Why making fun of Kanye West is not okay.

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I first listened to Kanye West in 2008 when he released his album ‘808s & Heartbreaks’. I was 13 and I thought he was really cool, so cool in fact I went into town and bought a physical copy of the album which I barely ever do. Over the years he released more hits and collaborations with other big artists and quickly became a household name. Kanye is known as a fantastic producer and I believe under all the charades and craziness he projects he is a pretty nice guy.

I really do believe the negative press he receives initially took off when he began a relationship with Kim Kardashian. Love her or hate her it doesn’t really matter. From what we know he had been crazy about her for a long time and finally they got together and had some babies and have since lived the fairy tale life we all dream of. However when you put all this aside Kanye West has depression, anxiety, PTSD and most likely some sort of personality/identity disorder. Kanye West is also a celebrity which according to the public should definitely not be mixed with mental health issues.

Society claims he is delusional, struggling with a god-complex, an egomaniac and narcissistic, however these characteristics are clear signs of someone who is suffering from a mental illness and desperately crying out for help. Kanye has said and done things deemed ‘abnormal’ by society such as humiliating ‘poor’ Taylor Swift, announcing his 2020 run for President of the United States, dressing up as Jesus, publicly asking to borrow lots and lots of money, comparing himself to Picasso, supporting Trump; the list is pretty much endless. This is the outcome of someone who is way out of their depth and overwhelmed and I think Kanye is so surprised at how famous he actually is that he uses this fame as a comfort blanket to hide how much he struggles with being  a celebrity.

At the end of the day Kanye is a smart guy. He is a very successful fashion designer (whether you like it or not) and producer all due to his own hard work and sacrifice. Kanye dropped out of college to pursue his music career and his album ‘College Dropout’ was a testimonial to having some balls and following your own path. He has been in the game for a long time, and has kick-started other artists careers as well as producing some pretty fantastic tunes. Kanye has never been afraid to stand out as an artist, mixing in different genres often incorporating Orchestras into his hip-hop, rap and soul hits.

As with most success, he has not always had it easy. In 2002, Kanye fell asleep at the wheel of his car from exhaustion and stress (a reoccurring theme) which was nearly fatal, his jaw had to be wired back into place. This near-death experience will have only made Kanye value life more, creating this need for him to be the best he possibly can be. From this Kanye has explored faith and his own relationship with God, allowing him to think more deeply. Perhaps he questions things so much he does not fully understand his own identity and in turn drives himself mad wondering. It has also been known that Kanye rarely sleeps, and does so only in small increments due to his ever increasing workload.

In 2007 his mother Donda West died of heart disease unexpectedly at 58. It was clear Kanye was extremely close to her and struggled immensely with her passing. I’m sure he still does nearly ten years later. Kanye soon had sporadic outbursts of anger, most famously when he attacked the paparazzi and smashed a camera. Although terrible, he was still grieving, and I feel that this is when his relationship with the media turned sour. If my mother had just died and I had people throwing cameras in my face, I would probably hit them. From this he was given community service and anger management issues. I think that when something as drastic as this happens you probably would begin to question everything. You would begin to doubt yourself over and over, he was probably not comfortable with who he was, and still isn’t. It could be suggested that from this constant questioning he almost has something to prove to himself and he can never quite live up to these expectations, hence the relentless anxious and irrational behaviour he displays.

There is being famous and there is being Kardashian famous. Kanye has always been well known in his own right, however I don’t think he expected the whole lot of ugly that came his way when he married one. I think again he was uncomfortable with all the attention she carried, even in episodes of Keeping up with the Kardashians we see him lurking in the background awkwardly. Again as a way to cover this up he used it for himself, it was the only thing he probably felt like he knew how to do whilst in her shadow. I’m not blaming Kim because he should have known what he was getting into but their personalities could not be more different. Only a few months ago Kim got held hostage at gunpoint in Paris. Again, you may not like her but if this happened to your wife I don’t think you would be laughing. Kanye has struggled with fame so much, everything bad that has ever happened to him has been so publicly documented. Now this fame has bit him on the ass due to his wealth, again endangering someone he loves. Aside from going into shock, he became anxious, withdrawn and angry. Kanye probably hasn’t slept right since with worrying. It probably didn’t help that the world were saying they deserved it. So yeah he had a bit of a breakdown, CAN YOU IMAGINE?

Having mental health issues from personal experience is definitely embarrassing on occasion and I have done everything and beyond at times to hide it. Now having all your dirty laundry aired to the whole world wouldn’t exactly make me feel much better. Everything has just got too much for Kanye and I really do sympathise with him. For years I have suffered with extreme anxiety, my mind never at rest. It’s not easy having an overactive mind and more often than not it leads to depression. All I’m thinking is that if it was Kim who had done and said all these things we hate so much, we probably wouldn’t be degrading her as much as the world has to Kanye. HE IS NOT WELL. And shame on you if you mock him. Who are you to judge someone?

