Fleetwood Mac – Rumours Flashback 40

Here is the first album look back in my Flashback 40 series. Kicking off is Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album. The 11th studio album of their career, it was one that was to be, despite everything that was going on outside the recording studios. To be honest it was an album that was even lucky to be written and completed given the situation of a number of the band members, it in a way though it probably existed purely down to the external factors and quite possibly with its title.

It was released on 4th February 1977 and was a huge success as they achieve number ones in five different countries throught out the coming months. In the US, it had spent 31 weeks non consecutively at the top of the Billboard 200. Come March 1978 ,Rumours alone had sold 8 million copies in the US and ten million around the world. In the UK it entered in at number at number 7 before hitting the top early in 1978  giving the band their first UK number one album.

To this day the album is still selling and as recent as 2009 it had shipped 30 million album sales. That is pretty darn good for one album. There are bands who wish they could sell 30 million albums in a career let alone for one album. As at July 2016 it was the 11th best selling album in UK history.

Rumours gives us some of the bands most notable releases such as Dreams, Don’t Stop, Go Your Own Way and of course The Chain. The Chain is famous for the use of the Bass line for the BBC’s Formula One theme tune up until they lost tv rights. Upon its return to the BBC, the  track entered the charts in 2009 through downloads where it reached 94 in th charts. It did so again in 2011 reaching 89, after a facebook campaign to get it number one for the start of the 2011 season.

The album looks like it reflects the break up of Buckingham and Nicks’ relationship with each of them taking a different perspective of the break up. With Stevie Nicks it seems to be reflective, but with Buckingham there seems to be some anger and bitterness. It would seem strange that the songs written could have some great music but yet be about break ups from two sides. For example Go Your Own Way sees a bitter line, but the music to the song is catchy and seemingly more light as it were.

Whilst there are the songs we all come to know, Rumours has tracks that make this album complete. Songbird written and sung by Christine McVie is a beautiful acoustic track that has a relaxing feel to it and one that is still sounds fresh even though it’s forty years old. A song with an appeal, that it was covered by the late Eva Cassidy and featured in her posthumously released album titled Songbird. It reached number one back in 2001. Willie Nelson also covered it on his album, also titled Songbird. The song itself found its way into the charts back in 2009 when it reached 56. This was down to an X Factor contestant singing it in her audition.

The album takes a brief country feel with the track, it was a track actually written by Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham pre Rumours and is a look at a romantic break up although it was way before   their very own break up. It’s hard not to like this track with it’s uplifting beat.

Oh Daddy is one of the few tracks not about break up. There is a seeming split about who it is about. Christine McVie claimed that it was about Mick Fleetwood, who was the only father around the band at the time, although others claimed it was about the bands lighting director, who McVie was dating at the time. Regardless of who it’s about, it’s a good track to listen to.

So there we have it (at last) the first of a number of Flashback 40 album reviews.

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Musings from Down Under

Having been away for a couple of weeks, spending time down under I thought I’d share some thoughts and observations from my fantastic little trip with Emma to visit family.

Going during the summer period I was preparing for the roasting temperatures of 40 plus, unfortunately and merely coincidence the summer and temperatures on the west coast were much lower than that.  Having eventually arrived after the communication incompetence of Emirates and surviving the crazy driving of the locals, it was a brief stay in Perth before heading south to Busselton.

Busselton if you havent ever heard of it, is a regional city in the South West region of West Australia. It has one of the longest jetties in the world, albeit rebuilt following damage from a Cyclone. It extends to around 2km and you can take a walk or jump on a ‘train to take you to the end, where there is an underwater observatory. A fair number of fish and if you were to be really lucky, a passing shark. Sad to say that during my time on the West Coast, I didnt see any sharks. We did though see dolphins on several occasions

Admittedly there isnt much to Busselton tourist wise other than the beach, jetty and the Busselton museum in the old Butter factory, but it is still a great place to go. If you are every down that way I recommend you go to Codrocks for the fish and chips. They cook the order fresh, which may mean a little wait but it is certainly worth it. I had snapper and chips. Very yummy indeed.  If you take a walk further round you will find a shopping parade in Kent Street and a bakery aptly named Kent Street Bakery. Here you will find a range of awesome cake and rolls. The Chocolate marble cake was cake to die for.

