Highlander as a role model

So eventually returning to the hero series it’s time to talk about my next role model. He is Duncan MacLeod, The Highlander.

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Now with Highlander and indeed the next hero we have something a little different because where the heroes before were heroes from my childhood influencing me as I grew up. But I came across Highlander one night watching sky back in around 1994 if I remember right (either way it was half way through series two). By now I was what could be considered a young adult but I believe that we can always find mentors, role models and lessons throughout our lives so there was still stuff I could learn from Duncan MacLeod.
For a start there is the fact that once again we have a sword bearing hero and to be fair the sword fight scenes in the series are one of the highlights. But unlike He-man and Robin of Sherwood this is just a normal everyday sword not some magical powerful artefact although the lighting effects that follow a beheading is cool. MacLeod is also very well trained in martial arts (as is Adrian Paul, the actor who plays him) and it was because of watching this programme that I eventually took up martial arts myself including sword work.
Now I’ll be the first to admit that I was not that good at it, I didn’t practise as much as I should have and at times I found it quite difficult. I did it for about a year but I did get to my yellow belt (the first upgrade) so it’s still something I can be proud of.
The show also taught me to be aware of life itself and how short it is. There is one episode where MacLeod berates a fellow immortal of not following his dreams stating that most people grow old and die before realising them. This to me is a great lesson that we should get out there. Life is for living and to strive for our goals. It’s interesting that Macleod and the final two heroes on the list are immortal in a way or at least live longer than normal lives. It does show that immortality can be more of a curse and what it means to be human.

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MacLeod also shows other traits such as personal honour, a sense of moral duty and an acceptance for who you are. If we take a look at the character we see that in his life he has fought in many wars and taken down many immortals and mortals. He is at heart a warrior raised by a warrior clan in the 1400’s. Where you could draw a similarity with the early MacLeod and He-man, both being warriors He-man is always a clear cut good guy. It is impossible for him to do bad things. MacLeod on the other hand has chosen sides in wars, he has killed people. He is more realistic and therefore not as clear a hero as He-man. The same can be said with Spider-man in that Spider-man never aims to kill anyone. The closes comparable hero we have looked at so far then is Robin Hood where we have someone who has chosen to fight for honour even if it means having to kill at times. (and it should be just pointed out here that I’m not justifying killing per say but that it does mark these two heroes as flawed heroes or even to a degree antiheroes.
Here is a role model who in later life is disciplined and uses meditation to reflect on problems in his life and to bring calm. Thus he is able to balance his role as a warrior and being peaceful. Many time in my life I have battled my way through life that sometimes it has felt like I’ve been fighting a hard battle and sometimes I need to step back and take a rest and enjoy the good things I have in my life. Such times have come and gone but there has always been some other good thing come along and that keeps me fighting against the difficult things in life.

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Finally in his final episode there is a line where he thanks fellow immortal Methos saying that he has taught him that life is about change, about accepting who you are, good or bad. He knows he has done some bad things in his life, as mentioned above, even if he believed he was right at the time. But he has come to accept who he has been and made peace with that. This too is a lesson that can be taken from the show. I have made mistakes in my past and there is nothing I can do to change them but I can learn from them and move on and try to be a better person. The part about accepting change is also very poignant. Over the course of the series through the use of flashbacks we see how his life had changed and it highlights how people and places have come into and out of his life. In the second season we see his long term girlfriend killed and after a time MacLeod had to move on. The fact that the song Dust in the wind is used following the aftermath of Tessa’s death is very apt. It is something that I have kept in mind ever since that people and situations will change throughout my life and I’ve learnt to enjoy the moment knowing that it can soon be gone. Uni is a great example of this as I was very aware that it would end one day.
MacLeod therefore ends up being the role model that makes me look at my inner self and to my past and try to find peace with myself and that past. He also make me more aware of my limited time in the world and to try and make the most of it. To enjoy friends and adventures while I can.

