Archive for February 2011
The campaign to promote the shaving cream ‘Bluebeard’s Revenge’ stepped up a gear last week when the Plymouth outfit released their first TV commercial. At the minute it is just being shown on the internet but a shorter version may appear on Sky TV at a later date.
It stars Britain’s manliest man, Sasha Harding, and two hired lovelies who end up getting tied in knots. Well you would.
Being the Arthur Daly of the net that I am, I am trying to persuade them to sponsor a Motor racing team, but we will have to see how that one works out.
In my quest to develop my writing skills I jumped upon this chance to meet a few of my peers and network a little. The Birmingham Writer’s club is a very new organization, who, only yesterday, held it’s first meeting This club is the brainchild of Rickie Josen, a local Hospitality professional and writer. So we had something in common from the start.
The Urban Coffee Company, of the Jewelry Quarter provided the venue. This plucky little coffee shop has taken on the established brands, such as Starbucks and Costa Coffee, and won a sizable chunk of their trade. It is also the prefered hang-out of such luminaries as Helen Bonham-Carter. There was just the right number for a first meeting, about ten, and we fitted around a table nicely.
Due to the gale-force weather I had gone for the windswept and interesting look for the day. Imagine my dismay to find everybody else had done the same. The group themselves were quite a wide mix. Locals, artistic types, devout Christians and one orthodox Muslim lady.
What they wanted, from the group was largely personal. Some wanted associate writers, others wanted an editor to set them deadlines so they had to write. Others had books already written and wondering what to do with them next. Personally, I was looking to network, as I said, with as many people within the industry as possible.
At one point I got on to the topic, with Rickie, about the subject of movies. For her I would have imagined she would go for some obscure French film in black and white, with subtitles. But no, she preferred Goodfellas and Terminator 2.
One person I spoke to wanted to swap information. She worked in PR, which a field I am looking to get into, and wanted to know about my success, if you can call it that, as a freelance writer. Somehow she thought I was earning a good living from it. Oh, if only. I explained that a good freelance writer should be able to write for any publication, at all, on any given subject.
On the way home it occurred to me that I had never picked any publication to write for. At Birmingham New Street station I had ten minutes to kill so I had a look around the newsagents. I shut my eyes, took two paces forward and picked out a publication to write for.
New African Woman. OK, bad pick I guess, I doubt I could pass off as one of those. Pick something else.
Build your own PC? What, me? This is a guy who struggles with an IKEA clothing rail. What kind of PC could I build and tell the world about? Well something that lights up maybe but that would just be a torch. Which is the greatest extent of my technical skills. So I tried one last time.
Herb Garden. Ah, now this is more like it, as I have a garden and recently discovered the pleasures of being elbow-deep in soil and foilage. But a short browse through the pages revealed the publication was fond of one type of herb in particular, and you probably guessed it wasn’t Oregano. Yes, it was a magazine for stoners.
By which time the British transport police were starting to look over at me, with the attendant drug dog on hand. Clearly, he might have a punter here. I replaced the magazine and went to catch my train empty handed.
But the meeting was productive, I made some useful contacts and may have found a subject for an article for a local magazine. So it’s all good.
And on Tuesday night I am going to meet up with the Coventry Comedy Writers Club. That should be a, er, laugh.
I am sure we all know by now that the 21st century sucks. Terrorism, war, poverty, natural disasters, it never seems to end. So for a break from all this I thought I would set my clock back a millenium.
I had been invited over to meet the Vikings of Middle England who re-create Viking era skirmishes and battles. And where else would you look for a Viking but a church hall in Leicester on a Wednesday night. This group was founded by Guy Raynor in the mid nineties and has been growing steadily ever since.
The first colossus to greet me was straight out of a movie, tall, bearded, chainmail, and armed to the teeth with axes, daggers and broadsword. All the blades were blunt of course but still capable of doing damage. He explained to me that there was a very wide demographic to the modern Viking. Long hair and beards were entirely optional, but they certainly looked the part. The were Vikings of all ages, average being mid-twenties. There were women too, fearsome Helgas who could fight as well as the men.
Over the course of the training it soon became apparent that an awful lot of drilling and marching had taken place. Their drill was pretty basic but it was still fear-inspiring to see them advancing, menacingly towards me.
Once they got into the serious business of fighting with weapons one-on-one I was amazed they have had so few injuries. Sparks flew from weapons, wood chips of shield littered the floor.
They really went at each other with some agression, I would like to see some little chav with a flick knife take on any one of them.
The Viking master explained that most weapons were home made, or founded in blacksmiths that can be found online or via Skirmish magazine. Along with the swords and shields, magnificent war-hammers and intricate chainmail had been developed. The Leicester Vikings also hold workshops on how to make shields and leather armour.
They were a nice bunch, in truth. The guys mostly knocked seven bells out of each other while the women sat in the kitchen and chatted. I asked them:
What it was like having a part-time Viking as a husband?
It can be a nightmare.. there is so much kit to keep track of. Whenever they win a skirmish they can get a bit big-headed so we have to keep them in line. But it keeps them in shape so it’s all good.
So to catch up with these guys you will find them at St Luke’s Church Hall, Packwood Road, Stocking Farm, Leicester at 19.30 on any given Wednesday night
Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to introduce the ravishing miss Maga Amante. This New England sex bomb has just landed on our shores and is currently gracing the pages of Front magazine. She has been driving the men of New England wild for years and caused the internet to virtually meltdown with her sizzling tumblr website. But her yearning for travel brought her all the way over here to spend some time away from the US and A. What did she make of little ole England? I thought I should find out.
Has it always been a dream of yours to visit Britain?
Yes! Ever since I can remember I have always fantasized about visiting the UK.
You have an obsession with burgers and pizza. Any other girl would like like the zit-riddled bride of Jabba the Hut by now? How do you stay so trim?
Haha! Trust me, I’m far from trim. I’m squishy and jiggly! But I (try) to work out everyday. Cardio daily, with weights every other day.
What has most surprised you about London so far?
How completely unreserved Englishmen are. They literally will just go up to you on the street or on the tube. Unexpected. I had always believed Englishmen to be quiet, conservative, and restrained. Oh! and that the cost of living actually isn’t so bad! Aside from gasoline and cigarettes that is. Cheap food, cheap booze…I dig it.
How do British guys treat you compared to American guys?
As I had mentioned, guys here are a lot more ballsy about their approach on woman. American men tend to mind their business and keep to themselves. I think they rather the female make the first move. Here, I see it is the opposite. Although it can be a little obnoxious and harrowing to be accosted when I just want to get from point A to point B, it’s also refreshing to see men not be complete and utter pussies.
You completely love Pandas, when your career really takes off will you be visiting China to see them in the wild?
That would be amazing!
Do you support any Panda charities?
Christ, way to put me on the spot here! No, I haven’t given money to any panda charities. However, IN HOPES OF SALVAGING MY IMAGE AFTER CALLING ME OUT LIKE THAT, I used to be part of the Save The Manatee Club, where I would give a donation every month. I know, they’re far from pandas; although pandas are my favorite animal, marine mammals have always held a special place in my heart!
Where do you hope your career will go from here?
I suppose technically I dabble in several “careers”. I model, cam, paint, and have a degree/experience in the animal field. For an actual solid future, I would definitely like to work in animal rehabilitation or work at a sanctuary for wildlife. I love being around animals and I’ve already done considerable work with all types of species, from dogs to cows to even seals. I love them all! That said, I’m not in any hurry to get there. I love adventuring, travelling, and just not being tied down to anything at the moment. I just graduated this past May, and right now I just want to travel.
So catch her while you can. Mag