Category Archives: Archery

2015 – My review

2015 – My Review

Hello Dear Reader

Well 2015 has now passed and often people reflect on their year, a personal review you might say. I am no different than millions of others, so beware spoilers ahead. (Well for time travellers at least).

2015 has, just like many other years, been filled with ups and downs across the board. It is often thought that the downs tend to come to the fore at this point and yes there were a few scary moments. It has not been the best of times but things did pick up towards the close. One of the up’s was the pleasure of seeing Michael Palin live talking about his dairies and what he wrote about. It did make me think and yes write a blog about them. Maybe more people need to remember what a dairy is all about. Another odd good moment was a trip down memory lane to the Tower Ballroom at Blackpool and yes sitting watching a lot of people waltzing around the floor. Of course there were many other good moments most of which ended up in a blog or two. I also added to my list of achievements two presentations, one for the Keele Creative writing society which I was extremely proud. Add to this a very interesting trip to Buckingham Palace, one of the afternoon BBC Proms and an evening meal surrounded by most of the cast and writers of Sherlock. Now that was different.

Normally in the past I have reviewed a few good films, so why spoil a good format!

There have been a number of blockbusters yet again and surprisingly the best was saved for last (I am sure you can guess). Here are my top films (in no order whatsoever );

Avengers: Age of Ultron

The Man From U.N.C.L.E

Ant-Man

Jurassic World

Spectre

Minions

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Of course they are all action based adventure films and the ones I saw at the cinema. There were a few I missed, noticeably Steve Jobs, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, The Martian and a few more.  It seemed as if each movie, for me, kept on building towards one of the best kept secrets of 2015. In this day it was surprising to find that there was little real information about Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The Man from UNCLE started a short series of spy movies this year, along with Bridge of Spies and Spectre. The latest James Bond movie, rounded what was a very well put together story and left at least one person with a dilemma. If you wish to read my review on this film here is the link; Spectre. The Man from UNCLE was good in the sense to tried to explain the origins of the lead characters. Will there be a squeal? Bridge of Spies was one of those films I missed which was a shame, but there is always rental.

In keeping with the past few years, hard to think there was a time before them, we had the latest two Marvel films. Ant-Man introduced us to the smallest of Marvel’s characters, while the Avengers (still no Steed) came back to battle their own demons. Both films gave us more to enjoy in this growing universe, well at least to the non-comic reading part. Again I enjoyed them for differing reasons; Ant-Man was more of a comic feel, the humour fitted well as did the story. It is always difficult to present a 60s or 70s comic version so taking the best from the whole comic range seems Marvels plan. Age of Ultron on the other hand showed that sometimes it is best not to mess about with alien technology. It will lead into a series of films that could tear the audience apart.

Minions, cute, yellow, strangely understandable at times and one of those hits that was not meant to be. Why? Well they were sort of supporting characters (even in animation) that just took off. There first movie and who knows what else will turn up, was funny predictable and ok. Also returning was the Park, Jurassic one, remember that? It was a major hit of the summer and well worth it. It combined the old with new, basically the Park opened as Hammond always wanted and of course someone decided to play God and well guess the rest. Another good escape.

So finally the film of the year. You can’t argue with facts and figures, not these. Even before the film had been shown it was breaking, cinema servers and records. I have not reviewed this film as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. However I did post just one word after I watched it … Emotional. It was all that everyone has said. It did take me back and yet did not reboot as many thought. It moved forward in a logical fanshion. The sets where real, the characters believable, the effects better, the story fine, yes there might be the odd plot hole but sometimes, just sometimes you have suspend everything. It was one of the few movies I could have just sat through a second time without moving. I did in fact see it twice already and plan to see it again given the chance. Many people tend to want to find problems with any film they see, I myself see plot mistakes – take IronMan 3. However, I don’t believe in just denocensing a film just because it does not explain where character A cane from.

So what else has happened that was memorable? A number of things really including having one of my poems published in the first Keele Creative Writing anthology. Completing my first book, which is due to be published in 2016, was a major achievement. That for me, is a goal I have slowly pushed for. It won’t be to everyone’s taste and I doubt it will gain me anything other than self pride. I will be able to say  not only have I written a book but it’s a published one.

Writing has been one of the more enjoyable outlets over the past few years. I have published more blogs in 2015 than before and branched out into posting photographs and a small video. I do plan on producing another short video in 2016.

To close then. 2015 another year to talk about.

Roll on 2016.

Tagline:’Are we there yet?’

 

Radio First

Radio First

Hello Dear Reader

A few days ago I had a request from members of my archery club to attend an event with one of my fellow archers. Now, I am no stranger to taking part in competitions or arranging county training sessions, as I did in the past. This request was an unexpected one. Stafford archers had been asked along to the Sports Sandwich on Stafford FM.

