Greetings again all!
I am back again, this time with a special guest! I’ve been keeping up with his creative guy for some time – mainly following his useful vlogs about Japanese life. It is a great honor to introduce such a creative individual to this blog. My name is Ricky Baxter, and this is my interview with Gizmo!
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m a Trini American bboy, rapper, actor and creator of things dope. Some people call me by my government name, some call me sensei and others call me by my nickname Gizmo.
Interesting! It seems that you’ve been living in Japan for some time. When did you first move there and why Japan in the first place?
Yea! I’ve been living in Japan for 6 years now (time flies!) I moved here in 2011 and I’m very much surprised that I’m actually still here. The plan was to live here for only one year and then go back to the US but whoops…6 years later! lol Truth be told.. I’ve always a fascination with Japan and Japanese culture from a very very young age. It all started with ninjas and samurai, but then I found the history and language very interesting. On top of all that, Japanese girls are fiiirrreeee! So, yea. Japan rocks! lol
Cool. It seems that many people I speak to (that have lived here for many years) say the same thing, regarding their original intention of staying in Japan for only one year. There must be a reason, right? What are your thoughts on the living standards in Japan, verses where you lived in the west? Is it better?
As for standard of living. I think it was relatively cheaper to live in the U.S. (I’m from Arizona.) Things like rent, food and entertainment were way cheaper than it is here. But one thing that Japan has is safety. I’ve never felt safer anywhere else. Even with impending earthquakes and tsunamis. Feels good to know I can walk home at wee hours in the morning and not worry about being robbed or something. I can also go out and get that REAL sushi and style on everybody worldwide! I love it! lol
True dat! Although I’ve only been here for a few months, there’s real sense of safety here. Although, I am not much of a fan of sushi myself (I never understand cold food lol). You seem to be involved in a lot of interesting things, so far. Everything from Vlogs, music and music videos. Please tell me about your current ventures?
Haha.. yea. I kind of have my hands in different things at the moment. I do vlogs, comedy sketches and music at the moment. I really like creating and I really like comedy. There are other things I have planned for the future but I wont divulge that info just yet (Secret secret!) My current goal at the moment is making dope creations in everything that I’m doing. I’d like to transition from doing what I love doing as just a hobby to making it my primary source of income. That’s the current goal!
I am sure at this rate, you’ll definitely real your goal. Regarding your recent music video, it’s great btw! Can you tell me a little bit about it, and why you decided to shoot it in Osaka?
Glad you enjoyed the music video! Thanks! Osaka is amazing! It’s one of my favorite places in Japan. I prefer it more than Tokyo as the people aren’t as cold, the food is great and kansai ben sounds mad slick. It’s really a great city and shooting it there just worked out well as I have friends there that were able to help me find good places to shoot (Big up Yana!)
That makes now! It seems like everybody has something great to say about Osaka. Makes me wish I moved there instead of Tokyo hahaha! Do you have an overall message? Perhaps an underlying theme to your creative works? If so, how does this tie into your personal journey with Japan?
Hmmm.. that’s a good question. I think the thing that connects everything I do is.. it’s me! My music, the various characters I portray and the things I talk about.. they’re all me. Some may be extremes of particular character traits I exhibit, but they’re all me and they’re real. So, if anything my overall message would be to just do your thing, be true to yourself and believe in your own greatness.
Spoken like a true creative. So far, myself and your followers have seen much from you in 2017. What can we expect in 2018?
You can expect more! More videos, more music, more dopeness. On top of that you can expect it to be better than it was in 2017! I have a ton of ideas and a lot of things that I’m putting in place for the future. 2018 will be great!
Thank you for time Gizmo! Do you have final message, for anybody aspiring creatives that would like to take their work to another country, like you did?
My message to any aspiring creatives is to.. DO IT! Make a plan, give yourself deadlines and MAKE IT HAPPEN. The reason I’m here doing what I do now is because the phrase “I tried my best and gave it my all” sounds much sweeter to my ears than “What if…” Shoot your shot! Do what you love. Life is short, do what makes you happy!
Thank you Gizmo!
To see more of Gizmo’s work, you can follow him on Youtube (click the link)
Leed’s most amazing artist
Who are you, where do you come from and what do you do?
