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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Scripts and stories

Today marks another day of story writing, another section of my brain forcing its way out. With the help of list making suggested by the wisest person I know (yoga and all round universe master Susan Lancaster, my aunt) I've managed to get in order some things, mainly the ideas that I can progress in my current status; The scripting and story writing. Trying my hand at sci-fi is a little different to be honest, although the idea I have is a great one. Promise. That wasn't sarcasm just to clarify. Seriously make lists they help! Make some schedule of what you can achieve NOW, then you begin to tackle the big things in small increments. Trust me.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Head like a beehive

Does anyone else get it? Too many ideas at once? I feel like I'm getting stuck waist deep in a bog of thought. So many stories, scripts, artwork to be finished, songs and lyrics to be written. I find it so hard to concentrate on one thing at a time, to sit down and really use all my brain for one idea. And, to be honest I don't know if I could, sometimes I feel like maybe I do function best flitting between things keeping my mind guessing with fresh ideas. This does however mean that I don't have to time to really think deeply over plot or content when it comes to stories and lyrics, which can be a problem. Though, when it comes to stories and scripts I find my mind does stew nicely over things while walking and while listening to music, helping scenes and events evolve naturally in my head. I hope that eventually my ideas will come to fruitation and that I will be able to tell my stories in different manners or mediums.

Anyone else get like this? Message me about it! Who knows maybe we could work some ideas!


Sunday, 27 July 2014

Musical Progress

So after the other day's post Rick, Adam and Myself set off again to the musical grindstone. The progress we actually made was to piece together our music for an advertisement for that elusive member that we've been seeking, someone to join us and slave away over a hot bass all day until the perfect musical cake is baked. I'm hungry. I want cake. So, not only did we reorder some of our tracks into a montage kind of order we also set up a bunch of cameras to record us playing, which in turn will be clipped together with the tracks over the top to literally make an advertisement!
On another note we decided to record ourselves on video on the hottest day of the year. In a small room. With lots of amplifiers. So you can imagine how delightfully cool it was. Yeah, sweating all about the place. Adam was so happy to be on film behind the kit.

Over the next week or so we'll not only be putting the video together but also reworking our logo into HD for a nice little animation towards the end of the video, all in all we're particularly excited to get this stuff released! You can follow us on Twitter by clicking here or you can like and follow us on Facebook by clicking here to see the update once its uploaded!


Friday, 25 July 2014


So for any other musician readers you will probably find the same problem as me and my band Arcanist, the lack of Bassists. Or Drummers for that matter, however me being lucky I managed to find two brothers, Richard and Adam Corrie who are both ridiculously talented at their instruments. And not to mention their Dad who has the "go for it" attitude meaning he doesn't mind us playing loud to keep up with the volume of Adam's acoustic drum kit. We've been searching unsuccessfully now for a Bassist for about 6/7 months! And if you've been in that situation you may know that sometimes the engines of writing can come to a halt. I think location is a huge factor when it comes to music, especially living in smaller towns or rural areas like we do, although saying that I've made a point of posting ads as much as I can around Manchester and even online band sites to try and find someone to complete our lineup. During the writing and recording section of music a full band is not always essential, that being said it's still a huge help to have another creative input, however once you get to the performance stage of things its starts to get a little harder, involving playing to various clicks, tracks and click tracks! With all that being said we are still hoping that one day soon the right Bass player will come along, if you or anyone you know is from the area around Manchester in the UK and is particularly skilled at playing please get intouch with us! Even if you'd only like to be a session bassist or even just performance it'd still be great to hear from you. If you're feeling generous you'd could click here and follow us ok Twitter to find out when we find what we're looking for or even like us on Facebook by clicking here. We look forward to sharing our unusual blend of music with you guys!

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Giant Spiders and Accidently Swimming With Sharks

I stood in the dark in my hut, with no lights but my torch I cleaned my teeth and climbed into bed. The heat wasn't too bad thanks to the storm, the rain really took the temperature down. But there was a sound that caught my attention. A faint high buzzing, which stopped as I felt something on my leg, then more buzzing. It then occurred to me that now the air conditioning's fans had stopped turning thanks to the power outage, allowing any kind of bug to make its merry little way into my hut. These bugs took the form of many mosquitoes. I put on some bug spray but still got a relatively sleepless night, and when morning came lets just say I was little itchy. From my head all the down to between my toes..

