period in history would you like to visit?

4. What is you favourite meal?

5. How would you spend an unexpected windfall of £50,000 (you can’t save it)?

6. Is there a hobby that you’d like to take up if time and cost were not relevant?

7. If music were the food of love, what musical track would you like to eat your meal too?

8. What 5 words describe you (you may explain if you wish)?

9. Do you think that tomatoes are fruit?

10. If you could be a celebrity who would you be? 

The bloggers I nominate are :

Dane Cobain who is a multitalented writer, musician, book reviewer and ran a local spoken word and inspired me to publish for myself

http//:danecobain,com

Matt Streuli is a multitalented actor, blogger, mental health advocate and pantomime dame.

http//:mattstreuli.blogspot.com

Tim Walker is an author of books, short stories, drabbles and poems and always has a piece to share when I see him

https//:timwalkerwrites.co.uk

Hakuna Matata???

The Lion King

  

 

I went to see the live action version of The Lion King at the cinema. Obviously it is well known that The Lion King is based on Hamlet with Mufasa and Scar playing the parts of King Hamlet and Claudius and the young Simba being Prince Hamlet.

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

I enjoyed the cartoon/ animation as it brought to life the humour of a meerkat and warthog being friends with a lion cub but how do you re-create this in the live action CGI? Well you use the same script, cut out a song and try your best!!! Sadly one of the key components of animation is that anything is possible, even the fantastic!!! When you try to ‘be real’ then the story doesn’t work.

In animation Simba was cute- in CGI he could be any old lion cub. The chemistry with Timon and Pumba just wasn’t there and in reality when Simba grew up they would be just dinner for him.

The differences between Mufasa and Scar were that Scar looked like a mouldy old carpet and had no ‘majesty’ even when he became ‘King’ compared to the regal bearing in the cartoon. 

old carpet

As a positive the CGI was good and the songs can followed if you knew the previous film. Maybe I’m getting old but was Disney trying to pull in the fans by using “Beyonce Knowles” They could have used any actress as far as the singing for Nala was ok. To Summarise Enjoyed going to cinema with family and friends. As a story and cinematography wise it is good.

As a classic not so good. Probably comparing it to the enjoyment I had watching Aladdin.

Did I feel the love tonight??

Can be watched again but sadly ‘straight to video.”

Rocketman

So I went off to the cinema again last night to watch yet another film -becoming a real cinemaphile.

The usual gang of family and friends with a couple more. enjoying our recliner seats in anticipation of what was to come.

This time we watched Rocketman which was a biopic of Elton John.

Having watched the biopic of Queen (my favourite band)- Bohemian Rhapsody, this was a chance to make comparisons

The premise (SPOILER alert) starts in a therapy group whereby Elton John begins his story as the young Reg Dwight and through his childhood, growing adolescence ,meeting Bernie Taupin (lyricist) finding stardom,becoming Elton John, his hidden homosexuality and how he ended up trying to ‘conform’ with the perceived norms whilst being outrageous and how it nearly destroyed him.

The film is not shy in pulling punches and there is a warning around drug use, swearing and sexuality before you watch.

As one of my fellow watchers noted “my bum went numb” as I was transfixed and didn’t realise that 2 hours had gone by.

Analysing the film, it showed the childlike vulnerability due to perceived and real rejection, leading to him overcompensating in life for his feelings whereby he lacked real love.

The story moved along at a fair pace, and was different in style from Bohemian Rhapsody.

The character of Jim Reid who was Elton’s (and Queen’s) manager  and also lover, played a big part and it was interesting to show the predatory element of the relationship by Reid compared to Bohemian Rhapsody with Queen. This reinforced some of the ‘headlines I have seen growing up about Reid and his shady dealings/ narcissistic actions.

It was interesting that the songs narrated his life were not in chronological order but this didn’t detract from enjoying them.

The screenplay is by Lee Hall (Billy Elliot writer) not my friend Lee and there are well known actors-too many to list

Safe to say that I enjoyed the film

9 out of 10

New book launch- MERRING or is it MRS GREN?

Hi,

I have been promising that a new book will come out and tomorrow is the day

1st June 2019

I have been writing this over the last year. after finishing

previous tome

and had the title already worked out prior to writing.