I am Akeim Toussaint Buck, I was born in Jamaica on the 24th of December 1991. I moved to England in hopes of a better more sustainable life with my mother in 2001. We found ourselves in Leeds, in I think 2003 where I am now based as a performance artist. I trained at The Northern School of Contemporary Dance on Chapeltown Road. I class those four years as my most life changing a part from moving here because it is in finding passion you begin to step into the power you can be. I am still finding this out to this day as I write this, questions are rising in myself but I have the mind and heart to overlook them and continue to share this information with you. So I am a dancer, singer, beatboxer, writer and actor. But that is not all I do with my time. I enjoy helping people and bringing people together either in volunteering or in events planning or just being in the right place at the right time. My artistic ethos is family, I see artistic communities as extended families that can help everybody who are under the foot of government right now; homeless, elderly, young people, single parents and children. I believe art can and will be the pacifier and game changer for the underprivileged as it has been that for me. All my doing is in resonating with this belief. And so I answer your question, I hope. Lol
Based on much of your expressed posts on social media, you seem quite the free-thinker. What’s that about?
My mother used to say to me to always ask questions. In all of my school life up until artistic school life I was a good boy. Never challenging teachers so much a part from debate on their authority but not so much debating the information they are giving us. I took everything with a pinch of salt but still understanding I need to know this to pass a test. Leaving high school sent my mind on a journey where I began to look at the world with new eyes. I spent a lot of time with music at that point of my life. I think this was the age of 16. I recall even before that while in school in Jamaica I use to enjoy sitting down and asking the other students questions about life, this was at the age of 6-7-8. I seek truth constantly and I hope to only speak truth, I also believe in positivity/love will prevail so most of my post are either to ignite you to seek truth or to put a smile on your face. This is aligned with the artistic work I do as it’s all looking to be either truth seeking or enjoyment sharing which I love. I spread what I am, and what I vibrate in.
What do you think about issues such as racism, discrimination and other such isms today? What’s your take this, and do you think there’s a way to stop it?
I didn’t really realise racism until becoming an artist to be honest. I have always put the fact I’m black in a white man’s world in the back of my mind hoping the rest of the world will forget it too. I thought it was something which was trickling out. But as I begun to grow my dreads and became much more interested in Bob Marley’s story including his death I begin to think differently. Some days I am even afraid, some days I have to shake off ignorance of myself and of another because I wonder if I am to put someone right, how would that person feel to be told; “hey that was racist, don’t do it again.” What makes it more annoying I know it’s not their fault, no one is born racist. You learn it through a system playing with archetypes and stereotypes, playing with concepts, ideas and policies which do not favour people of colour. For example the idea of ethnic minority is bull as I am not the minority on this planet, I man is the majority. I myself am sometimes racist and when I find myself in that situation I say it and make it known to myself and people around me so we can all clear the air of it, it is something that has been happening through it happening to me. Laughter is important in this world especially when dealing with negative programming because that is all prejudice is. When people laugh over a racist comment it’s interesting though because it never happens again really and if it does over time it becomes stale. Now of days I make sure I call it straight away whether it is myself or someone else because I once didn’t and I called it after the person was used to saying stuff, and one day I just decided f**k it and it really upset that person which was a very sensitive situation. We act out of learned behaviour, when we rise above it through laughter, we become more aware of it and can cut it down because it is not needed. I sometimes practice seeing everyone I pass on the street as a reflection of myself as they are, and this helps me smile with my brethren whether they are purple or green. This helps me realise the vibe you send out is the vibe you get back. So what does this say about some cases of discrimination and racism? Maybe just maybe deep inside the victim, there is self-hate already planted there. Again another learned condition probably through negative media coverage constantly telling you that your people are criminals and letting you know that in the environments that you live there is always crime and stabbings and killings and a rise on people going to prison so you then become the self-fulfilling prophecy.
We as a species need to figure out where we are feeding ourselves ways of discrimination and relinquish it.