It’s not all about Busselton, the South West Region of Western. Take a trip south to Metricup, you will find a the Metricup Bird Park where you could get seed to feed the various birds and animals. I had the experience of walking in amongst kangaroos and feeding a joey. It was great to get so close but naturally taking precautions as to not get a punch or have talons wiping me out with a swipe. Checking out permanently or having serious medical attention in a continental holiday was not something I really quite fancied, Im sure no one else did either.

Head southwards and you will find a number of caves, all with their unique parts within the system. We visited Jewel, Mammoth, Lake and Ngilgi Cave.Whether you were guided or went alone there was a lot to enjoy. The one thing though is that it if walking and steps are not your thing then you they are best to avoid. With the Jewel, Mammoth and Lake cave you could buy a multi vist pass that would allow you visits over the two days, should you wish.

Although we didnt stop there, en route to Margaret River is a town called Cowaramup and if you wondered by the name there is a cow theme within. You will see randomly placed lifesize sculptures of cows as a tourist attraction. There are 42 in total. In 2014 the town set a Guiness World Record for the largest number of people dressed as cows…..the number oh that was 1352.

Cowaramup derives it name from the Cowaramup siding that was near to the town on the disused Busselton to Augusta railway. The name is believed to come from the aboriginal word Cowara that means purple crowned lorikeet.

The Margaret River region is a heaven for wine connoiseurs or fans of the grape. You will find yourself surrounded by choice, but of course if you choose to have a glass or few, be sure to find alternative travel as like everywhere drink driving is against the law. There are of course a number of breweries if wine isnt your thing.

Chocolate fans will not be disappointed should they go to Margaret River or indeed anywhere in the West Coast at least. Margaret River boasts a chocolate factory where you can try handfuls of chocolate for free, buy as much chocolate as your budget will allow and feel like you may have found heaven after all. Chocolate in general is a wonderous joy,  Cadburys blocks including various flavours and brands like Black Forest and the Old Gold brand that we dont see in the UK. Im pretty well sure that they would sell like hotcakes or should I say chocolate off the shelves over here.

 Whilst in Margaret River and you feel like grabbing some food, you wont go wrong in visiting the Settlers pub. With various beers, including a selection of craft beers, you will also get good food and a speedy service. You wont have long to wait for your food either. On our next return, we shall be heading there once again no doubt.

So from my visit to Australia, I had a fantastic time and cant wait to return down under. I do hope you enjoyed reading this brief musing, do feel free to comment.

Films TV & Music of 77 – Flashback40

I may have entered the world close to the end of the year, but I have to say it was most definitely a fine year for film and music. The notable films from that year are of course Star Wars: A New Hope, Close Encounters of The Third Kind and Saturday Night Fever, but 1977 was one that saw a wonderful collection of different film genres.

It appeared to be comedy, action and Sci Fi in 1977 with an odd horror film thrown in.  A Bridge Too Far, even Smokey and the Bandit was a hit in the states grossing second in the top ten films, surprisingly beating Close Encounters.

Ray Harryhausen’s talents were shared once more in Sinbad and The Eye of The Tiger. Eye of The Tiger was the third outing in the film franchise. Another film making its third outing in its Franchise, was Aiport 77. The final film sees a private 747 being hijacked before crashing into the sea in the Bermuda Triangle area. The year wouldn’t be the same without a Bond film and 77 had its turn with Roger Moore returning in the The Spy Who Loved Me.

If adventure appealed to you in 1977, you would have been rewarded with some fine films. Jabberwocky, Pete’s Dragon, Gulliver’s Travels and The Man in The Iron Mask.

Horror fans had a fair few films to enjoy, some well known and some not so well known. The Hills have Eyes, Exorcist II, The Child, EraserHead and The Island of Doctor Moreau.

So if people weren’t going to the cinema, they were more than likely watching tv and in the late 70’s there were many things to enjoy, some already on tv included favourites such as Corrie, Match of the Day, Blue Peter, Crackerjack, Doctor Who, to name but a few. There were some making their debut,  The guys at Ci5 and the Professionals were starting their time on tv, Krypton Factor with Gordon Burns that saw many sitting watching contestants carrying out various challenges and of course everyones favourite outtake show (well maybe not everyones) It’ll be Alright On The Night started its journey entertaining us with bloopers from various tv shows.