As time goes on I have said the title “out loud” to many puzzled faces.

I am always happy to explain what the title is, how I came up with it and what it means to me.

My title is as you see MERRING or is it MRS GREN?

When I was at school studying for my O’ levels (this dates me) the way I was taught to remember the signs of life/ whether something was living was the mnemonic MERRING, which stands for Movement, Excretion, Respiration, Reproduction, Irritability, Nutrition and Growth.

So for the last 37 years+, I have had those words in my head and can “quote them at will”

When I was having a conversation with my youngest child about MERRING, she looked at me blankly.

When I explained what I meant she informed me that this is now MRS GREN (Irritability is now Sensitivity)

I decided that I liked this conversation as a title and kept it back from last year.

So what does the title mean to me?

Well the title reflects the biological side of me in that I originally studied biology for O and A level, I then went on to train as a General  Nurse and had knowledge of biological processes of health and disease which this sort of fitted into.

As time went on I changed direction and undertook further training to qualify as a mental health nurse.

I then started to think more ‘holistically’ around the subject of health and humanity. There is a maxim that Humankind are biological, sociological, psychological beings. Without one you cannot have the other.

I am no aging hippie!!, but in taking that on board, I have thought widely about these biological words and ‘adapted’ them to their more holistic meanings.  These are a few examples

Movement to me also means a change and we often need to change to survive.

Excretion is also ridding yourself of the mental rubbish which can make your life toxic

Respiration, as well as in its breathing and energy sense also brings in words like inspire which can bring hope and expire which brings ending but chance of a new beginning.

Reproduction can also be thought of in the terms of repeating things but also about being a good or bad copy.

Irritability conjures up thoughts about feelings and reactions to those feelings. Within health and mental health being happy or unhappy are paramount to how you are perceived

Nutrition is about how you nourish the mind as well as the body

Growth is about maturity of thought and involves changes.

The fact that MERRING is now MRS GREN also reminds me that I have to keep up to date!!!!!                     

So what does that mean?

While I was writing my poems my thoughts were on the words and their wider meanings.

I found that I could be literal but also tangential which is very a oxymoron way of thinking.

One of my friends found that MERRING is an Australian aboriginal word for “eyes” so I that reinforced that I should be looking and seeing things in a different way. GREN on the other hand is found in Scandinavian languages and means “branch.” My thoughts were about how branches may start as little twigs and grow bigger until they are part of the bigger tree.

Each branch is independent but dependant on the whole.

I’m not going to analyse MRS!!!

Please buy my book on Amazon- either in paperback or on Kindle.

I hope that you will like it.

I enjoyed writing it and each word means something to me. I’m sure it will for you!!!!!

A whole new world!!!!

On Tuesday I went to the cinema with my friends and family to watch Aladdin

Now I have to confess that I am of the generation who saw the Disney Cartoon with the Genie being voiced by Robin Williams and this is part of the iconography of my life and being a parent.

Disney have brought out their latest  live action version of a film in which the Genie is played and voiced by Will Smith.

Going in the conversations revolved around the obvious comparisons whether which will better or is the film just going to be a poor copy of the animation. Having heard mixed messages praising it as the best live action film from the Disney stable to it destroying the magic of the cartoon.

Well I have to say that because time has gone on (from mid 90’s) that special effects are able to replicate a lot of the scenes and movement that occurred within the original film’s animation.

In analysing the story, it remains the classical tale of the street urchin Aladdin meeting up with Princess Jasmine and saving her from being arrested. When they ‘meet up again’ in the palace, Aladdin is arrested by Jafar who needs him to bring back the lamp. Abu the monkey causes the cave to collapse and ultimately the Genie and magic carpet appear and so on.

This film adds a few ‘changes’ as compared to the cartoon and its attitudes towards women is updated- no more ‘weak and feeble princess’ waiting to be saved but instead a strong character supported by her friend the ‘handmaiden.’

The mixture of the live action, special effects and the additions to the story help to make the tale believable and less schmaltzy (as much as Disney can be) and a future classic in its own right.

The classic songs are there with some new ones expressing the strength of women, hip-hop and rap interspersed in the new rendering of the familiar refrains.