If we want to rid the world of this unfair judgement and fear harbouring mental diseases then we need to start from the core and give media a proper clean. You are what you eat but you are also what you see. According to mirror neurons if you see something being done, for example: people killing people – that image is now scanned into your brain and you now know the motor procedure of being violent to another human being. I ask the question, which came first; violence on TV or violence in real life? Obviously real life because wars have been fought way before TV was invented. But we are so advanced so couldn’t we limit the violence to just TV? No, because life just doesn’t work like that. If you are feeding yourself something it has to also find a way out. Its balance. We as a species need to figure out where we are feeding ourselves ways of discrimination and relinquish it. The fear of destruction is only causing a mass self-destruction so we need to stop fearing our own demise and come to terms with death. When in fear of death all sorts of silliness can rise like really holding on to the tangible life you live in-between birth and death. If we want this time of aliveness to count we should work on ourselves and love ourselves and love each other no matter what. Love is so much more important than hate. Yes hate breeds the coal in your passionate fire to make you do something but it’s not my hate of politics that makes me love being alive. It’s my love of people and what I do that keeps me going and no matter how much bad news I see, it’s love that allows me to stay on a high vibration and meet any negative with a smile and a clear mind even if at first I may get agitated. I always give myself time because there is always another angle. Thus forth I don’t take discrimination personal. There is also no such thing as race as we are all one species, these different physical characteristics have developed over natural selection. Natural adaptation to climate and other ecological variables which affect our survival. All we do is adapt biologically to our environment hence our different skin colours, nose shapes and hair textures. If proper history was taught in schools we would see this and know this as truth and people would stop all this black white none sense. I see it as a global consciousness problem not a singular issue. I can’t really explain how we would rid ourselves of these issues I’m sure in many ancient tribes such as the Dagara you could find a way. Funny, I just thought of a way, The Dagara have a practice where a child would have their biological mum and dad but also have; kind of God parents but there is another name for it. This other parent would teach the child of alternative ways of doing things, not pulling the child away from their original parents but just helping to give different perspectives and teach about their family’s ways. In our society imagine if a child was born to a Caribbean family and got the chance to have let’s say some exchange parents from Poland or Spain or even Russia. This could be something done worldwide or just locally on your street. The greatest test of a good neighbour; Can you take care of my child? Think of the generation effects if this became a valued practice among modern society. Media racial stereotypes would have to change gradually and after a while they take less affect. Another way to help fight this is watch less TV as it’s just another tool for limiting education. It gives you beer goggles for life. Also talk about discrimination because through conversation we educate ourselves and we bring people into harmony, especially if you converse with the intention to grow and find compassion.
What’s your thought on religion and faith in general? Do you subscribe to one?
I like to entertain ideas so in answering this question I will entertain an idea. Jesus left home at the age of 13-16 returned at the age of 30-36. I read a book called: the Aquarian Gospel of Jesus Christ. This book follows Jesus travelling the world meeting different religious delegates all over the world receiving and giving teachings. He becomes Hindu and Buddhist at some point.
All religious scriptures are poetry
This is what I think of religion or spiritual practices. They are all saying the same thing and fundamentally they all mean love. All religious scriptures are poetry. No one back in the ancient times wrote literal because they were romantic, mystical and shamanistic. Poetry is the language of the occult hence forth any writings on spirit science is a mini master piece. Read Rudolf Steiner and anything to do with mythology or philosophy. If you want to have a religious system design your own which fits you. If you want to be a part of a group by all means do it. Whatever people need for them to give them that faith let them do it. But do not hold false faith on grounds of getting a reward. Live so that you are the reward for others. I personally have a very spiritual mystic relationship with life and God. I meditate/pray/speak to God or my intuition or mother earth. I enjoy nature and sky gazing. I grow my hair because like the Native Americans I believe it is an extension of me. I also grow my hair because of Rasta reasons which link to me as a child because I’ve always called myself Rasta from a young age I just wasn’t allowed to grow my hair. Recently I’ve taken up more Native American ways of self-developing as I have learned a great deal through Native American drum circles. My spirit animal is the wolf and it makes sense even as you have approached me with this interview. It all makes sense as well with my star sign as I am a Capricorn yet Leo rising. I am timid in becoming the leader people seem to see me to be. And more events keep aligning and synchronizing, which affirm this truth.
There are always lessons to be learned in life, the great teacher it is.
