On the Road By Jack Kerouac

“I shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”

Friday, 17 October 2014

Discovering New York

New York. Labelled one of the most fascinating and beautiful cities in the world. Not only is it known for its unique life-style and culture, but also could be contemplated as the most honest city on the planet- as I soon discovered New York certainly has no false smile plastered on its face. The dark alleys will turn you the opposite way with one glance, and the beautiful skyline will draw you in like gravity. A rawness no other city contains.

The darkness of the New York sky compared to the dazzling signs and lights is a powerful contrast- one that will leave you stood blinking in awe. As I roamed freely down Broadway, past dusk, it instantly provided me with sights that I wouldn't generally witness in my own neighbourhood- from glamorous business women dressed head-to-toe in couture- to an unshaven homeless man, scraping his dimes and nickels with glove covered hands.

Yes, it has reached that time of the year- the leaves have fallen from every branch of every tree, leaving them bare and empty, unlike the cluttered streets of Manhattan. The leaves have coated central park in a golden blanket, crunching beneath my Ugg boots as I persevered on my discovery of New York.

 A subtle chill in the air resulted in me finding the nearest little boutique to purchase a fashionable jacket. As I wondered around the streets for at least 40 minutes, I realised I might have been lost- New York is like a labyrinth, it's hard to know where you are- yet somehow you always find your way out. The cleverly structured avenues are easy to figure out once you grasp how the numbering works.

Eventually I discovered a hidden gem called The Brownstone Boutique on 24 East 125th Street. Luckily for me, the lantern shaped fairy-lights confirmed that it was still open, so I entered with my purse and eyes wide open.
As I tottered in, I was welcomed with a soft female voice: “Welcome to Brownstones, can I help you with anything?” I walked forward, scanning the boutique as I moved. Something else I have noticed about New York- you can’t judge anything by its outside appearance, that also goes for restaurants, clubs and even apartments, something that is just made purely out of bricks from the outside can look like a palace when you enter.

After paying for a denim jacket that I considered to be a reasonable price at $23, I continued through the concrete streets of New York. Walking around the crowded avenues, you tend to observe minor details that make the city so unique- for example- the speed at which everyone travels is fascinating, it is quite unlikely that you will view somebody walking down a busy street at a relaxed rate. The citizens seem to be as fast paced as the city itself. 

Increasing my speed as I make my way through Manhattan, a sudden gust of wind hits me when I finish passing an absurdly grand sculpture- the chill seeps into my bones and shakes me-I should have bought a bigger jacket. Passing the streets, people tend to mind their own business and go about their own ways like they are living the most important day of their life. 

A young girl catches my eye, walking hastily with her head down, I assume she walks the streets daily with empty pockets, even so, she still manages to lift her head slightly to give me a weak smile as we brush shoulders.
The smell of hot salted pretzels swiftly moved beneath my nostrils as I passed a food stand, quickly reminding me that I hadn't eaten yet- naughty New York, distracting me from feeding time. I purchased a pretzel at $1- the size of my head- with chunks of salt sprinkled all over. My cholesterol raised suddenly after one bite. Though once I tasted it, I knew it was worth it. I suppose I better learn to walk and eat at the same time as long as I'm here.

 Another interesting sight I've experienced while being here, is how many people-usually those dressed in smart business suits- power walk while eating out of their breakfast cereal-to-go pots. Burning it off the meal as they move-smart idea- no wonder they managed to land themselves a high corporate job. 

 If you've ever been lucky enough to have visited New York, you will know that when you cross the roads, you're playing a game of chicken. Starring at the walking man sign, waiting for it to light- as it does you cross- however you shouldn't expect immediate safety, those yellow taxi cabs still come swinging around the corner in a disregardful manner- just as if the vehicles speeding through New York represent the anger and aggression the city carries.

After about 20 minutes of aimlessly wondering around, I have reached Times Square. Each individual light blinds me as I scan my surroundings. Continuous flashes and dazzling colours hit you like a 1000 bolts, never had I felt so alive and energetic in one place all on my own. Though I advise you not to stand still too long in one place- unless you want to be battered back and forth like a ping pong ball- stop for no more than 5 seconds.
So at that very moment, I elected Times Square as the most inspirational place in New York City, maybe even America. 