 

Musings on death

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This wasn’t planned for the blog. I’ve been working on a couple of pieces including the next hero blog when lying in bed last Thursday night (28th December) and suddenly had to go back onto my laptop and onto Facebook for something. There in the little trending column something caught my eye. Sue Grafton, Author dead. Sad news indeed. But then I had only just discovered her books, The Alphabet mystery Series starring private detective Kinsey Millhone about two years ago when I then started collecting them and currently making my way through the range. I can’t even remember now how I came to learn about them, some research for University if I remember correctly. In fact in a bit of an odd synchronicity I had just finished reading F is for Fugitive the day before. I felt saddened of course but partly because the mystery line now ends. She had written books A to Y. Z is for Zero would have been the last final novel for Kinsey. But now that will never come to pass. An incomplete series. When I get to Y is for Yesterday and finish it I’ll know that will be it, the story not quite complete. It is of course it is completely selfish on my part. But I’ve never met Sue Grafton, never talked to her or even seen her on TV. She is a name on a range of books I’m reading and a Wikipedia entry I’ve read through.
Then again personal mourning is in a way selfish. We feel sad because we will miss the person gone. Words not said, things left undone, a suitcase of memories and still frames in your mind. We feel sad because their going means a change in our own lives.
I think on that night as I read through various comments from other people about adding my own comment. About how I’m one of her readers, new but still now a part of this group of admirers and fans. I don’t. Somehow I don’t feel I have the right. I’m not saying that those who did comment didn’t either. There was some lovely messages posted. But while I’m here I will admit that at the very least Kinsey in a little way influenced parts of my own novel and the character of Bernice in my book so I’m grateful to Sue for giving me that as well as the pleasure of reading her novels. But it’s Kinsey that I’m going to miss. The character has died alongside her creator without closure. I hate unfinished business.
It is an odd thing to feel sadness for some celebrity that has passed on. With friends and family it is people you have been close to who, as I said above, have left a hole in your life. But when it comes to a celebrity death the hole that is made is because we can still feel a connection to that person because they have somehow touch our lives. The first celebrity that really touched me was George Peppard. Cigar chopping leader of the A Team that had thrilled me as a kid. That’s all I knew him from, I knew nothing of his film career before. To me it wasn’t George Peppard that had died it was Hannibal Smith. It was part of my childhood. It was years later I found out about his feud with Mr T and feeling disappointed that this image of a team of actors coming together to make this show hadn’t got on. I wanted the chance to tell him that not everyone preferred Mr T to Hannibal. I wanted to be like Hannibal with the plans and the leadership. (Although Murdock was my favourite cause he was funny)
You see it’s that personal connection. Whilst writing this I glance through the BBC webpage of notable deaths for 2017. Sue Grafton isn’t on it. Colin Dexter is. The creator of Inspector Morse. He died in March, I didn’t know. His death brings a sense of ‘oh’. I was more saddened by Morse actor John Thaw’s death. The person I had seen playing Inspector Morse. I’ve never read the books. I feel disconnected.