In summary it is a “whole new world” thanks to CGI and Will Smith has made the Genie his own without trampling upon the legend of Robin Williams and gets a wife in the end.

9 out of 10

So it was my birthday!!!


So it was my birthday recently and what do ‘middle aged guys do?’

That’s right they watch sport.

In my case I like rugby so I was able to watch my team, London Irish, win their final match and collect the Championship Trophy.

There are always bittersweet moments when following London Irish– they are now in the Premiership again, there will be new exciting players coming which is contrasted with various players leaving or retiring.  One of those leaving was one of my favourites, Topsy Ojo. I was with my children watching him on his debut so this also ignites my happy memories too.

I remember him in his early days when he was an 18 year old from the Academy and 14 years later he is the club’s top try scorer and has made the most appearances for the club (301). Everyone was cheering when he had the ball and when he came close to scoring a final try there was an air of expectation from the crowd. However, unselfishly, he passed the ball which I metaphorically see as handing on the baton.

It got me reflecting that life is full of change- the only constant being change. I may have mentioned that somewhere else earlier my blog but without change we cannot evolve.

A few years ago, if someone had said that I would have written and published a book I would not have believed them.

Somehow by getting out of a rut of my own making I was able to start looking at doing things I enjoy. The evolution from writing a few poems for my own amusement, writing for friends, performing songs at an open mic (realising that I wasn’t that good!!), performing and writing poetry at open mic to putting them down in a volume and getting them published isn’t something that can be done alone. However it hasn’t always been a smooth ride as there were lots of stops and starts. Many people have an influence along the way whether indirectly or directly.

Who knew that by going to an open mic 3 years ago with family and friends to watch acquaintances from the local drama club sing would then lead me to go to other events? For example at one of these open mics I met a guy who suggested I go to a spoken word event and meet a writer.

This gave me the physical/ mental tools to know what to do. Again I made a few errors along the way which I learnt from.

This leads me on to my next announcement. Book two is on its way.

I have just made a draft copy which I am going through at the moment prior to setting a an official date to unleash it onto the public.

Just keep an eye out for any videos on Twitter or Facebook and potentially pictures on Instagram (Up there with the technology.)

Anyway back to my birthday.

I had a great meal with my family, got a great present (will be able to watch London Irish next season) and enjoyed a lemony /blueberry cake.

Got a new book to scribble a few more words in ( had a picture of me on the cover)

All is right with the world!!!

Post again soon.

Pet Sematary


Stephen King and Pet Sematary

I am not much of a reader at the moment but have seen Pet Sematary at the local cinema.

After dosing myself up on a monster popcorn and slushy drink, I was prepared for anything.

Photo by Megha Mangal on Pexels.com

Like my wife, daughters and fellow writer Lee Hall I have enjoyed the re- emergence of Stephen King novels and the technological advances of filmography compared to the 1980’s and 90’s

Having seen IT, the Running Man and Misery in the 1980’s, I was impressed by the newer version of IT (part 2 to come).

Therefore when I saw Pet Sematary I was expecting good things and I wasn’t disappointed.

When something is supposed to be scary it is!!

You have the ‘comic’ he’s behind you mentality of the pantomime and the why don’t you get out of there to contend with.  You then have to contrast the horror, the realisation of the protagonists that something is wrong, their hopes and fears of a future without loved ones and the humanity of feeling sorry for the emotionless beings that they become (no spoilers).

Photo by it’s me neosiam on Pexels.com

There is a good cast, including Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz  and John Lithgow (The Crown, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Footloose) and you feel the suspense when you meet them and have to make initial impressions as to who is evil or not.

Having checked the storyline compared to the book there are of course some differences, but this doesn’t detract significantly (characters dying in the book who survive in the film)

Of course there is a cliffhanger at the end which allows a potential sequel to be made.

Rating  8/10

#stephenking #scarymovie #movie #cinema

Hi Again

Hi again
I know that I haven’t posted recently (well for nearly a year) but ‘tonight’s the night’ to paraphrase Rod Stewart.