Nothing is staged, everything is authentic. The group of adolescents crowded outside of Virgin Megastores- forcing their music on to passers-by, ambition and hope twinkling in their eyes- because with that and their talent, it's all they've got. The teenage girl, who walks the streets so mean, shooting bitter looks at every male that dares to glance in her direction- heartbreak. Yes New York can be a city of big dreams that will praise you when you work hard- yet it will kick you when you're down- usually depending on which neighbourhood you wonder into.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Professional Writing assignment: ‘Salem’s Lot genre transformation- Horror into gangster

John had alerted his parents that the ATM machine was not working, when the lobby lights began to flicker. A flow of gasps filled the air and the customers froze. A bullet through glass quickly turned those gasps into screams. And within seconds, thousands of glass fragments burst through the lobby, shooting through the air as if to escape their frame.                                
It was then the sinister figure stepped through the space in the wall, the soles of his black shiny shoes against the marble floor and the odd coin dropping to the ground were the only sounds to be heard in the next sixty seconds. That minute felt like an hour as eyes in the lobby blinked continuously from Costello to Officer Gold, praying for a hero to save them. As Gold reached for his gun, his heart was beating intently fast, increasing with each inch closer his hand moved. He raised his colt revolver slightly above his head, and aimed it with no intension of shooting. His hands were drenched in sweat making his grip on the handle weak.                                                                      
From the corner of his eye, Gold spotted John tugging his Mother’s hand trying to drag her quietly towards the exit that lead to the back alley. Jack stood quietly in front of them looking around for something to use as a weapon but struggled. His fists were clenching tightly, red circular dints were forming from his fingernails.                                                                                                   
 Costelllo slowly crooked his head and stared intently at the threesome, his thin pink lips stretched into an unsettling smile. His eyes narrowed, creating thin creases in his tanned leather-like skin. As he started towards them slowly, he ran his hand through his dark slicked back hair and raised his gun towards Jack.                                                                                                                                
With one swift pull of the trigger, a loud bang echoed in the bank followed by a sudden splatter of blood against the white wall. Jack’s body slumped to the floor with a crunch as he fell on top of shards of broken glass. A continuous pulse of blood flowed out from the gaping hole in his head. Maria shrieked in pain while running towards her husband’s body.                                            
Within seconds, another loud bang issued. Maria’s body then fell flat on top of Jack’s. The wall in front of Costello was newly painted in red and a puddle of the same colour was slowly spreading beneath the lifeless bodies. John screamed in fury and impulsively ran at Costello.            
“And here you are!” Costello yelled in his thick Italian accent, his voice rough and deep. Viciously, he hit John around the head with the gun and wrapped his arm tightly around the boy’s neck.
Gold was now stood with both hands on the gun, shaking. He was still in astonishment from the sudden shot that caused massive chaos in the bank. From one moment of warning the Clark family of staying away from the Mafia, and Jack denying such dangers, to the next moment of obscene violence.
The bright lights of the bank had soon vanished almost as quickly as the lives of John’s parents and had been replaced with a shadowy dimness.          Costello dragged John over to the bank teller, with one hand he had John’s face pushed up against the glass, his other holding the gun to his head.                                                                                                                                                                               
“In the name of the law-“                                                                                                          
Gold slowly stepped forward, still holding his gun high. Still shaking. He aimed his gun directly at Costello’s head, but as he went to pull the trigger, his foot slipped on a puddle of blood. Gold skidded a few feet forward, leaving a stained smear across the floor. Followed by a bang, Costello yelped in pain as he clutched his shoulder, dragging John with him. He kept his hold on the boy with his uninjured arm and in the other, preserved his grip on the gun.
