Searching for Sugar Man. Have you heard of it?

Searching for Sugar Man is a documentary film, Directed by Malik Bendjelloul, that follows two fans and their search to uncover the anonymity of a singer. The singer was as big as the beetles in South Africa, he offered hope and strength to the country, his words bearing truth and inspiration to an isolated country, but in his home of the USA he was little to unknown, he wasn’t recognised and he wasn’t heard.  The true story focuses on would-be rock legend Sixto Rodriguez, with his songs centred around desolate Detroit, he was discovered on a foggy night, hidden in a smoke filled bar, playing his guitar singing his words that were true and told of his troubles.

The documentary is beautiful and incredible, not a second was spent thinking of anything else whilst I was watching, not what I was doing after, or what should I eat for dinner? Because all my attention was spent on the film. The story perfectly unfolds, flashing by in a blink. Were we really in there for over an hour? It felt like half the time.

True stories occasionally lack the substance of fiction, the thrills and tension but, when a film can encapsulate that with no added exaggeration, when it is just re-telling the truth it adds something truly special, and In Searching for Sugar Man the suspense lasted through the whole film and further remains after it ended. I could expand a lot on details because I fell in love with the film, the people in the film, who made the film and Rodriguez himself but, I want you to see it for yourself.

I have a few films that I can think off the top of my head that have moved me in such a memorable way. I haven’t stopped thinking about this film for a couple of days now, it makes me smile to think of it. It reminded me of what life is about, giving, the modesty of people and the power of a community. I really want you, your parents, and your parents, parents, your teenage son, teenage daughter or cynical auntie to go and watch this; I can make a guarantee, a promise that they will be inspired, uplifted and thankful.
Let me know what you think.

Happy Bonfire Night.

Remember, remember the 5th of November, gunpowder treason and plot. Every year in the UK we celebrate the failed explosion of the Houses of Parliament, Guy Fawkes Night. Celebrating with burning bonfires, tall and roaring, warming the cold November night and fireworks that shoot far into the sky, bigger every year, louder ever still. Pets resort to hiding under beds and disappearing from the booms and bangs. An annual event that sees families and friends take to fields and big spaces to stare up at the mid-autumn sky,watching flashes and flares dance tall in the night.

When I was younger, much younger, my family and I would venture out to the local rugby club, to see a display of thirty minutes, joining the community in the yearly event. I remember wearing a big woolly hat with a bobble on the end, gloves that wrapped and snuggled my hands in tight and a big coat, zipped up to the top. We never drove to the rugby club, because there would never be parking spaces. We walked all together anticipating the start time warming up as we went. I remember seeing floods of people towering over me, waddling through the field to get the best view, I was clenching my Mother and Nan’s hands, desperate not to lose them. The smell of the burning bonfire, strong now nostalgic, all merging with fast food of burgers and hotdogs, fried onion and mustard, sweet candy floss and tooth shattering toffee apples. A tradition of candy floss eating became a eagerly awaited treat. I held the stick in my hands, removing my gloves to tear away at the fluffy ball, resulting in sticky hands and sensitive, sweet teeth.

The fireworks would start, of course with a bang, looking up to the sky I could never quite seeing enough, my view was impaired by broad shoulders and tall heads. To my benefit my Grampy lifted me to his shoulders to let me see the horizon, up, up above, seeing more than I could imagine. The fireworks illuminated a flock of faces, gazing happily and occasionally flinching at the strength of the explosions, they were stunning and bigger than little me could comprehend, the colours and the dispersing glitter, made time freeze for half an hour, the candy floss eaters seized and people stopped chattering, only allowing ‘ooh’ and ‘aahh’.

Every year from then on I would stop and watch, with my family, on Grampy’s shoulders, until I became too old and too cool going with friends, a chance to mingle and giggle on the fairground rides. Until I left the tradition and watched a far from my window. Its funny how I remember the 5th of November, fireworks, candy floss and sitting on shoulders.

I hope you have a lovely bonfire night, keep the pets in and wrap up warm, tonight is going to be a cold one.

Good-Night

Saturday night the air is crisp and the sky is clear, the smell of midnight food and stale alcohol begins to linger. The stars brightly  illuminate above in the sky, attempting to shine through the city’s light pollution. Walking through the winding street we start our long journey on foot, passing other’s making their way out for the evening, some returning home too intoxicated to handle the hours to come. Together we walk, quickened steps, too cold to linger and craving the heated venue and the buzz of Saturday night. Gradually as we get closer to the pubs and neighbouring clubs more people emerge, a women on her own, 2 or 3 groups of students I notice and stare; There’s a man stood in the road he wavers and wonders, I watch him stumble and shuffle as he safely reaches the pavement. The long winding street filling up as we go.

We reach the venue, pushing open the doors with a great effort, a welcomed break from the numbing coldness, the heat radiates from the bodies inside, the smell of sweat and perspiration becomes overwhelming, the dim light with a red glare makes it hard to miss standing people and tables. I’ll have one for me and one for him, the barmen looks sad/ anger/annoyed/ bored, where else would he like to be tonight?

