Echelon

I don’t want to conform
Swim deliberately against the tide
You can fall telling the truth
Echelons away from those who lied

He’s your boss
Don’t tell him what he does wrong
So got to leave
Been here too long

Left out in the cold
Still feel warm within
A new chapter to be written
For god’s sake let it begin

Feeling somewhat detached
Left out of the loop
They dine in fancy restaurants
Pay your rent and eat soup

Money in the bank
What’s in their heart?
Sales projection forecasts
Driven like a dart

Not in their league
Only on a band five
Time to make a change
Time to feel alive

How frustrating is it?
To always feel held back
The lowest on the pile
The entire weight of the stack

So what if you’re to move?
The king would keep his crown
You’re the bottom piece remember
Would the stack fall down?

Mark Scotchford © 01/03/2014

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Is Gravity weightless on gravitas?

I’m probably one of the last people who really wanted to see this film to only see it now. It seems like it has been released for ages. It certainly has been talked about for a long time. I tried to resist the urge to make a judgement on it until I had seen it and put all the comments I had heard and read to one side. People were very good not to give too much away, and I won’t either so there will be no spoiler.

Technology

You always hear people say ‘you must see it in a cinema’ and nowhere can that be truer than for this film. Up there with Avatar, and Titanic for a visual, encompassing spectacle, it will be far better on the big screen. See it in 3D too. The 3D is so stunning, you’ll find yourself blinking and thinking about moving your head as objects come out at you. 3D really has improved with this film and I found it much more effective than Avatar. Indeed, the woman in front of me looked like she put her arm out to catch something at one point.

The cinema also gives you the expanse, the breadth and the depth of the environment where the film is set, which is in space. That shouldn’t be a spoiler. You’d have to have been in space for the last few months to not know that about the film. The music too, and other audio effects which are not overpowering, add another sensory depth to the film, and contract brilliantly with the swathes of silence.

The Acting

Somewhat biased here. I always think George Clooney is brilliant, and Sandra Bullock never really does it for me. In this film, apart from too many ‘uuhh’s’, ‘arrgghhsss’, and aarrssss’, she is good and convincing and I do like her in it. I do care about her. Mr Clooney does what he always does best. A warm smile, and commanding and trusting dialogue that always seems to enchant. He seems to have a voice you could play to babies in the womb to relax them. And if I was ever in a disaster situation and heard his voice, I would think it would all be OK. In this film, those idiosyncrasies really stand out, and make the character his. The acting is good, you care for all the characters.

The Verdict – (Don’t worry, no spoiler)

There have been murmurs that Gravity would never have an award for its script. Which is true but in a way, it doesn’t need much of one. The premise is so captivating, the idea so good. There are the odd dalliances of depth with dialogue and some films need to have good dialogue to win through. But to me, Gravity wins through almost in spite of its script not because of it. Everything else about it is so brilliant, it almost doesn’t need one. It could actually be a silent film, and you would still get the message. There is just enough of an interaction between the characters to make you care, to make you want to know what happens, to keep the film going, and that is all you need.

Maybe if the effects hadn’t of been so good, maybe if I hadn’t of seen it in the cinema, maybe if I was in a different mood, this review would be different. I’ve heard people critique the technical aspects of the film, the minute detail like a button on a console that would have been a different colour.

Normally a sucker for detail, that doesn’t bother me. To me this film is about what we try to get away from, what we may crave, and what we think we may despise. It reaches out to us, to say, you think you want to be free? Want to be alone? Want to escape? It challenges our thoughts on life, and our own as we see it, and what we want out of it. And to me it says however much we may strive to be alone we are designed to interact, designed to be to be surrounded by others, and to see them smile, and laugh and cry, for that should be our destiny. If we choose to be alone, we lose a big part of our humanity, and a big part of who we are, and we can perish. Of course, it is easy to be alone in space, not so easy on the busy A205 heading into London at rush hour on a Monday morning.

Mark Scotchford © 01/12/2013

 

 

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Cabbie

Sure I can take you
Yeah get in
The meter goes on
Let the story begin

Tales of the unexpected
Putting the world to rights
Those bastard cyclists
Going through red lights

Worked in a bank mate
It was so unjust
Now I deal with drunkards
Business types and lust

I’ve seen it all fella’
All goes on in here
I’m paying the money
While I lend my ear

The two of them started kissing
They didn’t want to pay
I’ll find the nearest cash point
What else could I say?