“You take one more step and I’ll blow his brains out!”    With difficult force, Costello tilted the gun towards John’s head, grunting in pain from his wound. Sweat was spreading along the collar of his black cotton shirt. Pit stains forming on his jacket. Gold came to a halt.                                                         
“Back the hell away,” Hiding behind the pain, Costello managed to force a smirk. “You keep your distance okay, big shot?”                                 
Gold never lowered his gun keeping his guard up at all times. The veins in his hands were pulsing from the fire of the gun as he stood with his arms trembling.                                                            
They faced each other.                                                                                               
“Finally together huh guys!” Costello said, smirking. His ragged skin was glistening with sweat, yet his smile was quite handsome - in an impish sort of way.  As Costello tilted to the side, Gold noticed the initials printed on his collar. Familiarity struck him. He’d seen them on the collar of Accardi’s shirt, a ruthless gangster who terrorised his neighbourhood when he was a little boy. The reason his Mother wouldn’t let him stay out past six o’clock and why gun shots were heard at every turn.     
Each evening after his Mother had read him a story and tucked him into bed, he would lay listening for the clinks and clangs of his Father double locking the front door and shutting all of the windows. The image of Accardi on the front of the Chicago Post was burnt into his brain. That familiar smirk with thin dark eyes and a slick moustache.                                                                                         
“What now?” Gold said, his voice deep and breathy. His eyes were locked on Costello’s dirty fingernails wrapped around his gun handle. The barrel was pushed against John’s jaw.          
“Well big shot, maybe we can arrange a little give-and-take. A nice juicy reward in exchange for this little guy.” Costello tightened his grip around John’s neck, hoping the boy would let out a cry of pain, but John gritted his teeth and kept silent.                                                                                                               
“You’ll be crying if I shoot you, little guy!” Costello spat his words at John as the sweat began to drip down his cheeks.                                              
“That’s enough, keep your hands still!” Said Gold.                                          
“Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. Give me a reason not to, big shot.”           
“What do you want?”                                                                                                  
“Throw your gun across the lobby. Let’s leave the law out of this shall we? Just two fellas against one another.”                                                                              
“Yes.” Gold said, trembling in this boots.                                                                             
“Fucking throw it then!” Costello bared his pearly whites. The space between his eyes brows crinkled as he licked the sweat above his lip.                              
“How do I know I can trust you? It would be a safer bet to loan you all of the money in this bank and trust you to pay it back!”                                             
“Okay big shot, I’ll prove my trust.”                                                                       
Costello threw his gun to the floor and released his arm around John’s neck. John stood in bewilderment, unable to grasp what had just happened so quickly. So easily. He blinked several times before returning back to Earth, and sprinted towards his parent’s lifeless bodies.    
“John, go!” Gold cried. “Get the hell out of here!”                                          
John looked over at Gold, his eyes full of tears. “They’re dead officer. They’re dead!”  
John dragged himself up and positioned himself face to face with Costello. “Not long now, little guy,” Said Costello softly. “You and I will—-”             
John pulled his arm back and with what little strength he had, wacked Costello around the face making him stumble. Costello paused before raising his head. He began breathing heavily with one hand leaned on the bank wall. Gold thought for one second that he saw steam coming out of his ears.         
Who the hell do you think you are kid?” Costello growled. The vein on was forehead was pulsing vigorously.                                                                                   
“Back up!” Gold yelled, and pointed his gun out in front of him as far as it could reach. Costello raised his hand across his face to shield himself. Gold pulled the trigger of his gun, and the darkened lobby was temporarily lit with the flashes of three shots, all missing Costello’s body by a few inches.
