Many of you will have realised by now that wherever the hint of a challenge lies, there also lies my interest in getting involved. So this weeks award for Fortuitously Timed Writers-Block Beating Inspiration falls squarely at the feet of Misty from Misty’s Laws, who has slapped me across the stubbly chops with the gauntlet of the Tag, You’re It challenge. The simple premise here is that the blogger answers a set of questions, then tags other bloggers in the hope they will take the challenge and pass it on to others themselves. As one of the list of bloggers
victimised chosen lovingly by Misty, here follows that set of questions, and my own personal carefully considered responses….
1. Book or movie and why?
Book every time. Although I’ve seen convincing cases for both sides of the argument as to whether a film has ever done a book justice, or whether a good book has ever been written from a film, this comes down to one central reason for me. I strongly believe in the power of personal imagination in storytelling, and with a book you are free to imagine the characters and scenes in your head, making your experience of the story a unique one to you. When you watch a film, the fact that you can see the characters and locations means you are picturing all of that information as how the producer/director has visualised it, and if you read the book later on you will forever see those images in your head. So for the choice of being able to draw my own pictures in my head rather than having them dictated to me, the book wins every time.
2. Real book or e-book?
Real book. Although I’ve never owned an e-reader, I did buy Emily a Kindle and I can see the attraction of being able to carry around a wealth of literature in your back pocket and, from my brief tinkering with it, found it a very easy to use and clear to read little device. But there is something about the comforting weight of a real book in the hand, as well as the ritual of bookmarks and corner turning, that appeals to me as part of the reading process – something as simple as the type a text is laid out in can lend a certain character to the real book which is lost with a uniform-looking e-reader. Real books have a smell and a texture under the fingers which to me is as much a part of the ritual of settling in with a good book as the words themselves. Plus without the physical presence of the literally hundreds of books we have in our house, we would have more room free for ornaments, so anything that keeps our shelves free of novelty tea caddys in the shape of the Taj Mahal is a bonus by me.
3. Funniest thing you’ve done in the last 5 years?
Thank the gods that this question stipulates in the last 5 years, since before that time I would have had to admit to some pretty embarrassing things that my wife will now be spared the public humiliation of being associated with. Truth be told the last five years can be summed up with the word ‘WORK’, so I’ve been a disappointingly tame little rebel in that time. I did, however, last summer construct a set of false number plates for a colleague’s car with the spoof plate “SL4G’, which I spent over an hour lovingly constructing from waste cardboard and kitchen marker pen. Such a good job I did, in fact, that he failed to notice my ‘alterations’ to his car and drove away from work proudly displaying his SLAG plates for several hours to much hilarity in petrol stations and at shops where people kept shouting “Oi! You Slag!!” at him to his bemusement, before he was eventually pulled over by the local police and questioned over the validity of his plates. Although he escaped prosecution, he had for several weeks to endure the local police slowing down as they passed work and calling out “Hello, slag!” to him as he cleared the outside terrace.
4. Do you put yourself into the books you read/write or the movies you watch?
Not generally speaking, no. I admit to wondering what it would be like if I experienced the same things as the characters in a book, but not to the extent that I’ve ever imagined myself as a character whilst I’m reading. I prefer to let the effectiveness (or not) of the author draw that picture for me. It could prove counter-productive, after all. I reckon I’d make a pretty convincing film noire detective or some kind of wizard, but picturing myself as Miss Marple just ruins the ambience of Agatha Christie for me…….
5. How would your best friend describe you?
In the interest of reporting accuracy, I invited my best friend Kirk around for a brew and asked him to compose his own response. The following is in his words:
“Kev, you are a sick, twisted and depraved individual whose sense of humour takes a large step over the line of good taste. Your uncanny ability to put me down using only one word, and then pick me up with another, is a skill thankfully unique to you. On a lighter note, your love for both your family and life itself is most admirable and the strength you bring to our friendship is unmeasurable. I thank all the gods and angels that you’re stood in my corner, even if it is so you can stand behind me and whisper in my ear “Go on, it’ll be fine. You’ll get away with it no problem!!” It makes me comfortable to know that you’re always around to provide me with love, advice, and bail money.”