Regardless of bugs Shiralea really was a great place, one of my fondest memories being in the cold pool up to my neck while eating a steak and drink a huge Mai Tai at lunchtime. Don't judge me, all the travelling had messed up my time, it was 5pm somewhere. Lounging around in the pool was a great way to spend a day, I floated on over to some of my friends sat on loungers, but as I stopped myself against the edge of the pool something caught my eye behind them in the trees. At first the distance and size of the thing didn't make sense in my head, I climb out and walked between the seats. My eyes finally made sense of what was hung there in the trees, suspended in a web. A spider of epic proportions. Its smooth black legs contrasting against its bright yellow swirled body, it looked so strange as it moved around. Apparently they eat birds...

The Beast 

I know what you're thinking, not something you want to get close to right? Just for size relevance it must of been about six or seven inches leg to leg. The stuff of nightmares. Don't get me wrong I'm no arachnophobe but once they get over an inch long they're not something I want to share a room with. And, that my friends brings me to a lovely little "life event". I came back from the pool one night to shower before bed and as I walked into my bathroom, which I'll clarify as a "wet room" as it seemed all bathrooms in Thailand just had a shower on one wall with a grate for the water to escape through, usually the opposite corner. So, as I stepped in the first thing I noticed was that the grate had moved, dipped in like something heavy had pushed it down and then I noticed it, a rather large spider just relaxing on my wall. It's legs spread out to make it look just that little bit bigger. It literally stopped me in my tracks, frozen in the doorway. I stood staring for a moment waiting for it to scuttle towards me to which I'd freak out and probably run around the hut. But, it didn't move. I did not feel up to dealing with it, so I just shut the door and placed a towel along the bottom of the door, I did not want to share a bed with it. That night was mostly spent grasping various parts of my leg as if every itch was it wrapping itself around my leg like the Facehugger from the Alien films.

My New Room Mate

The next morning came and upon checking the bathroom, that lovely eight legged fellow was still lingering. Closer to the drain this time though so I thought he might be leaving. The main thing I was worried about obviously was getting bitten by a spider in a tropical place, because my knowledge doesn't span as much into poisonous spiders on this side of the world, I mean I know a few to be wary of but I wasn't sure of this one. So do I kill it? I don't really like killing things I more for catching things and letting them go, live and let live and all that. But, I don't want to try and catch it if it's going to bite me and while I'm unconscious lay eggs in my eyeballs. It's a moral dilemma. In the end I asked Joy at the bar if they do have any particularly toxic spiders which could do someone serious hard and it turns out they don't.
"Only hunting spiders here"
Which made me feel a whole lot better meaning they just had huge fangs to kill with. So armed with that knowledge I headed back to my hut. How do I get it out? Having a lack of boxes or cups and magazines I decided to, as stupid as it sounds to splash water from the sink at it. Manly I know. The spider however after a while of scuttling towards the grate thought,
"Well this is just rude, getting splashed every five seconds when I've just settled" and made it's way out through the whole where the grate had lay. I managed to use a pen to also pull the grate back into place! But it did find its way back once or twice.

Seeing this Island definitely made me want to see more, the bugs definitely were not enough to put me off. Koh Phangan was a great place and was becoming westernised which is not necessarily a good or bad thing. But it is changing. Also if you ever seen the film The Beach with Leonardo Dicaprio it is actually based on an island near Koh Phangan on the eastern gulf of Thailand. You're wrong I hear you shout, it was on Koh Phi Phi on the western side of the country! But, trust me, for sure it was filmed there on the gorgeous beach on Koh Phi Phi, but apparently the real island is on the eastern side. Why did I not go there you may ask yourself, well during my time in Chiang Mai before I chose which island to fly to, there was actually another earthquake which had the same epicentre as the 2004 earthquake which decimated the islands lying on the western coast of Thailand. With the 2004 quake being one of the most devastating events to happen, it actually caused the entire earth to shake 1cm, I know that doesn't sound much but, just let that settle in. The ENTIRE PLANET moved due to a one earthquake. The quake this time was caused by the tectonic plates sliding against one another rather than pushing upwards, luckily this didn't cause another wave, but for the peace of mind I chose the eastern side.