“I swear, I’ll kill you.” John said.                                                                                                               
He then fled the lobby. The last light in the bank had left.                           
Costello stepped forward, and to Gold, it seemed as if he’d gained a foot in height. He flipped back the few strays of hair from his forehead and removed the scarf from Maria’s neck to tie it around his wound. Costello was wearing a white suit with a black shirt underneath. Gold felt the contrast between the two colours was absurd. To him, Costello should have been all in black. His dark eyes stood out considering the thin shape of his lids from the burning scowl he shot at Gold.
“Your turn. Throw your gun, hero.”                                                                                       
“I am a police officer!”                                                                                                 
Police officer!” Costello laughed uncontrollably. It washed over Gold like a wave of filth.
Gold stood without a plan of action. Why should he throw his gun down and make himself vulnerable? From being a small boy he was told one thing repeatedly, never trust a gangster.      
The voice in the back of his head warned him of the consequences of defying this dangerous man. You’ve already missed more than once big shot. Is it worth another try? For all he knew, there might only be one bullet left. One more chance. He wasn’t sure his aim would suffice.                                      
Gold’s hand was sweating and his grip on the gun was slipping fast. His eyes shot over to Costello, who was now steadily walking towards him, one side of his mouth curved up into an unnerving grin.
“Back up,” gold said, his voice breathy and rough. “I command it, in the name of the law!”                                                                                                                                          
Costello laughed at him.                                                                                                             
Gold gripped his weapon as tight as he could and pulled the trigger. The lobby was deadly silent as the fatal clicks of an empty gun echoed loudly. As Costello moved increasing closer, Gold began to back away quickly, his body hitting the blood covered wall, which stained the navy blue of his uniform.                                                                                                                                                      
“Where you gonna run to now, tough guy?” Costello smiled and tilted his head.                              
“You a fan of Honoré de Balzac, officer?” Costello lingered on the last word as      if it had no meaning.                                                                                                                   
“Well officer, he said ‘Laws are spider webs through which the big flies pass and the little ones get caught.’ And I’ll tell you now, I’m a horse fly.”                   
Costello leaped forward and smacked the gun out of his grasp. He then recoiled in pain from his injured arm. In the same moment Gold recalled his mother crying as Accardi ran down his childhood street, releasing gun shots as he passed. Costello chucked the gun to the floor, and it landed directly next to Jack’s hand.             
“You won’t get away with this!” Gold cried out.                                                                               
“Oh yes I will, and by the end of it tough guy, everyone’s gonna know what a hopeless piece of garbage you are. Where’s you’re shield officer? You’re not even proud to shove that in my face. Your gun might as well have been a water pistol.” Suddenly in the dimness of the lobby, Costello punched Gold with brutal force, causing the back of his head to smack against the red wall. He now laid dazed out on the lobby floor. He could taste the coppery pang of the blood that dripped from his nose. The coldness of the floor amongst the pain in his head somehow soothed the throbbing.         
“Tut tut tut, poor officer. When I first saw you arrive, I thought maybe you could fit in with the wise guys. We’d straighten you up, get you a nice suit to fit around that beer belly of yours, but you haven’t succeeded my expectations officer. Looks like you’ll have to join your friends on the other side.”                                                                         
“No! No…Please-”                                                                                                                         
Costello had already picked up his gun and aimed it at gold’s chest.                        
“I’ll shoot you in the heart tough guy, ay? It’s not as if you got any passion in there anyway.” He pulled the trigger and the small amount of life that Gold had in his eyes quickly faded.