Underneath all the ‘craziness’ is a guy who loves music so much it has near drove him insane. He got lost a little bit, but so does everyone. Fair enough if you don’t like what he represents or who he supports, that’s what keeps things interesting. It would be pretty boring if we were all the same and it would definitely be boring without Kanye. I really do believe that sometimes the most creative and wonderful minds are the most troubled. I hope he takes some time out and looks after himself and if he can’t do that then I hope at least he can manage his health.

All the best YEEZY XXX

http://www.mind.org.uk

 

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The exhilaration of wilful astral projection

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I’ve always found it difficult to meditate although I know it is important to be at peace with yourself whilst eliminating stress and anything negative which may be holding yourself back from achieving things in life.

I began to look into meditation online because firstly I lucid dream on a very regular basis (almost every night) and I also believe that I had experienced from this my first OBE (out of body experience) also known as astral projection. Secondly I have heard of the health benefits meditation brings by building your immune system and how it can settle one’s mind often helping with depression, anxiety and other mental illness. However I have such a busy lifestyle I rarely have time to meditate and at night when I try to meditate before I fall asleep my head is full of absolute nonsense that I just keep myself awake. I was intrigued by my possible OBE experience and came to the understanding that many people can wilfully separate their soul from the body through meditation as well as other means.

I know it sounds all hocus pocus and many people don’t believe in this sort of spiritual stuff. It has been brought to light with popular shows like Stranger Things and films such as Insidious. It’s funny to say that although these shows are mostly likely exaggerated and created for the thrill factor, some of what you see is very relevant to my own experience and to many others who regularly astral project actually are very true to fact.

If you have never had a lucid dream or OBE let me explain to you best I can the differences and similarities between them. A lucid dream is very much when you are dreaming but your body is fully asleep and your mind is completely awake, you are aware of your surroundings and your senses are all fully functioning. However I do believe every person is different and experiences can vary for the individual. For me a lucid dream occurs around 7am in the morning, when I have just been awoken by someone else leaving the house and I am half asleep. It happens JUST before I fall back asleep. My whole body is paralysed (otherwise known as sleep paralysis) and I feel like I can’t breathe. I often feel like a force is holding me down against my will and no matter how much I try to open my eyes I cannot. This can also be known as night terrors. In my experience sometimes I hear voices but mostly it is like a loud bell ringing in my ears, which continues to only get louder and louder. Sometimes it can be like the noise of a satellite mast going off pitch. I feel like I’m shouting help but obviously my face cannot move to speak so no one can hear me. It’s absolutely terrifying and most people get this at some point in their life, however I get it every single night. The majority of people will fight this feeling like I did for a long time, and eventually you will win. It feels like your body is stuck like this for an eternity but usually it’s about 30 seconds in real time. The individual will either wake up feeling a bit terrified and go back to sleep or they will automatically fall into a lucid dream where the mind is no longer fully awake but you are now alert in your subconscious. You are in a dream and you are fully aware of this, and you can control it however you want. These dreams are great, and harmless.

The first time I managed to astral project was while I was experiencing sleep paralysis just at the part before I would go into a lucid dream. I was not intending to do this and did not expect it or fully understand it at the time. I had the usual experience of not being able to move/wake up and hearing noises however this time I felt an uncomfortable presence that I cannot describe. I heard a loud noise and a force against my body. I thought I had fallen out of my bed and woke up however I knew that I was still in bed but yet I wasn’t. Everything was really dark I couldn’t really see and everything was foggy. I was in my bedroom beside my bed but I  did not feel myself. I turned around towards my bed to see my body in bed. This feeling of complete fear took over me and I could hear the sound of fast running footsteps coming up my stairs into my room and some sort of force took me out and I woke back up in my bed. I sat up that whole night shitting myself telling myself it was a really bad dream. At that time I never once questioned it to be anything more and it wasn’t until last night when I had my second OBE that I knew exactly what it was.

Last night I had been trying to meditate many different ways, through imagining colours to distract my thoughts etc. From searching different techniques online I came across a few articles on OBE and astral projection. I instantly recognised it and spent the whole night finding out as much information as I can. Turns out not everyone experiences it but you have more of a chance if you regularly lucid dream. I also came across articles on wilful astral projection which really intrigued me. I truly believed it would happen to me again in my own time however I was dying to experience it again but try to be in more control of it. So many people seem to have had really great experiences projecting whether it has been meeting a ‘spiritual teacher’ or connecting with friends who are also astral projecting. I also learned about projecting into low and high frequencies, low frequency being where one can often come into contact with malevolent bodies which is more likely if the individual is already depressed or not practised enough to project to high frequency. Anyway I was determined last night I would have one again (even though it can take months if not years of practice to make one happen through will). Tried for ages and nothing happened, I just fell asleep and had some normal dreams which I have now forgotten.