Life is screaming to me to again step into who I am. If I am able to feel this with life you can’t tell me what I feel is wrong as it is I who feel it. Through my many spiritual and scientific practices I have figured a way of life that works for me. It even connects with my morality because I am so deeply connected to my truth, even if I try to be really happy because I think this thing will make me happy life sees where it could make me hurt someone or even myself so it sends me warnings sometimes or signs. I don’t always see it when I should or listen fully but I recognize and I am young so a groove or pattern will build through time. There are always lessons to be learned in life, the great teacher it is. I cannot tell another what he feels as he prays and lives his life by whatever God or no God is wrong. Obviously there are lines not to be crossed in the idea of extremism. Now in that there is a serious problem, any sector of a religion where it is extreme to kill, that religion has lost its spiritual significance because spirituality in all forms recognizes life as a gift given by the eternal energy, and if one is to make self the judge and jury for another in taking life, then that is unnatural and unlawful and will be persecuted either in this life or the next. For me energy is everything and everything is energy. I loved church as a child because it was full of energy. The ladies being caught by the spirit speaking tongs is such a beautiful dance and ritual it’s enigmatic and the science behind it could be explained as we all have this inside us, and it can be triggered and active when called on either intentionally or unintentionally. The act of rejoicing is the act of practicing gratitude which the law of attraction speaks of. Who says speaking tongues isn’t an ancient language which humans spoke in a very old time? Memories can pass in the liquids we have in our bodies this is a sector of science we don’t talk about much because with common sense you begin to realise how true this we are one stuff really is. All liquid on this planet is connected, so even the blood in your body holds old DNA patterns of ancient people. So all the old practices of spirituality if once practiced by your ancestors can still be practiced by you it’s a matter of tapping into it. This is where my spirituality is now. I’d like to know my past life. In the material sense Iknow I am West African prior slave trade and the world has sent me messages about ancient Egypt quite a lot. So I am drawn to that and I have been looking into ancient Africa and realised the whole continent was so much aware of each other and families were connected throughout the continent.
Human behaviour is animal behaviour, and if you know animals you can know humanity.
I subscribe to life. When I receive good I thank life. When I receive what can be seen as bad I thank life still because something good may be on the horizon in the shape of a lesson.
What’s your perspective on our society today? Is there anything you stand for?
I stand for love. I love people and spirits. I enjoy animals as they remind me of what I originally am as a human. Human behaviour is animal behaviour and if you know animals you can know humanity. This is why you should trust a dog if the dog doesn’t trust that someone.
I stand for acceptance. I do no evil from my seat but that doesn’t necessarily mean someone else on the outside looking in won’t see it as evil and that is where the practice of love comes in because the best love has no condition so it is up to one to know if it is with love that every move and breathe will resonate.
I perceive our society right now as lost and yearning so much to be found or saved. It all takes time and patience.
The general news today centre on issues of immigration, in this country. What’s your thought on this?
Britain owes the third world a hell of a lot. It is time Britain pays up. Stop harbouring wars and start developing the world all over. If Britain is so great then show it through spreading the enterprise and empowering people around the world. Not enslaving, you did that already, not forcing education you did that already. Do not go preaching religion and beating aboriginal/indigenous culture out of people, you did that already. Don’t go misguiding the young and getting people to kill each other, that’s happening right now. Just stop and realise the truth. We had a really bad past, ask how we can honestly sort out the future. All the leaders of the world need to ignore whatever cooperation’s they stand for (really) and start standing for the country that pays their rent. Not just the country paying their rent now but the countries that are paying their debts and compensations and all their lay away payments done from slavery and colonialism. How can the slave master get compensation and my ancestor didn’t get reparations? That’s a funky smell that’s what that is.
Ignore all this money talk because it’s a labyrinth of an imaginary substance.
When war, famine and disease breaks out in homelands of course I’m going to the wests richest countries because they came to my country. We need to equalise the quality of living all over the world where we can. Only fairly as well, don’t force things up on people for the financial gain. Ignore all this money talk because it’s a labyrinth of an imaginary substance. The trading needs to start from a place where everyone can understand and share from a place of kindness, honesty and love. I am actually wanting to create a piece about immigration, I hope to research the relationship between Britain and Jamaica in my piece “Jordan River.” I will also touch on the reasons people leave Jamaica and the culture that feeds these people, as to why leaving is a good idea. You see people in the west don’t realise their privileges. I’m not talking about white privilege that is something even much bigger than this west privilege. In the west you can be the sexuality you feel to be. You can start a small business, you can go to a decent school. You can drink clean water. You can make money of a higher value than the money in your home country, then you can send that money home to help keep your family alive. West why won’t you wake up and realise the benefits you have? Also the power of a British passport is amazing. People just think people want the actual sign on the dole benefits, sorry to disappoint you but I have lived poor since I have moved to this country and my mother has never once taken to the benefits system even when we have problems paying rent and we want to put proper flooring in the house, all sorts of stuff. She works herself to the bone because of pride and drive. Thus forth I work the way I work.
