What To Do Next?

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As you might be aware of recent I’ve been a bit quiet on the social media, blog front. Just because I’ve been left feeling very deflated and . . . . well like this.


Stuck in a lifestyle that I am not a great fan of anymore. Don’t get me wrong I don’t want to bad mouth these aspects of my life because they have served me well and I’ve learnt and grown from them. But it is now time to move on and take a bigger step forward. Though how realistic is that?

Not to moan about money but sadly this is what makes life tick over. I know I should live in the moment. Enjoy what I have. Can’t take it with you bullshit. But sadly Karen that isn’t the world we live in. The fact of the matter is if I don’t earn X amount a month I won’t be able to pay my bills, buy food or get by. So if I bring home less than that or I have a sick day and don’t get paid. I feel the pinch.

It’s horrible.

But what can I do? How can I make my life better? I’d love to go freelance. In photography or media or blogging. But taking that plunge is an unrealistic step for me. I’d love to get into charity work. Especially Male Mental Health based work. To help give a voice to people. To do something meaningful and to make a difference but sadly in the most none selfish way that won’t pay my mortgage. Not to begin with anyway.

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A very supportive and lovely friend said the following to me earlier – “You really could do it full-time I believe in you buddy! You’re written word is fantastic, I love your content and you are always one of the first people to boost people up in this community! I honestly couldn’t think of anyone who deserves it more than you.”

Which is crazy cute and mega supportive of her and it made me think – who else thinks this of me, maybe I could be this figurehead that people look up to, maybe I could help everyone.

I’m thinking about setting up a movement / brand / organisation that focuses on those goals of raising awareness and money for Male Mental Health charities. Which is where I will need your help.

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I just hope something like this can and will give me purpose and until I find my feet I will have to keep going with my current affairs but in time, maybe one day, I will be able to stand up tall and look back at what I have done with pride.


 

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Man vs Movies – Johnny Depp Edition.

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We’ve taken a break from our regular scheduled programming to interrupt this broadcast with a bitter-sweet post that is fitting after last nights bombshell of information about Amber Heard and the Domestic Abuse case against Johnny Depp. Oh how the tables have turned. This post was originally written last june to link to my post about Johnny Depp, which can he found HERE. But I got caught up with house stuff and never got it posted. But it’s been in the chamber ready ever since then and now is time. I have always been a fan and admirer of his and I am so glad this information has come out, it helps show that men can be and are victims too. Anyway let’s celebrate the man by going through my “Top Five” films.


 

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

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Featured before in this series. It’s an amazing biopic story of Hunter S Thompson a real wild card. To prepare for the role Johnny Depp went up to Aspen, Colorado and met HST to learn and interview him for the role. The story goes that he was waiting in a bar for hours and just as Depp was about to leave the door swung open and this mad man storms in carrying a cattle prod and a . . . I want to say Revolver, but it could be a bottle of whiskey. Either or – HST was a big fan of both. This was the start of their friendship and the film does Hunters life justice. The film is just a whirlwind of events fuelled by drugs and booze as the two leads scurry around the desert in an attempt to cover a sporting event. It might not be everybody’s cup of tea. But I love it.


Secret Window.

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Based on Stephen King’s short story Secret Window Secret Garden. It follows a writer (Depp) who is stalked by a stranger claiming that the writer stole his story but changed the ending. As the twists and shocks carry on, Mort has to find away to prove he wrote the story first while fighting off this stalker. The stakes get higher and higher as the film climaxes with a shocking twist that leaves Mort’s world shaken. It’s a fantastic performance from Depp and if you like a good psychological thriller this one’s for you.


Ed Wood.

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This film follows Edward D Wood Jnr – renowned for being the Worst Director of all time. But with his love of B movie cinema, the classic monster flicks and Bela Lugosi, this flick follows Ed Wood as he tries to break into cinema and the production of his “Masterpiece” Plan Nine from Outer Space. It’s shot entirely in Black and White which adds a real nostalgic feel to the movie. Again it’s one of them films that might not be for everyone but has become a cult classic that is worth a watch at least once and it cements Depp as such a talented actor taking on another biopic and playing a real person. (Second of my Top Five as well)


Pirates of the Caribbean.

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For some people of my generation and younger this would be their first encounter of Johnny Depp and what a great way to get to know him. Swinging onto our screen as Captain Jack Sparrow, Depp takes the reins in this fresh new Pirate movie that takes its inspiration from a roller coaster at Disney World. This movie never gets old, it’s funny, exciting, different and yes they tried to milk it and make a few too many sequels but they are all a bit of fun and escapism which is what they should be. It also helped put a few actors back on the map and now are referred to as . . . so and so from Pirates.


Black Mass.

