Thursday, 10 June 2021

Late Night Funk & Soul

Song for Today.

It's 0120hrs and I can't sleep, and it's all due to my own stupid fault. I broke my own decision not to eat too late, and now I sit here, stomach not feeling all that clever aided by a touch of heartburn.

Combine that with a decision to 'lay down' in order to aid my complaining stomach before 2200hrs and consequently falling asleep. I then wake, and the bedroom has that pre-dawn lightness to it, so I get up, visit the bathroom, stomach still feeling drum-like, only to discover the time is just after midnight!?

I look outside and the sky is covered in cloud that is reflecting, seemingly, every light source around. I exit to the garden where it is very lightly drizzling, but so lovely and cool. Still, everything is oddly bright, so-much-so that you could read by it.

Stepping back inside, sleep now having fled, I find myself listening to Spotify and 'Funk & Soul' Classics, and one track in particular, Dusty Springfield and 'Son of a Preacher Man', which not only makes me think of a cool summer evening, but back to a time when I last really sat and listened to it: 1992 driving down to Cornwall for my honeymoon. Seems like another lifetime ago.

This was written in September 1968, by American songwriters John Hurley and Ronnie Wilkins, recorded by Dusty Springfield for her album, 'Dusty in Memphis'. All when I was four years old.

Sit back and enjoy, especially if it's a cool summer evening, a gentle breeze is working its magic and your favourite drink is to hand, helping you to relax. And now sleep is whispering in my ear. 

Until next time.

Monday, 7 June 2021



Possibly the most under-used word humankind has ever created. It is the jack-of-all-trades in terms of usage; it can be singular in response, requiring no other syntax attached before or after. It can project playfulness, disbelief, anger, surprise, hurt, accusation - the list goes on. Surprisingly (to me), it doesn't even make the top 100 on wikipedia's 'Most Common Words in English.' If curious, check for yourself by clicking on this LINK.
Just ask any parent trying to cajole a five year old into eating broccoli:

"Eat your broccoli, darling."
Defiant child, "Why?"
"Because it's good for you, sweetie."
Inhales deeply, "It'll make you big and strong, darling."
Evil little twinkle appears in the eyes, "Whhhhhy?"

And you can see where that is heading. 

Below is a more clinical breakdown of this versatile, little, innocuous word that has such power and impact.

is an adverb - for what cause, reason or purpose, "Why did you do it?"

a conjunction - the cause, reason or purpose for which - know why you did it... that is why you did it.
for which / on account of which - know the reason why you did it.

a noun (plural: whys) - reason / cause - wants to know the whys and wherefores.

interjection - used to express mild surprise, hesitation, approval, disapproval or impatience - why, here's what I was looking for.

Even used in a sentence as an adverb - Why did you quit your job? Why is the sky blue?

Moreover, it's used when we feel betrayed, let down, cheated or as an expression of anguish. It can be the most crushing of words uttered from the lips of the one you love and have hurt, but more likely, the one you used to love. It's imploring tonal use, coupled with tear-filled eyes and a heart-broken visage standing before you is more powerful than any physical assault, and sometimes the latter is preferred.

As the one asking, it is doubly painful when the one being asked refuses to give an answer, and that, as mentioned, can be a soul-crushing feeling. I have been there, both as the one asking, and the one being asked. Neither is an experience I wish to repeat.

On the flip side, it is also a powerful means with which to disarm a passive-aggressive barrage of words thrown at you by a smug, self-righteous arse. WHY can destroy the rhetoric hurled your way in one simple stroke, forcing the opposition to regroup and explain. This usually results in flustered  mumbling then abuse, should the person in question have zero grasp of what they've said, proving they're regurgitating words from another source, whilst not knowing or understanding the justification, logic or viewpoint from which the diatribe originated. This is commonly used by certain political advocates as a means to discredit an opponent without any basis in truth, fact or justification, but purely based on an opposite idea of thought.