I was invited by Mark and Tamara to join them to move to the next island Koh Tao, looking at the sizes of the islands here Koh Tao ranked at very small. Just what I wanted, somewhere not to modern, somewhere to relax. We said our goodbyes and made our way to the port to buy our tickets, only a taxi ride away. The boat was quite nice actually, sandwiches and drinks served and plenty of other people to talk to.

Koh Tao instantly felt different to Koh Phangan, confirmed to us with the taxi being a pick up truck. We climbed in and gave the driver the address, he told us to hold on and set off. Straight away I could see why he told us to hold on, the roads here were non-existent. Simple dirt tracks not even close to flat filled with cracks and holes ranging up to two feet wide and five feet long snaked their way up into the hills and that, was the way we were headed. Driving down these hills made us genuinely worried, the cliffs along these roads seemed perilous, bouncing along these "roads" brought us so close to tipping over. Eventually we descended from the hills into a small jungle like area culminating to a stone courtyard.


We were shown to our rooms but straight away met by the pool, to which I jumped in. We needed to swim, and I've got to say that the bay which our hostel was located was gorgeous. White sand with rocks around the edge, the deep turquoise water with a huge twenty foot rock breaking through into the air two hundred yards out. We got ourselves snorkels, masks and flippers from the diving school next door and quite literally dived right in. We swam for a good two hours, all the way out to the end of the reef, around the towering rock to what looked like "The Drop Off" from Finding Nemo. Brightly coloured fish swam back and forth through the warm water, neon pink and green striped Parrot Fish crunched on rock with their beaks keeping us mesmerised with their bright colours. We made our way back to shore paddling gently in the descending sun, as we reached the shallows something swam around me one way, then another the other side. They were Sharks. Only baby ones around two and a half feet. But still Shark. I didn't mean to swim with them, but turns out I can add that to the things I've done!

Thursday, 13 June 2013

The Sea Was Blue and The Drinks Strong

Being stuck in airports is something that nobody likes, but I've got to say that I didn't mind waiting in Koh Samui's. It was much more of a beach hut with some planes next to it and a few mini buses out front. I purchased from one of the desk a ticket for one of the mini buses and boats leaving from a miscellaneous port to Koh Phangnan. The taxi was very pleasant and so were the other passengers, a few being English travellers also. We eventually reached our port where we had to wait for about an hour and my breath was taken away. The sea, was beautiful. The white sand, bordered by the bluest water topped by the peer stretching out like an arm reaching for peace. A taste of a real paradise.

We took the hour as our free time to swim and simply float around in the warm water. The relief of laying down my heavy bag in the sand and letting the water soothe the aches away. We chatted with a man who moved here from England who lived on the beach front, he'd been here for about twenty years and apparently was now bored of the sun and beaches. I couldn't see how. The boat eventually arrived at the end of the peer and we made our way still dripping with sea water. I took my seat at the front of the large boat, my feet hanging overboard, the large waves reaching them and shining in the sun. I reached my port before long and found myself a taxi accompanied by two Norwegian girls who offered to share their fare with me as my hostel was on the other side of the island. Driving through these island towns was an unusual thing, they were more palm tree jungles, dotted with houses, dirt roads and the odd tarmac one too. After driving for quite some time I was eventually tipped to the front of the taxi as we drove down a very steep hill, down towards the beach I might add, and came to a halt by some cabins. Shiralea Backpackers Resort was where I had arrived, and as I climbed the wooden steps there lay on a rug with a beer was Brian, "Hey! You made it!"
"Told you I would".

I had paid a little extra for my room here, after Bangkok I wanted a room with aircon. However when I arrived at my little hut through the little jungle path I found I not only had aircon but also two double beds and my own little hammock on the decking outside over looking the pool.

First things first though, I needed food. And the burger I got was amazing, huge and cooked perfectly. I might add that so was the cocktail, not cooked but mixed to be strong but fresh tasting. Fresh because I watched Joy, the bartender, blend the whole fruits.