A day In Barcelona

As we were stood waiting for our train to Barcelona at Caldes De Malavella station, I took a step back from the railway track. We were unnervingly close to the tracks on lowered platforms, much different to those of our cold English country. Not to mention the pavement slap that directs you straight onto the track in order to guide you over to the other side, contrasting the safe bridges that take you over the tracks back home. My lovely uncle then proceeded to show me a video on his iPad of a man getting hit by a train when standing next to a platform very similar to the one we were stood on. He won’t be laughing when I make him carry over the tracks next time.
Stood from the other side, I could see the beautifully painted building of which we walked through moments earlier. Classic Spanish colours brightened up the station. A deep red and yellow. It certainly made up for the lack of sun, though that didn’t make a drop in the temperature. I reached underneath my sunglasses and wiped the moist skin beneath my eyes as our train approached. We managed to find a table seated for four people, with an old Asian man sat quietly. We joined him.
The lovely people that were accompanying me on this exciting day trip, was my Grandmother, Betty and my Uncle Roy. We sat in anticipation en el camino to Barcelona. Not five minutes into the journey, Roy’s insanely loud phone rings and echoes around the quiet train, to many of the passenger’s annoyance. Though watching Roy flounce about struggling to find his phone in his questionable satchel, resulted in me falling into a fit of laughter… “It’s not f**king funny!” The tears were running down my cheeks and the rest of the passengers followed in my laughter. Still unable to locate his phone, the petite old Asian man, glances over to Roy and mumbles “Pocket.” Well you can guess where Roy’s phone was now.
An hour later, we arrived at our destination. Within a few minutes of walking through dimly lit tunnels and roaming up countless steps, we were transported wonderfully into different world, an unfamiliar setting. I found myself surrounded by beautifully detailed buildings and the smells of rich coffee. I gazed around me in awe and eagerness and I smiled at the sun which shone brightly between a gap in the cloud. None of us had eaten breakfast as we’d agreed to eat when we arrived, so my Uncle lead us to a café he swears by and we filled our tummies with cured ham baguettes and café con leche.
We continued walking through the city, my jaw dragging along the floor as I took in every surrounding. In order to take in as much of the city as possible in the limited amount of time we had, we agreed to take a tour bus for the majority of the day. Plus it was one thing I could tick off my ‘being a tourist’ list. Sat right at the front on the top deck, I pointed to every recognisable landmark and building, while clapping my hands together in enthusiasm like a child. My cheeks were aching from my cheesy grin, as I was taking pleasure in the cool breeze that blew through my hair.
We drove around about five different streets in order to capture every angle of the Sagrada Família, the most extraordinary gothic church you could ever view. It has been in construction since 1882 and still remains unfinished to this day, the amount of detail that covers each square inch of the building is indescribable. A particular section which caught my eye consisted of around ten enormous spikes topped with different types of exotic fruit (inedible of course), not something you would usually find on your everyday church. The architect was a man named Gaudi, who died in 1926, and you couldn’t help but feel in awe of such a creative figure… “He must have been a very hard working man, that Gandi.”… “No nan, his name was Gaudi. Gandi is someone very different.” I replied as I patted her head. We have to be patient with the oldies. 
We stepped off the bus in order to take a look around Park Güell, another one of Gaudi’s masterpieces. The park was filled with numerous walls, buildings and statues coated with thousands of ceramic tiles, each one a different colour forming remarkable patterns. On our way back down to the bus we passed a street artist, who appeared to be headless and much to my amusement, scared the crap out of my uncle. Don’t worry I got a picture with him.
Next stop, Las Ramblas. A wide and never ending street lined each side with beautiful trees curving inwards, shading us from the burning sun. Uncle Roy was after a new pair of sunglasses, and lucky for him, countless men were lined down the street with blankets at their feet covered in any accessory you could want. Though I noticed at each corner of the blanket, a string was attached and the man held them in his hands as if the blanket was puppet. As Roy was purchasing a very fashionable pair of tortoise shell ‘Rey Bon’ sunglasses, I took notice of the countless stalls lined to our left. As I turned back around, the blanket of sunglasses had disappeared, and with the string in his hands, the man turned away with the blanket over his back. I then learned the stings make it easy for them to whip up their goods when the police are approaching, very odd to see, but I can’t help but laugh at how clever and practical it is.
We walked into the stunning Plaça Reial for a spot of lunch at Les Quinze Nits. The square has to be the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, palm trees are scattered all around and the building that creates the square resembles a palace. During lunch, as usual, I ate and drank too much, but the wine was worth it. It was the sweetest rosé I’d ever tasted. And we walked away without paying for one of the meals, as they forgot to charge us. Bonus.
We filled the last hour of our day with a bit of shopping, which I intend to make my first priority when I return one day. The train ride home seemed quite quick, and Uncle Roy fell asleep while doing his cross word, bless him.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Becoming toast. Writing this made me hungry.

My surroundings are still and quiet as I lay on the hard, tiled surface. I hear approaching footsteps and the clashing sound of cutlery. Is this my time? Is what all of the other slices have been talking about? I heard one of them say that the end slice looked like a heap of dust by the time he was finished. The thought paralyses me as I await my impending doom.

A familiar face appears before me. A giant. Greed and hunger burning in his eyes. "Breakfast time!" he announces, in such a tone that certifies my end. Hands reach out and grab me, handling me without the slightest ounce of care or delicacy.