A prostitute who was horny
After a punter changed his mind
Wants him to watch while she masturbates
The night can be kind

Not my cabbie’s scene
He plays it by the book
I miss the turning
He doesn’t need to look

It may cost a lot of money
Don’t just pay for the ride
Glance out of the window
Then take a look inside

Mark Scotchford © 11/11/2013

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The start of a book called ‘Windows’

On the train

Nathan was a smart guy, witty and modest with a dry delivery that could make someone laugh with just a meagre sentence, just a few words. He didn’t go in for story telling really, didn’t big things up and elaborate on the truth, like so many of his peers. He was subtle, and unassuming. The guy at the back of the room who knew all about everyone in it.

He worked in a small business with an old school friend, Dermott, who asked him to join the company a few years back. They had gone their separate ways after school but a chance encounter meant they met again. Meeting in a hotel lobby, both there for different reasons rekindled the great friendship they always had. You know the sort of friend? The one you don’t see for years and when you do, it feels as though you saw them the day before.

Nathan was at a bit of a loose end career wise at the time, and Dermott was looking for someone to work at his small company. Hopefully to be there to watch it grow and be a success. Killawot was the company. They initially provided home Hi-Fi equipment for the audiophile at home, mainly for very rich Arab’s who had nothing else to spend their money on, but the company did well.

Nathan had worked at Killawot for 15 years now, seen it build over the years, from a fledging Small business, with just 10 employees, to a SME with fewer than 250 employees, (as he remembers from his business degree). Close now to the 250 limit Dermott was keen not to expand too quick, too much or too far. And Nathan agreed. Although pressured by shareholders, the company shouldn’t grow any bigger.

His job was centred around the IT infrastructure, and he practically did and managed everything, from the network, to the computers, from the applications, to the servers. He was jack of all, master of none. He was there from the beginning so just had free reign to do what he liked. It worked though, and he was obsessive about the latest technology and keeping the company up to date. Indeed many had accredited his fastidious attention to detail with the company’s expansion, all ready to compete with modern music formats and sounds and enhancements.

He was often teased about his job by friends and girlfriends. Labelled ‘geek’ and ‘boring’. His friends said it just to piss him off. Girlfriends said it because they didn’t know any better. A few weeks of knowing him and they didn’t call him either of those names again. He wasn’t either. He wasn’t the life and soul by any stretch of the imagination, but he had several facets of his character, which would gradually surface over time.

Working with Dermott and in a small business allowed Nathan to stretch his legs, his skill sets and his imagination. Not to mention his confidence. One day he could be wiring up a network port, the next day demonstrating a state of the art hi-fi system to a college. It was great, he loved his job, and it was flexible too.

The meeting had finished early, and after checking in with Dermott and his PA, he was on the way home. He checked the times of the train in the last tea break and was confident if he walked briskly he could make the 15.23 from Waterloo.

As he got to the station he checked he had his ticket, checked the time on the station clock, and looked on the board for his train. 15.20. Probably best to run he thought. As he passed his ticket through the gates, ran along the platform and boarded the train, he remembered he forgot to get Lizzy a present. ‘Shit’ he couldn’t help but scream out loud. An indignant look greeted him from the pinched face, miserable looking man sitting opposite. He would get one in Guildford, he still had time, and there was plenty to choose from. It’s just he wanted to get her something different, something original, and where better than in London. He shook his head at himself and sighed louder than is polite, almost it seemed to draw attention. He didn’t want attention; he was just disappointed in his own defiance in himself. In the way he couldn’t just get off the train and go and get something for Lizzy.

He arranged his ‘man bag’ as his friends called it, checked his notes from the earlier meeting, traded glances with Mr Pinchface (as he called him in his mind) opposite, and settled down to look out the window.

The train was fairly empty, not many people on it at all for a Tuesday afternoon. I guess with it not being peak time, it was to be expected. It was a pleasant and sunny afternoon, and warmer than is usual for a September day. The train stopped at every stop, and although Nathan had taken this journey many times, he loved people watching. His head would flick back and forth as he was transfixed by anything from a cycling paper boy, to a builder chatting while dangling precariously on scaffolding.

As the train got closer to its commuter belt destination and further from London, the roads and traffic seemed less, there seemed more expanses between people and place. There was still the hustle and bustle of children being collected from school, parents driving far too fast in between a plethora of drama classes, football lessons, and music workshops. He saw how everything, every movement was so important to those experiencing it. Every turn of a steering wheel, the whim of a traffic light, all assisting some, and while looked as though they were to conspire and plot against others. That they would be 2 minutes late for that drama class, while the pensioner who hasn’t got to be anywhere in a hurry, gets the green lights.

