I am no fan of Pride

I have been to a few pride events and I have decided I am not a fan. There are many reasons why and I know that some might not agree.

I attended my first Pride march last year in Newcastle and the second was in Prague. Both great times and it was a great atmosphere to be experienced. What I don’t like about Pride is that they are always trying to recreate a club atmosphere but in the middle of a park.

IMG_2195

I hate clubbing. I was watching a documentary the other day about the rave scene in the late 80s I remember even back then I had no desire to stand and wave my arms around to music in the middle of an abandoned warehouse with a lot of people I didn’t know. I despised being charged a fortune to stand in the middle of THE hottest dance floor buying the most expensive drinks.

IMG_2211

So it took me to get the age that I am now to realise that pride events are very similar and I prefer the fringe events. I would rather sit and chat in a pub or read a book. Discussion on LGBT issues rather than listening to someone who was famous once 20 years ago and hasn’t had a hit record since.

The LGBT community has a problem with age. In a society where people are obsessed with youth and beauty eg. Tom Daley and treat older people with a cordial but patronising sigh when we think of people such as Sir Ian McKellen.

I will always support the need to highlight that we don’t live in a perfect country. There are countless places in the world that you can lose your life if you are gay. There should be more information about the struggle for acceptance and the support for those who lives are blighted by homophobic abuse.

Advertisements

When people pass

I am saddened and upset that someone should take their own life no matter the circumstances or how life seems it isn’t the answer.

Firstly, I have been there where I thought that ending it all was the option. The only option. It isn’t something I took on the whim of a moment but something that was very real and very personal.

A young lad sadly took his own life in my home town of Chester-le-Street and I posted the news on the facebook page I run about the town. I have written about the problem of suicide in the UK and how over six thousand people a year take their own lives.

maxresdefault

The number of suicides is slowly reducing but it is my opinion still very high. People don’t realise that words can do so much damage especially in times when people are feeling vulnerable and near to doing something that could put their own lives at risk. It’s not right to tell the person that everything is going to be alright or they should ‘cheer up’. In that very moment the person is feeling 0% of that. They do not see a way out of it.

male-suicide-649x365

I don’t know how to but I want to help. I feel helpless that people are still taking their own lives. Even if it helps by writing this post and realising that you are NOT alone in those feelings I hope that I can do something.

There are organisations out there that can help and in my experience its always good to have someone you can trust and talk to when you are feeling low. These sort of friends are invaluable people who can guide you through tough times.

Even if you don’t feel you can share something so personal telling someone in the medical field can also give you a lifeline in a desperate time.

From my own experience keeping the NHS 111 number in your phone. Knowing that you might have other numbers is also a good way of knowing you have something to fall back upon like the Samaritans 116 123. They are fully trained and not there to judge but to listen and provide an amazing lifeline to those in need of help.

 

Why aren’t music videos being remastered?

I have often seen films that have been reworked and remastered. Films like Casablanca and Brief Encounter. When you watch films like that it takes you back to the time when you first saw them in the cinema. Why not music videos?

Music videos are a recent phenomena that only really took off a few decades ago yet the youtube generation seem to lap up these short films with such speed I always wondered why artists didn’t go back to the original material and put out better quality versions of their songs.

hd-video

I have many times bought albums that have been remastered for the sounds that were once deemed to complicated and you were only going to get the true quality and realism of a song if you were sitting in the studio listening to it there. We have the capability of reworking songs and albums and it proves such a lucrative market for fans eager to experiencing the true sounds.

So why not the videos? I read that a lot of the videos from the 80s and 90s where shot on video tape rather than films and difficult to remaster to HD level unlike film which can be seen in a higher resolution up to 12k.

I know that some bands have remastered some of their videos. I hope that in the next few years we will see a resurgence of music videos fit to be played on HD and Ultra HD televisions.

What make a successful youtube channel?

A few (a less) of my friends tell me that they don’t spend a huge amount of time watching mainstream television anymore just clips on youtube. Hmm. Got me thinking.

I had a look back to the channels I was subscribed to around 2010-15. I spent a huge amount of time watching people create and produce their own content. I wanted to see how their channels were doing as in some cases its been years since I watched any of their online videos.

Some had the same amount of subscribers, some were a bit more successful and others were dead. As in the channel was no longer producing original content that had recently uploaded.

Screen Shot 2018-07-19 at 15.01.14

One example of this was very successful Jacksgap channel now renamed Jack Harries. This channel had everything going for it. Two good-looking brothers producing content consumed by a mainly teenage female audience.  It was four years ago the channel in my opinion took a decision to jump from what they were producing for teenage market to a artsy-climate-change-eco-warrior self-indulgent wank-fest. This was the nail in the coffin for the channel and has never recovered since. I was berated at the time for saying their content wasn’t what people wanted to see. The brothers wanted to move on their core audience didn’t.

From the above graph we can see the decline in the channel subscribers and now haemorrhages an average of 10k per month.

As I said in the beginning of the post this channel is not unique to the situation. Coming up with fresh original content is vital for a youtube channel to survive.

  1. Original content
  2. Be authentic
  3. Post videos when you say you will not 3 days later because you are ‘too busy’
  4. Don’t do anything that will offend a huge amount of people
  5. Learn to edit
  6. Situation is important correct light, sound and filter
  7. No click bate – ‘Im leaving’ or ‘I have something to tell you’

Tom Daley and Lance Black

The hypocrisy of some people can be seen from space. There is casual homophobia and blatant prejudice and ignorance in a lot of people. 

Mr Daley and Mr Black announced that they would be welcoming their first child to their family a few months ago. It’s great that they feel that it is right that they can spend the time, effort and financial support it takes for starting a family.