The band plays as we stand and we sway, the lights from behind brightens are faces, squinting our eyes we enjoy what we are hearing and when all is done we sneak out to avoid the rush of departing. The long walk home smells fresher once more, holding hands and walking close, zipping coats and pulling up hoods. Seeing my breathe for the first time this season, a good Saturday night, looking up to the stars once more, stumbling in the front door with heavy footed steps, scurrying into bed, heads spinning and sleep overcoming, Saturday night turning into Sunday morning.

Like a fish out of water

1…2…3…Jump

My Mother always said I was a water baby. She told me that she would throw me into mother and baby swimming classes and wait to see if I could swim, my little bald baby head would always emerge like a buoyancy aid, it all sounds rather dramatic but its what they did in the 90’s and apparently babies can swim really well,  it comes naturally.

Mother and I are making a regular habit of swimming. Sticking to our schedule for a once a week mother and daughter swim club at our Olympic sized swimming pool just out of town. It is perfect, big and new, making the water look even more driveable and in a location where we won’t bump into anyone we know in an attempt to re-invent ourselves as Olympic hopefuls.

It took a bit of adjusting to the whole swimming business, I used to swim lots as a child having lessons where we would have to swim to the deepest part of the pool and pick a brick up, that brick was no object for me, thanks to mum throwing me in I would always surface pretty quickly. Recently I haven’t had the opportunity to swim so my first week at this new pool was a shock to the system. What is the pool protocol? After the compulsory warm shower we climb down into the pool, the contrast of temperatures hits me, the pool is cool and surprising after that nice warm compulsory shower. I start to sneeze, which is always questionable in the pool, as my body adjusts to the temperature my eyes adjusted to the bright white lights, beaming down lighting up the tempting blue water. After the sneezing outburst I settle into the water, feeling streamlined like a fish I start pretending to be in competition with my neighbours in the next lane, there is even a spectator stand with, spectators staring. This pool couldn’t be better if it tried. This week I even wore goggles, things are looking serious now.

Kids can use the pool, which is a major dilemma especially when one child decides he wants to splash everyone that passes him, the grown-ups of the pool huff and puff at the child’s naivety of the pool protocol.  At least I have my goggles on, I gave him a mean scowl, as much as I could with bug eyed goggles on, regardless he carried on and I took to a new lane.

I was getting used to inhaling an exhaling between strokes and then slowly my goggles began to fill up, is this meant to happen, it says they were water tight? I hadn’t prepared for the effects of them not being water tight and now my eyes stinging with the chlorine, a fuzz appears over them and my vision is impaired. I got to the safety of the side of the pool, my mum was waiting for me I told her of my dilemma whilst removing the dishonest goggles. She stared, looking a little concerned. Trusting the goggles would keep my eyes dry I didn’t take of the remainder of the days black mascara, what a faux pas, what a no –no, I don’t think Olympians ever face this problem. My stained black eyes illuminated by the fluorescent white bright lights.

I’ve always loved swimming, its therapeutic and stress relieving qualities make it a favourite hobby of mine. I like that you don’t have to worry about your hair or clothes, you are submerged, released from any anxieties or worries. I don’t find it strenuous or do I need convincing to swim after a tiring day at work. Just pop my bathing suit on and jump right in. I just need to remember to take my mascara off next time, try not to sneeze and look out for the splashing child, I don’t have any goggles now so I need to be careful.

What is your pool protocol? Do you have to remember to take your eye make-up off? Or do you forget the ‘No Diving’ ‘No Splashing’ rules?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine.

My mother, My brother and me.

This photo is one of those photos that you can stare at for a while or just one fleeting look but it remains emotive, powerful and heart-warming, this photo will never be dull or shoved in an album waiting for years to pass for me to stumble upon it. This photo is here, its mine.

This photo takes me to that place, my grandparents garden, probably summer and maybe a weekday. I look into the eyes of every person captured by the lens, I imagine and try to feel what I felt, what my mother was thinking, behind her bright blue eyes and imagining the person taking the photo probably by Grampy.

This picture isn’t mine, it is ours but when I behold this image, when I take the time to look at it for longer than a side glance it is mine and my thoughts, a moment paused. It represents unity and strength; My mother was a little older than I was now, she had two children and she brought us up being a solid and supportive figure in my life. My dad was working away a lot and weekends were when we spent most of our time with him. This day was a day when he wasn’t there, a day when my mum had us and we had her. She was/is our everything. She won’t know that this is how I feel when I look at this picture and how much respect I have for her and this picture sums up why.

There are copies of the picture, my mum has one and we share our love for this image but this one is mine, mine in thoughts and mine on my bedside, reminding me of my wonderful mother her young and continued strength, her happiness and inspiring love.

Thank you mum, love Jess.

 

Good Morning Saturday

I woke to the day with a crisp autumn morning, no clouds could be seen apart from the disappearing mist that blanketed the night before. What a lovely Saturday morning, a proactive day ahead I feel as I stare at the view in front of me.ahh crisp

Outside in my garden butterflies, lots of little butterflies, tattooed with colours of burnt reds and black. Above my head a pair of white winged butterflies flit and flurry as they surround an overgrown flowering plant.