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The last spot was a tough call. Like I have said I am a big JD fan and cutting his list of films down to five is a tough call. But I decided to go with Black Mass – another biopic that Depp gets to sink his teeth into and in my eyes nails perfectly. Black Mass tells the tale of James “Whitey” Bulger and the Winter Hill Gang, a crime organisation from South Boston in the 70’s. Showcasing Bulger become an informant for the FBI, in exchange for protection he effectively rats out other gangs and groups in an attempt to profit from their downfall. It’s a brilliantly acted piece that shows off Depps talents in yet another acting genre.


 

I would love to know your favourite films of Mr Depp’s, let me know what you think to my list too.

 

‘Captain Marvel’ Review: A Kick Ass Thrill Ride.

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What with the heat, beef and grief Brie Larson and the Captain Marvel movie has been receiving over the past few weeks I felt it time to weigh in on what I thought of the movie.

Last night I settled into my cinema seat, popcorn in hand and my mind ready to be blown away by; the ever so talented Brie Larson, any potential Avengers Endgame clues and the MCU phenomena as a whole and let me say – move over Steve, there is a new Captain in town.

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Firstly let me start by saying this IS a spoiler free review, there is a special place on Titan for people who spoil movies or even talk in the cinema. We will not be going there guys. So carry on reading, all is safe. Now I am aware of the constant battering Brie Larson . . . Sorry – Academy Award Winner Brie Larson, has had over the making of this film, the press junket and the promotional tour and in her defence I feel a lot of it is simply out-of-order. There is so much hate generated now days that it really tarnishes a great actor and their career. Things that they say are so easily spun into something else so they can be painted in a bad light. Which is unfair.

But this post is about the film itself, so what did I think of it?


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I went in expecting good things, but nothing like what I saw. This was a breathtaking thrill ride that ticked every box in my eyes. Great story, Amazing fight sequences, Cool 90’s pop culture references and on feisty ginger cat called Goose.

The film gives you the origin of Captain Marvel but not in the standard way we have seen countless times before, oh no this was done in a cool quirky way which helped the tempo of the movie soar as fearlessly as Captain Marvel herself. I went in thinking I had a rough idea of what the story would be, how it would pan out and what would come from it. I was mistaken, there was several twists that I didn’t see coming, a couple of nods to the bigger picture and a post credit scene to make you scream. In my eyes the story doesn’t let up, there wasn’t a single point in the film that I found myself clock watching or bored. Which sadly I have found once or twice in a few of the other MCU films (I won’t name which ones). It fits perfectly into the MCU and just gets your blood pumping and ready for the Endgame.


Brie Larson took the bull by the horns and smashed it out of the park with this one. A well deserved role that will continue what ‘Room’ started by blasting her into acting royalty. Her level of humour, sass and emotion comes through in every scene – slipping right into the MCU like she had been there all alone. She will most certainly hold her own with the big boys when the Avengers Endgame comes out don’t you worry about that. Also having Nick Fury and Coulson back was brilliant – they play the younger, more innocent versions of themselves so well and the technology Hollywood has developed did a stupidly good job. It was like watching Sam Jackson in A Long Kiss Goodnight rather than a Marvel film from 2019.

Admittedly I was left with one burning question that hopefully I will discover the answer too one day. If you want to know what it is and you’ve seen the film. Send me a message and ask me.


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This was also the perfect film for International Women’s Day – the moral of this story, the development of characters and the message it is sending is perfect. A story of a woman constantly being told; she is not good enough, not allowed to do something, or never will amount to anything without proving herself to men. But like the Strong Independent Women that you all are, she learns that she doesn’t need to do that. She don’t need no man to be great! She nails it all on her own.

The responses and comments I have seen from women across Twitter who have left the cinema feeling empowered and strong is simply amazing. This film can and will help shape a new generation of women, while reminding the current one that they are their best self.

Overall I loved this movie, everything about it was perfect – from the soundtrack, to the cool quips, to the overall message of empowerment. Not forgetting a sweet “For Stan” montage and message at the start and even a smart cameo in the middle. I can not urge you enough to go and watch this film. You will not regret it. I now – even more than ever – can not wait for Endgame to get here, just so I get another chance to see Captain Marvel in action again.

Bring it Thanos!

Captain Marvel (2019) poster CR: Marvel Studios

 

ABC Movie Tag.

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The ABC Movie Challenge – I stumbled across this tag on Ashli and Benny’s blog – You, Me and Benny. Which can be found Here – check them out. They run a great blog that covers all things geeky from Marvel love to Funko Pops. To lifestyle posts and everything in between.

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I liked the look of the challenge and decided to give it ago. As you know my film knowledge is wild and awesome and I love this topic. Let’s smash it.