6. Favorite kind of car and why?
That would have to be an ‘E’-Type Jaguar. I’ve always loved the lines of this classic of British motor engineering, and its a shape that still exudes class and sophistication today. Even when it was painted with the Union Flag and driven by Austin Powers as The Shaguar, it never lost its edge of cool, quiet refinement that makes it one of the quintessential icons that sum up the style of the sixties and seventies. Were I ever to win the lottery, one of these would be way ahead of a flashy modern car on the bucket list. Take a look at this Youtube video, which is worth watching just for Jeremy Clarkson’s haircut alone…
7. Would your choice of party be a catered meal or barbecue out back?
Entirely dependant on who the guests for dinner are – if I were entertaining formal friends or family I prefer to do so in a formal setting where I can let my natural cooking talents shine. But for my own personal choice, its nice to be able once in a while to step away from the formality of the work kitchen and kick back with a simple BBQ. There’s something about the relaxed atmosphere and eating with your fingers that breaks down social boundaries and normally leads to a more lively, convivial atmosphere, not to mention the opportunity for me to actually be outdoors enjoying some rare exposure to fresh air and daylight. BBQ at mine Saturday readers?? I’ll cook, you bring a bottle – or three.
8. What’s your favorite season and why?
Clear winner here is Spring, and once again the reasons are tied to my work. Summer is when I’m ridiculously busy working 80+ hours a week, Winter is the same what with the advent of Christmas and New Year, and although Autumn has wonderful colours especially here on the Island, it only affords me a brief respite from the business of summer before winter is looming on the horizon and I’m considering the logistics of roasting enough turkey to feed a battleship. So Spring is the time I most look forward to – not just because all around me are the signs of Mother Nature coming to life again and throwing up new growth left, right and centre, but because it’s the time of year when I get to take my foot off of the gas a little, take a step backward and spend some more time with my friends and family, most of whom have spent the other three seasons of the year waiting patiently for me to emerge from the cocoon of my kitchen and remember them. It’s a time for new plans and new beginnings, for reflection and rejuvenation, and to me it means time spent on me instead of work – the time of the year when I concentrate more on the important than the necessary.
9. What specific lesson have you learned – Spiritual, educational, occupational?
Spiritual – nothing in life will cause more hatred or confusion than religion. Don’t be ‘guided’ into a religion by anyone, or feel you have to obey a religion’s rules to the very letter. Find a religious stance that reflects your own beliefs in what is right and wrong morally and stick with that. If that viewpoint doesn’t gel well with any predetermined religious viewpoint, don’t follow a religion. Micah 6:8 “He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Educational – learn fast, learn well and learn NOW!! Never waste time that you could spend learning something new, because soon life will weigh you down with responsibilities and make it hard to find the time. Learn to speak well and be literate, it will open doors for you. Be proud of your knowledge, but not boastful – no-one likes a smartass. And wherever possible, share your knowledge with others and help raise the communal bar.
Occupational – you get out what you put in. Learn everything you can, help out colleagues and watch to see who pays the effort back, make sure you get credit for your ideas and try not to rock the boat – it’s better to get off the ship than capsize it. And never get involved in office politics unless you are prepared to tear someone’s face off, crap down their throat and dispose of the body in an industrial mincer.
10. Besides writing, what’s your favorite thing to do when you get some extra time?
Listen to music. Just like (if not more so than) writing, music has the power to incite and alter emotional states, and is a fantastic medium for relaxing after work, or finding energy for tasks still to be done. My music collection is vast, and covers a multitude of styles, so that at any given moment you might find me moving from heavy metal to jazz, or soul to country. I love to pop in a set of headphones, turn up the volume, and immerse myself in an album, absorbing every small sound and nuance of what I’m listening to. I love the power of music to transport us in a heartbeat to far off imaginary places, and to inspire and motivate us.
11. What’s one place you can be found at least one time every week?
It’s a sad testament to my current life that I actually had to put some thought into not just answering this question with ‘at work’ or ‘at home’. I lead a fairly regimented life that borders on the monotonous in its regularity and allows me little time for activities outside my schedule. Truth be told, most of my regular stops are mundane ones that didn’t really feel appropriate as an answer to this – visiting the pet shop to buy crickets and locusts is hardly a riveting insight into my life. So in the end the place I chose is related to both work and home – the train that links the two. Up to four times a day, you’ll find me with a takeaway black coffee and a good book propped up in a corner booth as our rickety old train (formerly a London Underground carriage in the 1930’s) bounces along the track through the countryside from the town where I live to where I work and back. And I quite like that train journey as well, not just because it passes through some great scenery but because it marks those brief quiet reflective moments in my day where I take a few minutes to myself – and in a busy lifestyle those moments can often be as precious as pure gold…
There you have it – any questions or feedback I as always eagerly await your contributions in the comments section. Misty named a number of bloggers I’d have passed this challenge on to already, but to that list I’d like to add
and You Got Sars!
….. the gauntlet is laid down fellow bloggers, take the challenge and either run with it, or run from it, the choice is yours!! Until next time, stay safe one and all x