Category Archives: Life
I’ve been meaning to post something on my personal blog for a while, though I’ve never gotten around to it. Life just sort of, throws you in at the deep end sometimes, while you tread water, hoping that you’re still kicking. In a way, there’s a morbid fascination to it. In one moment, you’re fantasizing about what it’s like to drown, the next you can’t breathe. Of course, I’m speaking metaphorically… But that’s what life is, right?
Two people that I deeply respected, admired and followed for many years died quite recently. They weren’t family members or even friends, but iconic characters of their time. Both of their deaths affected me in different ways; they died in the same month just two weeks apart.
One was Margot Kidder. She was, and always will be, my Lois Lane. I knew her as a character intimately when I was a kid. She was everything I had ever dreamed of being. A ballsy, sharp, level-headed reporter with a way of talking herself out of (and into) danger. When I read of Margot’s passing from the Christopher Reeve Foundation as I was scrolling through Facebook, I sat there in stunned silence. And that sentence right there was probably the kicker. It brought back all the moments I loved between Chris and Margot on screen.
Margot and Chris were good friends while they were on the set of Superman and Superman II. They were also fiercely loyal to Superman’s Director, Richard Donner; it was one of the reasons why Margot only came back for smaller parts in 3 and 4. I recently stumbled across a photo of the two of them together at Niagara Falls, on the set of Superman II. And I remembered that just last year, I was stood in the exact same place as two of my heroes. To many people, the death of these two actors and the characters they played on screen would just be a passing sadness. But to me, they were my childhood. A little bit of my childhood died; I’ll never get it back. Yet there’s a bitter sweetness to it, knowing that Superman caught Lois as she fell away.
The second, was a man who was diagnosed with bowel cancer several years ago. John ‘TotalBiscuit’ Bain was a very talented, vocal gaming critic who found fame through YouTube. I was lucky enough to meet him at a UK convention run by his long-time friend, Jesse Cox. Back then, he was suffering through Chemotherapy and, while undoubtedly in a lot of pain, sat for 8 hours at a table signing, meeting and greeting fans.
It was that year that I got on the train back from Telford, when I bumped into him at the train station. He was heading north to see family, listening to music, waiting for the train while people stood around him shivering in excitement. It was odd, I guess, seeing him in a normal setting around normal people, doing normal everyday things. But that’s just it, he wasn’t a celebrity, he didn’t let his status define him, instead he stood up for the little people; the indie game developers who were short on money, the gamers who had no voice. And he sure as hell helped people through rough times just by doing his own thing, and doing it damn well.
In late May, John Bain passed away peacefully. My heart broke for his wife Genna and their son. He was 33, just five years older than me. That puts things into perspective.
It wasn’t too long ago that I found myself in hospital undergoing an investigation. I sat and spoke to two women; one with pneumonia and the other who had cancer. And there I was sitting, panicking that I had just fainted and knowing that I was sat with two women that had much bigger problems than me. I felt terrible.
Something triggered in me then. And it’s still working it’s way through my brain now. It happened the other day when I was sat basking in the beautiful sunshine in our garden. I watched the birds have a dirt bath. And then, much later, watched another bird bathe in my neighbour’s stone water basin, flicking its feathers while the water jumped off its back. I realised that sometimes you don’t need to be moving forward in life, sometimes you need to stand (or sit) still and watch everything else happen around you.
Perhaps it’s the best advice I can give anyone who reads this. Letting things happen around you doesn’t mean that things are out of control. It doesn’t mean that you can’t help influence change. But it does give you time to assess what the right course of action may be. Sometimes doing nothing but watching and listening means everything to one person, allowing them to heal. Be content with who you are, allow yourself the time to – quite literally – stop and smell the roses because time is something we never get back. Know that it’s okay to stand still.
If you enjoyed John Bain’s content and would like to help support his family during this difficult time, please visit their Go Fund Me page, set up by his fans with all monies raised going to Genna Bain.
The air is thick, painted with heavy sighs.
Grasping at straws, no longer with ties.
She sits there waiting.