A. – Avengers: Infinity War

B. – Back to the Future

C. – Casablanca

D. – Die Hard

E. – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

F. – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

G. – Gone in 60 Seconds

H. – Harry Brown

I. – Inception

J. – Jackie Brown

K. – Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

L. – League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

M. – Mission Impossible

N. – Now You See Me

O. – Once Upon a Time in Mexico

P. – Prisoners

Q. – Quantum of Solace

R. – RocknRolla

S. – Secret Window

T. – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

U. – Untouchables

V. – Van Wilder

W. – Warrior

X. – X-Men

Y. – Yes Man

Z. – Zodiac


 

I am not going to tag anyone on here, I want everyone to see this as an invitation. If you have a spare moment to put a list together I would love to see it.

Also the other day my friend came to me – he had compiled a list of his “Top 100 Films” and had somehow put them into order. To which he challenged me to make one. So I guess that is the next thing in the works. Would you want to see that?

Welcome to StrongMen

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StrongMen – What is it and what it is doing.


Just so you know this if not an AD, the Charity didn’t come to me. I asked them if I could write about them to help spread the word of who they are.

As many of you might know recently I discovered Channel 4’s S.A.S Who Dares Wins. Which pits a team of average joe recruits through a version of the selection progress for the Special Forces, lead by a tough team of Directing Staff which is made up of Ex Special Forces Operatives; Ant Middleton, Jason Fox, Matthew Ollerton and Mark Billingham.

Each season highlights the recruits back stories and reasons for taking on such a challenge, and each season for me has a couple of people who really stand out with some truly emotionally touching stories. Earlier seasons showed me Ehrem’s story and the season just gone showed me Mark and Milo’s stories. All dealing with grief, loss and a drive to prove themselves in honour of their lost family members.

Obviously as the world is very social media driven I jumped on the bandwagon to follow both Mark and Milo on Instagram. Only to find out their relationship has continued after the show and they are embarking on a Charity Climb of Mont Blanc in July with Ollie Ollerton. All in the name of “StrongMen”. Which got me thinking, who are they?


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StrongMen is a non-profit organisation set up by several Ex-Recruits and a D.S. from the show. Their mission, to tackle Mental Health issues caused by bereavement and suffering in men. Offering weekend retreats for Men aged 18-55 who have suffered a bereavement of a family member.

With grief and loss being one of the main causes to depression, stress and other such mental health issues the team at StrongMen have set up retreats to focus on several aspects of life; from diet, to exercise, to leisure activities – all with the goal of helping men open up and talk about their emotions and problems. Even if you are not effected by such things I strongly urge you to check out, look into this group and support the team at StrongMen.


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Mental Health is an ever-growing concern in this modern world, as it becomes more widely recognised and accepted. There is still a stigma behind Men and their diagnoses but with the help of organisations like StrongMen we can move away from that stigma and make it socially acceptable to be worry free and open to discuss what is really going on in our mind.

Men can still be the strong characters they always have been, but there is also no shame or harm in being open about what is going on inside your head. Especially if it results in help.

 

 


With all of this new and fresh in my mind it’s really made me take a step back to evaluate my own personal mental health. The up’s, the downs and the vague patches in the middle. Evaluating my own thoughts and well-being has been on the forefront of a lot of discussions recently. Growing as a blogger I have had the pleasure of meeting and interacting with several Mental Health bloggers for both Men and Women and this has helped me dramatically change my opinion on the topic for the better.

IMG_20180121_224107_636I suffered a bereavement nearly four years ago now, where I lost my Mother. I was 24. It was the start of the summer and I was sat in a beer garden in Northampton with some friends. Just a standard evening of drinks after work to unwind. When I got a phone call. My sisters number, but it was my Dad on the phone. He broke the news to me that she had passed away. Regardless of my relationship with her it was still a shock and worse of all I couldn’t do anything to fix it. I couldn’t even drive the 70 mile trip home there and then because I was in a beer garden. Though I have always be a strong-minded character I think that deep down I have never properly grieved. I just took a deep breath and got on with making sure my sister was ok and putting my Mothers affairs in order as I organised a funeral. (My Parents were Divorced as this point, so power of the estate was in my hands).

I’d never thought about this as a contributing factor to my Mental Health before, but with life getting busier, Adulthood creeping in and responsibilities racking up that tower of Life begins to wobble and lean a bit from time to time. Maybe throwing “Money worries” “Frustration at work” and a dash of “Road Rage” into a pot on top of a ungrevied significant moment in my life isn’t a great move – but then on the flip side maybe I am at ease with it all and how I dealt with it was perfectly rational and understandable during that time in my life.


It is a serious discussion we should be having and with the help of organisations like StrongMen I truly believe that discussion will be taking place more frequently.

As much as I am no professional, I like to think I am a supportive guy who will help anyone, with that in mind – if you want to talk, open up or even just have the knowledge and thought that someone is there. Here I am. Don’t be shy.