However I woke up at 7am and naturally rolled over and went back to sleep. That is when it started. I automatically went straight into sleep paralysis, I recognised it automatically and knew this was my chance to give astral projection a go. So instead of fighting it I let it take over me, I relaxed and focused on clearing my mind. The ringing got louder and louder to the point my body felt like it was vibrating, I felt so much energy it was crazy. Now this is the tricky part, most people don’t get past this stage and often just go straight into a lucid dream or wake up. Last time I did not even intend to have an OBE so I knew I had to get it right. I had learned about the ‘Rope Technique’ online where as your body has created all this energy and you begin to feel the ‘buzz’ you imagine a rope in your head that you are slowly climbing. You have to imagine exactly what it feels like and slowly move each of your hands up. Now I know many would just say “Well you were just dreaming!”. Trust me I’ve had enough experience of dreaming to know this wasn’t. I was still fully aware of everything around me. At first I din’t think anything was working, I didn’t feel a pull from anything towards my body. After a short time I felt myself rise, but it wasn’t my body it was strange. I could not see anything at all, I was in complete darkness however I knew I was no longer lying down, I was vertical above my bed. I was confused at where to go from here, I  couldn’t see so began to think I must be dreaming. However slowly the darkness faded and it became foggy like the previous experience, almost as if you have to squint your eyes to see, but yet it wasn’t my physical eyes, I can’t really explain it. I knew that I wanted to move and that I would move. For some reason I could not look behind me I could only see ahead. I could see every part of my bedroom in detail, nothing out of place. In a normal dream you could think you are in your bedroom however there will be SLIGHT changes to it, e.g. lightswitch or door in different position. Everything was exact and I knew then I wasn’t dreaming. I moved out of my room and when I say moved yes it was almost like I was floating. I didn’t have a body and I wasn’t like a ghost but I was still there and I knew that. I remember going down my stairs and being able to feel the wall, I vividly remember how cold and real it felt. I don’t know how I felt the wall when I had no hands. I opened my door and before I could go out an arm blocked me from leaving. I turned around to see a white male, probably in his 60’s with white/grey hair, a black suit and hat. He was grinning at me but not in a nice way. I sensed complete evil from him, he did not want me to leave. I was absolutely terrified but I knew I had to get out. He would not let go of my arm so I decided to take him with me. With astral projection gravity isn’t really a thing so I just ‘took off’ I can’t really call it flying because I have no idea what it was. I headed down my street and the whole time I was struggling back and forwards with this man. He was pulling me back and I was pulling him forward. We said nothing to each other. I knew at this point I would be going no further. There was no one else in the street. It was dark outside even though it would probably have been starting to get light in ‘real time’.  So I decided to wake up and I did. I felt drained, probably for being around that negative energy for so long. I did not go back to sleep after that because I was not prepared to go back in just yet.

I have the spent the whole day doing further research and obviously questioning my experience ‘was it real?’ Yes it was real. I know it was. I’m completely open to the debate that astral projection or OBE is just another element of dreaming or another level of the subconscious. But see if it his heck who cares its fantastic and not many people can do it. However there is so much evidence that it is real. So many stories. People can actually be trained to separate their ‘self’ from ‘body’. Monks and spiritualists have been known to dabble in it on a daily basis. I don’t believe the astral world is as simple as ‘God’ and the ‘Devil’, I don’t think anyone will truly understand it but it is real and if you are interested please do your research. Most people reading this will laugh but I really do pity those who are so close minded. Yes it takes someone with an open mind to experience this, and probably someone who is in touch with themselves on an emotional level but I think if everyone just takes a step back from their crazy lifestyles they might just discover exactly what they have been missing.

Please let me know of your experiences and what you think of astral projection in general 🙂

 

I DON’T UNDERSTAND COFFEE

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So here I am on a Thursday afternoon frantically searching the internet on how to make the many types of coffee and to understand the differences between them. Now so you can understand my situation I ABSOLUTELY HATE COFFEE. The smell of it makes me gag and from tasting it as a child it is now a big no no for me. I completely acknowledge that millions of people all over the world live and breathe for it (which they absolutely love to tell me on numerous occasions more than I care, why do coffee drinkers do that?) But I have found myself in the situation where I need to learn because I have a job trial coming up which means I will be waitressing, working the bar etc. Lucky for me my dad is a huge coffee fan and has one of those fancy machines that take up waay too much room in the kitchen. So I thought I would watch some online video tutorials and then try and actually make them for myself.

So for the restaurant I hope to work in their coffee menu consists of:

  1. Espresso
  2. Macchiato
  3. Americano
  4. White Coffee
  5. Cappuccino
  6. Latte
  7. Mocha
  8. Liqueur Coffe

FUCK MY LIFE. There are too many but okay I can do this, surely I can get my head around this. It’s fine it’s fine.