It was quite a year in the world of music, great albums, singles and sadly some big names departing the world. Whilst I will take a look at albums and singles separately, there were a lot of moments that took place. Some good, some crazy and then the music stars that passed away.

Kicking off 1977 in a punk rock stylee were The Clash. They were playing at the opening night of The Roxy, the short lived punk rock club. The Sex Pistols kicked off a long and controversial year. One single down and EMI terminate the contract after band members behaviour at Heathrow at the start of January. Never fear A&M to the rescue….or maybe not. On 10 March they sign the band in front of Buckingham Palace and six days later its game over. Band members behaviour towards staff sees the end of another deal.

The Sex Pistols get signed up by Virgin Records in May and last longer than six days. They didnt even get fired for trying to interrupt the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. Their album Never Mind The Bollocks, here’s the Sex Pistols got to number one in October despite major retailers refusing to stock it.

Of course it wasnt just about the Sex Pistols in 77. The B-52s were making their first public performance. Yes they have been around that long. Fleetwood Mac released the album Rumours and what an album that was, still strong 40 years after its release.

Having been the victim of a technicians strike in April, the 22nd Eurovision Song Contest took place. France beat off the UK and Irish entries to win.

The second half of the year saw death and accidents. Grateful Dead drummer Micky Hart survives driving his Porsche off a canyon, injuries to Joe Perry and Steve Tyler from an explosive see a number of dates cancelled. A plane carrying the band Lynyrd Skynrd crashes. It kills lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Zaines, backing vocalist Cassie Gaines and assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick. Others are seriously injured. It spelled the end for the band, who had hits Sweet Home Alabama and Freebird until they reformed in the late 80’s.

On the 16th August The King Elvis Presley was dead. He was found at is home in Graceland. It was because of his death that my mum gave me my middle name Aron, which was the same as Elvis, not sure that my mum was a big fan of his though. Presley’s passing wasnt the only death of a great. Marc Bolan of T Rex was killed in a car crash he was only 29.

It was Bing Crosby’s final Christmas show in 1977, but it did include the iconic duet of Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy with David Bowie.

December 77 saw Elvis Costello make his US debut and having decided to change a song, found himself banned, quite some way to go to be honest.

Over the year of 1977 many a musical act were making their way into the music scene. Adam and The Ants, The Buggles, Def Leppard, Dire Straits, The Human League,INXS,Martha and The Muffins and Men Without Hats were just some starting off 40 years ago. The Cars, Police and Van Halen also signed deals with their respective record companies.

Well that end the look at 1977. What a year for entertainment it was. Still to come will be the years 87, 97, 2007 with a few other flashback years to come.

Big screen to small screen -Movies to tv series

Having blown the dust off, here I am once more on the WordPress and with a new post, although I guess better than an old post. So there I was trawling through the tv listings and there was an advert for the Exorcist tv series. Now as anyone will know, the Exorcist is a classic film and I guess that although not having seen any episodes, I assume that it will loosely be based on the film? I’m sure someone will enlighten me. It got me thinking though, what other films could be converted to tv series (those that havent already).

First obvious one for me is Ghostbusters. It goes without shadow of a doubt that this could run as a successful tv series given the subject matter that it’s based on, with plenty of scope you could have a couple of seasons maybe. It would be interesting to see if it ever comes to fruition. I’d like to think it could involve some of the original cast as well as those from the latest film.

Before anyone mentions it, yes there was a cartoon series, which I enjoyed greatly, but I would love to see a live action series, who would feature, would there be appearances from the old cast or the female cast from the 2016 reboot, probably not but there are plenty of stars who could take up the mantle.

One Sci Fi film that could make a tv series is the Riddick Series. The film trilogy that featured Vin Diesel amongst other names such as Claudia Black, Karl Urban and Dame Judi Dench. The film series received mixed reviews. I personally only seen Pitch Black but enjoyed it. I could see the opportunity to see a sequel, but have yet to watch it or even the third one. It’s possible that my film loving cousin Jamie maybe tutting and shaking his head if and when he reads this.