Much of course has been made about the infamous 2016 where we seemed to lose a load of big name celebrities. Alan Rickman, Bowie, Prince. For me personally it was Robert Vaughn again the A Team but before that The Man from Uncle another programme I grew up watching. And then of course Hustle. A series I watched from start to finish and quite often watch the repeats. At least Hustle got a final end. But when I think of Robert Vaughn I think of Albert Stroller or Napoleon Solo because I don’t know Robert Vaughn. I don’t know what he was really like. I have only his characters to go on.
See these are my ‘heroes’, they are supposed to be around for ever, immortalised. That’s why we feel shock and sadness when we see a favourite TV character die. Something that the soaps have capitalised on for the Christmas season. No longer is it the season to be jolly but instead an excuse to pull at the heartstrings with some beloved character killed off. Its characters that we have got to know, an insight to some made up world that we become a part of. Their story finished. (Unless it’s a superhero/villain or any character created by Steven Moffat that we know will probably somehow get resurrected in some way). We as humans do seem to have some morbid curiosity with death.
As a Doctor Who fan I felt sad when Jon Pertwee died in 1996 but it’s been watered down somewhat since because stories of the third Doctor continued on. First with novels and now Big Finish have a range with Tim Treloar doing the voice. The third Doctor carries on much like how David Bradley recently did the first Doctor this Christmas. ‘Sort of a way of cheating death’. But this is years after the actor has passed on. When popular ex companion actress Liz Sladen died in the middle of filming the fifth series of the Sarah Jane Adventures the series aired with only the completed episodes. The loss to raw, the idea of recasting or carrying on the shoe somehow deemed (quite rightly) unthinkable. The wound still fresh, the story brought to a sudden and unplanned finish. I hate unfinished business. Of course not all fans like the idea of these recasts but in some ways at least they remain ‘almost’ faithful to their original portrayal. I suppose that’s why I hate remakes. The A Team film, The Dukes of Hazard films, reboots of childhood favourites that doesn’t match the original. A tarnished version. At least with Ghostbusters (2016) they used new characters. I’m ok with Hawaii Five 0 because I never watched the original and there is no connection. (I’m surprisingly ok with the new MacGyver as well though I was sceptical at first.)
But I’m getting slightly off topic. The fact is would I had felt differently about the death of Sue Grafton if she had already finished the range? I have to answer an honest yes, to a degree. Because I’m still working through those novels and I have a way to go. They are currently part of my life and the death hangs over them now like a shadow. It would still sadden me a little when I had read it that night and then it would have been put in the back of my mind like some of the others this year such as Rodney Bewes, Keith Chegwin and Sean Hughes, People I’ve watched in the past that bring a little sadness at their passing but that I’ve moved on from. Oddly enough I have been watching the Bottom Live shows. One last week, one tonight and it was tonight as I read written by Rik Mayell and Ade Edmondson that it hits me again that Rik is no longer with us. There will never be another Bottom, live or otherwise. With Rik dead so is that character now dead. When I now watch these shows I know I am watching something that will never be able to be continued. The same feeling I’ll get when I finally reach that ‘final’ novel. I hate unfinished business.