Darkness, no sunrise.
The air is thick, suffocating with cries.
Moments pass and the next train draws in.
Her carriage awaits, bound by sin.
She sits inside waiting.
Darkness, all cooped in.
Moments pass, left to rot in a meat tin.
Destined for doom, they say.
All she felt was pain, night and day.
She sits in the cold waiting.
An owl girl with feathers that fray.
Destined for doom, too wise to obey.
Wishing her luck would change,
Cawing and flapping, so estranged.
She sits outside waiting,
But there’s no perfect exchange.
They meet. They talk. They part.
Once lovers, now perfect strangers.
She leaves, never looks back,
And silently lets go of her heart.
For those of you who have yet to come across the internationally acclaimed author Garth Nix, you are certainly missing out on a big bucket of deliciously chewy treats: a fantastic fantasy series aptly named The Old Kingdom Trilogy, featuring all things good, bad and witty. Starting with Sabriel, originally a stand-alone novel, Nix penned his two sequels Lirael and Abhorsen with such attentive delicacy that it is certainly hard to imagine my life without the story revolving around Lirael.
I can hear the cliché bells ringing when I say that this story changed my childhood.
But whether you choose to believe me or not, I respected the fictional character of Lirael. In a world where everything presents itself as fake, selfish and image based, the character of Lirael represented the opposite of the popular trend.
Students vs The Rest of the World:
It seems there has been an ever-increasing dislike for students who complain that they are ‘tired’ and ‘overworked’ by their University study work. It appears that non-students who work a 9am – 5pm job, evening work, or some that are doing two jobs find students frustrating, somewhat egotistical and quite frankly ‘cop-outs’.
I must agree that working all those hours in a regular job will be tiring as well as monotonous, but how can a regular worker believe it’s harder than studying for a degree, masters or PHD?
The Inbetweeners have been posing nude in front of our tv screens for a successful three series, now they’ve got us hooked on the big screen ready to bare their bums (as well as other parts) in a 90 minute ‘LOL’ trip to the Greek Island, Malia.
On hearing the word ‘movie’ in the same sentence as ‘end of the series’, it is safe to say that I was a little dubious. Though it worked for Sex and the City, fully disregarding the atrocity that was the sequel, I was blindly hoping that The Inbetweeners Movie may just ride out on a high.
I wasn’t disappointed.
For the first time, I find myself having difficulty expressing my thoughts so succinctly and concise, but poverty is not a topic that can be so easily summarised. Sure enough, many of us watching television daily see commercials of the poverty in Africa; of the malnourished children and the slums they call homes. Many of us will turn a blind eye to the disastrous areas of the third world, but what happens when you are forced to look upon such devastation?
You feel guilt.
That morning, I had set out for an adventure into the Dominican wilderness, to experience all things Caribbean; from the delightful cocoa, to the more-ish and wonderfully scented aromas of roasted coffee and the crunchy taste of the coconuts – I was certainly well catered for.
But what of the locals? The young girl that reached up into the jeep to give me a parting gift; an exotic red flower. What life does she lead, while I sit in blissful luxury in a five-star hotel just twenty minutes away? Looking into the deep contours and colours of the flower, I felt guilty, but incredibly grateful for what I had.
Almost a year ago I created a blog on ‘The Importance of Being Grateful’, and of the family that claimed thousands in benefits, cheating the real poverty of our own country. What right do they have? What right do they have to take money from the homeless, the penniless and the tragic?
I was faced with one question: what could I give back to the Dominican locals?
What could I give back to the school that had trembled in its footsteps towards the future? Those grey wooden desk chairs, the rotting chalkboard and the basketball hoop hanging by its steel chains in the playground – what can I do?
The children and adults alike are happy because they know no different. They have pride in themselves, and they seemed to say ‘do not pity us, for we are proud of the way we live’.
If you are visiting the Dominican Republic, please spare a thought to the children and their education. Please donate crayons, pencils, colouring books, children’s toys, anything that may help them.
They are a proud nation, and their children deserve to play with something other than the discarded bottles of tourists.