So don’t hate immigrants. Hate wars, hate famines, hate low quality living because that is what forces people to leave their homes in search of better. I wouldn’t have come to England if my mum didn’t leave and she wouldn’t have come if the school fee and taxes weren’t ridiculous in Jamaica and her business wasn’t going well and life just wasn’t promising. With riots outside my house and waking up and going to school normal the next day. Crime in Jamaica is something really worrying. I doubt I would of become a dancer in Jamaica as I would have been told that’s gay don’t do that why you want to be a dancer. Homophobia is a big thing in Jamaica, it is changing though, and hope is coming. I also lived very far from the capital where the dance schools and stuff were, I think I would have been a taxi driver which I don’t mind – it’s a people job.
In your opinion, where do you think our society is headed in this country, and where would you like it to go?
This country has something special in its people’s need to work together. I have been to two health and wellbeing festivals this summer (Beulah Tribe Festival & Northern Green Gathering) and at both I experienced a high energy of love and transformation. Because in this world we are constantly in a flux of change whether it is change of energy or a change of scenery it shows up in our individual experiences in one way or another and I sincerely believe to harness peace in this world is to harness acceptance of the change in a positive way. For example it started off sunny today so I’m happy and cheerful then it begun to rain so about two years ago my mood would change but now I see things differently no matter the whether I am in high spirits. I see both as a blessing, the rain is cleansing us and blessing us so is the sun. Blessing us in our day to day lives giving us affirmation that it will never leave us. So we are never alone ;-).
The value of a really good hug is being realised and a smile really does go a long way.
This is what I am finding with people recently despite all the political wa wa going on and austerity bull. People are not stopping. Like a snake in the grass people are shifting and adapting to the difficult times governing power want to bring ahead. People are becoming more politically aware so this brings in more the question: does politics matter? Well that will soon show us wont it because how can we know whether our voting is for real or not? So instead of holding our heads in our hands and giving up people, are uniting. Artists are engaging with the public more and soup kitchens will have the best entertainment. The value of a really good hug is being realised and a smile really does go a long way. In a country like Britain we could see the potentials of a utopia if we begin to tackle the socio-political issues such as; who the frick is voting for ukip? Seriously stop it. We also need to find a way to educate the upper classes of the lower classes, (only label I could use so you feel me) and show them they can benefit from expanding their financial riches to the lower class and investing back into the country. For example if we take on the work system of some ancient parts of Africa where the lower classes had their own neighbourhoods which were of equal quality living to the upper classes however they worked with and for the upper class maintaining land and helping to take care of children. This brings communities closer and lessons the gap between us. If we then include child care into this and the exchange of children’s cultures we now share rich dad poor dad and do a criss cross of rich parents teaching the poor child and vice versa. If we as humans look beyond our pride and open our hearts willing to learn about each other we can make it work. The fear rich people have makes them hide behind their possessions as their shields, poor people know this subconsciously hence why they yearn to consume products it makes them feel like they are closer to the rich because they have more. The rich have assets which keep them forever materially richer but psychologically a slave to their products and their businesses. They are forever scared they will lose these things in this life and then their family will fall from their make believe greatness. However true greatness is in balance and in living for others and thinking holistically to a certain degree. I cannot sleep if I have people on my street that are suffering. I hate wasting food, I’d rather give it to someone to eat. Human or animal because I know it is returning to the cycle of feeding for someone. That is me personally and the ideas I share are intuitive ideas. I haven’t thought anything out really I am just venting. But imagine if the trained great minds of the House of Commons actually sat down and spoke to each MP from their sector and if those MPs had a town hall meeting once a month where people come together in devotion to living and really shared views. If we slowly worked at each little problem in society and really pressed how important it is to take responsibility for this place we live then without a doubt we would go into a whole new way of living and thinking that have not been around in these popular cities and countries for a very long time. Well not in the mainstream because many tribes and aboriginal/indigenous people live this way.
Humanity has a vast potential and we have such a deep connection with this universe.