So what has been happening over the last year?
Well the last time I posted, I had just published “Mild Musings May Mitigate My Mentality”
This was my debut as a published author and luckily I managed to sell a few books.
Thanks to my Facebook page, school friends, work friends, open mic friends, friends of friends’ etc. people bought a few and posted pictures of themselves with the ‘tome’ and said some really nice things. This was a tip I picked up from an author I follow ‘Lee Hall’ (not the one who wrote Billy Elliot)

Happiness!!!
I remember the joy of actually being able to write a book and go through the self publishing route and that it worked. I had read around and sought advice from others and the advice was good. I only spent money on an evaluation/ proof copy but apart from that the only cost was time.

man in red crew neck sweatshirt photography
Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

What have I learned?
Going through the process I had learned a lot- about the practical aspects of cover design, book formatting and so on but as time went on, the visions I had of selling few more books to people who heard me perform were tested.
My initial advertising on my Facebook profile caught the interest of people and thus when the book came out; I got a lot of sales.
I also carried 10 books with me just after I had published and I sold 6 of them within a short time at a performance. One book was a pre-sale to someone who believed in me- sight unseen before I actually published.
However a lesson I should have understood “a sale isn’t a sale until the money is in your hand” as there were people who promised to buy but didn’t!!!
As time went on, I was always surprised/ happy when individuals heard me performing and would “off the cuff” buy a book from me.
This encouraged me to purchase further copies and again I have sold/ given away a further 10 copies.
My online sales have been over 40 so at present there are 60 + copies of my book out there in the UK and Europe.
I have learned a lesson from this about my marketing strategies have been poor so I need to improve.

What have I done/ what am I going to do?
Since I last posted, I have started to go to a new poetry / spoken word event monthly. This has got me out there and I have met a few other authors who have published/ want to be published.
I have shared my publishing lessons (the practical) with a few poets and am expecting to see their work on line soon.
I have also bought a few books from others I have met so I need to read and review.
Hopefully they will reciprocate.
My fellow writers have suggested a few ideas of how to get out there in the online world which I need to take up. Some I have heard of before but I really need to DO IT!!
I will make my “to do list”- bit late for New Years resolutions

Lastly really what is next?
Well after publishing last time, I haven’t stopped writing. I already had a title which I had uploaded to Createspace and obtained an ISBN for. Even though Amazon closed Createspace down, my information has been transferred over to KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing).
I have almost finished this second book which I hope to publish in the next 6 weeks. This has meant getting to grips with the way that KDP do things!!

black ball point pen with brown spiral notebook
Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com

I am already working on a 3rd book as I haven’t stopped writing.
I have plans for a novel too (title and some ideas) but need to actually do the planning.
I promise to post again with more details.

Self Interview

What were you like at school?
Mostly I was ok. I had interests in History, Science and Languages. I took part in the sports lessons because I had to and I was not good. I did enjoy school at the time but I think that I had rosy tinted spectacles on as I now realise that I was very introverted. With regards to academic acheivements, as time went on I dipped dramatically in languages and was finding learning difficult. I scraped enough O’levels to get a career.

Were you good at English?
I liked to think that I was but like my language skills, I seemed to dip when it came to exams.
I retook English in sixth form as it was a requirement getting a job. In the sixth form, we had to do book reviews, look at a situation from two views and write a layman’s guide to something we were interested in. at that time I kept fish, so I did that.
I did like reading though.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?
To be read, enjoyed and to be perfectly honest; spoken of..

Which writers inspire you?
I have read widely. When I was young I read Treasure Island and Robinson Crusoe. I loved Roald Dahl. As time went on I read Alexander Solzhentzyin and George Orwell. I liked Jack Higgins, Alistair Maclean, Wibur Smith.
Now more recently I am inspired by 2 authors I know Lee Hall and Dane Cobain
So, what have you written?
I am a very new author.
In 2006 I co-authored an article for a professional magazine about sharing good practice.
I have just written a poetry book “Mild Musings May Mitigate My Mentality” which is a collection of poems I have written over the past 6-8 years.

Where can we buy it?
At present it is available on Amazon and also via Kindle

Mild_Musings_May_Mit_Cover_for_Kindle

What are you working on at the minute?
I am working on another poetry book at present. I also have some plans for an extension of a play or a novel based on the short play I read.I am also working on some song lyrics with a jazz musician I know and aim to see where it goes.
What’s it about?
My poems are based mostly on what I see around me or conversations I have had with others. I like health, psychology and comedy so these are in my writing.
In song writing, happiness, sadness, new or old love seems to be the pre-eminent themes.

