Friday, 25 May 2007

Everything Is Bigger In Texas . . . I Should Fit Right In

Before I head over to Texas for a little getaway I’ll post up ‘The Autobiography Of A Non-Smoker Who Kind Of Smoked . . . Part 3’, the final instalment. Excited? You should be! This is going to be bigger than Ocean's 13 . . . Bigger than Pirates Of The Caribbean 3 . . . Bigger than the record breaking blockbuster Spiderman 3! The trilogy to end all trilogies is almost here!

Yeah, anyway . . .

Apart from that it’ll be a little while before I put up any new material on here. I’ll try to jump online while I’m in the States and check out all your sites, but it’s quite likely that I’ll be too busy enjoying myself. Either that or sleeping . . . I’m cool with either or.

I’m working on a few projects of interest at the moment so there is a lot to look forward to upon my return. Here are a few of the titles:

-‘Crazy Black Women’
-‘How To Ruin A Date’
-‘A Tale Of Krispy Kreme’s’
-‘Who Really Pays More For A First Date, Men Or Women?’
-‘No Days Off’

You can’t grasp too much from the titles, but I can assure you that they’ll have ‘A Darker Shade Of Black’ written all over them. That includes the humour, shameless honesty and alternative perspectives.

Stay tuned for ‘The Autobiography Of A Non-Smoker Who Kind Of Smoked . . . Part 3’.
A to the . . .

Friday, 18 May 2007

The Autobiography Of A Non-Smoker Who Kind Of Smoked . . . Part Two

Half Baked

My girlfriend (the ex from part one) wasn’t a bad girl; she was sweet, funny and a little bit off the wall at times; but certainly not bad. Well I never saw her dark side at least. The same girl did try to get me high though, not so innocent after all. She didn’t only puff on tobacco; she liked the green leaves also.

I never used to drive back then so after our dates we would stroll around the streets delaying ‘home time’. Chatting about whatever, and sharing more than a few jokes. We ended up walking through a quiet residential area and she pulled out a joint she had rolled earlier.

I didn’t like the fact that she smoked, or that she got high either. It didn’t bug me enough to break up with her so it wasn’t really a big issue at all. The pros outweighed the cons.

‘I want see what you’re like when your high’, she said it with a suggestive smile. ‘Light it up then’ I replied. She didn’t think that I would try it, she thought I was just messing about . . . she wasn’t aware that I had tried ‘funny’ cigarettes before. I kept my cool and played it off like it was nothing. She took the first hit and passed it to me. Her face had a huge grin plastered on; I took a drag, inhaled and exhaled blowing the smoke just past her face, as if to confirm that I had taken it in.

‘How do you feel?’ she asked. I felt normal, as if I had just finished a glass of water. Her face was clearly disappointed so she handed me the joint once more, ‘Do it again, you didn’t do it properly.’ I took another hit, deeper this time. I inhaled with my mouth open so she could follow the smoke into my lungs, and exhaled. She stared for a short while . . .
‘how do you feel now?’

I felt normal. Drugs are a disappointment.

OK, rewind back to 2003 . . . you remember my friend who generously handed me cigarettes at will right?

Well . . . he had his own flat for about 3 or 4 months. He got hooked up by one of his dads friends who had decided to move in with his girlfriend. My friend got the flat for £20 a week . . . great init?

He also inherited a massive tub of weed (cannabis). The chunk was larger than a tennis ball.

It was also drier than sand in the desert! It must have been older than both of our combined ages. We didn’t know what to do with it so we waited for another buddy to come around with his roll up skills. Four of us ended up sharing the joint . . . we puffed, puffed and puffed . . . no one got high . . . might as well have rolled up begonias.

It wasn’t until a month later that I felt the hit of drugs. The same friend (it’s a good thing that I don’t hang around with this guy anymore) asked me to meet him at his aunt’s house before we went out to a club. His aunt had generously rolled up a little treat for us. It wasn’t weed though, it was some dirty cheap stuff, and I think its called Ash, Skunk or Punk. It’s like black soot.

I should have said ‘no’ when he asked me to try it, but there were three of us there and I didn’t want to be chilling out with two stoned guys trying to make sense of their ramblings . . . I wanted to be rambling too.