  1. Espresso. From what I have learned I can gather that an espresso is a strong black coffee made by forcing steam through ground down coffee beans. It is a very light, silky and dark texture served in a wee small thing which looks like a tiny baby mug. Okay seems alright, tastes shite. Moving on
  2. Latte, sometimes known as Caffe Latte. This drink is made with espresso with the addition of steamed milk. So to me this is like tea. It should be around 1/3 espresso with 2/3 hot milk. The milk needs to be foamed in one of those whizzy things. Less disgusting but still vulgar. I shouldn’t even be drinking milk I’m lactose intolerant but hey needs must.
  3. Macchiato. Okay so there is espresso in this again. However I think the difference between Macchiato and Latte is that with a Macchiato you add lots of milk first and then add a little bit of espresso on top? I found this one difficult to understand because I watched a few videos on this and they both contradicted each other with how it was made… Tasted a lot better because it was mostly milk but again my stomach is not feeling too good..
  4. Americano. This seemed simple enough. It can be a single or double shot of espresso with hot water added on top. Almost like a drip coffee (I presume that is a normal coffee). So to me this is just tea with no milk ya? no? who knows.
  5. White Coffee. The confusion begins. It’s like a latte except it is a mix of steamed foam milk and liquid milk. Made this and it looks the exact same as a Latte. Fuck knows because I don’t.
  6. Cappuccino. Double espresso shot with hot milk and steamed milk foam but the milk is just turned foamy at the top. So is this like a mix between a white coffee and a latte. Fucking hell whats the point like seriously?
  7. Got a bit confused at this point, began to pull at my hair a bit. Then came across this other type called Caffe Lungo? This is a long shot of espresso served in a long glass with no water or milk or anything added. So basically my worst nightmare.
  8. Then we have the Long Black. Apparently this is the opposite of an Americano as you add the espresso over the water? DO THEY REALLY TASTE MUCH DIFFERENT, LIKE DO THEY REALLY?
  9. Mocha. Get this, it’s like a chocolate flavoured latte. If I shut my eyes and held my nose I might actually like it. Cocoa powder is added to the espresso and foamed milk.
  10. Liqueur coffee. Add a shot of liqueur to coffee. Usually with cream and sugar on top.

Right okay but what IS coffee in this sense? Like is the coffee in a liqueur coffee or white coffee just loads of espresso. Is it grinded a different way so would you use a different part of the machine? My questions are endless and it feels like I could go through a whole university course on coffee and still not completely understand.

My verdict is that coffee is shite and most likely for posh people, people with no taste buds or hipsters. I’ve been told my taste buds are not quite developed and mature enough yet to enjoy coffee. Hey maybe it will happen one day. I used to hate wine and now I LOVE it. But for now I’ll stick to tea, god help me with this job trial.

Why you should not vote for Hillary Clinton

 

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I’m not an American citizen, I live in Scotland and I have done my whole life. I’ve not spoken about the Presidential Election much on social media because 1) I have no vote to give and 2) I understand my opinions are very unpopular at present. However I feel on the day of the election it really is time to say something because I cannot sit around and watch Hillary Clinton take her soon to be win for granted.

I know Hillary will win don’t get me wrong. The way the polls are looking it will only be a matter of hours. I want to make certain things clear in this article. I am NOT pro Trump. Yes there is some horrible evil part of me that wants him to win because I despise Hillary so much, although I completely understand why that would terrify the thought of most Americans. I think everything Trump has said is absolutely vile and disgusting but at the same time I also think that everything is so politically correct these days. In basic terms the world needs to get over it. Yes he degraded women, yes he has been racist. But you have two main candidates to choose from and I genuinely believe he will do better in office than Hillary with economy, business and jobs which to me realistically would be the most important. Now I’m not telling you to vote for Trump, because I couldn’t think of anything more degrading. I strongly support women’s rights and believe no one should be discriminated against whether it be gender, sexual orientation, race or religion. Just don’t vote for Hillary. There are so many Independent candidates that are not given the light of day that are better deserving of your vote. No they will not magically receive enough votes to become president but this means Trump has a better chance and at least you didn’t vote for him. There are many issues with Trump that have been broadcasted far and wide which we all know about and have now had time to digest. It is becoming increasingly obvious that the media love Hillary and will almost do anything to protect her. I do often wonder why…

Now you are probably wondering why I am talking so obscenely, because surely I must have lost my mind? I’ll tell you why I hate Hillary Clinton with every bone in my body. And no if I was an American citizen I would not just vote for her because I don’t want Trump, the thought of voting for Hillary makes me feel physically sick and goes against everything I would ever hope to stand for. Firstly before I get into the MANY reasons why I don’t like her I need to bring something up which may be unpopular again. There is this issue right now particularly with celebrities and on many biased news channels that WE NEED A WOMAN PRESIDENT. Do we really? Yes I would love the idea of a female president, it would be momentous for everyone. America is the driver of the modern day world and how amazing and progressive that would be! However we don’t need the wrong woman president. You need a president for the people, you need a president who is willing to lead the country for the better whilst keeping it safe, often going above and beyond what is expected. It will come with many difficult decisions and high expectations and I do not believe for one second Hillary would succeed in this role just because she is a woman. If I was an American citizen I want the best person for the job, man or woman. So if you are a Democratic supporter but hate Hillary but feel you have no option but to prevent Trump from taking office, why note give your vote to Jill Stein (Green Party), at least your conscience can be clear. At least look into it, you might find another Independent candidate you prefer.