What genre are your books?
My book idea is based around comedy and revenge.

What draws you to this genre?

I like watching plays and comedy.
How much research do you do?
well at present, watching and reading comedy. I will then research some of the situations, legal, financial that are linked to the scenarios.

When did you decide to become a writer?
well I have been scribbling for years but just recently had a limerick plant itself in my head.Then another and before long poems started to appear on the page.
I shared a few with friends and then I went to an open mic event. I found that instead of singing or playing a guitar, I was able to ‘orate’ a few poems. This stimulated me to write more. I was seen by another performer who attended a spoken word event and via the links there I started to write more

Why do you write?
Simply because I love it!

What made you decide to sit down and start something?
I just was inspired by the moment

Do you write full-time or part-time?
I write very part-time. Often when I am sitting in a pub, listening to music.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
as above but sometimes I am able to sit down for an hour or so.
Where do your ideas come from?
Mainly from my life as a nurse, parent or a child. Sometimes a song triggers a memory or just an observation or conversation.
Do you work to an outline or plot, or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
I like an idea and just run with it. I am a quick writer of poems and then I just alter or perfect them later

What is the hardest thing about writing?
The self-pressure to conform or worry about other people’s thoughts and views. I should be less self-critical

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
Part of it is based on fact. I had to disguise the actual events because of commitments I’d given.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
it can be a great escape and a way to organise thoughts and feelings.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?
From start to finish for my book it has taken 5 months. I had written a lot of poems and was still writing. I had to learn what to include and what to leave out. Rereads, proofreading and editing, cover selection and then, of course, there’s the publishing.
Do you ever get writer’s Block?
sometimes I sit down and just have no inspiration. I log into the internet for a prompt and that has helped.

Do you proofread/edit all your books or do you get someone to do that for you?
I have done all for this book myself

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?
No! I prefer to do edit it immediately. Every evening I go through what I’ve accomplished that day, editing and checking. Then I like to have a few read-throughs when the whole work is finished, so that apart from commas, apostrophes and the like all’s ready for the proofing. Once it’s back I go through all again. With this book I have added a poem and removed a few!

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
A very important role. I spent a long time designing it and then suddenly had an idea which my family helped with which made it look more attractive for sale.

How are you publishing this book and why?
I published for the Kindle and Createspace is doing the paperback. I preferred to do it all myself, and in that way control all the pricing..
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
The advantage for me was I have no initial financial outlay and I have learned through the process.

How do you market your books?
So far through word of mouth, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I also will be making better use of my blog.

What do you do to get book reviews?
I will ask for readers to post reviews on Goodreads, Amazon and other social media

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
As this is new for me any review will show that I have readers. I will improve my writing based on any I get- both good and bad.

What’s your views on social media for marketing?
I hope that it will help. Some of my fellow writers have a large following.

Did you get interviewed by local press/radio for your book launch?
No but I expect that the people in the pub will be interested. Maybe that is an avenue to explore as I have friends who make a podcast.

Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
It worked for one of my fellow writers as he went to no1 in the horror charts.
I will look at it in the future.
How do you relax?
I like to watch TV, take part in quizzes and watch local bands.

What is your favourite motivational phrase?
What doesn’t hurt you won’t kill you!

What is your favourite positive saying?
Just go for it!

What is your favourite book and why?
At the moment I like 1984 and Animal Farm. Having read Animal Farm at school I think it was perfectly complemented by 1984 as so much has come true!!

What is your favourite quote?
It’s easier to quote poets than to read them. ~Allison Barrows

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Take more risks and man up.!! You are liked!!!!

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
George Orwell- to congratulate him on his insight.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Do what your heart tells you to do.

MOT Pantomime and Status Quo

20180202_223531

On Friday 2/2/18 I went to watch a band, MOT, at the Halfway House in Rickmansworth.
I know the lead singers, Marco and Carmel as they run one of the Open Mic’s that I go to. I also know the bass player, Alan too. I cannot ignore that there are others in the band (Dave, Clive, Matt) who provide the keyboards, lead guitar and drums respectively and also vocals in their own right.