Quite often WHY is a method of self analysis. A delving into your own reasoning and psyche. Admittedly, there are those for whom the act of opening their inner Pandora's Box is an unappealing prospect, and the majority will opt for an easy route, never to darken that particular closet within their mind.
But for the stronger and less faint of heart it is, or at least, can be, a massively empowering journey towards the iD - as described by Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory of personality, 'the id is the personality component made up of unconscious psychic energy that works to satisfy basic urges, needs and desires.'
To face this is to face the darkest depths of your own personality and humanity. To gaze into this mirror is never to un-see it, nor unknow it. It stays with you your entire life, so be careful as the person staring back at you isn't always going to be the one you hoped for.

WHY did I begin this post? A combination of things; my current state of mind, life, memories, a feeling of reflection maybe? Ultimately, only I will ever know, but has it set you to thinking?  If so, then good.

Whatever the reason, IF you've read all the way through I thank you. I shall leave you with Annie Lennox and the song that sums it all up beautifully, 'WHY'.

Sunday, 6 June 2021

Dragon Warriors ~ Sellat Port Town.

Part 2 ~ ' You Never See It Coming. '

Ulak grunted as he leapt across the gap between the buildings, the moonlight illuminating his chosen point of landing. As the young Naran's boot hit the rooftop, the tile beneath it slid away without effort, skidding off into the dark of night. Only the young sorcerer's fast reflexes saved a plunge off the rooftop and into the undulating sea of fog below and the waiting predators gliding through it, as his hand grabbed hold of the chimney stack's edge, halting his potential slide to doom.

The stone work groaned in response. "Don't you even think about it," growled Ulak quietly, carefully easing himself to the ridge of the rooftop. Below dark figures gathered expectantly, hungry for their elusive prey.

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Dragon Warriors ~ Sellat Port Town.

 PART 1 ~ ' No Deed Goes Unpunished. '

Arriving as the fog fastened its hold throughout the weather-worn and storm-battered Port Town, the figure crouched with a feline grace, sinking deeper and deeper until the surface of the flowing fog washed over them and they were no more.

Fingers gently outstretched, both hands tenderly stroked the ground and although blind by both darkness and fog, the finger tips read every passing boot, shoe and bare foot as if they were illuminated words upon parchment.

A slow smile crept across the covered face. Their prey had passed this way. 

Shuffling forward like an insect under the cover of fog, they reached their first important point of contact where one of the targets was rumoured to have stayed. The information supplied by the contract holder was, so far, proving accurate.
A shiver of pleasure run through their spine, as fingers stroked the rough wattle and daub exterior, once more gaining information important to the hunt. The thought of closing in on their quarry elicited a trickle of drool to escape their lips. A less than human tongue flicked out, erasing the errant fluid.

Monday, 31 May 2021

Bank Holiday Monday - Biker Day

It's Monday, 31st May 2021, and what a gloriously sunny day it is. I'm off work due to it being a Bank Holiday ( a very antiquated institution, if you ask me ), and even as I type this the sun is lowering in the sky and casting a lovely golden hue over everything. My favourite time of the day during summer. I'm no great lover of baking hot sunshine. Don't misunderstand me, I used to be, as a teenager heading into the big, bad world with wide eyes full of naivety and innocence, and extremely 'happy-go-lucky' attitude to life.

But I digress.

One text message later and I piling on my motorcycle gear in order to meet up with my nephew and two other bikers at a Tesco petrol station en route to our destination: the Brecon Beacons, a place synonymous with ramblers, hikers, climbers, the British military, car drivers and bikers. It's part of the National Park of Wales, with glorious hills, mountains and valleys, dipping, rising and twisting roads, that, if not careful, can see a car or bike tumbling over the edge of an unguarded road. This place has claimed the lives of road users and visitors to the rugged landscape, including soldiers going through selection for the SAS. 

For more information click on the Brecon Beacons link highlighted above.

 The (deadly) Black Mountain Road - Copyright. © 2021

A wonderful day for the bike, and my gal didn't let me down - she performed beautifully and together we swept along the twisties and undulating tarmac, blessed with gorgeous vistas all around us. The ramblers were out massively, cars parked left and right on the grass verges due to the official car parks already full to capacity. But we breezed past sedately, if rather loudly.