Now to get to the nitty gritty. My hatred for her goes way back to when Bill Clinton was in office and the many things I have found out about her since then as well as the practices she has carried out on behalf of herself and her husband. Hillary seems to have this habit of hiding things (we’ll get to the emails later). In 1975 at 27 years old Hillary was a defence lawyer for a man who raped a 12 year old girl. Hillary blocked and hid evidence, mocked the girl calling her a liar, accused the child of actively seeking out older men whilst laughing and claiming that she knew he was guilty during an interview in the 80’s. Now I’m sorry but she has to be the most horrendous hypocritical woman known today. That poor poor girl. Things like that just demonstrate how little a conscience Hillary actually has. If she was happy enough to defend something like that then what else has she done? This election is all a bit like House of Cards and I can’t help but compare. Hillary is manipulative and she will say anything to persuade the electorate she has miraculously changed her views over the years. Hillary calls herself an advocate of women yet she doesn’t even have any self respect for herself.

Bill Clinton messed around with many women as we all know which yes is horrible but that is hardly a reason to insult Hillary. That wasn’t her doing and I’m sure she didn’t deserve it. Now I don’t judge anyone for sticking by someone who has cheated, it happens all the time more often than we think and that is their business alone. But that is exactly what it is, a business. With the Obama’s their presidency was built on each other, respect and support. The Clinton’s presidency has been and always will be built on lies. Clinton actually blackmailed the women who were sexually assaulted by her husband, threatening and mocking them. Isn’t she embarrassed? Sure stay with him if you want to but she actually had the audacity to support him and then act innocent herself. What another leading example of how great you are as a women’s advocate. Go you.

When Bill Clinton was governor she took a $100,000 bribe that was paid to her via shifty dealings in the cattle futures market. Hillary just gives off  the impression that she is above the law. Under her name the State Department did favours for a number of nations that either paid Bill Clinton enormous sums to do speeches or give large gifts to the Clinton Foundation. It’s so unethical it scares me. Now I understand some people will say well hey it’s not about Bill Clinton, she isn’t representing him. But she totally is. As I said before the First Lady/First Gentlemen are more important to the leadership than anyone realises. Barack couldn’t have done it without Michelle. And Hillary can’t do it without Bill. Now another thing you might argue is well how can we possibly have Melania Trump as the First Lady. What could she possibly bring? She might bring nothing, or she might learn everything. We have no idea. But surely it’s better having someone slightly clueless than someone destructive. It’s hard for me to write that because it sounds so stupid but again, these are pretty much the only two MAIN options you have that will have any chance of winning the presidency.

Everyone is bored with hearing about the email scandal. But it’s true, check it out and read it. Get some knowledge for yourself. It was illegal, sneaky and so much has been hidden it’s actually quite scary. What message does it send to a country when she is the living personification of of “Important People are above the Law?

She exaggerates to look good. Hillary claimed multiple times that she had to run for her life because her plane landed under sniper fire in Bosnia. Instead she landed safely with a welcoming ceremony and was presented with a poem by a child. As Secretary of State she did more harm than good when making trade deals and negotiating, killing many innocents under her command.

Hillary has on many occasions supported the killing off of small business in reference to the Nationalised Health Care Bill. Something that Trump actually wants to grow (but who know eh?). The economy is only surely to be doomed as repeatedly she has expressed her disinterest in foreign oil, climate change and small business grants which she stopped tax cuts for on many occasions as she “could not possibly worry about every small business”. Person for the people? I think not. Why such a sudden change of views? Oh yeah you are running for president and now you have to be all nicey and caring.

Hillary helped create the Iranian Nuclear deal that is allowing a terrorist-supporting, anti-American nation to get nuclear weapons despite the fact America is most likely to be the prime target. It will create a new nuclear arms race in the middle east.

Hillary is pretty much refusing to do anything about immigration. I understand immigration can be a positive thing but for a country  but for America which politically is so up in the air right now the thought of it is terrifying. Checks needs to be done on people whether anyone likes it or not. Unfortunately it needs to be done to keep everyone safe and again she is just saying what needs to be said to gain popularity but not thinking of the greater good.

When Hillary was Secretary of State there were more than 600 requests for additional security in Benghazi. These requests were mostly ignored and 4 Americans are dead because of it.

Despite the fact that America is deep in debt, running a deficit and may be less than a decade away from being unable to pay out Social Security or Medicare benefits that have been promised to seniors, Hillary Clinton is proposing 3.5 trillion dollars in new spending along with a 1.3 trillion dollar tax cut.

Her judgment on foreign policy is terrible. Not only did she get people killed in Benghazi, she supported our intervention in Syria which has blown up in our faces and the overthrow of Gaddafi in Libya which led to radical Islamists taking over the country.

I could go on but I don’t think I would finish this article before polls close. Please think America and I hope to god whatever happens it works out well for everyone, not just a select minority.

