Princess Diana: July 1st 1961 – August 31st 1997

I still remember waking up on the morning of the 31st August, back in ’97 and switching the TV on. The first thing that struck me was that both presenters on GMTV were wearing black and it all seemed a little weird, until one of the presenters said, with a pretty plain voice, “We can confirm that the Princess is dead…”

It’s rare that I feel deeply for celebrities and public figures when they pass but I remember feeling numb for quite some time. Indeed, the whole of London had an sombre atmosphere of sorrow and heaviness for at least the following week, with small outbursts of anger being sprinkled in conspiracy theory. On the day of her funeral, London was deathly silent (Literally) and it wasn’t until some days later that I realized the impact her death had on a worldwide scale.

She was, as Tony Blair coined, the People’s Princess, though. I tend to think that she is one of only a few celebrities who’s death is overshadowed by their life. Nobody is perfect but, in the face of shunning from the Royal Family, infidelity of her husband and the constant hounding of the paparazzi, Princess Diana did a damn good job of holding herself together with the elegance and class that surpassed that of the aristocratic mess she mixed with.

The world remains a darker place without her… *cue Elton John*



Breath of Ashes

When I hear leadership calling nations to war, while they stay in well guarded accommodations, I become frustrated. When I hear the uneducated calling for bombs to be dropped on countries they’ve never been to, on people they’ve never met, I just look on in dismay.

Nobody wins. There is no retribution. There is only death and heartache. Ask those that tend the graves of their lost loved ones. Ask a soldier what he thinks of war as he dies from trauma and blood loss. Ask a child what they think of war now that they are blinded from a bomb entering their home.

Then try to find audience with the person who called the nation to war. Ask for a one-to-one audience with the person who speaks on your behalf. It never has happened and never will.


Romeo & Juliet: William Shakespeare

It’s been great to take on reading again, now that I’m getting the train to and from work. I started this reading challenge to get me going. My first book was Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding and today I completed the infamous Romeo & Juliet by… Do I even need to name William Shakespeare?!

Two things struck me as I read the play. The first was that I never knew Shakespeare actually re-told a previous story by a writer named Arthur Brookes and secondly I realized the drastic difference in reading this story again, now aged 37.

When I read Romeo & Juliet, going through school, I was learning. I had exams to take. Romeo & Juliet was part of a stepping stone in life. This time around, things were slightly different. I saw things that I’d never seen before. I understood the relationships between people better and it was easier for me to understand the position the characters played against the backdrop of their 1500s Verona setting.

Understanding the relationships between the characters on a level I can now relate to gave me a primary standpoint. Or, at least a question anyway. Would the story have been complete had Juliet shared a closer relationship with her parents?

As was custom of the class and period, Juliet was raised by a nurse. She was 14 and had been raised by someone who tested her social boundaries as well as her employers, with her dry wit. She also would have been focused on her job security. Between this and the aristocratic carry-on of her parents, Juliet was a product of convenience, necessity and arrangement. When she woke up from her induced sleep, in her family tomb, Romeo was the only real love she knew. To stab yourself takes a real dark place and real desperation. As the only love she knew lay dead, I can only imagine the emptiness she felt, understanding that we all crave genuine Love.

My key thought, having read Romeo & Juliet at this point in life, is on the education system.

Books, unlike TV screens, encourage thought. Reading through this play, I had to use my imagination to picture physical settings, personal attire, voice tones, physical appearance. Secondarily, I could also imagine the disparity of the audience. Where they would sit and how they would react to different scenes and characters. I pictured the masses under a cool 1500s London sky. I feel that I was able to take so much more from this book because of my life experience.

Books like Peter & Jane have their place and one must learn to read but how much knowledge is left untapped in the human mind because we force kids through school and homework from a young age, with the consequence of an incomplete life should they adhere to the set-up? I feel that kids should be allowed to be kids and enter into education later in life, when they are past that stage of kicking their legs under the table, labelled with ADD, etc.

I feel that we are so shaped, during our lives, to benefit the system, that we have become mere minions and totally miss the beauty and poignancy of books like Romeo & Juliet.

Thoughts on What the Health Documentary.

It took 3 days to get through this documentary but I found it really informative and it wasn’t the dramatic conspiracy theory that I thought it would be. It’s available on Netflix and I’d advise everyone to take some time to watch it. My only regret is that I didn’t take notes.

I think my gravest concern, having watched this documentary, is that the people we should be able to trust are the ones who are knowingly killing us – and, yes, it is as real as that. The dairy, egg and meat industry, working in cahoots with the Pharmaceutical industry, knowingly feed us products that they know increase our risk of dying before our time. Cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure. Fed to us so we can run to the Pharmaceutical Industry, who take our hard-earned dollars, to treat diseases they have no intention of eradicating. In a nutshell, allowing you to die slowly (and sometimes painfully) is an important factor in the lining of pockets so deep that, if those pockets didn’t exist, the U.S. GDP INCREASE would equate to the 10th largest GDP country in the world. Wow!

R.I.P. Victor Magwood

I don’t think there is a single person with a bad word to say about this gentleman and, without doubt, he occupies some of my oldest childhood memories. Above most things, I can still hear the deep Irish accent, punctuated with his extrovert laugh. Plus, the man perfected the art of making chips! Crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside. If you know your chips, you’ll know this is how they should be!
If I was to list every memory, I’d write a novel. 14 years, Victor Magwood, never a dull moment!
He was ever industrious. A D.I.Y. king, construction worker for my 37 years on this earth and it’s great to be able to speak fondly of someone that I haven’t actually seen since the age of about 14. Victor isn’t a man who has left only memories with those that knew him, he’s a man that has left a legacy. A man that other men can think of, wishing there were more like him.
If I could put Victor Magwood in any form of perspective (Difficult when one is larger than life!), I would only be able to refer to the smile and chuckles produced by them old childhood memories!

R.I.P. Good sir…

London fire: Six dead after blaze engulfs tower block – BBC News

Man, my home needs a break. This is crazy. Prayers and condolences to the families of those that were lost.

Picture Credit to