Earth: The Movie

Lilly of the valley ring out all along the river bank as the daffodils nod their heads like jaded heavy metal fans to a new beat but young tree branches sway back and forth like teenagers at their first gig. The sun shines and paints the sky in a blue of 50 shades and clouds gather like sheep in the fields. River waters run past hearing stories and songs from the birds to bees as it goes by but never stop long enough for the endings. Generation after generation this is the way the movie went, well until now that is.

Ragged men and plastic women walk on by oblivious to the songs and stories around them. For theirs are not those of their ancestors but ones repeated from words and pictures seen and heard on black boxes; as false as a rabbit laying chocolate eggs and lies spinning in quicksand. As young cyborgs cling to handheld blocks with screens to create their own tales and music that are just as false and fake as those from the black boxes. Creating new worlds but do not know the script of fate is already written.

How long until the songs of nature are replaced forever with auto tuned cover versions by the cyborgs and will anyone notice in a decade or more? Pictures of their ancestors are mere images stored in clouds in cyberspace but nobody dares look at the sky’s clouds as chemicals fell poisoned many. Stories that nobody alive now remembers how as it was before, rewritten and spun so many times now so are accepted as truths and history of this planet but not the one many fought and died to try to preserve for them.

The world is always changing as the Earth spins on its axis with few prepared to pole dance at the north or south. Human song is a symphony by a group of composers but not the only one on the planet. cats and dogs, flowers and forests, sing too, just listen. There are stories written down by the birds and bees to the trees and mountains engraved in an ink that is not invisible. Humans stop trying to direct and act this movie, it’s not the role for us, grab the popcorn and enjoy the journey to the fullest.

© Fi S. J. Brown

Hollywood Love

Movies, who does not want to see the latest blockbuster at the cinema or curl up on the sofa with a loved one to watch one? Well I don’t and I have not been to the cinema in over six years. I do not subscribe to Amazon Instant, Netflix or I love Film as there is nothing that grabs my imagination or interest to say “oh I must make sure to see that” after hearing publicity or friends talk about movies they’ve seen. Certainly when it comes to Hollywood movies it feels like I have seen it all before with the amount of remakes, sequels, prequels and even the new ones have old themes that have been done before, often better, to the point of saturation. So where is the originality and/or creativity?

Is it because the big studios do not want to take risks, rather have a guaranteed income with star names people will go see? Take the current movie about the Suffragette movement in the United Kingdom, I have nothing against Meryl Streep, but why does she have to play yet another iconic Britain (having previously played former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher) when there are many British actresses who could have played the role. The same thing echoed when Renne Zellweger first played Bridget Jones, when I thought of many comedic actresses in the United Kingdom that fitted the roll better. Have a Hollywood name and then can sell the movie not just within the United Kingdom but to America and beyond seems to be the order of the day, as providing the money to pay for the movie to be made and stakeholders want to have a large return on the costs.

However, this post is not about the creativity and/or actors of Hollywood, it is about the way movies portray love. In Ancient Greece romantic love was not held with the high regard and emphasis we put on it, instead love for friends was considered every bit as special as romantic love. The philosopher Aristotle regarded friendship as a lifetime commitment to mutual welfare, in which two people become “second selves” to each other. Where as today when someone says to us they love us BUT just as a friend we feel it is a second rate love as will never have that romantic love with them. So when did this switch begin and what role has Hollywood played in this?

The idea of unconditional love is a fairly modern concept. Love was been seen in different ways by philosophers until then: for example Plato saw it as conditional on the other person’s beauty; Aristotle emphasised another’s virtues; for St Augustine it was their goodness; and for Rousseau it was their moral authenticity. It was during 18th century Enlightenment philosophers suggested unconditional love on others rather than god. Today we would almost expect someone that said “I love you” to mean that they loved us unconditionally and accepted us for who we are. Yet what has influenced this and caused such a shift?

From almost the moment a child is born we read to them fairy tales of a princess and prince meeting after he’s rescued her from horrible existence and they live happily ever after. I should note if you have ever read the original Brothers Grimm versions you will know how sanitised these versions are of the tales, you will never read or see Sleeping Beauty the same way again. Little girls dream of being princesses, sometimes beyond, conditioned to believe one day their prince charming will come to free them the life that traps them. Despite the fact few of us look like the so-called princesses and even fewer are a real life one.

