Monthly Archives: Dec 2016

Especially for You

Dear readers,

I gather that I have a few new followers of my blog of late, which happen to be students of mine. I have been very touched by their positive comments about my blog and myself. It means so much. 

Talking of school, I know I shouldn’t really talk about students and activities, but coming towards the end of the year, teachers often feel like students (shattered) so we tend to do less serious activities which often prompt little works of wonder. One activity I did today was based on the Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan 80s cheesefest, Especially for You, and students had to write a naff poem based on the naff lyrics of this song. 

To many people reading, especially from these corners of the world, you will probably not understand the significance of Kylie and Jason, or Charlene and Scott. These days, I don’t watch soap operas, although I was a fan for a while of EastEnders and Neighbours. You have to understand that British soap operas often, they say, reflect the very tragic events of the working class, and not glammed up like they often are in Mexican or Colombian telenovelas. If, however, Albert Square (the setting for EastEnders) were real, one would think the place is cursed; you know something awful would happen to you if you moved there. Whether it truely reflects British life is debatable, but watching it daily could induce depression after a while. Yet, some Brits like that. Misery porn, let’s call it. I have to be careful what I say; I have a distant cousin who writes for EastEnders. I will finish this paragraph by saying that I always wished Phil Mitchell and Kathy got it back on. They can’t though. ‘Cos Kathy’s dead.

British soap opera fans looking for slightly lighter touch of life often turn to those in Australia. Now the Australians are quite the experts at creating ridiculous storylines, such as people dying and coming back to life (maybe Phil and Kathy could have got back together if they’d been from Down Under), which I believe are quite similar to soap operas in the aforementioned countries, Mexico and Colombian. They include beautiful looking people with money or middle classes, and plots involving loved cheats or scandals. I used to watch Neighbours when I was young. It was on BBC1 at 5.35pm. Home & Away would then start at 6pm on ITV. The TV was almost synchronised to change channels by itself, as my sister and I watched on glued to the ridiculous plots. By bedtime I would be able to perfectly mimic a resident from Sydney. Australian telenovelas, as naff as they are, helped launch pop star and acting careers of quite famous Hollywood actors. Guy Pearce, Naomi Watts and Russell Crowe come to mind. But the biggest in the eighties were the aforementioned Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan, who were girlfriend/boyfriend in real life, as well on-screen that captured the hearts and minds of folk in the UK. Cometh, some clever clogs in the music industry took advantage of the europhoria of this romance and had them write and sing a song together, making millions and a chart topping single. That single was, yes you guessed it, Especially for You.

Suffice to say, my students, who have been brought up with very critical minds through having a French education, thought the song was utter shite, but they nonetheless followed through with naff poems of their own, which I think they enjoyed, secretly. Because I made my students write daft poems, I thought it was only fair that I write one myself. 

So, for Pamela, this naff poem which goes without a name, is especially for you.

You are always in my heart,

When we’re together, we’re apart

You’re sweeter than a French tart,

And I have a million presents for you in my Amazon shopping cart.

I even love the smell of your farts,

Like fresh flowers on the morning cart,

I love seeing your face as the day starts,

That’s why you’re always in my heart.

I’m pleased to say that the students enjoyed it. Now I await Pamela’s response.


Becoming Shades

​Dear readers,

While sparse, I like to use my blog to bring wonderful projects to people’s attention. I remember back to 2010 when I was raising money to come to these shores and work with street kids, I relied on the good will of many people who might be reading these very words. So, here it goes.

The project in question is actually an underground circus based in London. For those with an aversion of clowns and depressed animals being forced to do tricks (are you the sort that hopes the lion or elephant breaks trance mid performance, wrecks havoc, runs free or feels amormous towards a Ronald McDonald looking clown, in front of many startled eyes? Me too), do not turn away. This circus is far more cutting edge than the norm, using acrobatics, fire and music to perform the Greek myth of Persephone, who was kidnapped by Hades, God of the Underworld. I am not as familiar with this particular myth, but if you love literature and enjoy the tumultuous arts as much as me, this could be the circus for you too. The problem for me is that I live an odd 8,000 miles away. If you’re based in Europe, you’re a lucky sod.

I won’t say too much about the show itself, mainly because I don’t know masses, but I also don’t want to lift too much information from the website which you can see for yourself at this link. The show is being created the Chivaree Circus, run by Edward Gosling and Laurane Marchive, two people I have never had the joy of meeting. I am, however, very familiar with the show’s musician, Sam West, who has featured on my blog a few times, as he is indeed my cousin. Sam is usually a social creature who moved down to London from Glasgow a year or so ago after many years with his band the Fortunate Sons (Pamela and I used his song Poets as the first song at our wedding), but in recent months he has become very much a hermit to gather his creative juices and concentrate on creating a great piece of work for Becoming Shades.

The show will take place on 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th January 2017 at the Vaults in Waterloo. There are no seats, with the show taking place above and beside and all around you. A ticket costs £20, which just about covers a wage for the artists who have put a lot of time and effort into this show, flyers etc. 

The show will only take place with the company Kickstarter if it raises an initial £5,000. I am not sure how Kickstarter works exactly, but it does help shows like this come to life, which is most important in an age where Europe’s austerity seems to be swallowing up independent art shows such as this. To be honest, having lived out in Honduras up to six years, I have no idea how these shows survive or are funded. I can only tell you how great Becoming Shades is through the conviction and enthusiasm of my cousin. Anyone can donate money to the show through the link. Sorry if this seems unclear, but the details are explained on the website. Maths was never my strong subject. If you can donate a little something (or a big something, if you’re able), it would be much appreciated. 

In the meantime, I guess I better read about Persephone to get me up to speed on the story.