Below my cat sleeps soaking up the sun, he stretches out as he notices my presence.

I hope you all have a lovely Saturday.

All I really want is that big brown box

It always seems to be that when you are waiting for a package to be delivered, excited at the thought of the contents wrapped up tightly and cuddled in tissue paper cradled in a big brown box, that it won’t show when it’s meant to. The estimation time proving the definition of the word, its loose in it terms and really distrusting, disappointing but expected, I begin to doubt the prediction. I have to wait; I can’t hurry it along or persuade it to get to me quicker, that brown box has a pace of its own. The apprehension is like Christmas, I can’t sit still for a moment, all noise is muted as I listen for the door.  For the knock, knock, knock. I look out from the upstairs window, peeping through the blind trying not to be seen but wanting so much to see that big burly van and the brown box, if I wait here and strain my eyes as I stare at my street it ironically won’t show its just how it goes. Its almost middle evening, the moon is high in the sky and the lingering red clouds have lost their red colour for deep cool blue. The feeling of excitement begins to fade and the realisation occurs that it isn’t coming tonight, I open the door to feel the fresh evening cold settling on my cheeks looking left and right, no its not coming tonight. My cat scurries in from outside, thinking I was holding the door for him. I guess I will have to wait a little longer for that big brown box.

Sundays, There is nothing quite like ’em

I always remember Sundays, the smell of a roast dinner cooking in the oven, Antiques Road-show on TV and most likely the rain was pouring outside, hitting hard on the windows of our house. Rainy Sundays. I used to hate those rainy Sundays, I hated the smell of the roast dinner, which was very controversial , and I hated the Antiques Road-show opening theme tune, all because they reminded me that the next day would be Monday and that meant back to school.  I’ve grown up since then. I love a good roast, lamb to be exact, I haven’t found the love for Antiques Road-Show quite yet, that will be in the years to come but, rainy Sundays, there is nothing quite like ’em.

Grey sky and autumnal colours…

Summer has barely left us but already I am looking forward to the coming months, the paths are already filling with leaves of different autumnal shades and my wardrobe needs a season re-vamp. The cold is rolling in thick and fast, “its going to be a long cold winter, I can feel it in my bones” I keep saying to myself as if I was intuitive about the coming weather, when really the increase in jumpers and layers says it all. Today was a cold and rainy Sunday, I had to go outside but tried to keep it to a minimum, these are the best kind of Sundays because there is really no need to do much at all, the weather brings with it a need to hibernate and my rainy Sunday pushes me behind closed doors. Curling up on the sofa, nestled beneath blankets with a good film to watch in the afternoon, after the legendary Sunday roast, then settling down for the prime time period drama, and certainly not forgetting drinking copious amounts of tea and stuffing my face with biscuits. The grey rain clouds cover the sky with an early darkness, bed time looms and I am thankful for these Sunday’s, the rainy ones.

I Hope your Sunday, rainy or not, was a peaceful, lazy and happy day.

Wallow, wanting and window seat.

This week has been hard, its been tough getting up early, awakening to the cold beginnings of autumn. Only to quickly get up and ready, eat a bowl of warm porridge and get out of the door, in anticipation of my two bus journeys. I don’t need to get up so early but you can never predict the mood of city traffic. I get on the same bus, incredibly in arrives on time, although now because I’ve said this it probably won’t. The bus driver, his cold, hard,face staring at me looks how I feel, missing the sun and dreading the cold. I’m getting used to this routine.

I can even predict the layout of the bus. The passengers on the bus have began to alter with the seasons, everyone sitting far against opposing windows, leaving seats on the aisle up for grabs, their faces look forward in an attempt to suggest “don’t you sit next to me” unfortunately I need that seat, standing on a bus is lethal. I even find discomfort in the aisle seats, weary of my balance as the bus sways and abruptly comes to a stop, I fear on many occasions that I might fall off my seat. I feel unbalanced and unsteady.

This week has been hard. I think I’m beginning to understand what it means to be a graduate, without the stability of university, my questions regarding the future have increased dramatically. I don’t know what I am aiming for, I know what I like doing, I think I know what I’m good at but I don’t know what to do about it. Not for lack of trying, I am beginning to bear a lot of pressure on myself to try and devise a plan, a strategy of some sort that will offer guidance. I know there are hundreds of thousands, millions of graduates who feel in the same position, I’m not any different but I want all the answers, I want someone to say “Jess, this is what you will do, this is your direction” That will not happen, my life is my own and I accept that, sometimes this burden is a lone one, for me and only me. Sometimes this makes me upset and wallow in self pity but what it does and what it should do is be encouraging and exciting, I am young and at the start of a adventure, that’s what I need to believe, that this bus journey is only temporary, if I wait ten minutes another will come along and it will take me somewhere else, it might not even be on time and there might just be a window seat. I need to be brave and have courage, and remember these wise words: Que sera, sera whatever will be, will be.

Thank you Doris.