Jack Garratt; The most fantastical performance I have ever seen

You may not have heard of Jack Garrett but you bloody well should have.

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The sound of him first caught my attention as I was sitting in the car one night listening to Radio One. I fell in love with his voice straight away and began to listen to him more regularly from then. However nothing could have prepared me for watching him live in Glasgow on Saturday night. I have to be honest, although I love his music I had never actually bothered to search him on YouTube to watch him perform so I knew very little of how he worked a set or captured an audience.

From the first note and beat of a drum he was absolutely breathtaking. From the get go he captivated the whole room and it was the first time for me that I actually smiled just watching him. He looked like he was having the time of his life and that only made it even better. I think anyone would struggle to find any flaws in his vocal performance. The whole audience was in awe of this multi-instrumental phenomena who is Jack Garratt. Please give this guy a listen you won’t regret it, I’m certain we will be hearing a lot more of him. You can buy or listen to his album ‘Phase’ which is out now.

10/10, a gig not to be missed.

I, Daniel Blake. A credit to British Independent Films.

 

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A couple of days ago I went to see the film I, Daniel Blake. It is the most compelling film I’ve been lucky enough to see in a long time and I’m angry. I had heard it was a sad film; however true and honest to the benefit system of modern day Britain. I am fortunate enough to never have needed benefits even when currently I am entitled to them, however this does not mean I will never use them.

Both the main and supporting characters were amazing. They demonstrated exactly what it is like to go through the benefit system step by step along with a brief explanation of how the dreaded ‘Fit to Work’ scheme operates.

Daniel Blake is a middle aged man who has worked as a tradesman his whole life, he has recently been widowed and has just suffered a heart attack. We are then shown Blake at the doctors discussing his recovery plan and then being told he is not fit enough to work and under no circumstances should he put any strain on his heart. Now anyone would think that it would just be a small issue of sorting out sick benefits until he was well enough to work, however the film displayed the harsh realities of these situations. In order to receive the disability and sick benefits Blake went to the job centre to apply for them. However he was deemed ‘fit to work’ by a health company (which we would know as ATOS). Blake was asked many questions about his health, mostly nothing to do with heart. Therefore he would not receive any disability or sick benefits.

In that moment I felt extreme sadness for the people who go through this every day. You hear ridiculous stories on the media about people in comas who have received letters to tell them they have been deemed fit to work and it really makes me wonder how these companies who carry out the assessments can possibly get away with it? Even if they wanted to work, which many of them do, what actual use are they to employers if they are not as capable as the  rest of the workforce? This would only cause more stress on the ill person, which in thousands of cases in the UK has led to premature, often unnecessary death.

Blake’s next and only option was to apply for Jobs Seekers Allowance (JSA) if he wanted to obtain any sort of income. Without this he would be pretty much homeless. Aside from the film diverging into the topic of many middle aged people not knowing how to access the internet (which is a huge problem in itself), it explained that applying for JSA is in fact solely online now. Luckily for him he managed to fill all these forms in through the help of many different people.

Now everyone in the cinema is thinking well at least now finally this guy is going to be given a break. OH NO….

To continuously received JSA every week you must be actively looking for work, and you may be sanctioned (payments stopped) if you do not provide evidence of this or you turn down jobs. Now Daniel Blake would hand out his CV to employers and he was actually offered a job. However as stated before he could not actually take this job because medically he was not allowed, and he could put himself or others into danger. Therefore Blake was sanctioned for not providing evidence and for turning down a job. His JSA was stopped and the rest of the film displays his downfall over the next month or so where he sells all his possessions to keep on top of bills. Blake eventually becomes very sick.

Near the end of the film Blake decides to appeal the decision made and goes to court. Everything begins to look hopeful for him as he has a great lawyer and the way things stood he could not possibly lose. However, Blake joined the many thousands of others in the UK, dying prematurely through stress and exhaustion of the benefit system. He suffered a heart attack in the toilets before his court hearing and could not be resuscitated.

The film left me feeling very hollow and the thought of how many others this is currently happening to. It sickens me that someone leading an ordinary leave can very quickly be thrown into poverty by the click of a button. We need more people to stand up to this, attend demonstrations, speak their mind on social platforms whether it be blogging or Facebook. It needs to be discussed and it needs to be stopped. I felt such a strong sense of community in that cinema, it was the first time I had witnessed people applauding after a film. They were applauding one man’s fight that was probably very similar to their own. Complete strangers talked to each other after the film, sharing their stories. I left quite quickly as I felt very out of place and how could I possibly relate? Although now I think I should have stayed. I want to know more and I want to help.

Now this maybe wasn’t the review you expected but you just need to see the film to understand, even if you have to stream it online.

10/10 for complete and utter brutal honest truthfulness. If this doesn’t stick in your mind then nothing will.

A Change of Inconvenience- British Summer Time to Greenwich Mean Time

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If you live in the UK you will be well accustomed to the saying ‘spring forward, fall back’ however it is becoming increasingly unpopular with many.