The Public Enemies movie that featured Johnny Depp and Christian Bale could become a tv series. John Dillinger was the focus of the film and the tv series could be the lead up to the events that took place in the year leading up to his demise. Naturally the series would have pre determined conclusion, but the series would look at the depression era America and stories surrounding Dillinger and his surrounding entourage.

Moving to the zombie side of things. Before there was The Walking Dead, we had the films 28 days later and 28 weeks later. There had been talk of 28 months later, but that doesnt appear to be happening at the moment although there is possibly movement on the cards.

 If there is not going to be a third film, then a tv series on 28 months later could be on the cards. It would be tricky I guess though as we have seen the popularity of The Walking Dead. Would another zombie series be accepted and do well, or would it be time up for the zombie tv series genre. I guess only time will tell.

There are probably many other films that could turn into tv series, but it would be finding those in amongst films that haven’t already been made for tv.

From one Matthew to another – A Q & A with Matthew Munson

I have known Matthew for a few years and seen his writing exploits, his charity work his plan to get Dyspraxia more noticed. So I thought lets find out how he gets on and how he manages to do all those marathons.
Hi Matthew, thank you for taking the time to take part.

It’s a pleasure to be here on your blog, Matt – thanks so much for the invite.
1) Matthew, many will know you for your book releases, but how did your book writing journey come about and who were your favourite authors?
I grew up in a house where words were respected and revered, which was a wonderful experience for a child who adored language anyway. My dad was a journalist for fifty years before he retired, and both of my parents have always loved reading, so I was able to appreciate fiction and its power. Someone once said to me, “Oh, so you were indoctrinated into words very young then?” and I had to fight the urge to clip them round the ear. No, I wasn’t indoctrinated at all; the flames were fanned, certainly, but the flames were already there.
There were three points in my life that then really built on that; my dad used to occasionally work from home, and he left me use his laptop – an early Mac, back in the days when laptops were still clunky and boxy models with the processing speed of a chicken farm – when he didn’t need it. So I learnt how to touch type on that, and learnt how to play around with words, scenes, and little vignettes just for fun.
Secondly, books were an open – aha – book in my house. There was no such thing as a book that was too “old” for me; I suspect my parents knew that, if they’d tried to ban anything, I would have still tried to read it, just at three o’clock in the morning instead. So I was allowed to pick up books that intrigued me, and then encouraged to ask questions, talk about them, and so on. There were a lot of crime thrillers in my house – my mum was worryingly interested in them, especially during my neurotic teenage years – and so I learnt the art of pacing, intelligent plotting, and craft from those sort of tomes.
And thirdly, a Year Six (fifth year in old money) geography was a turning point; Mrs Cooper, my teacher, recognised that I had completely switched off from the lesson (I never liked the subject, and still don’t), and so challenged me to write a story during the class. She gave me carte blanche to write about whatever I wanted – to let my imagination run riot – so I wrote about a cowboy who rode into space on the back of a dinosaur. It really did seem like a completely normal plot at the time, and the fact that I wasn’t challenged to write something more mainstream really kickstarted my interest in science fiction and fantasy – I’d been given permission, almost, to explore the outer limits of my imagination.
As for who my favourite authors are, I’ve got to start with Terry Pratchett; his prose have always lifted me up and been so intelligent. There are so many layers of meaning and intelligent discussion within the frame of a damn good story. The same could be said of China Mieville, who came onto my radar a couple of years ago, and again is a magnificent writer. Joe Abercrombie, Stephen King, Douglas Adams, Neil Gaiman … these are gods of writing, and I can’t state it any clearer than that. Looking back at that list, I realise that they’re all men, but please don’t think I’m excluding women, but sadly, they are fewer in the science-fiction / fantasy fields. When they appear – Ursula K Le Guin, J K Rowling, Anne McCaffrey – they’re exquisite, but don’t appear as often as men. I hope that changes.
2) You had two books published, Fall From Grace and Leap of Faith, how did the story idea come about. Will it remain at two or is there a third outing possible?
To be honest, because the two books are a duology, it was really easy to consider them both as one continual story line, in a round about kind of way. I remember reading a bible during my childhood and teen years – I’m not religious in the slightest now, but I was then – and then, when I lost my faith, found myself reflecting on the textual elements of the stories I’d read in the book. I wanted to express them in my own way, and look at an alternative history to the one suggested in the gospel. I’ve always liked a good story, and that seemed like too good an opportunity to turn up when the idea formed in my head.
How do I come up with the full story, though? Well, I’m fairly relaxed about when I start writing; I don’t often know precisely how it’s going to end. I much prefer to be guided by the characters; it feels right to let things develop as they should, rather than be too rigid in my planning. My characters feel more genuine that way, and it’s more fun as well. For the first book, I knew – funnily enough – how I wanted it to end, but I didn’t have a clue how I was going to get there. But the characters led the way, and they also made me change a significant part of the ending when the original plan I had didn’t work. It was easier to go with the flow.