I will never try that sh*t again as long as I live! It was nasty, went straight to my head and felt like I had been punched between the eyes. That junk slowed me down, I didn’t even want to go to the club when we left . . . I just wanted to wash that junk out of my system, or sleep it off.

I was disappointed in myself for trying it, what was I thinking? It wasn’t like me to even be smoking cigarettes, talk less of class C drugs. OK, it’s not exactly heroin or cocaine, but it was stupid nonetheless. I knew I wouldn’t have a problem with it even if I did enjoy the high (which I didn’t); I just wanted ease my curiosity and be able to say that I had done it. Well I think that’s what I was thinking at the time . . . who actually wants to be a stoner?

Evidently I didn’t do enough drugs to lecture anyone against it, but you don’t need dementia and hundreds of needle pokes in your arms to say that drugs are bad. Go and watch Requiem For A Dream.

Part 3 (yeah there’s more) coming up next.

A to the . . .

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

"This Love Has Taken It's Toll On Me"

Maroon 5 are due to release their highly anticipated follow up LP on the 21st of May. Their first album, ‘Songs About Jane’ is a personal favourite of mine. I never heard the album until last year, which makes me extremely late because it was released in 2002. Who takes five years to record an album anyway? They do, and it better be good . . . it better be great in fact!

Their second LP is titled ‘It Won’t Be Soon Before Long’. I haven’t heard the album yet . . . BUT I do have it already. The internet is a beautiful place.

I’ve heard the group’s first single of the new album, 'Makes Me Wonder', and like it a lot. It sounds fresh, funky and reminds me of their first album. I don’t like the video though, no idea where they were going with that concept. Pink, purple and strobe lighting? What’s that all about Johnny?

If ‘Songs About Jane’ was so great I wouldn’t be typing this up now, it’s really that simple. Nobody has ever told me that that album is ‘ok’ or ‘alright’ . . . when I mention it to people who have heard it they insist on singing their favourite songs . . . all of them . . . in track order . . . and yes I must join in, it’s a social law.

“This love has taken its toll on me,
She said goodbye, too many times before.
Her heart is breaking in front of me,
I have no choice, ‘cos I won’t say goodbye anymore.”
– This Love

It’s serious business people.

Lyrically ‘Songs About Jane’ is watertight. They kept away from the corny themes and cheesy one-liners. What you get on this album is a lot of depth and honesty. It’s not hard enough to be consumed by a male dominated audience, and it’s not soft enough for the ladies to claim it as their own. Unlike most of these R’n’B pansies out there who just write albums to serenade women, Maroon 5’s LP swings heavily in the favour of the gents. It’s still emotional, but not the heartbreak hotel vibe you get from James Morrison’s ‘Undiscovered’ or Damien Rice’s (throw yourself in front of a train because she left you) ‘O’.

‘Songs About Jane’ is like a testimony of the bands failed relationships . . . but it’s like ‘hey we got over it’ and had some good times along the way.

“But I cannot forget
Refuse to regret
So glad I met you and
Take my breath away
Make everyday
Worth all of the pain that I have
Gone through” – The Sun

It’s classed as a rock/pop album, I prefer to qualify it was rock/funk. It’s not your typical ‘loud’ rock-pop album designed to disturb the neighbours and keep your parents out of your bedroom. It’s extremely well composed. You can actually hear the piano, the crisp and controlled hits of the snare drum, hi-hats and bass kicks; you can visualise the symbols as they crash and fade out with each stroke.

The band most certainly does use and abuse the electric guitar but so much melody comes out of it. The opening track ‘Harder To Breathe’ is as reckless as it gets, and that’s mainly on the chorus. The chaos is justified considering the songs content.

“You drain me dry and make me wonder why I'm even here
This double vision I was seeing is finally clear
You want to stay but you know very well I want you gone
Not fit to f**kin' tread the ground that I am walking on” – Harder To Breathe

Not exactly one for the ladies is it? There is no more swearing on the rest of the album, I guess they just needed to get a few things off of their chest. Don’t run ladies, there is some ‘kissing-up’ involved in this LP. It’s not a woman bashing album. The second single ‘She Will Be Loved’ was not an isolated track released to attract a larger female audience. Add to that list ‘Sunday Morning’ (my favourite track along side The Sun), and ‘Sweetest Goodbye’.