I would like to see an attentive time and care being taken when it comes to dealing with the planet and with the people. Why would we want to frack when we know it causes poisonous gasses to rise and could kill people? Why would we not invest in clean energy sustainable energy, free energy so everyone can turn a light on and off as they read and study to go to university or a specialist school of their choice? Why do we not guide children to empathise and think with both heart and mind? We can be so much more than we are told. Humanity has a vast potential and we have such a deep connection with this universe. We need to be utilising that not our disconnection and obsession of material and image. Become obsessed with feeling and things will change. Because the more in tuned with feeling you become the more you will want to feel positive passion. Make that your drug and you will create a positive passionate environment. Whether it is through food, art, uplifting conversation, and teaching or simply being an explorer and enjoying the very air which cares your skin, sometimes it’s really the simple things.
Individual (we are all singular representations of the universe in our own right) – Collective (none the less we are still brothers and sisters all a part of the one heartbeat, pulsing through existence) – Solidarity (in our incarnating we are secure in our shifting and adaptation in life, in company and in solace we are strong); is a future we can have. This can then transform into Universal Citizenship. Because with the equality of quality in life as well as the sharing of children resulting in the destruction of the significant prejudice practices. People’s prisons in their minds will break down and the system will see more to be done in spreading this glory rather than harnessing it for the Federal Reserve. One love, one earth, one nation.
Rules must first be broken so they can change so if not in our time, if in the time after us when we return again if we decide to come back to this place we will see a huge change because good must prevail evil. And right now evil is weakening hence the news reports just don’t sound as thick in existence anymore, as they sound like a broken tape recorder or something. Peace and prosperity is the only goal and it shall be the last stop at the end of this route but sadly for many the last stop will be destruction because on the journey to the Promised Land some doubt the existence of such a place, so they will be supported by a reality which harbours such a belief. Basically if more people begin to shift then we have more chances of the whole planet being a better place to live.
To connect with Akeim, you can find him on Facebook
Leeds’s Stunning Strummer!
Hey all! It’s with great pleasure that I introduce somebody who I absolutely adore, and had the honour of listening to perform. If you’re based in Leeds, you’d probably know about this amazing artist. Yes, I am talking about the unique beauty: Malaika Shaw. For those who have yet to hear of her, take a look at our short but sweet interview, and keep Malaika in your Top list to see, when you eventually visit Leeds. If there’s anything you need to do this year, it’s to experience one of her amazing gigs. You won’t be the same. I sure am not. Once I heard her amazing voice, I became her biggest fan (groupie).
Hello Malaika and thank you for taking the time to talk to me. Who are you what do you do and where do you come from?
I am Malaika Shaw. I am a Musician and Songwriter and come from Ireland. I am also half african.
When did you first start playing the guitar?
I was 11, found a guitar in the loft, and discovered my true passion for music. I thought I was going to be the next Dimebag Darrell! At 18 i purchased an acoustic guitar and started writing and recording.
I can imagine that since playing for quite some time, you’d naturally develop your own style. Explain your sound and musical style?
It’s a mix of Pop, Soul and Jazz,.
Do you mind telling us what your songs are about?
They are about a lot of different things. Some are about love and general life however sometimes I could write about thing totally fiction.
That is quite a unique take on song themes. What inspires you to write the songs you write?
I was determined to create a sound which merged R&B and Jazz. I didn’t know of any other artist making music like that at the time I started.
What has been the biggest highlight of your musical journey?
So far its got to be going over to perform at the Montreal Jazz Festival. So many of my favourite artists have played this and it was a huge honour to share a stage with Jamie Cullum.
What can we expect over the next few months from Malaika?
I will be doing a really exciting gig at the Wardrobe in Leeds on the 3rd of October, supporting Riot jazz. I cant wait. I am also doing lots of writing and recording. So expect to hear some more music in the next couple of months.
Thank you Malaika!
To connect with Malaika, Just head over to her Facebook here!
A City Boy Who’s Not afraid of Change
Being part of a city rat race is nothing new for us Londoners. We get up, go to work, eat, go to bed and repeat. A lot of us yearn for a change – however because of many factors (family, finances, fear etc…) we merely end up pushing our need for change to the back of the list. There is one person who decided to challenge everything, and did it anyway – regardless of the consequences. Naturally he learned a lot from his decision and experience – even writing a book along the way.
Who are you, where do you come from and what do you do?
My name is Alva, I’m born and raised in London, but my background is Sierra Leone,and Trinidad & Tobago. At the moment I work in financial risk IT.