There’s definitely no third part to this particular storyline! I utterly loved writing the characters, as I was – perhaps unconsciously – channelling a lot of my own psyche and personality into them. It was quite cathartic in a way, but I came to a natural end with them after the second book; I didn’t feel that I could take them any further. That’s not to say I’m not curious to know what the characters are doing now, but I prefer to leave that entirely to them; they’re content, I know that, so I prefer to leave them in peace.
3) It’s NaNoWriMo and you are putting pen to paper, how are getting on this year and how many years have you entered?
I’m getting on very well, thank you; I’ve finished, so that’s lovely. I actually finished really early on; really early, as I’d set myself a stupid, practically impossible target, and I achieved it. Never again, though; next year, I intend to go back to my usual pace of 2,000 words per day. That’s a far more manageable amount.
This is the fourth year, I think; I’ll confess that I don’t actually remember precisely, but then I have a terrible memory for most things. I belong to a Facebook group called Nano Kent (as that’s where I live), and it’s a pretty active group all year round – as well as being very friendly. We’re a great community, and it acts as an online writers’ group for all of us. I like it for that alone, and there are many more reasons to like it as well.
4) The idea of writing 50,000 words in 30 days to many seems a scary proposition, how do you prepare for it and do you ever find yourself thinking why?
I can understand why NaNo doesn’t work for some people, certainly; some writers I know are very anti, and that’s fine. I think it encourages a lot of writers to write, and gives them a discipline that they might struggle with for the rest of the year – or just enjoy the social side, as writing can be quite lonely at times. I like writing with my peers from time to time, and NaNo gives me that good excuse – so that’s why I like it anyway.
My own prep is very minimal, usually – like I said earlier, I’m not a natural planner for my fiction, and prepare to go with the flow. That works for me, but some writers I’ve spoken to react with the screaming ad-dabs at the merest hint of doing that; they much prepare to plot every single point out. The actual writing of the story then becomes more of a process than a creative exercise – Frederick Forsyth works like that, so who are we to argue? – and if people find that easier, then whatever works.
I never wonder why for myself, because it helps me feel part of a wider community, but I wonder why for other people sometimes, especially if they’re totally unprepared for it and seem surprised by the time factor involved. Of course there’s going to be a commitment; you need to write a minimum of 1,667 words per day (or have the capacity to catch up), and if that’s not possible, then just write what you can. But the important thing, of course, is just to keep on writing.
5)Rounding off the subject of writing, what can we look forward to next from yourself in the terms of a published book and do you think everyone is capable of writing a book?
I’ve got my next book due to be published in September 2017, again by Inspired Quill, and it’s a complete departure from the contemporary fantasy I’ve written up to now. This book – that will have to remain nameless just for the moment – plunges into more classic science-fiction, and it’s lovely to face a new challenge.
I can feel fantasy calling me back, however; I’m currently working on a sequel to the sci-fi book, and then maybe I’ll go back to fantasy again. I hope so; I miss it, as much as I like science-fiction. I’m also working on a non-fiction book around dyspraxia as well; that’ll get published when the time is right.
Interesting point regarding your final question there; does everyone have a book in them? Yes, I would say so, but is every book worth writing? Well, that’s an entirely different conversation. I’m quite controversial; I don’t think every kernel of an idea can be expanded to a story; I know I’ve written enough false starts to realise that there are some stories that just need to stay locked away in the confines of my head. For some people, the concept is a non-starter for them, and that’s sad, but not every story is automatically a good one.
6) You were diagnosed as dyspraxic in your teens, how difficult did you find it in regards of getting information and finding others who were also diagnosed, especially with social media being limited?
Difficult, to be frank. I grew up in the eighties and nineties, when the internet wasn’t still understood as a mass engagement tool – the world wide web wasn’t invented until 1989, for heaven’s sake, and I spent my teen years with nothing more powerful than dial-up. Online information, and meeting people who were like me, was practically impossible.
Printed literature was the same; there weren’t many books for people with dyspraxia, except for a book by Dr Amanda Kirby – who, despite being neuro-typical (or non-dyspraxic) absolutely gets it. She’s still active now, and she works hard at the Dyscovery Centre in Wales to support people with the condition as well as raising the profile of it. I applaud it, but there’s definitely a huge place for dyspraxic people themselves to be at the forefront of public engagement about the condition.
Dyspraxia is, essentially, a disorder to do with the neural connections in your brain; in a dyspraxic brain, some of these connections aren’t properly formed, affecting things like movement, memory, coordination, balance, and so on. But it also gives you added creativity and an ability to think far outside the box, so in every cloud …