Not only was this place homely, set slightly in the jungle area with its own pool, still close to the beach, serving great food and drink, but it also had an eclectic mix of people from all over the world. Not only that but a group from an "Under thirties" cruise, spending time at this place before moving on. Among the people I met where a Dutch couple Mark and Tamara, Brian obviously, Leah and Rahul, who actually used to work in my home town! Julian from Germany, Carl from Sweden, Luke, Victoria and Scott who have only just returned after nearly a year away, and Lucia an Italian girl from Florence. This not being everyone obviously and I'm sorry to anyone who's names I cannot remember!

On one particular night, Joy's bar had switched on some UV lights, and then out came the UV reactive paints... We painted each other for a good hour drinking all the while. The artist in me quite literally shone. After the painting finally stopped, we went to spend some time at a party on the beach called "The Black Moon", similar to the "Full Moon" parties which you're probably familiar with, one problem that is when we got there they had decided to charge quite a lot of money for entry and none of us had brought enough. We decided then because of this, to make our own party outside of the gate using their music! With a whole load more people joining us, including many more Germans! I swear I met more German people on my travels than actually live in Germany. The night that followed, sat on that beach with plenty of Chang, Chang is a Thai beer that we could never guarantee the strength of, one night we could have five bottles each and feel fine, another night we could have one bottle each and be on our backsides in the sand, was great. More fun than you can imagine. Gentle breeze and the cooling sea, contrasting the ever warming bottles of beer we collected. However, that can be one of the worries in Thailand, recently a girl was told she was drinking Gin to find it was actually Methanol, she went blind and died. Be careful where you get your drinks from. I don't want to ruin the happiness or fun, but always buy from a real store.

The taxi ride back was eventful, as we would not all fit, some of us had to hold onto the roof while standing on back step of what was essentially a pick up truck with a cover. The hills proved dangerous but a lot of fun at high speeds, in my drunken state my hands slipped. I'm gone. This is going to hurt. As I fell briefly, hands gripped me and pulled me back into the taxi, thank you whoever the hands belonged to. For that, I could easily owe you my life.

When we arrived back home at Shiralea it had begun to rain, slowly washing the paint from us. As the night was late we retired to the pool hut, we sat and played into the night under the bombardment of water, the odd cicada and lightening. That night when I returned to my hut, the electricity had shorted out. But I did not mind, what a memorable night it was.

My Street 

My House

and My Hammock

The Endless Sea

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Little Bit of Live Jazz, A Whole Lot of Live Tigers and Flying to The Islands

I opened my curtains to find myself on a raised track over looking the trees, as I said where I left off last week the train, had broken down. To be more specific the driver carriage had somehow detached by mistake and continued without us, without the driver realising. But as time passed by suddenly clunk, a driver carriage had been sent back to get us, so once again we were on our way.

The train pulled in a good six hours late but seeing as this was a random journey, it hadn't exactly delayed me, so today I took my time finding a Tuktuk. My hostel today would be Green Tulip House, which I highly recommend! Stella who owns the place is the most welcoming person I think I've ever met, before saying a word she walked over and gave me a hug. The town of Chiang Mai was HOT, even more humid than Bangkok and that's pretty serious. However it was very nice, quaint little streets separated by a river running down the centre filled with pink water lilies, bordered by what looked like old medieval walls. My first night I was invited out to a local open front bar which had a live band playing! Quite jazzy and bluesy, very good! The bar itself wasn't much to look at with it's shabby floor, walls and seats but the overall atmosphere was nice, surrounded by locals and tourists all enjoying the music. Unfortunately I ended up leaving due to how hot it was, as nice as it sounds I was actually sweating through my shirt (I don't usually sweat at all regardless of how hot it is!), a cold shower was needed.

When I arrived back at my room I watched the sun set below the surrounding mountains and then set up camp for sleep, tomorrow I was going to need my wits about me. Tomorrow, I was going to meet some Tigers.

"Your Tuktuk is here, Harrison!" Stella shouted from reception.
The driver actually came and sat with me while I finished my breakfast. I hope I don't smell too much like Bacon, I don't want to get eaten. Now I'd done my research here, I did not want to give any money to any place that was abusing Tigers, we've all heard about certain places that drug such beautiful creatures into submission keeping them docile and in a vegetative state so people can have pictures with them. So upon many searches into this I found this place keep all there Tigers well fed, well kept, clean and most of all sober. And, what I found, was true.