Many Hollywood movies made in the 1980s and 1990s were aimed at the growing teenage market, particularly the so called Brat Pack, depicting how life was in an often exaggerated form to be that age. Girl meets boy, they secretly fancy each other but cannot be together until something happens. However, even when they get together there is a sting that he’s done something she won’t like so they split up until he finds a way to prove to her he loves her unconditionally. Like the fairy tales it is implied that they both lived together happily ever after. Conditioning us further to believe that this is how love is meant to be for teenagers.

The so-called romantic comedies play up the fairy tale notion of love conquering all to be with the one we’re meant to be with against the odds. They are like the teenage movie but aimed at all ages, in particular women. As a woman I am suppose to enjoy these kinda of movies as appeal to my feminine side, where as in reality most movies I enjoy are driven by a good plot and idea(s), particularly those set in the dystopian worlds as feel more realistic than the unrealistic utopian ones the romcoms portray. To me they are saccharine sweet and far from funny but add to a perpetuation of how a female and male are. They also almost exclusively heterosexual.

Another way love is shown in movies is how they show the so-called TRUE LOVE, which is filled with passion, romance, drama, desire, sacrifice, electricity, devotion! This is to typify the unconditional or fairy tale love. They long for the person that completes them or is their soul mate. We are led to believe that this love is everlasting as after all they did live happily ever after at the end of the story/movie, right? When a relationship ends we some times find people say that it was never true love they felt for him or her, which is often false, as what you felt for that person was love, it is the feelings that have changed with time. So yes (s)he really loved us and was true love, but it does not mean it lasts a lifetime for everyone.

Many movies now also have sex scenes, which show us its so called importance within a relationship. Wait stop, why is sex seen as so important these days unless due to us watching movies, TV programs, music videos and the media that have made it such an issue? For some sex is the ultimate expression of love, but in reality it is far from that, a person’s thoughts and actions is what matters not how often they have sex with us. For some it has such an important part of a relationship, a partner that does not want it is seen as weird or frigid, or force them to have it even though they have said no. The partner then looks for it elsewhere, thus affairs behind the back of this person we’re meant to love unconditionally. Many now think nothing of having alcohol and having sex with a complete stranger, which may or may not become a partner/lover in the future.

Some like myself are asexual, we have no sexual desire, but that does not mean we do not enjoy the other aspects of being in a relationship. Even within asexuality there are many differences, it is not an one size fits all definition. Equally for me sex is a trigger, I cannot watch scenes with it on as my head says please stop and I do not want to see that, so I avoid it where I can. Sex is not a dirty thing to me so do not get me wrong, it is more I feel it is something to do with someone we trust and comfortable in the company of, not a throw away line at the end of a night out with friends and the next morning it is like yesterdays newspapers best for wrapping fish and chips.

From observing the relationships of friends and family with those they love it can be seen how it is very much an umbrella term to cover many different ways we can feel about another human being. My closest friends I love unconditionally and will do anything for until my dying day as they have such a special place within me that when I think of them individually and/or collectively that I feel blessed to have them in my life. My sister in law said when she first saw my brother she knew that was the man she wanted to marry, compared with a friend that kept meeting a girl at the school gates, a fellow single mother, neither of which would have called themselves gay or lesbians then but fell in love with the person.

I often feel like the odd one out as see people in relationships and at almost 37 never experienced what it is to be in love. I never had a childhood sweetheart or did the drunken rumble as a student, as not something I looked for or did it call at my door. The one relationship I have had was nine years ago, long distance for nine months, that should have been nipped in the bud; it was a false start from the start as they did not respect me as a person nor would support me back as I was to their needs and wants.

I have had attraction once in my life, but have never told him how I feel, as like the Ancient Greeks friendship to me is just as special as romantic love if not more so. As for Hollywood love vs. real life love, I feel we need to stop being sheep or robots believing that is the way for us all, life is not an one size fits all t-shirt but human sized. Therefore, love is full of different quirks, flaws and idiosyncrasies that are unique to the love we have for the other person and they bring out within us as play out the movie of our lives.

© Fi S. J. Brown

What’s age got to do with it?

Last night I watched the movie “Logan’s Run“, which left me questioning many ethics and morals of the society Logan lives in. Within this there were two things that made me think overnight; the age that people were euthanised was thirty and the “old man” played by Peter Ustinov.