But yes, it was frustrating to try and get information; I didn’t find out I was dyspraxic until I was 15, and I didn’t meet another dyspraxic until i was in my late 20s, when social media began to bring people together far more easily. Suddenly, everything fell into place, and I felt a massive sense of relief, that I wasn’t alone any more. I never had been, of course, but this was a liberating experience.
7) Together with your friend Barbara Neill, you set up The Two Dyspraxics that started with youtube videos. You also have a facebook page with 1369 likes, how has the response been to the page and how has the group taken off on facebook.
Yes, it’s been a wonderful experience so far, and it just proves what I’ve said in the previous answer; that people with the condition want to understand the practicalities of how to deal with it and realise their potential. We set up the The Two Dyspraxics Youtube channel not long after we met and discovered a mutual frustration with the lack of information out there in the ether, as well as a mutual appreciation for public communication and a shared sense of humour and love of the absurd.
We’ve discussed so much on our channel so far, and are always looking for new ideas. As for our The Two Dyspraxics, it’s really taking off; people feel really supported by it, and it’s sparked up some wonderful friendships as a result. We get new members every week, and it’s really grown since it started with just the two of us – again, doesn’t that show the demand that’s still out there?
We’re very proud of being a part of this engagement work, and it’s really key; we need to make sure the condition is better understood and valued. I’m also getting to work with one of my best friends on something that I absolutely love doing.
8) WIth The Two Dyspraxic work, do you intend to expand more or keep it with just the two of you and recording more youtube information videos?
I think this is something that’s best kept as just the two of us; that’s not to say other people haven’t got a valued part to play, but our part of the spectrum is something that works best with our own dynamic. We have genuinely big plans for T2D, including setting it up as a charity and spreading the message through as much media as possible; books, videos, talks, training sessions, and whatever else we can possible think of – so watch this space. You heard it here first, T2D is branching out! There’s so much more work to be done.
9) The Two Dyspraxic work isn’t the only charity involvement.You are involved in TG Pals, you did a walk earlier this year, could you tell us more about it?
TG Pals is a charity focused on support for transgender people, who have either transitioned, are in the process of transitioning, or are questioning their gender. We’re also going work on raising awareness of transgender as being something that’s entirely normal; so many people are trans, and there’s so much bigotry and misunderstanding about the spectrum, that TG Pals is badly needed. We’re looking to broaden our capacity in the future to offer a full support service, counsellors, and a lot else besides, but that costs money, of course.
As a trustee, my involvement in the day-to-day of the charity is limited – of course, there are experts for that – but I can use my profile to promote it, as well as helping to raise funds. You mentioned the marathon I did earlier this year, but I won’t pretend I did it alone; there were six of us, and it was a lot of fun. We based it on the Monopoly board, walking round every point, as well as the utilities, community chest, chance, etc. It was actually the second year we’ve done it, and were sponsored by so many people; the generosity we saw from people was overwhelming, and every penny goes straight to the charity to help people.
The suicide rate amongst trans people is massively higher than in the population at large, and that’s a horrible statistic; every death under such terrible circumstances is a life lost and a family devastated, so whatever we can do to change that, the better it is for all of us. We become a better, more inclusive society, and a trans individual becomes able to accept themselves far more easily.
10) Finally and continuing the the walks theme, you are known for doing various charity marathons, how do you manage to keep going and keeping up with them all. Do you ever think about just raising funds on a more relaxed method.
Relaxed? Gosh, that sounds rather boring to me. I like to be active. I’ve completed eleven marathons so far, plus a half marathon and various other shorter walks for charities, and they’re all brilliant – night marathons, colour runs, a half-marathon where my friend and I came first and third … yeah, they’re brilliant fun.
How do I keep going? Well, you get into a habit after a while, and I adore doing them. They’re a brilliant way to keep fit, they raise money for causes, and I know I’m contributing to excellent outcomes. I don’t do it alone, though; every marathon I’ve done has been with one of my best friends, Diana, who is an absolute legend. We support each other during the marathons, especially when we hit the wall; we’ve never let the other one give up. We did the annual Shine marathon at the end of September 2016 for the fifth time, and I hit the wall at about mile 20, but Di just pushed me on past the pain and made me remember why I was doing it. I soon got over the wall and carried on like nothing had happened … aside from the aching muscles.
It’s a privilege to be healthy enough to take part in these events, and for as long as I possibly can, I intend to keep going. Me – take it easy? Where’s the fun in that?
Well thank you Matthew for taking the time to let us in to your world, good luck with your continual work on getting Dyspraxia more noticed together with TG Pals.
Matthew’s books, a Leap of Faith and Fall From Grace are available in all good book shops now. You can also follow Matthew on twitter too.