I am swung around in mid air like a rag doll. And... What? Where is this? I am placed into a dark slot, surrounded by cold, shiny walls. My very own prison cell. Never have I felt so alone and terrified for the events that have yet to unfold. The scent of ashes from my previous friends radiates the small space and makes me feel nauseous.

Suddenly, as a sharp click occurs, red hot lights appear out of no where, burning my eyes as well as my doughy flesh. That familiar stench fills up the kitchen. Why oh why me? I plead for mercy, but my cries are unheard. CLICK! I shoot upwards and the brightness hits me like ball of sunlight.

I am chucked down onto the cold side like a piece of disposable garbage. What is this weapon of choice? The giant holds a sword of which he coats in a creamy substance. I assume I will be smothered in a matter of seconds.

Prof writing journal 24/09/12

Walking into class today, with my crippled back from work, I eyed up my seat, of which I would compare to sitting in a bin. Yes it's just that pleasant. Though, to my delight, the classroom was quite warm today, so I got to sit down all snug in my woolly cardigan. Until I saw our tutor Chris pressed one of the buttons on the A/C panel. What I would have given to have had superman's heat vision power in that moment!

It wasn't exactly easy to concentrate that morning when my best friend, who was sat next to me, continuously yawned and shivered like a chihuahua. Not to mention she was wearing a perfume, that for some reason, reminded me of my trip to Florida. I thought perhaps someone who was on that trip might have worn the same perfume, or that maybe it just smelt like the mass amount of cookies I ate at the time. I struggled to prevent myself from drooling at that moment.

Seeing as I so cleverly decided to sit in the front row of the class, I got to have a giant white screen in front of me all day, which isn't exactly easy on the eyes. Especially when I had to stop myself from falling asleep anyway due to the lack of sleep I had the night before. I would set myself a bedtime if I thought I'd stick to it. What can I say? I like Facebook too much.

I also discovered today that no matter how plain and quiet a classroom is, you will always find distractions. For example, the giant glass window by the door, which gives us all a fantastic view of the interesting looking students that walk by.
Another immature moment that morning occurred when me and Za'e actually thought it was hilarious if you said 'punctuation' really slowly, because it sounds like 'punch-you-asian'. I know, it's not even funny in the slightest, but it made me cry with laughter for about 3 minutes. I was very overtired.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

First day of university.

I knew when I walked into the familiar building that I had a long day ahead of me. I met Za'e and Bonny previously so we could go to the class together, and when we walked through the doors into the cold modernised space, it just made the situation all the more real. I quickly contemplated whether I was actually being brought into a mental institution to be locked up... They'd finally figured me out! I soon realised that it was indeed just a university building and that they had ridiculously over used the colour white.

University. A big change in some ways, but also something I've been anticipating all summer. Finally somewhere I can study for my passion. We were one of the last students to enter the room. Everyone's silence made me assume they were all strangers, and no doubt nervous. When we sat down, the room was soon filled with mine and Za'e's giggles and whispers. We yet again failed to act like the rest of humanity. We took front row seats in the class, which was something I've always preferred doing, I like being in the action and taking everything in up close. The room was very cold, and very bare, it failed to even carry any specific scent. The only thing I was capable of smelling was my Lacoste pink perfume of which I had just started to use again that day... Mm mm fruity. The low temperature caused goosebumps on both mine and Za'e's arms, and I quickly scanned the room for the AC control panel, with intentions of destroying it. Not even the painfully pink wall beside me gave off a warm vibe.

When our new tutor, Dr Chris Dows entered, he quickly got us settled and chatting about the course, and within in minutes had the room filled with laughter. Za'e pointed out that he reminded her of Lee Evans. Thank God for that because it had been irritating me all morning! Anyway, with more giggles courtesy of the resembling comedian, the room warmed up after all. I have a feeling I'm going to enjoy this degree course, and I can't wait to get really stuck in next week.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Charity Skydive in Jersey

 These are pictures from my charity tandem skydive for Lafora body disease. I managed to raise just over £700. I appreciate everyone's support and I hope I get the chance participate in something so incredible again one day.