RP: Guys who’s up for uh drink next week Saturday?
Shane: Which day bro?
Prince is typing….
Carl: [Inserts inspirational meme with the twinkling flowers]
Ricardo: Let me check my cazendar.
Prince: Why not. Where and what time?
RP is typing….
Shane: Do you mean this coming Saturday or next?
RP: This coming Saturday.
Shane: As in the 5th?
Jay: [Inserts smiling emoji with sunglasses on]
RP: Yeah the 5th.
RP: @Prince Thinking Westfield, Busabi?
Helen: I don’t like Chinese.
RP: @Jay is that a yes or a no?
Ricardo: Oh, you meant this Saturday.
Corey: Sounds good.
Carl: [Inserts inspirational meme about Jesus]
Prince: It’s Thai.
Jay: Is that the place we went to last time?
RP: Nah, that was Wagamama.
Helen: @Prince Whatever it is, I didn’t like it.
RP: @Helen are you on coming out at all? we can look at other places.
Helen: No, I can’t make it.
Prince: [Inserts Gif of Drew Scanlon the white guy blinking]
AK-47 or White widow? Shane asked, grinning as he pointed at a menu as if either one of us had any business dabbling in strong marijuana. We could barely handle cigarettes, let alone smoke anyone of those strains of weed, that sounded more at home on an MI5 terrorist watch list than in rolling papers. We eventually requested the weakest space cake they had and left to to take in the rest of De Wallen.
Eight of us were in Holland for the Rotterdam carnival and as part of our package, we had a day trip to Amsterdam scheduled in, and my-O-my was it going to be a trip (pardon the pun) that none of us will ever forget. Getting high didn’t appeal to Missy, Prince and Helen, so we (Shane, Ricardo, Carl, Jay and I), decided to split our group in two and meet back at the coach at the end of the day.
Now let it be known De Wallen (where the red light district is situated) is a small enclave of Amsterdam and is most probably one of craziest sections of any city world wide. With women in windows and weed, the word ‘liberal’ doesn’t do it justice at all. If De Wallen were a bike rolling down a hill, it’d be brake-less, without a seat, stabilisers, or wheels - just uh rickety old frame trundling at full speed into those fiendish red lights below.
Anywho, we had a good laugh throughout the day, and were on the way back to the coach. Jay and I were deliberating on how the “weak space cake” was a little too weak. Unsatisfied, we happened upon, and decided to stop off at the most stereotypical edible peddlers I had seen there. So there’s five of us squeezed-up in this weed takeaway shop, plastic inflatable palm trees everywhere, reggae beating over the speakers. The guys behind the counter wore red, gold and green string vests, and had locs. In true British fashion I began small talk. I assumed they were Jamaican, and with me being of Jamaican heritage, I asked where in Jamaica they were from. They both answered ‘Barbados’. ‘Oh’ I replied - Now here’s where Carl swears I had doomed our expedition, fore I, for some stupid reason went on to say… “So you guys aren’t real Rastas then?” Carl reckons on account of my faux pas, the brother going to get our muffins from the cabinet stopped in his tracks, and looked back at me in complete disdain, before selecting a completely different batch of space muffin to those requested. Anyway, we paid and left. Carl, Shane and Ricardo had walked up ahead, opened their muffins, and ate them whole.
"Oh thank God, at least he's light skin."
And with that I had been whisked into the wonderful world of colourism; and what an ugly world it's turned out to be. Let's delve deeper, but before I take you forward, one must take you back.
I was brought up in a household with a dark skinned African-Caribbean mother, and was thankfully blessed with many of the elders around me being inadvertently African centred. At no point were my brother or I taught that the lighter pigment of our skin meant we’d be favoured within our community, or in the world at large. I only began to consider my hue as being perceived as a higher social currency when I began socialising as a teenager, outside the confines of my family. The main colourism pedlars around me were almost always highly melanated male and females who'd say things such as, 'You’re light skin, I bet you get nuff girls'. Or as I got older, 'I want to have your babies so they can have light skin and light eyes’ or 'You're uh sweet bwoy'. Even in adolescence and in the absence of a name for, or knowledge of shadeism, I felt deeply uncomfortable with having bits of my self, be it skin or eye colour idolised and placed on a pedestal. After a while it began to seriously jar me, and I began to feel marginalised, like a subsidiary of black, and found it difficult to deal with what was beginning to rival the reality my family had diligently built for me. It quickly become clear that there were major differences in mindset that I had not been made privy to at home, and I slowly started to recognise that there appeared to be a hierarchy of beauty within us.
The year is 2006, and I'm sat at home watching some of the most shoddy, amateur music videos you could ever imagine, the majority looked as if they'd been filmed on an old shoe, with headphones for recording sound. Without a smidgen of care for quality control, Channel U boldly showcased video after video from aspiring artists, giving for the majority, disenfranchised young men and the occasional women a platform to display visuals to their music, all whilst pointing fire-armed-fingers at our screens, rhyming about love interests, money, general debauchery and a whole load of haters. Ashamedly we loved and lapped it up, because people that looked like us, and sounded the same, were now on our screens and in our homes 24/7.
We all got excited when Leon from the endz had got his video up, in his over-sized Nike tracksuit, surrounded by fifty guys making mean faces whilst hanging out of cars way above their current earning potential. No one ever thought it was really going anywhere, like when I tell people I’m an author and they reply with "Really? Good for you mate".
