Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Mental Block and the Extraterrestrials

“It’s all a learning curve,” My Mum says.

I had rung her in an emergency, hoping she could offer me the verbal cure to mental block.

If writer’s block leads to a failure to produce anything new, mental block leads to a failure to do anything at all.

Mental Block hit me today as I stood under a smoky bridge on Old Street.

I had 250 flyers in my bag to promote my workshop and I didn’t want to move.

The sky was a dull white blanket again; the worst August since the beginning of time.
Like being in a depressed person’s head, a friend described it.

All around me there were bars and pubs and café’s. All full of potential people who might reject my handsome flyer.

Mental block naturally sees a glass half empty. In fact, it sees a half empty glass as a glass with a little dribble of backwash at the bottom.

So there I was, rooted to the spot, utterly frustrated by my metamorphosis into a complete wuss.

What was it? Had all my childhood shyness come back to haunt me?

All I wanted to do was to go home and lie under my duvet for the rest of eternity.

My life flashed before me, not only what had been, but what would be.

I envisioned myself with grey hair still talking about Shop Girl Diaries at parties, the one and only book I would ever write.

And as I was sinking into despair, I saw two extraterrestrials walking towards me in the distance.

They were green and blue and fluffy and at least 6 foot tall.

As they drew nearer I saw they had human eyes and human noses sticking out of gaps in the techni- colour fabric.

And on their backs were string bags...
loaded with leaflets!

Oh god, I thought, I could be wearing that!

It dawned on me then that it wasn’t so bad. I was doing this for myself!

I read our Stim.u.lus workshops motto and remembered what it was all about.
U-inspire U-motivate U-create U-develop U-stimulate

U don’t give up under a polluted London railway bridge and retreat back to bed.

U pick yourself and U get on with it because if U want something U have to be proactive!

U got it? I did, eventually.

For more info on the blog workshops visit StimulusWorkshops

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Limited View

I have some issues with my local cinema.
Firstly, the majority of viewers come to eat rather than to watch the film.
A surround-sound of shuffling and crackling packets makes it impossible to hear what anyone is saying for the first twenty minutes.
As the trailers begin I’m already thinking, “If I was a dictator…”
But of course, if I were a dictator I’d have more important things to do than ban noisy eaters from cinemas.
My second issue is the existence of Premier seats, those indulgent armchair seats that cost extra and take the best part of the cinema.
For me, these seats are a symbol of all that’s wrong with our society. Every square inch has a price. You can no longer have a decent seat for just turning up early.
Must every little comfort really incur a charge?
Will we soon be paying an additional charge for sitting down on a bus, and eventually for clinging onto the bar?
Next there’ll be tracks in Oxford Street. The lane nearest the shop windows will be the most expensive and the free lanes will veer in and out of the traffic.
Oh we’ll never allow that, you say.
But not so long ago we had a tax on windows. If you couldn’t pay they’d come along and brick them up.
These charges will creep in so we barely notice them, until one day we wake up and submissively pop a pound in a metre for the first breath of the day.
Last week the Premier section at my local cinema was completely empty.
A staff member sat in the aisle guarding its emptiness from people that assumed, wrongly, that their ten pound ticket entitled them to a normal position in the cinema.
Nope, ten pounds gets you a seat at the back or at the front.
It seemed churlish to stop people enjoying those seats when no one else was coming for them.
Frankly, Premier seats give me the creeps.
Elitism doesn’t belong in the cinema.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Shop Girl Diaries - The Audio Book

You're on the train, squashed in between an armpit and a rucksack.
A pony tail tickles your nose.
It belongs to a woman in front of you, who's talking (too loudly) about a wild night out.
You want to tell her it's too early to be talking about these things, but she's wearing new trainers and you're afraid.
More people squeeze in.
Even the smug people with kindles can't raise their arms to read.
You close your eyes and breath deeply.
You're so glad you decided to buy it on I-tunes.
Leaning a little on the rucksack behind you, you dig into your pocket and press play on your mobile.
The lively voice speaks into your ear... telling you a story that makes you forget where you are and where you're going.
The Audio Book has arrived.
Enjoy and please give it a good rating!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

The Current Moo-d

I’m in the mountains.
It’s where we’ll retreat to when the system crashes.
We’ve already decided how we’ll survive. We’ll get a cow in here like we did the sofa. We’ll hoist it up a four-storey building and keep it in the spare room.
We won’t eat the cow. She’ll provide the milk for our tea.
Tea is essential in a crisis.
Additional protein will come in the form of woodworm. There’s a bout of it going around the village, the man in the paint shop has never sold so much spray.
My father has one eye on the news at all times. He’s mostly interested in the stock markets, which I have yet to understand.
Meanwhile, the 15M movement that sparked the protests in Spain has spread to Israel.
In Tel Aviv 300,000 people took to the streets today in protest against high living costs.
The appeal of these movements is that it brings opposing sides together; right, left, religious, secular, Arab, Jew.
If we can transcend our differences so we can begin to listen to each other, then all the better.
Twitter went mad with tweets in Hebrew and Arabic.
Only one stood out in English: “To Israelis: when you demand your rights, remember that there are Palestinians with no rights; no voices to demand it”
Well, that’s all very well, but perhaps is too easy to point the finger at the general Israeli people.
What about the military missions of our own government? By the same judgement, we are also to blame for occupation and the murder of innocents.
Meanwhile the Pope is coming to Madrid.
Frankly, he might do better going to Somalia, which has been pushed aside to fit in all the other news. At least it might attract some media attention there.
And finally, London is burning.
So, you can see why I’m hiding away in the mountains.
I just need to find a cow.