The notion was initially invented by George Vincent Hudson, a New Zealand entomologist (a person who studies the life of insects) at the end of the 19th Century. It was also credited to a man William Willett as he thought of it as a way of getting up early and therefore having more daylight hours after work. However it was not introduced in the UK until World War One as Germany and Austria needed to save on coal usage.It came into worldwide use in the 1970’s because of the energy crisis.

There are apparently many benefits to this means of daylight saving such as saving energy in the home, reducing traffic accidents in the winter mornings and reducing crime rates. That fall back in the winter months seem to be good for businesses and the economy and it has even proven to improve children’s daily activity levels in the summer months.

I have to say that personally I LOVE British Summer Time. The days feel longer, I can walk my dogs a bit later, I don’t feel as scared as I would usually do in the evenings when walking alone. My energy levels improve and I feel less anxious and depressed as I would do in the winter as I tend to exercise more and just generally get outside. In the winter I find it such a drastic change. The early darkness is such a sudden change that my body clock just feels messed up. I feel like I don’t have much of a day so I tend to stay up later than I usually would, hence getting less sleep. I find it extremely unsafe at night to be out and about and because I can’t yet drive I feel a bit stuck. I also think of the issues that my dad and boyfriend face. They both go to work at crazy o’clock in the early hours of the morning and they work very long shifts. They go to work in the dark and come home in the dark. What could this possibly be doing to benefit their mental health? We need daylight for vitamin D and to pretty much function. Without this our immune system is weakened, we feel more tired and lazy, pick up flu and colds, and feel SAD. It’s just pretty rubbish.

I also think about other people elsewhere in the UK. Down in London daylight begins a lot earlier than up here in Scotland although they get dark a lot sooner than us. Up in the top of Scotland in areas like Stornoway it doesn’t get light quite as early as we do, so it is easy if we are really benefiting all? If you can’t please everyone then it shouldn’t be happening. I understand there are people that this may benefit for a variety of reasons but I feel every country within the UK should be in charge of their own clocks as geographically we are extremely different.

However the proposition of SDST (Single/Double Summer Time) interests me a lot more. This would propose the clocks being an hour ahead of the current time all year round,similar to France, Germany and Italy. The clocks would be one hour ahead of GMT in the winter and two hours ahead of GMT in the summer. This move would increase the amount of daylight per day by 55 minutes. It would better align hours of daylight to the waking hours of the great majority of the population. I think everyone should obviously do their own research into this but I am intrigued to see what happened when it is proposed to government. It would definitely be a massive change, but I really do believe it would be beneficial. Although as with everything, one thing that benefits some will not benefit another. I’m sure this would be an inconvenience to many in fishing and similar industries. I guess we will just have to wait and see leaving the topic open to debate. What do you think?

My Best Friend is Having a Baby

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My best friend is having a baby. I can’t believe I’m actually saying those words but it’s very very true. However this announcement/story isn’t as happy and straightforward as it would seem.

My friend is a twenty two year old guy who is no longer with the mother of the child. They broke up not on the best of terms to discover that a number of weeks later 1) SURPRISE they were pregnant and 2) the baby is due in two months. Not exactly something easy to get your head around.

Neither of them are ready to have a child especially not with each other but in no uncertain terms it’s happening regardless, and it was too late to have decided otherwise. I cannot begin to imagine how hard it would be to have such a strained relationship with an ex partner and to parent a child together oh so very suddenly. It must be horrible on her behalf to feel alone, pregnant, hormonal and angry all at once. It must be horrible on his behalf to feel so pushed out and unprepared. Due to their currently not so friendly relationship there is now no current communication and my friend has been told in no uncertain terms that he should not be part of the baby’s life.

Now as any immature, ill-prepared twenty two year old guy he went a bit bat shit crazy and has now been left in a bit of a mess mentally. It is very to easy to give up on yourself and I fear that this is exactly what he has done. Aside from the recent drugs, drink, heavy partying and staying out all weekend situation his head is usually very screwed on. Financially things are difficult and he is not in the best frame of mind. I also feel that guys of this age completely close themselves off from everyone around them who wants to help as they value pride over expressing emotion. From this a person can become very bitter and resentful, worsening the situation.

Now this isn’t going to be an easy fix but I do have hope things will work out for him. It would be a great shame for him to lose out on his child’s life because of a simple lack of understanding between two people. The mother needs breathing space and that is understandable, but it takes two mature adults to make something like this work. It does not take a loving relationship to parent a child; it takes a great deal of respect for the other and a little bit of give and take. This is what I have spent all day trying to drill into his head.