I was asked which age group I would like to meet, as some people only dare to see the babies, which at two months old are just a little bigger than regular cats. The ones aged five months, or the ones aged two years. This sanctuary only keeps them until the age of two because after then, they can become very territorial so once they reach that age they are moved onto the full size zoos around the world who can accommodate Tigers of that size. And with that question faced to me, I thought why not see them all.

I stood waiting at the entrance to the Cub's area, I took off my shoes and washed my hands. I was even nervous then. As I walked in, I don't really know what I was expecting but there they were, about five cubs running around playing with each other. I went and sat down on the floor and waited for one of the Cubs to take interest. One did run over pretty much straight away and began rolling around wanting to play but eventually came and sat right with me. There fur wasn't as soft as I expected it to be, but what was I expecting? A house cat?

They really were adorable, it's hard to imagine that one day these little balls of fur will be such huge animals. I was asked now if I'd like follow one of the trainers to see the five month old "Cubs". I wasn't as prepared this time, as I had not expected them to grow quite that much in the three months separating the ages groups here, they had gone from the size of big house cat, to that of a large dog. As we walked in there were two basking in the sun on the steps lay together, the trainer asked if I'd like a photograph with them both as there was a slight space between them I could lie in. Excuse me?
"Are you joking?"
"No, feel free to lie between them" he said.
"I hope I don't still smell like the bacon I had this morning..."
As I lay there, I couldn't help but notice how they acted, quite literally, like cats. In the day they want to lie around in the sun, except sometimes swim in the pool they have!

The weather began to change and as most of you probably know, when it rains in Thailand, it rains in Thailand. So the Tigers where now moved into their pens where they sleep and shelter.
"Are you ready to move on?" the trainer asked me.
"Just give me a moment" I said, I just wanted to stand with them as the walked around, their presence was just something so dreamlike. 

I stepped up into the pen, feeling strangely calm, even though the first two year old I was going in with was the biggest they currently had. And as I walked in a set my eyes upon a Tiger, nothing like what I had seen previously. This Tiger was big, I cannot express quite how big. Imagine an animal with paws as big as your head, with teeth and claws as long as your fingers, and eyes that stared so piercingly that you stop moving. If that is too much for you to imagine just take a look.

Exactly. What I noticed as I sat there with him, was how peaceful he was, there was no tension. Like he was allowing me to stay there alive and that if he felt like it he literally could kill me without even having to try. I put my head down on him, what the hell am I thinking. As I did that though, he also lowered his head, in such a relaxed manor that I thought we might fall asleep. I got up to leave and he simply looked over at me as if a goodbye was necessary. I made my way into the next pen, the Tiger in here suddenly jumped up onto the table, and I thought I was going to die. But he instead lay there, and stretched out. He wanted to get to something his handler had just hooked on the pen wall, a meat hook. As he sat there at head height with me I stroked him like a huge, able to kill me in one swipe house cat. He jumped down again. His trainer had an idea. He hooked the meat hook higher at a place the Tiger had to stand on his hind legs to reach, he wanted to show quite how tall the smallest two year old was.

As the Tiger jumped up, it dawned on me that this small Tiger was the same height as me. The muscles in his legs so defined as he clung to the fence and it was obvious, this was a powerful animal.

My short week was up in Chiang Mai, and I was ready for some relaxing. Somewhere a little cooler than the hot north of Thailand, I wanted to be near the sea. My Tuktuk arrived, I said my goodbyes to Stella, the other guests and I climbed onto the hot leather seat and we were away. As I was holding on for dear life a roaring sound deafened me, the driver (who while driving leant out of the Tuktuk and looked out at the sky going  forty miles per hour) and all the people on the street. It was a fighter jet, doing barrel rolls and stunts along with five other jets around the airport. I thought I may be delayed due to the military air show, I wasn't, however it did make passing through the airport a little more watched than usual. The plane I was boarding was going to be a little more watched by me. It was a piece of junk. I mean literally shaking itself apart! Even skidding on the runway as we landed! The airport I landed in, had no walls. Only little rivers and palm trees, the roof was made of straw and planks, and to finish it off the baggage conveyor was made of bambo. This place was Koh Samui.

Walking the Tiger

Hell of a set of teeth

Big House Cat

Sleeping on a Tiger

The happiest little guy ever