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But at least there is one glimmer I suppose we can take from writers, actors, singers, characters et al that we lose is that their work, which is their connection to us, will be their legacy. A lasting footprint on our world. Always personal, sometime cultural. Conan Doyle, Elvis Presley, Eric Morecambe all still remembered to this day. So the same can be said for the immortal characters created in this world. It will probably be many years before I reach that last novel. Maybe by then I will have finished my own novel, maybe even hopefully be published, my own little stake on immortally. As the Roman philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero said “The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living”.

What Christmas means to me

 

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Ok so it’s been a little while since I’ve been able to write any updates to my blog. This is mainly because of trying to reach a goal on my novel before Christmas as well as being busy over the Christmas period as well. In fact Christmas really started for me back at the start of November. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
First I want to take you (and myself) back to Christmas past and examine what Christmas was like for me when I was younger. As a kid I loved a lot of things around Christmas. Christmas Eve was always spent at the local club which in those days was always full of people from the village. There was music, food and drinking (Coke for us kids). About half eleven we would return home and be allowed to open one gift. Then it was to bed and one of my favourite times because as I floated off to sleep in my innocence of childhood I could hardly feel the empty stocking at the bottom of the bed. But come five in the morning and I would slowly wake up and feel the heavy weight. I would spend about five minutes just moving my feet around the stocking excited by the fact that it was simply there. At some age I came to realise that this would not last for ever and so I made special effort to try and remember the feeling over the years. It is one of the things I miss most about Christmas.
Then my brother and I would be up waking our poor parents and sitting on the bed unwrap the presents in the stockings. When that was done we were ordered back to our rooms for half an hour. My dad would get up to make the fire and we were eventually allowed down stair where spread over the two sofas were all the presents glistening in the firelight. Ok they weren’t really glistening being simply paper wrapped gifts but let’s allow a little artistic licence here.
So Christmas morning was spent opening presents, playing with new toys and eating lots of chocolate. As mentioned in the He-man blog the best Christmas I can remember is the one where I got lots of He-man toys and the memory of putting Castle Greyskull together with my dad. On other Christmases we would spend the morning at the club again, my brother and me playing endless games of pool. Eventually we would visit one of my Nans for Christmas dinner (and more presents) and then to my other Nan for a great big family tea with all members of the family coming together. Uncles, Aunts and cousins all there. This is how it continued for many years with the big family get together eventually changing to Boxing Day at my parents’ house.
But they say all good things come to an end. The amount of family coming on Boxing Day shrank. Eventually my one Nan passed away and my brother got married and had his own family. Over the years I’ve had girlfriends. So I’ve had the joy of spending Christmas morning with them opening each other gifts and for me over time the joy for me was not seeing what I had but watching others open their gifts and seeing their faces.
And so we move more into the present but not quite 2017. Being with someone allowed me to have somewhere there when going Christmas shopping. Yes most presents could be brought online but there is something great about going to a city centre especially one with a Christmas market. Bristol in the last couple of years has been one such place. The atmosphere, the smells and the unusual gifts on the stores made it special. And while I might have some idea of what I might buy people I love looking around until I see the perfect present for people. It’s one of the reason I hate to give money or gift vouchers to people. So even in adulthood there is joy to be had for Christmas.
This year however I found myself on my own. No one to go shopping with (and car troubles also limited me) and not really many gifts to buy anyway. But I still love Christmas and so tried to find other ways to enjoy the Christmas spirit. One way was helping put up my towns Christmas decorations. Starting in November and taking about six weeks to do I would spend my Sundays helping out and towards the end sometimes a whole weekend. Hence that’s where all my time has been spent recently. But when the day came for the switch on I felt excitement followed by a large sense of pride as my local town was lit up. A sense of pride that comes every night when I drive though my town. Plus there was a Dalek at the switch on (Don’t know why) where I was able to get a photo of myself with it. I also decorated my tree, something else I enjoy doing at Christmas spending hours trying to get it right. This year was about four hours (although it take an hour and a half to put the tree together. Four sets of lights, tinsel and bulbuls in a colour scheme (this year being silver and blue). Add in an evening spent wrapping presents to Christmas songs playing. These days I suppose the build up to Christmas means more to me then the day itself.
So Christmas Day a bit boring, waking up that morning by myself. A bit of breakfast, opening a present I’d brought for my alter ego. Then over to my parents, a drink down the club (which this year was surprisingly full) with my dad and Christmas dinner with my parents. My brother and family showed up later and the kids opened the presents brought by my parents and myself. That was exciting. Then home in front of the TV.
Boxing Day not so good. Only one family member (an uncle) coming for Boxing Day. But the evening was spent playing a board game with my parents before heading home and that’s Christmas over. But I had done my best to make it as good as I could. I even spent several hours Christmas Eve sending personal messages to friends on Facebook even those I hadn’t spoken to for ages. And I had pushed myself out a little bit by having my nails done a couple of weeks before for our last skittle game where a few free drinks were consumed. And to be fair although there was a bit of piss taking overall the reaction wasn’t as bad as I feared. I remember sitting waiting to have my nails done thinking do I really want to do this. But I have a couple of friends who have taught me to be myself and sod anyone else. And I was pleased with them.

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And so finally let’s try and look at what Christmas means for me in the future. The problem is it’s hard to tell without some supernatural being showing me. This time next year will I be with someone else, or more comfortable with myself that I can ask for more ‘female’ gifts? Will I still be in this town or even this country if plans come to fruition? One of the things I do at Christmas is watch Christmas films especially different versions of A Christmas Carol. And there is the message there to always keep Christmas in your heart. Yes that’s meant to be all year round and I like to think I do my best to help others where I can and try to be a good man person. But around this time next year I will again do my best to see what I can do to make Christmas special to me and those around me.
Hope everyone had a good Christmas and going forward a peaceful and happy New Year.