US elections and Brexit

It’s been a crazy year for all manner of reasons and mostly because of the US presidential election campaign and the EU referendum and Brexit. Whilst 2016 will come to an end when the bells chime on midnight 1 January, the fallout from both situations will still be carrying on. The US Presidential Election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton has to go down as one of the worst US elections that I can remember and probably of all time.

Where previous elections have been heated maybe and on policy the US election of 2016 has been nothing more than who is the lesser of two evils. Whilst Barack Obama no doubt had his faults, his election broke up the Clinton/Bush line that had previously dominated the White House. Now though we have Hillary Clinton who has been embroiled in controversy and Trump just the same but different trouble and allegations to boot.

Gathering from friends stateside it seems that people may well be voting for Hillary with whilst holding their noses as it were than to vote for Trump, who well has much to be desired. It would seem better the devil you know than the devil you dont.

As we all look in to the US Election it would seem that the US election has been nothing more than who is the least detestable. Few policies seem to be known, apart from maybe Trump’s wall and no Muslims allowed in America to that effect.

We shall find out the result on Wednesday and we will see the fallout over the coming days weeks and even months when in January either Clinton or Trump are formally made President of the United States of America.

So Brexit, ah dont you just love it or maybe you don’t.  Since the vote there has been a lot of unacceptable attitudes and opinions on both sides. Leave voters have either been accused of being racist, bigoted, morons, thick, stupid or idiots and people who voted remain thinking they were better than leavers. There are of course people who voted remain that have resisted the insults and patronising attitudes.Whilst sadly there have been elements of scum who have taken the opportunity  to make racist comments or attacks, these dont reflect the many decent genuine and law abiding citizens who based their vote to leave on EU related issues. Behaviour in other ways has also been unacceptable and not tolerated.

There have been many discussions and debates with opinions, claims and counter claims. Business has seen commitment to the UK despite the looming exit. Apple, Boeing (Announced pre Brexit), GlaxoSmithKline, Nissan, Adobe to name a few. Things maybe a little bumpy but the economy will recover, people might not believe it but the growth predictions put things in a positive light. No economy can ever be free from blips, but being in full control and being able to make decisions to aid that economy boost.

I personally voted leave, but respect people who voted to remain although disappointed when the personal and petty insults get thrown.