I have seen the band play in different places and the good thing is that their playlist changes from venue to venue. They are pretty eclectic in musical taste as I hear music from 60’s Rolling Stones and Beatles, to 70’s, Blondie (Debbie Harry -my childhood crush) and Kim Wilde to more recent- Daft Punk. This is all mixed with various Rock songs.
In looking at why this appeals to me is that in life we must not stop and sit still as the world goes on around us. Whilst the music is recognisable, there is a difference in the way it is performed and there is an opportunity for requests which may or may not have been practiced by the band ever- do they just wing it?
I have also watched various other bands whose playlist is the same wherever you watch them and sometimes it is great to be comforted to see the familiar and keep the status quo. Ironically, Status Quo (the band) evolved/ changed from psychedelia to Rock and put then later their own spin on older 50’s music in the 1980’s. A running joke was that they only played 4 chords and people would comment “Status Quo have just released a song and what have they called it this time!!!” This therefore is not totally true
This somehow leads me somehow onto Saturday.

panto

The women in my life (wife and daughters) are involved in the local Drama club. Over past two weekends the drama group have been putting on a pantomime- Treasure Island. My three daughters had good parts, lead girl, comedy pirate and Spirit of the Sea, and my wife is the ‘go to mum’ and organiser behind the scenes.
Like everything in life, putting together the performance has to be worked on. There is a saying ‘piss poor preparation leads to piss poor performance’. The process of auditions, scripts, choosing music, songs, jokes etc. happens well before the first rehearsal starts. It doesn’t stop there, as the script gets readapted, songs change, and jokes are added and taken away. The director supervised the acting, ensures all know where everyone should be, everyone has learned their lines, and liaises with the sound, lighting and stage crew to promote the shared vision.

panto2
This is to ensure the symbiosis, as if one part doesn’t perform (the backstage crew or the effects) then the acting doesn’t work as well. If the actors don’t learn their lines or dance moves, then no matter how good the effects or the back stage crew are then the performance is ruined.
On the performance day, whilst there is a script, there may be times when something happens which will cause a change – someone forgets their lines, falls over, loses their voice. There then has to be adaptations, each knowing what was expected and helping each other out.
The audience also then becomes part of the team too by clapping, cheering, booing, and being encouraging and singing the community song. This year I got pulled up out of the audience to be the ‘captain of the left side’ when it was time to promote audience participation. If there is no participation then the performers and the performance can fall flat.
How this links together may be a bit tenuous but this year’s community song was “Rocking all over the world” by Status Quo, which I alluded to earlier.
As the Pantomime Dame was unwell due to tonsillitis, there was a change in ‘performance whereby the comedy pirate had to lead the community song unaided and ‘adapt’
Even Status Quo had to adapt and Classic Quo changed their drummer and guitarist before the mid 1980’s.This didn’t mean that Rocking all over the world was finished as when they toured, the new guitarist and drummer knew what to do. By the way the community song worked!!
In linking this to my poetry and my book writing, one of my poems, Friendship alludes to a childhood friend and how we used to listen to Status Quo in his bedroom and play along to Rocking all over the world on ‘tennis racquets.’
I cannot go back to those days but I can use those memories in a different way by writing and using the life lessons.
In using the analogy of the pantomime for my writing, the script/ content is there (poems), there is a need to get an audience to appreciate it (spoken word, open mic, reader, social media and so on), the effects ( the way it is written, the cover), the performance( the actual content of the poem and if spoken how it comes over to the audience).
Being a self-published writer, you end up pulling everything together yourself- a self-director. Every bit needs attention and if you forget one bit then the equilibrium- the balance is lost. However, good directors also seek help from their cast/ audience/ other directors and that it where belonging to the open mic/ spoken word groups comes in.
You get your feedback on what is working at present and you can seek advice.
However there is also an oxymoron-Seek others advice but don’t take it. This is better explained by
“Seek other people’s advice, but don’t take orders. And don’t take 100% of anyone’s advice. Make sure every decision you make is a product of your own conclusion. Be a student, not a disciple.” Jim Rohn

“In other words be confident in yourself”