I remember going to friends houses and we'd turn Channel U on for a laugh, but as the years progressed, as did the talent and in 2006 one such talent appeared on my radar and has yet to leave. I saw the video for his track 'Punctuation' first & ' Ina Da Ghetto' and realised that Grime was beginning to take itself seriously, filtering out of the talent-less, waning and weak, leaving those competent and capable of carrying a scene so brittle in its infancy (its odds for real establishment at the time looked bleak), it needed the kings among them to ride out for its survival, a call with which was answered. Arise King Wretch 32.
Decided i'd drag my ass into this century and have a trailer made for my book. BIG props to our actress Olivia Murray - 100% pure unrefined talent. Enjoy, share, comment.
Went to Belgium
Ate waffles, drank beer, saw a famous naked child statue (holding his private parts), which the people of Brussels saw fit to print on mugs, T-shirts, pens, pants and God knows what ever else. Why? Met some Americans from Kentucky (they were cool). Went for a Sunday morning walk only to discover a strip of road riddled with ladies of the night, and was like…what the H.E. double- hockey- sticks! Left swiftly without incident! Ate more waffles, saw some Japanese tourists (they were cool), ate some chocolate and returned home to London.
Bought a guitar
Became obsessed with Ed Sheeran's song 'I See Fire'. Felt the urge and extreme, overwhelming need to be able to play said song. So I researched good (cheap) beginner's guitars and purchased a cherry-red Martin Smith from Argos (£50). Really, really nice. I've learnt to play Chords D,A and E…Cool I know!
Read the book 'Needful things'
Finally read 'Needful things'… Wow!!! Starts a little slow, but god-damn that guy can write. Check it out!
Wrote 25,000 words of my new novel
One quarter in to my new novel and it's flowing beautifully. A horror set on a holiday resort, it should be out later this year. Join my mailing list or follow/ friend me on social media to stay up to date.
Watched the 4th season of 'The Walking Dead'
Hhhhmmmm…Your thoughts below.
Started running again
I always begin my day with writing for two hours before work (from 3am) then running at least five miles. I've had to put the latter on hold due to injury, and a strain of resilient, nuclear, ninja-flu, which both lasted an inconceivable two months, ruling out running all-together. But I'm back and loving it!
Got paperback copies of 'Lilif' made
Just had paperback copies of the most exciting and extraordinary supernatural thriller the world has ever seen! Available from Amazon, check it out here>>>HERE
After ten months of rising early, hitting the sack late and irritating the hell out of my loved ones with the clicking of the keyboard and the dazzling glare of the PC screen at random times in the night. After buckets and buckets of self doubt, that could and would only be appeased by friends and family who were forced to read excerpts from the manuscript. After going to work writing in my head on the way, and doing the same once at the office. After God knows how many bags of sweets, chocolate, crisps and the occasional glass of 'Jesus juice'. After reading 'Velocity', 'The Good Husband', 'Misery' (Again), 'IT', 'On writing' (twice). After turning down attendance to parties and social functions to get on with my writing. After getting a little writers block (not cool)... insert second reading of 'On writing' and more self doubt >here< . After finishing and feeling like I could conquer the world. After handing it to my trusted Beta readers, praying to God they loved it, not knowing what I'd do if they didn't :( (No LOL trust me). After getting it back and realizing they thought it was brilliant, birthing comments like "I cried at that part" " that part was a little scary". Yes, result!!! After making the changes and reading it all over again and then again until satisfied. After sending it to my Editor Jane Hammett who might I add did a brilliant job. After pissing about with trying to create my own cover and realising I was on an indie book kamikaze mission, I decided to employ the services of Lilien Hoffman (website: Http://lilienhoffman.wix.com)who is responsible for Lilif's beautiful artwork. After all of the above - it is Lilif Launch Day 07/02/14 and all 89,540 words of my first novel are finally lay bare. Now I face the world armed with nothing but my faith that this story is both beautiful and brutal in the same breath. You'll probably cry, wince, laugh and scream, but you'll enjoy it I guarantee you... Please support Lilif!
Below are my personal top 5 tips for writing your first novel.
1. Read, read, read...You cannot write a novel if you have not studied the craft. You have to read to understand what constitutes good writing form, rhythm, style, unacceptable and acceptable types of written expression. This also helps you to develop your own style and 'voice'.
2. Make sure you truly love your story concept, or your project will go the way of so many that end in abandonment.
3. Don't listen to DOUBT! Make sure you finish it or you'll never finish any of them. YOU CAN DO IT!!!
4. After you finish your manuscript let it rest for about a month, dust it off and have a read. It's at this point you'll think WTF! Did I write that!! It's okay change it, make improvements and move on. You will learn to forgive yourself. Once past that stage let others (Beta readers) read it and get back to you with feed back that you'll hopefully take on board. Even if you are adamant cats come in pink, if your Betas disagree, you should at least review it. Try not to be too defensive. Make sure you get your book copy-edited (Jane Hammett). There is no way around this if you want to avoid a (sometimes angry) backlash!
5. Book cover...Man-O-Man... I tried to fight this one and had convinced my self that my sub-novice Photoshop skills would suffice. After two revisions, I realised I was only prolonging the inevitable. You're a writer not an illustrator. The book cover is the first thing people see and if it looks amateur-ish they won't even bother to read the synopsis. Yeah I know its expensive blah, blah, blah just get it made it'll be worth it, especially if you know the story inside is worth reading. I used a website called 99designs.com check it out.