The train was coming into Stoke D Abernon. A lovely place, very affluent, and near the home of the Chelsea training ground. As the train slowed, Nathan looked at the row of smart terraced houses that backed onto the railway line. All very pretty, and multicoloured except for one, second from the end, that looked in a sort state of disrepair. All the others were immaculate, beautifully painted and well presented, except for this one. He always noticed it, whenever he went past. With an eye for detail, and a curiosity for human behaviour, he always wanted to know more.

And that’s when he saw her…….

Naked, hands pressed firmly against the glass of a full length upstairs window, her upper body thrusting back and forth, either by her own volition or by being propelled. Her blonde long curly hair pulsating left and right, up and down, as she swung her head violently from left to right. He couldn’t see any further into the room.

In that second or two, time froze, Nathan almost did a ‘snapshot’ of the moment in his mind, capturing her tight, slim, mildly tanned body in the afternoon sun, her shapely toned legs, slightly spread unevenly away from each other as she balanced herself. Loads of questions went through his mind.

Did anyone else see? Did she know she was being seen? Will he ever see her again?

 

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Those Three Words

I think we all know the three words I’m talking about. To some they mean so much, to others not much at all. Sometimes used as a weapon, or to reassure, or to win, or as leverage, in our own intricate lives.

Quite recently I have given these words a lot of thought. Initially, and I have to admit, somewhat laddishly and childishly, in my youth they could form a source of amusement amongst friends. It was always ‘has he said it yet?’ or ‘has she told you yet?’. It was a way of finding where you were, with someone, in terms of your friends, and in the hierarchy of life.

I’ve often disagreed with people over what love is, and how you feel it. I strongly believe our thought of what it is change as we get older. For me certainly love meant something completely different at 17 to what it does now. It can be unbelievably amazing, or ferociously destructive. It can cause peace and war, animosity and adoration, control or contentment.

In its most pure form, it is a beautiful thing. Can love be one sided? Does it have to be requited?
I used to think it did, but now I’m not so sure. As long as isn’t damaging or obsessive, one sided love can survive, although one could argue, it may be seen as a waste of energy and effort.

I know saying “I love you” must never be said for the sake of it, or out of habit, or just with the hope of someone saying it back to you. It must never be said for any other reason than for that it is what you truly believe at that time, in that moment.

A friend had a girlfriend who used to say to him: “I love you” and his response always used to be “I know you do”. He said this was because she only said it so he would say it back, but I don’t think this was his reason for not requiting.

Another friend would always end every single phone conversation to his wife with “I love you, bye”. He didn’t love her anymore. It was plain to see. Saying it was habit and they soon divorced. I’ve always found it interesting that some people say it all the time and have never meant it, and others never say it at all but feel it in their heart, never to be shared. It opens us up, exposes our vulnerabilities, our soul and our inner most thoughts, weaknesses and strengths.

A girlfriend used to say “are there three little words you’d like to say to me?” I’d reply “are they what’s for dinner?” She was never amused. Like I say, a juvenile protective reaction would always be to make a joke of it. I like to think I’ve grown up a little since, but it was also I didn’t like being prompted. I’ll borrow my friends excuse.

Does love hurt? Doh!!! Hell yeeeaahhhh, like a bitch, when it doesn’t go your way, or turn out like you’d hoped, or dies. But does it heal? Oh yes, it can do amazing things.

If you are struggling to understand what it means, perhaps this will help. Years ago, someone wrote this on a Christmas card to me. I never understood it then, but now I do. It’s from the Corinthians 13: 4-7:-
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.”

Mark Scotchford © 11/09/2013

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Disarray

Often on my mind
Didn’t appreciate the time
Maybe already moved on
The memory of us soon gone

Look back with a smile
Salacious with style
Look forward with regret
Very pleased we met

Not sure what else to say
Thoughts won’t go away
Hope we find a way
My problem
The disarray

Mark Scotchford © 09/09/2013

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Repeat

Wet spoon left in the sugar
Plastic put into the wrong bin
How many things don’t seem right?
Where do I begin?

Paypal keep my money
British Gas want mine straight away
Everyone wants to speak
No one hears what I say

Bailiffs at my door
Because one payment was missed
No room for manoeuvre
Everyone else seems to twist

No refund on tickets
Just sent them a little late
Good citizen feeling like the criminal
Enemy of the state

Seeing pickpockets go free
Their benefits not renounced
Ebay keep 10 percent
And my cheque has bounced

£400 fine for speeding
Always the one at fault
Attending the school of life
Not sure what I’m being taught

We all get the texts
Compensation for PPI
Unfortunately I don’t qualify
It’s all a bit of a lie

There are nice people in the world
Seems few and far in between
Why can’t we all be generous?
Why do we have to be so mean?

Mark Scotchford © 25/06/2013

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