If ‘It Won’t Be Soon Before Long’ can match up to the calibre of ‘Songs About Jane’ I’ll have it looping on my iPod. If not then I’ll try to find Damien Rice’s second album called ‘9’. I really shouldn’t listen to his 'cry-baby' anthems but he really knows how to put an emotion into a song . . . its scary stuff.

A to the . . .

Saturday, 12 May 2007

The Autobiography Of A Non-Smoker Who Kind Of Smoked . . . Part One

I wouldn’t say I was ever a smoker; I had a few puffs in my time that’s all . . . quite a few puffs actually.

On the 1st of July 2007 a public smoking ban will be enforced in Britain. It’s about time if you ask me . . . filthy habit. This doesn’t mean that the public will not be allowed to smoke. It means that they will not be allowed to smoke in public. It pains me that I have to make this clear.

Apart from being able to leave a bar without smelling like cigarettes I’m not too sure how else this will affect my life.

I have fond memories of cigarettes, and I rarely smoked. I can vividly remember most drags and a little story that came along with it.

I had my first smoke in 1992; I was seven years old at the time. I was hanging out with my sister and two other friends; it was a cold and wet day. The kind of day where kids don’t play outside; they stay at home making noise and disturbing the domestic peace. We found our way outside though, for one reason only. One of our buddies had found a packet of cigs which had one remaining. I didn’t think to ask him where it was found, I just wanted in on the action. The four of us hid under a staircase which led up to a flight of flats where they lived . . . this was literally at the side of my house. Not a good move.

We sat in a circle and passed the cigarette around. It looked like fun until my turn came along . . . I didn’t know how to smoke. I sucked on the butt and nothing came out . . . lame. I exhaled anyway hoping that some smoke would appear . . . nothing. The cigarette was taken from me and I never held it again.

The fact that I never actually smoked didn’t stop my mum from giving me a beating for smoking. This was quite unjust if you ask me. We were unaware at the time but our friend’s mother had spotted us. Didn’t she know the street code? You don’t Snitch!

A Decade Later

My first real smoking experience never came until I was eighteen (early 2003). I’ve always had a firm personal stance against smoking, filthy habit. Drinking? . . . Now that was a whole different ball game. I would go to bars with my friends and get drunk; after I got drunk I would mellow out in a corner or facedown on a stool by a table and get all reflective about my life. PARTY ANIMAL!!! . . . not quite.

My best friend at the time had recently taken up smoking. I asked him for a cigarette and like most friends who want the best for you he obliged, and handed me a lighter with it.

It burned my throat when I first inhaled. He told me this was normal because I had ‘Virgin Lungs’ . . . meh . . . the next few drags felt better . . . then the next few cigarettes felt better.

This process continued for a few months. I would go out, get drunk and then mooch free cigs from my mates.

I was so close to becoming a smoker and I didn’t even realise until one day I strolled past a corner shop and wanted to go inside to buy cigarettes. I didn’t have enough money on me and was too lazy to go and withdraw cash. That’s when I realised that I had better stop all of this smoking nonsense before I actually became a smoker.

The problem is that I never had a serious problem. I literally quit just like that, it wasn’t even an issue for me. This is probably why I found myself smoking again two years later. It was nothing to me.

Two Years Later

A couple of years later I was hanging out of my bathroom window puffing on a cigarette that I had won the previous week. So shameful I know.

I had met up with my girlfriend (now ex girlfriend) at a bar. It was September 05, I was twenty-one, the sun was shining and I had recently graduated from University. Life was going well.

We chilled at an outside table chatting away about things I can’t care to remember. She pulled out a deck of card and we played a few hands while we conversed. I wasn’t on a hot streak that day; I was just so good that I didn’t lose. I was getting cocky now so we decided to make it ‘interesting’.

She never had much on her . . . a choc bar, comb, two lighters and a packet of cigarettes. I guess she thought that the laws of probability would turn and favour her . . .

. . . I won it all!