I don’t care if they despise each other. I want him to call her and ask her how she is. I want him to ask her if she needs anything, if there is anything he can do for her. I want him to tell her how much he needs this child in his life and that he will do anything to make that possible. If he is the guy I know he is then he will make the best of this bad situation. Regardless of who did what in the breakdown of their relationship, the mother and the child should be what is important to him at this time. The child is inside her and she deserves respect for carrying this baby because it sure as heck ain’t an easy job. If he continues to respect and care for her as the mother of his child, he will demonstrate something wonderful to his kid which will only make him a better dad. Because that’s what he is a the end of the day, a dad and NO ONE can take that from him. There are a lot of bad things happening in the world right now, but one of them is certainly not this baby. If anything it’s a blessing.

I hope he makes the most of every opportunity he gets given and although the future is uncertain right now I’m super excited to meet this little person! xx

An expensive lesson with anxiety

Back in April of this year I was in my third year at university studying Geography. If I’m honest I struggled way more than I let on and I began to feel like a failure. Everyone in my lectures seemed smarter than me whilst I was scraping by getting average marks for a piece of writing I thought was fantastic. I just couldn’t cut it.

It felt as if university had killed my love for Geography at the time and I had little inspiration to get on with things. The hardest is that I know I am capable but from a mixture of just feeling a little bit lost and a bunch of other personal reasons I knew I wouldn’t be in the course long. Regardless of whether I was graduating after three or four years I knew I had to complete at least my basic degree and attend a compulsory field trip to the Spanish island of Mallorca.

I had been dreading this trip ever since I knew about it. I love visiting other countries and I would much rather have been doing research in the sunshine than back home in dreary Glasgow where I would have had little motivation. Like nothing was wrong I got on the plane and like nothing was wrong I began the first day with my group, planning the areas we would be visiting to gather data. The region of Can Pastilla was beautiful and relaxing, I had a great day on the beach and a lovely lunch. Yet when darkness came and we sat down for our evening meal in the hotel I felt that old friend anxiety bubbling away inside of me. I would pretend to ignore it but ended up having to frequently excuse myself to go to the toilet as I was on the verge of tears. I couldn’t even think straight, I was having panic after panic attack. Usually I can breathe through this sort of stuff. It had happened the year before on the last field trip to York and I had managed to get through it even if I did spend the whole night crying myself to sleep.

This time was different, when everyone went up to their rooms to settle for the night I messaged my mum telling her I did not want to be there. Obvcourse my mum knew of this however she thought it was just my usual whinging and told me the week would be over soon and to enjoy myself. It angered me that she did not understand how I felt. I didn’t really have anyone on the trip I was that close to and how could I just talk with them about my anxiety and automatically feel okay again.

After that it all seemed like some sort of a blur. I called my mum crying, she tried to comfort me and I did not listen. She couldn’t get her head around what was wrong with me. “Has something happened to you out there? Has someone said something to you or hurt you?”. The answer was NO nothing had happened I just COULD NOT do this. I felt anxious to be separated from my family even though I had stayed away from home many times before. This wasn’t just homesickness, it was a full blown anxiety attack. I was worried I would not sleep that night because I was anxious. I was worried I would not sleep the whole week. I was worried I would die if I did not sleep. Nothing could have talked me out of that spiral because it had taken complete control over me.

My only excuse at that point to my mum was that I was way in over my head at university and I wasn’t enjoying it and I had to go home immediately. It seems ridiculous looking back on it now but she was horrified at how I couldn’t just stay the week and then drop out when I came back, especially after paying the money to get there in the first place. As many of you know once anxiety has you it is definitely not easy to shake off, I was physically shaking and I was making myself ill.

So I went upstairs to my room mates and lecturers and lied to their faces. I told them one of my relatives had been taken ill unexpectedly and it wasn’t looking good. I was already crying so it seemed convincing enough. They were all very sympathetic which was lovely of them, but I couldn’t actually tell them the truth. I was embarrassed and I was 21 years old crying about being away from home. I felt guilty but I didn’t care at the time, and I booked the first flight back home which was 8 hours later.

I packed my bags and left without even saying goodbye. The relief was fantastic but my parents were beyond furious at me for wasting money and not even giving them the explanation they wanted. How could I tell them the truth? How could I tell them I had been struggling mentally for so long and that it had all erupted into one moment of madness. I don’t know how much I drank on the plane home but it was definitely a crazy amount of vodka and it relaxed me. I took the dreaded journey home and got the silent treatment for a few days. It was awful and it made me feel more alone, but I deserved it.

It’s not easy to talk about anxiety and depression with friends and family, but those I have told have definitely lifted a weight off my shoulders. I feel I have made definite progress over the rest of this year by giving myself different types of therapy, whether it be writing or exercise. I even managed to live in New York for ten weeks by myself over the Summer. I often laugh about how I could do that and not stay in Mallorca for more than 24 hours. It really is circumstance and how you strengthen your mind. If those feelings ever cropped up again, which they often do, I think I am more equipped to deal with it now. I still make rash decisions but I try to be the voice of reason within the craziness of my mind.

And no I did not stay on to do a fourth year at university but I believe that this was best for my mental health. I love Geography again and I am motivated. I graduate in December with perhaps not the best degree but I hope to train to become a teacher next year which I am looking forward to 🙂

Catrina X