I will always be there for you all.

February Round-Up

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That’s it, Feb is over – two months down, ten to go! It’s a bit crazy to think in the working world I only have 12 pay days a year. Like in the scheme of things that doesn’t sound like a lot. Maybe if I can make it full-time as an influencer and all round social good guy I can up my paydays to a few more. Here’s hoping.

Washing the CarAnyway what have I been up to? There has been a lot of adulting this month, like if I had a score card I would have a bucket load of points. I washed the cars with a bunch of fancy car cleaning products, I put up an outside light, tidied and organised the garage, bought a lawnmower and gardening tools in an attempt to start making the garden look nice for the summer, along with some the addition of some black rattan furniture and a smiling Buddha – it’s coming along nicely.

We had the new bathroom arrive which is being redone in the next week or so – which will be a major tick in the house saga. So we’ve just been getting all that in order. Picking tiles, mirrors and rubber ducks. Once this is done we will be in such a better place – the entire top floor will be complete and then it leaves one room. Which to say we moved in to the house in October – that’s not bad going at all really.


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This month also saw me get the opportunity to go to the theatre to review a play. Caroline’s Kitchen Review can be found here and I was lucky enough to be asked by the Royal and Derngate of Northampton to come along and review. I had my blog name on an Envelope, complimentary drinks in the bar and everything. It was swanky and so much fun.

We also saw the NFL end at the start of the month with the Super Bowl, which as a game was a very defensive low scoring game which saw the Patriots claim another Super Bowl ring.

Feb Films consisted of; The Lego Movie 2, Fighting with my Family and On the Basis of Sex. Which I feel both the Lego Movie and Fighting with my Family can be summed up in the same statement. “Good, can say I have seen them, but nothing special – few key parts make them worth watching”. While On the Basis of Sex was just as you expect. A motivational uplifting true story about Ruth Bader-Ginsburg fighting for equal rights. It was brilliantly acted by Felicity Jones and Armie Hammer – who I have always said is such an underrated actor. He deserves to be bigger than he actually is in the world of film.

Feb Films also consisted of The Oscars – what a turn up for the books. I guessed 5 out of 8 in my Predictions which isn’t bad going. There was some amazing films up this year and deep down they are all winners. The Gaga / Cooper Shallow performance did it for me – so emotional, such an amazing song and brilliant movie – if you have not seen A Star is Born I highly recommend you go do so. Make it a challenge for March.


Monthly blogging goals are doing really well too. Smashed Feb’s goal and just overtook last years best month. So 2019 as it stands has generated 33% of 2018’s views which is overwhelming and simply amazing. I can not thank you enough. I must be doing something right as you keep coming back for more.

 

Hope you had a great month guys. Let’s see what next month brings.

 


 

30 Before 30 – Mk2.

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At the start of last year I did a post about my “30 Before 30” list. Which can be found just Here‘ – but recently we’ve been talking about these lists at work. My friend has just turned 25 and is set on doing on. So he is in the midst of making his list. Which made me look at mine and kick-start my lazy bum into finishing it.

You might notice that a few of them have changed since last year, that is allowed.

Turns out I have 17 left to do and 22 months to do it – which is nearly one a month. Scary right!

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I need your help. Below is my list – I need to plan the fluff out of it to hit targets. I love a challenge and I am not prepared to fail right now. So this is what I am aiming for.

Learn a Language – Currently using Duolingo to learn Swedish
Visit Auschwitz – I believe there are talks of visiting this next year.
Cycle London to Brighton for Stroke Association – Worried about how realistic this one will be
Get out of Debt – Tough as I am so bad with money. But confident I can find a way.
Vegas for my 30th – This one won’t help the above one. But I will be ending this list in Vegas in 22 months time.
Write a Children’s book – Something I constantly go back to, but can’t workout the best idea or plan for it just yet.
Start my own business – Hey if this blog takes off maybe I could claim this as that.
See the northern lights – Always wanted to, but the risky thing is, they are never a guarantee to see, even in the Arctic Circle
Write a film script – Similar to the children’s book, I have several started projects floating about, but I fall out of love with them.
Learn to dance (Salsa or Ballroom) – Gotta impress on my Wedding day right?
Learn an instrument – Uke – Sitting in my spare room collecting dust. I might tweak this to “Learn A song” to give myself the edge.
Re-Visit New York – Tempted to treat the GF and link this to the next one for this year.
Spend New Year’s Eve in a different country. – I have to do this this year as there is no other New Years Eve before I am 30.
New Job – One day!
Get a Dog – So close, by this time next year I am sure we will have one.
Sex in a tent – Who even likes camping?!
Take up Golf – Clubs are in the garage. Time to hit the range.

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