Tell us a little of your background and certain interests? If I am not mistaken, you’re quite the skateboarder.
I have a few interests; mainly art, cooking, and writing. Yes, I also skate when I have time, but these days I feel so old and fragile that I just take my bicycle when I go out.
A little while ago, you journeyed to Japan. What made you decide to go there, compared to the many other places in the world?
My trip to Japan was just a series of fortunate events. I couldn’t sleep one night a few years back. I was tossing and turning, and just felt very stuck in life- it got to about 4am in the morning, and I still hadn’t slept. So I checked for last minute international flights. The first two that came up were Japan, and Brazil. Japan was around £700 and the flight was leaving in 5 hours, and Brazil was around £900 and was leaving in 8 hours, so I booked the flight to Japan, packed a rucksack, and jumped on a train to Heathrow. I knew next to nothing about Japan, or Brazil, it simply came down to which flight was the cheaper one. Had Brazil been cheaper, the last few years of my life would have turned out completely different.
What was it like being in Japan as a British Citizen, let alone a person of colour?
Japan is one of the most amicable places I’ve visited. I stayed in various cities, but lived in a small countryside town for most of my time in Japan. I could probably count on one hand, the people there who had seen a black person in the flesh. But they were in no way negative or xenophobic towards me. People who didn’t know me would say hello, people would go out of their way to help me. They always had time to talk, and I used to eat and drink with a group of grandmothers. Anywhere you go in Japan, there are always new people to meet, and you can end up making a whole group of friends in the time it takes to finish one beer.
Tell us about your book: Musings of a nobody. What is it about and what made you wish to write something like it?
The book was a project I’d started a long time ago, but then gave up on. At the time, I didn’t think that I had seen enough to write a book on life’s experience. I was also avery different person to who I am now. But been abroad for as long as I was; all the different countries I lived in, all the people I met, and all the situations I was in, made me start writing again. I realized that no matter where you go, you bring your mind with you. I also realized that no matter where you go, everyone is fighting the same battle with themselves. So I started writing the book again just as a piece on my self- introspection, nothing more. It’s about mistakes I’ve made, damage I’ve caused (to myself and others), and ways I’ve changed. It’s just as the title says, the thoughts of an unknown person.
What sort of person is your book catered to, and what can one learn from it?
I don’t know if there is anything someone can learn from my book, because it’s just a retrospective on my life, and many of the things may be too subjective or specific for another person to relate to, or learn from it. I would however, like people to read it and look at their own life, and think about what they think they’re doing wrong in life, what they think they’re doing right, and how much pain they inflict on themselves. I don’t think there’s a certain type of person my book is catered to; but I do think that people who are at a stage of sudden self-understanding may take more from it than those who are not at all interested in introspection.
So you accomplished your trip to Japan, and wrote a long awaited book. What else is next for you?
Haha, in all honestly, I don’t have a clue what the next step is. I am currently playing at being grown up, and staying in one place for a while. I’m working on a novel, learning everything little thing that I can, and trying to stick to what my experiences have taught me. I still need to live in Brazil because it was the runner-up when I was looking at tickets, so maybe there’s something there for me. And if there isn’t anything there for me, I’m sure I’ll pick up a few life lessons along the way!
Much appreciated Ricky!
To read Alva’s: Musings Of A Nobody, click the link here!
Keys to the city
Teriy Keys – also known as Smurfie Syco is a man of many talents. Not only was he signed to Dizzee rascal, under Dirty Stank records – he also is the CEO of London’s most ambitious entertainment company: R.O.A.D Entertainment. In a nutshell, R.O.A.D entertainment specialises in music, television, publishing and beyond. It also provides a training program for young people, interested in entertainment.
Last week I had the pleasure of being invited to Teriy’s christmas launch party – where a host of notable faces were seen. Of course I leapt at the chance to see what one of the members of dirty stank had to offer.
Just before turning up to the launch event, I wondered how the event would look, and what kind of people would be there. What sort of person is Teriy keys anyway? Naturally I was intrigued by someone who is affiliated with one of London’s greatest artists, and wondered what exactly is his mission and purpose? It’s clear by his many skills and expertise, Teriy is not just a producer or random Dj, but instead something far greater. For someone to even think of establishing their own entertainment company, that someone would have to be an entrepreneur.