Like millions of others, I listen to the radio daily, in the morning, in my car for whatever I need. The presenters always appear very relaxed, at ease, almost ‘at home’ with how they tackle this form of communication.  I agreed to go along as support as it was put to me, thinking I would say very little. Naturally I was curious, one might be about how you may sound, how you would react to being in this very same place.

My colleague and myself, arranged to meet outside the station offices and to consider what we had to say. After all, this was just promoting our archery club. This was my first time on the radio I had no idea what to expect. I imagined various situations but could not settle on anything. My best thought was to like this to an interview for a job. You face questions, you give answers, you walk away wondering why you said Fred.

I could not have been more poles apart. We were greeted by friendly presenters all of whom understood what we were thinking. The ‘interview’ would be more a chat, as though we were socializing. That put me at ease a little and yet made me think more.

radio-microphone-vector-s-elvismic_6117There is a scene in a famous (well to me famous) film with James Garner and Doris Day – The Thrill of it all. The scene has Garner making a phone call hoping to speak to his wife.  However, his young son picks up the phone and answers the questions with either a nod or shake of his head. It  is clear the young son thinks his father see’s his answers. It is very funny. The point being, I had the same thought. What if I answered with a nod and not a word. We have all done it when someone asks you a simple yes/no question.

There was also another odd thing. No matter who asked you the question, you had to keep looking forward and not turn to answer the person. It was not rude as if you spoke away from the mic, you created dead air. Two simple things to keep in mind.  I ran through a list of things to say. Of course that disappeared the moment I started to talk. Trying to explain on the radio how shoot a recurve bow is really difficult. I had to concentrate on not lifting my arms and doing the motions. But it was fun. It was relaxing once you allowed yourself to relax. My colleague did very well, as we answered questions in turn. We had no idea who was listening.

Just as, for me anyway, I felt the most relaxed, it was over. We had our photo taken with one of the presenters and that was that. My first time on radio. Secretly, now I reflect on things, would I do it again? Yes and maybe more.

I must thank the presenters of The Sports Sandwich on Stafford FM they were brilliant and my fellow archer Natasha who did a wonderful job.

Tagline: ‘Where is that mic?’

Sporting Rant

Hello Dear Reader

Sporting Rant.

I must warn you that these are all my own thoughts.

In the past few months and weeks, there have been a number of high-profile changes to televised sporting events. The last most notable one was the Open golf championship, held here in the UK. This has moved from the BBC (free-to-air) to pay-per-view.

Why? It is certainly not for coverage these days as free-to-air reach as many homes as cable and satellite, I would argue. Given the advances in televisions, set-top boxes and the interweb, you no longer need the old fashioned ariel to see these channels. There can be only one motivation in my view, money.

Now we hear that one of my most enjoyed competitions, the rugby union 6 Nations is to be split between BBC and ITV. This,they say is a good thing. No it is not. Not for me anyway, The last time ITV took over one of my favoured sports was F1. That was a disaster given the so-called conditions they claimed they would show F1. ITV cannot exist without advert breaks, hence F1, a live moving, changing sport, would come complete with advert breaks. However, they would be sensitive to the action, make sure you never missed anything and be better than the Beeb. What rubbish. There was one notorious moment when in the British Grand Prix of all places, Hill was about to overtake Schumacher. It was amazing driving, wheel-to-wheel, Hill was fighting to get past, you could his front tyres level with Schumacher’s rear. Then he was almost level, the left hand of corner coming up, Hill would take the lead or they would crash or the box for soap power would make clothes all cleaner?

I sat there for seconds thinking I had changed channel, what was I doing? But no, ITV had gone to an advert break because it was half past the hour and no make what the advert break had to come before the amazing action. It took me almost an hour to get through to ITV to explain to a very fed-up sounding person, how the idiots had been allowed to ruin the race. Not only did they cut at the action point but they rejoined at a point where clearly Hill had finished his move and was well clear. They lied. At no point did they ‘freeze’ the action and come back as though we missed nothing. F1 went into the dustbin for me.

This is why I am so against ITV with my favoured sports. Currently, highlights of Premier Rugby Union (once on BBC 2 Sunday evening) can now be found, well only if you really really look, somewhere on an ITV channel at midnight or 1am.

At a time when we need to get people into sport, when people need to enjoy sport or just have something to look forward to rather than soaps, why does this country allow the removal of sports from good broadcasters? Don’t forget, the BBC showed paralympic long before channel 4 did. Their coverage of the London games was poor in many places.  They missed 90% of the marathon just about, they missed a gold medal archery match between two, TWO, Brits. BBC did a far better coverage. Now the Olympics is under threat and guess who will clearly want to bid.