I cleaned her out and popped all of her things into a draw string bag. I had planned on returning them to her at a later date . . . but I ended up hanging out of a window smoking the cigarette in my bathroom. It was 1am and I couldn’t sleep . . . meh . . . I haven’t smoked since, high five anybody?
Part Two Coming Up Next
A to the . . .

Monday, 7 May 2007

I Should Have Been In 300

I’m so serious this time around. 300 is the best film I’ve watched on the big screen this year, and only two things disappoint me about it. Well three things actually, but I don’t want to ruin the film for anyone who hasn’t seen it.

I hadn’t been to the cinema much before 300 was released and therefore saw no trailers of the movie. I didn’t even know the movie existed until I came across a website and some dude was like “yeah man, this is the best kick ass movie of all time”. Or something like that, I forget his exact words but he rated it over Die Hard so I was impressed. Die hard is serious business.

The adverts started appearing on TV and I was in awe . . . this wasn’t the kind of film I wanted to download and watch on a 15 inch laptop screen with the lights out, a bottle of Supermalt and a few bags of corner shop popcorn, nah.

After I watched the film (on the second weekend of its release) I had this urge to fight . . . guys know what I mean, it’s a blood pumping movie. It was quite late though and all the street kids were probably at home putting up stolen items for sale on eBay. The cinema car park was pretty much empty so I just jumped in the car and went home thinking to myself, ‘I should have been in 300.’

What makes me eligible? A few things actually.

Firstly, and most importantly I am the owner of a well maintained six pack. Not many men can boast of this, and if you’ve seen the movie you’ll know that this is a requirement.

Secondly, the 300 soldiers lacked flavour. I think you know what I mean . . . they needed a few black men I their ranks. Wouldn’t have made much of a difference to the outcome, but it would have certainly changed how I felt about the ending . . . can’t say too much of course, some people haven’t seen the film so excuse my vagueness.

I am an excellent wielder of the sword. I once won a fight with the assistance of a cricket bat . . . all’s fair in love and war.

I hope you’re beginning to see my point, I pretty much feel snubbed by the producers and I’m sure the following people do also.

Gennaro Gattuso

If the killer beard isn’t enough to solidify his 300 status, then maybe his bad ass persona does. Gattuso is what I call a ‘professional fouler’; it’s better to play with than against him. In the world of football (soccer) bad boys he is up there with the likes of Roy Keane, Vinnie Jones and Zinadine ‘Don’t talk about my sister’ Zidane. Less talk, more action, always up for a fight.
Prince Harry

This kids desire to go to war is intense. I don’t know what exactly he wants to prove or do out there, but he certainly has the hunger. I recon he’d knock off a few Persians before the Monarchy requested his hasty return home. It’s a shame too, because every man counts.
John Prescott

He is the British MP who punched a guy in the face for throwing an egg on his head . . . nuff said.
Lisa Nowak

Nowak is 100% ‘insane crazy’, an asset for any infantry troop. For those of you who missed the story click here. She taught me that anything worth loving is worth fighting for and can possibly drive you to insanity . . . a constructive insanity which breeds a hazardous and destructive psychosis that’ll scare the crap out of any opposition.

I think you will agree that those of us listed have been greatly ill-treated and our involvement would have intensified the zeal of 300. If a sequel is made, expect to see me in it.

A to the . . .

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Care Less

Cool, calm and collected, nah, I’m just careless . . . or maybe I just care less? It’s hard to figure out. I’m just trying to stress less, and keep it together. Trying to focus and look past the dirt on the lens, because I’m sure there is much more to be seen up ahead.

So I seem distant . . . that’s only because I’m not here totally, in fact most of me is where I’m supposed to be . . . thinking . . . how did I allow myself to get in disposition?

So accept my apologies if I come across rude, I am listening. Don’t worry yourself about how I look and don’t ask me what I’m thinking . . . ask me what I think . . . about what you’re saying of course. That should snap me out of it.

So accept my apologies if I come across careless, appearing to care less. I’m not intentionally trying to hear less, but my mind will digress to what’s not been attended to.

Yeah we could talk about it, but I don’t want to talk about it, I just want to care less. Don’t take it the wrong way. Plus you wouldn’t understand what I’m unable to explain . . . or the smile on a face which appears so careless.

A to the . . .