So I entered the R.O.A.D Entertainment building and took no time mingling with the many attendees that came along. There were many important figures during the night – ranging from: speakers, youth workers to photographers and actors. However of all the people I came across, there was one who stood out the most. A motivational speaker, author and entrepreneur named: Hannah oyewole.
Hannah among many other entrepreneurs filled the evening with their presence. This speaks volumes to Teriy Key’s company and the kind of individuals he works with. This event gave a chance for true professionals to connect and network – with R.O.A.D Entertainment setting the stage.
Midway through the launch event, the man of the hour showed up and spoke a little about R.O.A.D Entertainment. By the end, it was made clear what his company is about, and what makes it so important for Londoners. Not only does R.O.A.D Entertainment cater to industry professionals, it also works with those in the community. The next best thing to happen to London is here.
Author and blogger
To connect with Teriy Keys and R.O.A.D Entertainment, simply follow this link!
Interview with Lewisham’s most Creative Screenwriter!
As usual I have scoured the streets of London, looking for its finest people and establishments. This week I had the chance to catch up with A Screenwriter who’s ideas are unlike any you’ve seen before. Ok so let’s get started!
First things first. Who are you, where do you come from and what do you do?
I am Michael Valentine Everett, I’m from good old South East London; Lewisham.
By day I’m a consumer consultant but by night I write screen plays for films.
Interesting practice. What inspired you to be a Screenwriter?
A lot of things really. Growing up me and my family loved, and still love films and anything with a good story be it anime, games or even books.
I love the whole idea of creating something from nothing. Starting with blank pages and filling them out and saying yeah, I did that.
And having people watch your creation and actually laugh, it’s a great feeling.
I will accept you 100% just don’t come down on me when I fail you by accident or my flaws show, because I will always accept you.
It sounds like you’ve been inspired by quite a variety of things. Do you have certain specific influences?
Definitely, Christopher Nolans films just… Mate. You watch them on the big screen and leave knowing that was money well spent… It was a great journey. Even if you don’t understand the whole story *cough* interstellar and inception.
Also certain anime like One Piece, about this any guy who sets out to become great, start an adventure, make new friends and build strong bonds. You find yourself caring for the characters, even tho you know they don’t exist!
Tell us about your current projects?
I am currently working on two very different films. One is Deep Dive; a story about a young man and his monkey who set out to get a crew, become a great pirate, and find his mum who left him and his dad when he was a child. Equipped with a mysterious sword, the Crimson Hummingbird and eventually obtaining the ship; the Soaring Albatross, he gets caught up in all kinds of adventures.
Don’t hold onto things that let you down.
The second, is a smart scale piece about a typical average guy meets girl scenario. However he one day realises he has the ability to rewind time by a certain amount. He ends up using this ability to make this relationship “perfect” redoing any mistakes and re-living every moment to make it “perfect”…. Until…. Lol
I get the feeling that there lies an overall moral somewhere. Do you have a certain message with your projects? If so, how does it reflect who you are?
Yes! With the second one, the message for that is that flaws, failures and imperfections are needed in our lives. They help mound and shape us into who we are. Our greatest lessons happen after our greatest failures and mistakes. And I personally believe we are all flawed in some way, but it’s all about accept people as they are, flaws and all, and not expecting perfection; especially in relationships. I have the attitude of “I will accept you 100% just don’t come down on me when I fail you by accident or my flaws show, because I will always accept you.”
Everyone is supporting each other but I do feel that there are many wonderful ideas that aren’t given a chance to shine.
And for Deep Dive it’s simple, just enjoy your life. Don’t take it too seriously, we’re only here for what, 70+ years? Try to spend as much of that as you can enjoying. Don’t hold onto things that let you down.
What’s your thoughts on the industry in London? Do you feel that creativity is represented well here?
I feel it’s growing, plenty of film festivals, even the online community is thriving. Everyone is supporting each other but I do feel that there are many wonderful ideas that aren’t given a chance to shine. Plenty of original and exciting material that just needs a chance to get out there.
The small indie projects need more limelight.
What’s next for Michael Everett?
Next? Next we have Deep Dive 3, the last install enemy of the series. Most films you write, expecting it to be the only one, but with Deep Dive we always had a 3 part in mind.
Collaborations with my brothers, and maybe even other screenwriters out there! Definitely try my hand at entering film festivals! And reaching out to find others in London on the same creative wave!
Thank you Michael!