We need money in sports, but not at the expense of good coverage to boost interest in the young. Cricket, now almost gone from free-to-air often struggles to get people into grounds. Golf, may well suffer the same fate as less will see it. Many years ago, the RFU had all the England 6 Nation matches on Sky for one year. It nearly cost them more than just a few pennies.

There needs to be a change in how free-to-air is financed in order to keep sporting interests alive. Remember when athletics went to ITV, they disappeared and nothing from overseas was shown. However,the BBC (again) brought coverage from the overseas meetings.  I wonder if interest went down in the sports then? Like wise, when the BBC showed the Olympics in my sport, archery, numbers went up. Maybe that is just to simple. There is in some countries what is called the ‘Crown Jewels’, those sports that must remain free-to-air. It is said by Sky and BT that they have enhanced certain sports by taking them away from free-to-air, but for me at what cost. You can read more of this at the BBC here; http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/33357440

So now I have to consider watching England rugby 6 Nations matches with adverts and annoying bits. Humm.

Tagline: ‘Can someone tell them the match started’

Friday Fun

Hello Dear Reader

Friday Fun.

It is that time of the week, when we look forward to a well deserved break. At least some of us do. That moment in time when you compare the list of jobs against shopping or maybe a trip to the cinema. What about that desire to look at a new car?

For some, the weekend appears to have the ability to time travel and not in a good sense. Others, do take it by the scruff of the neck and just chill. Maybe, just maybe you have that little pocket in mind, Sunday afternoon. That part of the weekend just for lazing in front of an old film on the telly. Actually, falling asleep in front of the telly and claiming later you saw everything.

Others, well its that other list, mow the lawns, paint the kitchen (again), change the lights, remove the dead plants or whatever. Often heard is the saying, ‘I only come to work for a rest’. Some weekends are though magical. Yes you can spend all day in a garden just pottering or walk down those sun-lit lanes (far-fetched I know in the UK) enjoying the fresh air.

Of course, the weather and the seasons play their part in a weekend. A warm summer day against a cold winters afternoon may help you decide what mood you find. Though the warm summer day brings its own nasty surprises, bugs, bites and stings, let alone pollen. So is winter any better? Cold, ice and blocked roads. Maybe not. Autumn, the sweet spot between the two or spring, it’s twin? Both are favourites for me.

But the weekend can be a time to reflect on the week. Did you meet those all important targets or remember that vital appointment? Or maybe start that blog you wanted to write? A sudden urge to escape, to run away to somewhere different that much-needed break. Whatever you do, do it.

Myself, being an archer and writer (spare time) I will stand in a field and try yet again to understand the mysterious way my arrows fly or piece together the next chapter of my book. Do I kill off another character or let them live? Will I feel the effects of the unending time travel? Of course I will as it will soon be Monday morning.

So Friday fun, of course.

Tagline: ‘Friday night, Monday morning … is that a film?’

Stafford Archery AGM

Hello Dear Reader

It has been sometime since I wrote a blog about archery. In the past few weeks, I posted an old archery blog on my take regarding the mental game. Last night was our AGM at Stafford archers and something of another new experience for me.

Along side everything else that has gone on, this year (2014/15) I was tournaments officer for the club. It is never to be underestimated just how much work goes into running any sort of club. It may seem from the outside that it is just a group of people getting together to shoot arrows. Far from it. It takes a team of people working together to make sure ‘“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one’. (Yes I did it again)

The club runs very smoothly considering this year we had a major move handled with great enthusiasm by the club. As tournaments officer, I had the job to arrange various postal shoots (not putting arrows in the post either), getting people to take part in competitions and of course the all-important Christmas shoot.

A Christmas shoot was the highlight for me. It was fun, daft, exciting and unpredictable. Given we had over 50 archers taking part shows just how much fun it can be. You have to really think how to make it fun as well. This is not just shoot the gold, this is shoot the nose of Santa or hope you don’t shoot what could be minus 50 to your score.

The AGM itself was a more formal affair until I stepped up of course. Presenting prizes for winners is always uplifting, knowing that these new archers (as well as some older ones) are keeping the sport and tradition alive. It also meant the chance to say thank you to some people whom do so much without always being noticed.

I enjoyed my time as tournaments officer and hopefully will go back in the future. At the moment I needed to step into the background a bit and help support another good person and archer take over.

Lots of people help out at the club and long may it continue. I know many clubs have that same feeling. As for the evening, well it ended with a darn good buffet. Well done all.

Tagline: ‘An archer may shoot alone on the line but the club is always behind them.’