The growling of the bikes was, at times, rather glorious, especially when all three bikes were going through the rev range together. The wind, the sunshine, hot tyres gripping the asphalt bends, and when appropriate, the adrenalin-inducing acceleration. But through it all, at the forefront of your mind are the other road users. Any one of them can do something unexpected and turn an enjoyable day into disaster, so eyes are everywhere constantly scanning, assessing, hands and feet adjusting from brake, clutch, throttle, clutch, brake, over and over.

And that's what makes motorcycle riding a thrilling experience, becoming one entity with your machine, as daft and as clich├ęd as that sounds, but true. 

I've owned my bike for two years now, and when I look at her I still love the styling, the curves and lines, the shining, polished engine bolts, but most of all, the silent, unspoken power she possesses. It was, quite literally love at first sight. My beautiful, quietly menacing, and often hooligan Yamaha XSR900.

My 'Baby Blue' - Copyright. © 2021 - Mark Kelly.

Sunday, 30 May 2021

Kent (band)

Sometimes, just sometimes, YouTube's algorithm throws you a diamond from the rough with one of its 'suggested' videos. So it was with a farewell video from a Swedish band called 'KENT'.

The video alone, with its skeletal-faced, blue-haired drummer girl, was enough to pique my curiosity. Upon playing, the whole concept grabbed me, sending shivers up and down my neck. As a result I now have this band tagged as one of my favourites on Spotify. The video itself is a visual reference to all their albums: the Skeletal drummers, the tiger, the girl in the woods, the rider & horse - something I only found out through reading various posts by fans.

As mentioned, the video I'm linking is their farewell, the band is now no more, having been active from 1990 to 2016 - gutted really, as I've just stumbled upon them. But have no fear, their music is still out there, and asides from the video, I'm posting one track from their official YouTube channel.

If you enjoy the video and the music and wish to find out more about the band, click on this LINK and it will take you to the wiki page detailing all you need to know.  Enjoy.

Saturday, 29 May 2021

Short Story ~ Act II.

Below is the continuation of a short fantasy fiction I wrote on 14th June, 2011. The majority of my written works, including drabbles, five sentence fictions, short stories and poems I removed for fear of plagiarism. I only post this now as one of my RP group members has read the first part and now wishes to continue forward with the story to its conclusion.

So I present to you...

          Blood Drains, the Heart Falters, Death Embraces.

                                                           ACT II

Enraged, adrenalin surged with explosive speed through Valdric's veins. Suddenly he was no longer afraid. His limbs felt powerful, his movements faster than ever before. His eyes saw each minute detail as if time was still and the present laid bare for his scrutiny; the black, hairless skin of the foul creatures rending his flesh, their teeth glistening with a pink-red hue of blood and saliva, some adorned with fleshy ribbons of skin and meat trailing from corners of biting mouths, the death banners of his fallen companions. 

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Happy Decahedron, Blog.

Copyright. © 2021

I'm feeling bad. The kind of bad you feel when having missed an important milestone in someone's life, .ie. a twenty-first birthday, anniversary, engagement - you get my drift.

I've neglected to acknowledge the milestone of my beloved blog, which turned ten years old back in March of this year. What kind of a 'parent' does that make me? No need to send answers on a postcard (chuckling here, as some younger readers might well be thinking, 'What's a postcard?'), but I'll tell you - no, not what a 'postcard' is, Google that. But what it does make me is a very bad 'blog parent'.

To try and make amends for this terrible faux pax, I hereby officially wish my blog a very (belated) Happy 10th Birthday, and may more follow - depending on which one of us packs in first.

So to my dear blog, I'd just like to say, thank you. Thank you for everything you've shown me, taught me and brought to me. For without you my life journey would have been far poorer, and I would never have met so many amazing and interesting people along the way as I travelled the Blogoverse with you.

Ten years older, but no less brighter. You still inspire me in ways that continue to surprise me. Our readers may be few, if at all, but at least we have each other. Here's to the next ten together (with luck).

Now some music, me thinks, courtesy of Roxy Music, and 'Dance Away'.