Robin Hood as a role model

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Ok this time we are going to look at another hero that I fell in love with when I was a child and that was Robin Hood. More pacifically the Robin Hood that was portrayed in the ITV series Robin of Sherwood but I will touch on other Robin Hoods that we have seen over the years.
I was about seven I think when Robin of Sherwood hit the screens and growing up surrounded by woodlands as you do when you live in the Forest of Dean I used to love pretending I was him as I ran through the woods playing with my friends. This wasn’t my first encounter with this character, I had of course seen Disney’s Robin Hood (and yes I do own it on DVD) and I can remember listen to records when I stayed with my nan including Gary Miller’s Robin Hood (and yes that song is on my MP3 player along with the theme from Robin of Sherwood and Everything I do I do it for you.) I’ve watched many of the films with Robin Hood from Sean Connery to Russell Crowe.
So I have always had a love for the character and its bleed through to other characters most notably I think is the Arrow, a show I really enjoy. It is like a cross between Batman and Robin Hood. Two of my favourite heroes rolled into one. My character on the online game Neverwinter is an archer and when I use to be into Warhammer years ago I collected Wood Elves.
So what is it I love about this character? Well like a lot of my heroes he fights for the small guy, trying to defend people’s rights. In the modern world he can be compared to someone fighting against the big corporate companies and there is something that I think many people can relate to.
There is also something of a sliding scale with the heroes I have listed so far. He-man is an accepted hero loved across Eternia, well except for Skeletor and his gang. Spiderman has had his stages of being a vigilante but is generally seen as a superhero plus his secret identity as Peter Parker allows his to live a normal life away from the world of Spiderman. Robin is an outlaw. In this respect he is more of an anti-hero as he is living outside the laws of the land. And it is clear that should he be caught then it would mean death. But this is a world where there is injustice and bad things happen to people because of those in charge. Robin Hood has given up his ‘normal’ life in order to fight against this system, the reason he now has to live in the forest in hiding. So from Robin Hood in general there is a role model that shows that sometimes you have to take a stand against injustice in the world and fight for the people.
But returning to Robin of Sherwood what I liked about this show was that it was steeped in mysticism. You had the supernatural aspect of Herne the Hunter and foes that used black magic. Robin himself was armed with Albion. A mystic sword with the powers of light and darkness. (Again a connection with He-man and his sword of power, I love swords) so this gave the show another edge where our hero is connected to the forces of nature. (This is something that will feed into another blog about my next blog about my beliefs) So this show at such a young age also provided in a way a connection to my spiritual or mystical side. The other thing I have learnt through this interpretation of the character is to be in touch with my spiritual side and to be at one with the natural forces around me. There is nothing I enjoy more than going for walks in the woodlands around me. Not only do I find it very relaxing but there is also a little bit of excitement from being in the woods that connect me to my childhood. (I’m also reminded of the speeder bike chase from Return of the Jedi) I find that not only does such walks relax me and gets me in touch with nature but it is also a chance to reflect on things in my life. Even the name of this blog has a connection to it.

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It should also be noted that Robin Hood is a leader of men. He-man may of lead but the people who fought alongside him were likeminded people who thought it was their duty to fight for good. Spiderman although teaming up with others at times is mainly a lone hero. What Robin Hood did was come along others and managed to get them to follow him in his fight making him an inspirational leader.

Robin Hood represents that part of me that wants to stand up for injustice, to be a light against the dark and inspire others to do the same but most of all it inspires me to be in touch with the more naturalistic side of myself.

Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters

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So for Halloween this year I decided to buy some popcorn and settle down to watch the original Ghostbusters film. As I was sorting things out and getting ready and with the knowledge that the clocks were going to be going back that night I also brought the new Ghostbusters from Sky stores.
Now I had never watched the new movie and to be honest up until now had no intention to. This wasn’t just because I had heard bad things about the movie which pout me off. I always prefer to make up my own mind and I was a fan of Ghostbusters. I like both movies and the original cartoon series. I had the figures, the toy proton pack (and also one I made a few years ago for a fancy dress party) I collected all the weekly comics when I was a kid although I got rid of them several years ago and I still have a Ghostbusters story book that was a Christmas gift back in the 80’s.
Neither was my reluctance was in any way due to the recasting of the Busters nor that the cast was all female. No I just on general don’t like remakes of things that I love form my childhood. Dukes of Hazard is one such example. I loved the show but the new movie sucked and I think this is in some parts due to the fact that they always seem to want to make remakes as all out comedies. Starsky and Hutch seems to be another movie that did this.
Now I understand that Ghostbusters were basically two films and not a series and in itself was a comedy but what I found about the original was that it was mainly subtle comedy. Peter Venkman is clearly the smart Alec and the others have comedy moments that comes as in Egon’s case his quirky character or in Ray Stanz’s case his reactions to the situations around him. But for the most part they play their roles in a believable way. It’s not slapstick but the comedy comes out of the lines that come out or even in some cases just a certain look. It is secondary character Louis that comes across as the comic relief.

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What I found with the new film that it just seems to be all four cast members trying to be the comic. Seriously look up Honest Trailers Ghostbusters on You Tube and see for yourself. Therefore it just comes across that the whole film just revolves around these four characters being in funny situations. Actually makes that five as Chris Hemsworth as useless receptionist Kevin also goes over the edge as the stupidest person on the face of the planet. With all this going on the film just seems to lack any tension which is a shame. Some of the comedy works, the scene where they go to rent the firehouse before finding out about the rent and ending up above a takeaway instead. However others such as Yates being bounced all over an alleyway but one of Holtzman’s new toys just comes across as cartoonish.
It also seems to take a long time to get started before we get to anything really exciting happening. There is a long build up to the Ghostbusters actually getting started. The idea of a villain who is trying to break down the wall between this world and the spirit world is interesting and he is quite a bland villain. Basically someone who had been bullied and wants to teach the world a lesson and at the start of the film it works well to have this bland villain who eventually kills himself to get into the spirit world. What should have happened then is to make the villain terrifying and ramp up the tension. Instead we get a possessed Kevin who just doesn’t seem like a threat. This film with some work could have been a lot better.
That’s not to say that the film is a complete disaster. There are some good parts. The opening scene was quite spooky. The actresses mainly do an ok job and Kate McKinnon’s Holtzman is a fantastic character. Seriously I would watch a sequel just to see more of this character. There are some nice nods to the original film such as the Marshmallow Man although Slimmer’s role seems a little too much. Maybe less reliance on these numerous nods would have allowed the film more breathing space. There are also some interesting cameos from the original cast. Some seem to be forced in but Dan Aykroyd’s taxi driver and Anne Potts as a receptionist. But the reboot as it stands goes for its own origin storyline instead of simply copying from the original. It’s not therefore four new cast members taking on the iconic roles (such as in the new rebooted Star Trek films) but are new characters which is good.
So despite watching it many times before I found the original 1984 film to be much better and much more enjoyable to watch. The 1984 film is also the one that I am more likely to watch again in the future but then maybe it’s just because it’s the one from my childhood.  Personally I think the new  film would have worked better as a continuation with a new crew being brought in to replace the 80’s team and maybe a mixed group of both sexes could have made a difference to how the film was received. However I still wouldn’t mind if this cast was brought back for a sequel as unlikely as that seems. After all the Star Trek franchise seemed to have on and off films throughout its run.
What do I think they should do differently next time? Tone down the comedy but a lot. Yeah you can still have McKinnon being out there and throw in a few moments of fun. The relationship between Gilbert and Yates was good. But get rid of all the over the top and physical comedy. I’d also have to say Kevin would have to go or his character changed a lot to be a bit more believable. It would also now have to stand on its own two feet. While it was fun with all the nods to the originals any sequel would be better off concentrating simply on its own merits. Being a Doctor Who fan I can easily compare this to the two ‘pilots’ of renewing the series. The 1996 movie contains various nods and takes time building up to the main story to establish the character of the Doctor. With the 2005 pilot Rose producer RTD does away with most of the ties to the original to start with and just establishes the new series. It worked a lot better.
The ending scene mentioning Zuul which would seem to indicate that any sequel would redo that story. Let’s hope that if a sequel does come round that they concentrate more on a good story then just setting up one comedic scene after another and trying to do fan service.