Obviously, this didn’t go down too well with some parts of the press. The revolting Richard Littlejohn decried the idea of two men bringing up a child. The idea of this made him sick, apparently. His dismissal of two gay men bringing up a child is ‘not normal’ and that it ‘shouldn’t be so’. One then assumes, as he claims, not to be ‘homophobic’ he must have also condemned the following celebrity couples who have all used a surrogate?

Littlejohn

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, Jimmy Fallon and his wife Nancy Juvenon, Dennis Quaid and his wife, Kelsey Grammar and his now ex-wife, Michael Jackson, Tyra Banks, George Lucas and his wife. I could go on and on. A list of those who have used surrogates is common place in heterosexual couples and gay ones too.

Mr Littlejohn compares the news of an imminent arrival of a new life and sharing this to the world the same as showing photos of a medical exam or even an illness. Which in itself is ridiculous as its celebrating a new life and not some medical procedure.

He states that he isn’t homophobic because he ‘supports civil partnerships’. Echoing the comparable mantra of – “I’m not being racist but …” He then digs himself further by calling the sharing of a sonogram ‘Publicity stunt’.

bthbfc996People like Mr Littlejohn are thankfully now in the minority. I was terrified to come out as gay in the 1980s for the fear of being labelled (that if I did come out) that I must have AIDS. Not even HIV+ but straight to AIDS. It was this ignorance that kept me from telling others who I truly was. I am glad I live in a country where I can get married to another man and that there are laws protecting my sexuality whether it be in the street or at work.

The article that lists the celebrities who have used a surrogate fails to mention the most famous footballer in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo. He has used surrogate mothers for  three of his four children. No one has batted an eyelid. Of course that’s a rich, heterosexual footballer – we can’t have a go at him.

The hypocrisy stinks. If there was anyone trying to court publicity and massage their own ego then its Richard Littlejohn and the revolting rag called the Daily Mail.

Single life

Loads of places cater for families some draw in people from all walks of life and provide facilities for those who have different needs. But what about if you are a solo traveller? Should companies also include those you are on their own?

I have spent most of my adult life without a significant other. I have never really thought it necessary or a desperate want to partner up. The ones who have been in my life where I have tried to form relationships have not gone to plan. They have ended up breaking quickly when we realise we are not compatible.

Visiting the cinema on your own or to a restaurant is a little odd when I first did go out on my own it seemed very strange there was no one to converse and talk about how good or bad the film had been. I have been out numerous times to eat in restaurants and cafes and I have happily sat on my own watching the world go by.

Disabled access. Family friendly dining. Kids get a colouring pack. OAP specials. 2-4-1 discounts. High chairs. Baby changing. Student discounts.

Making people who are on their own feel welcome should be on someones mind. Getting up to get another drink from the bar I always have the fear of someone seeing a free table and jumping on it. Not a great feeling when return and a family have plonked themselves where you were sitting.

So spare a thought to the old lady who is sitting on her own. She might be lonely. She might have lost her husband and may need a little smile to brighten her day. I always go back to the places where I known I have felt welcomed as a single person.

 

Newcastle Buddhist Centre

It was a quiet Sunday morning and an email notification pinned into the inbox telling me about Newcastle Buddhist Centre. A little research found me a few hours later in their new home on the Westgate Road. 

IMG_1017

I visited Newcastle Central Mosque back in February and thought it a good idea that I visit other religious centres around the northeast. Purely out of my own curiosity and interest in religion.

During my university years, I had studied Buddhist Philosophy and Psychology not that I remember too much about it now but I still retain a basic knowledge about the religion. My interest in learning about what other people believe or use as a mantra for their own lives will always fascinate me.

Newcastle Buddhist Centre belongs to a western version of Buddhism called the Triratna Buddhist community which incorporates various parts of the two strands of Buddhism from the Mahayana and Theravada traditions.

IMG_1009

It was good to see that they had used a building that had been empty for a while. Breathing new life in to old. Making sure that they use the things that around. It was a beautiful building and still retained some of the old stone fireplaces that would have been used when the building was a house.

Walking in I met a lady called Sarah who immediately asked if I would like a cup of tea. You know you are going to like a place when someone offers you a beverage before you tell them the reason for your visit.

IMG_1013

The house was lovely. I know from my own experience with renovation how much things cost to put right and there was no expense spared when it came to making the place a sanctuary for peace and calm. Entering into the main room on the first floor you felt you could spend time in meditation and calm. They provided mats, cushions, chairs and even blankets for those who spend time in mindfulness and tranquillity.

Another gentleman gave me a brief rundown of the history of the Triratna Buddhist Community. A small photo of the founding teacher had been placed at the foot of a large figure of the Buddha sitting aloft a foundation that represented the industrial industries of the northeast.

IMG_1009

I explained the history I had experienced growing up and my own involvement with meditation. Something I don’t practice at the moment but knowing the benefits of with someone who has suffered from depression and anxiety it’s certainly something I am keen to explore once again.

They had their official opening the day before I visited and the month of June there are a lot of events catered for people who are thinking about exploring meditation and mindfulness.

Asking about their membership I was told they do have a number of people who are regulars but also there are people who will attend every few months and to me, that is what I found appealing that you are not obliged to attend and not frowned upon if you miss a few meetings.

Their connections and events were just not limited to the northeast. I noticed a number of activities planned all over the UK. A time when we are immersed in social media and 24-hour rolling news its difficult to maintain a balance between connecting people online and communicating with others in the real world. People are paying hundreds of pounds for weekends of digital detox. I think its time we all looked at how much time we are spending each day.

IMG_1014