MX-5 Racing, Donington Park

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So for anyone who has read my first blog, six random facts about me, you’d have noticed that number three on that list as about my aims to get into racing somehow and that I’d been looking at the moment at the MX-5. You see when I mentioned about looking into racing to a friend of mine he suggested looking at MX-5. Followed by the announcement that he has two MX-5 cars, a mk1 and a mk2 that he would sell. He also suggested that I should look initially look at doing track days.
I quite like the idea of the mk2 as it would be fairly cheap and not need a lot of initial work but sadly on further research I found that the BR only races the mk1 and the mk3. It would also mean to make it ready for racing it would not be road legal meaning extra costs on the transport side. However the organizer of the MX-5 racing did send me a couple of tickets for the final races of the season at Donington Park so I could have a look around and talk to some of the drivers.
The event was over two days this weekend (14th and 15th October) and I had originally planned stopping over somewhere. Unfortunately most places were already booked up and I had to come back home anyway in the end.
But I did spend the Saturday at Donington Park which was my first visit to the site. Luckily the weather was really nice (very different to today as I write this I’m expecting it to tip down any minute). I’d missed the first qualifying race due to my Sat Nav still playing up. Never the less I got to see most of the other races. There was also some fiesta and Alfo Romeo races but I wasn’t really interested in watching them. This was after all a fact finding mission.
So during the breaks between MX-5 racings I had a look around the pits studying the race cars and getting some information from the drivers. The racers themselves seem like a nice community. If there was any rivalries I didn’t see it and I got the feeling that the whole thing was simply like-minded people enjoying the hobby that they were involved in.
I also realised there would be a lot of work and money involved in getting into this type of racing. Maybe not as much as some other types of racing but still costly. For example I was told that a set of tyres for the mk-3 is £450. Given that you’d probably get though a fair few tyres over a season this could mount up.
As for the car itself, well they are stripped down to the basics. In most cases its left with one seat and most of the electrics ripped out and replaced with racing parts. Then there is the roll cage on top. Maybe the thing that make me waver the most though was seeing some of the cars after a particular bad knock. One car to me seemed like a right off and I couldn’t help thinking that knowing my luck I’d write of the car within a couple of races.
So as much as I enjoyed the day and felt a bit at home it would seem my friend might be right about doing the track days. At least for now. It will give me a bit of practise going around the laps and as the car can be road worthy it would mean simply having to drive to the track. But I still will hold on to the dream of maybe being out there racing on the track one day. And I’m not even dreaming of winning. Just being part of the team and being out there would be enough for me. One day I will go back, yes one day.

 

Rainbowfest, Worcester

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So last night (22/9/17) I went to my first LGTB event. I had planned on going to Gloucester Pride earlier in the year but family commitments clashed. As it was my first time I had no idea what to expect and despite my enthusiasm to go I had reservations. The fact that it took place on a Friday and I couldn’t get the day off work meant that I would be arriving late as the event started at four. So it wasn’t until I left work at half five that I decided to change into the clothes I had brought with me and actually go. Even on the way up it was still a case of thinking that any moment I may just turn back. There was friend inviting me out for a few beers locally and having to drive to and from Worcester meant that I wouldn’t be able to drink at the show.
Never the less I carried on regardless even though my Sat Nav itself seemed by universal force trying to stop me by playing up and trying to take me to different places to the one I wanted to go. The song ‘I still haven’t found what I’m looking for’ playing on the CD as I try to reset google maps again never seemed so apt.
But I did get there eventually. Even if it did take an extra twenty minutes driving up and down a street trying to find the club. “You have reached your destination” claims my phone. “No this is someone’s house” I shout back and continue driving up and down roads. Finally the Sat Nav gives in and takes me to the right destination. I’m there, I park up in the car park. I sit there looking at the build watching various people come and go. I stay sitting there contemplating weather to go in or not.
I get a message from another friend who also lives in Worcester. She’s seen the Facebook message I’ve posted about getting lost on the way to Worcester. She wants to know what I’m doing there. I mention going to a club without going into details. I’m not ready yet. I tell her I’m not sure about actually going in or going home. She offers for me to visit if I back out, even a bed for the night. A second social invite. I’m in demand and here I am sat in my car undecided. My friend is five miles away by car. There is another problem looming. I need the loo. Really need the loo. Even if I was to take my friend up on her offer five miles is too far at this present time.
I take a deep breath and get out of the car. I make my way into the club. It’s just like a normal bar. There are a few people drinking, a couple playing pool. Some tables from the earlier events are now packing up. The show I’m here to see is in a function room next to the bar. After using the facilities I buy myself a pint and ask about tickets. I’m directed to a table by the door and I buy a wristband from the guy sat there and go in.
It’s not a packed event. There is maybe two dozen people there. I go to a table looking around as I do. Some of the guys there are really dressed up. Make up, dresses the works. They look amazing. I’m wearing gender neutral clothes, the only thing standing out on me is a pair of small double heart earrings I’m wearing. It’s good enough for me, I feel comfortable as I am.
There is a tent on one side of the room. Stood by a woman dressed only in bra, knickers and fishnet tights. A sign saying Roulette is there. £10 a go for anywhere from 3 to 8 minutes. Cuddles, Kisses, champagne and chocolate. Over the night I see a couple of guys go with her into the tent. I’ll admit I’m curious even tempted but hell I was nervous enough to come into the club, let alone into a tent with some girl no matter how cute she looks.
Either way I know the next day I’m likely to regret not going for it but also that if I did go into the tent I’ll probably regret that the next day. Life is philosophically screwed that way.
I watch the drag act on stage. It’s the main one I’ve come to see, the person is someone I know. Miss Felicia. I even get a wave when I get spotted sitting there. Miss Felicia does a couple of songs and that’s that act finished. Bloody sat Nav making me half an hour later than expected has made me miss most of the act. I’ve also missed the other act that I wanted to see. That had been on earlier. The banter from the Drag Queen who is the compere for the show is funny. The atmosphere in the room is very relaxing. Most of the people there are either acts waiting to go on stage or connected to the acts in some way so it seems a very disappointing turn out. Overall it seems very low key and the changeover between acts seems choppy. I get another drink from the bar, a soft drink this time. I enjoy the other acts that are on stage. The show goes on to eleven but I don’t plan on staying that long knowing it will take about an hour to get home. I give it until half nine then use the club’s Wi-Fi to input my route home. With regret I pry myself away and leave the club. I feel a bit gutted that I’m not staying to the end.
I race home. Luckily one I’m on the main motorway I know the way as my Sat Nav once again wants to take me off on further wild adventures indicating I should get off at every exit all the way down the motorway. I ignore it. I get home ten minutes earlier then google maps predicts. On a whim I text my mate. He’s still out so I think a few drinks are in order. We meet up and I end up having several cocktails, some shots and a short. It ends with pizza then bed. Overall it’s been a fantastic night.
But would I do it again? Going to a LGTB show I mean. Cocktails I will do every chance I get, no question about that. But yeah I would love to go to a show like that again. Hopefully the next one will be bigger and better but It was fun, it was relaxed and maybe something small like this is just what I needed to dip my toe in the water. No one gave a shit about what someone looked or dressed like. This is how life in general needs to be. I envy those people who are confident enough to get up on stage to do what they do. I envy those friends of mine that don’t care what people think and go with the style that they want. Even if I don’t like the look I’m jealous that they don’t worry about what people will think. I definitely worry too much. I look forward to Gloucester Pride next year, I’ll hope there is some other show that comes up sooner. Diversity in life is great and anything that celebrates that in such a fun way is great. Maybe one day I’ll have the confidence to go that little bit further in expressing myself. Maybe one day I’ll have the confidence to come out of that closet a bit. Maybe even the confidence to go into that tent.