More and more we are fixated with looking younger, trying pills, potions and injections to have the face of youth, which also makes me think of those getting new faces in “Logan’s Run“. How long will it be till seeing a face like that of “the old man” is something many no longer see?

There is already a growing gap between young and old, as one does not respect the other. Equally, part of older people’s beauty is in their wrinkles, each one tells their own story, removing them is like trying to erase their past, which we cannot do. Being old isn’t promised to us all.

In many ways the strive to be immortal has been replaced by looking young; but does looking younger than our physical age really matter after all it is a number and our outer shell not what truly makes us human, it is the inside that gives colour to our thoughts, actions and beliefs.

The media and entertainment business is always telling us of the latest young talent, the new x or y, it is almost like Logan 6 or Jessica 5, as saying those ones have gone now. What happened to originality and creativity, we’re all individuals not replacements, a name is but a label.

So perhaps in the future we will live in a society that is just filled with youth, but to me that sounds horrific as we learn so much through life. It seems like wanting to be like emotionless, identikit clones and drones, rather than embracing what colours we shine and sharing that light.

© Fi S. J. Brown

50 Shades of grey – An opinion

All this talk of “50 Shades of grey” has got me thinking; is it glorified porn, a harmless movie with sex for women, an exploitation of women with an abusive partner, and is it worth giving it the oxygen of publicity?

In 2011 when the book was released I was still in the throws of self hate, low self esteem and the idea of a book of any sort on sex would never be one I’d buy. However, reminded it me of the Twilight saga that inspired it and Dan Brown’s work before it, that is to say despite being a poor excuse for literature, masses were lapping it up as wanting to read it for themselves, and perhaps in many ways so they were able to fit in with what people were talking about around the water coolers and offices of the world but few wanted to be like the boy in the Emperor’s new clothes and point out how bad or what the book’s greater message was.

The book’s plot filled me with shivers as someone that has been almost raped and was stalked for three months I know that it is not fun, and if he had done these things I certainly would have thought of it far from the topic of a fun movie to see with female friends or something of enjoyment. One of the things I look for in a relationship is space and freedom, I become overwhelmed by intense situations and I certainly would not want one with Christian Grey. What happens behind closed doors, even with our closest friends, we really do not know for certain how many are abused (female AND male) to how many abuse others (not just their partners). A relationship for me is a partnership that is equal, not 50:50, but 100:100, not give and take as and when another wants it.

The main theme of sex in the book and now movie hits upon something far deeper and darker. The sexualisation of society is something I have seen increase in my lifetime, and this seems to be yet another example of this. The videos from my childhood by Duran Duran or Robert Palmer pale by the ones that anyone can watch at any time via the internet, which some dismiss as “only entertainment” but actually what is entertainment really? Therefore, a book like 50 shades does not surprise me and the movie being made did not either. The scriptwriter and director are women, their gender for me is important and not, for this is a Hollywood movie so would expect it to be done by women for the outcry if been made by men would be far more from certain areas.

I read only last week that they want to have sex education for five year olds, on the pretense of understanding issues such as abuse young. As someone who found that whole thing uncomfortable as the idea of anything going in my girl parts freaked me out then and still does due to unresolved childhood issues. Who are these kids going to go to if feel they’re experiencing these things especially when it is something that is regarded as normal in their family’s social circle? We’re led to believe if follow the media that abuse stories that come out and few between. Yet those that were in children’s homes tell a far darker story, I cried my eyes out at an Irish man telling his story on a live show of what happened to him, with a politician just sat there stoney face, where was that man’s humanity and compassion? It is no wonder that people are scared to speak out and up.

So will I ever read or watch “50 shades of grey”? No way, the book would have made better toilet paper! I’m all for others reading and watching what they like, but sometimes we need to take a step back and be the like the little boy and say no I am not okay with that, which should always be enough. If you really want to see a movie with S&M go watch James Spader’s movie “Secretary”. We should not feel pressured to do or be something we are not, I know this from my own experience. So do not feel you HAVE to see or read 50 shades, having our own opinion is valuable it is important to remember it and respect another’s, even if different to our own.

© Fi S. J. Brown

The black box

I am looking out of my window, watching metallic animals charging through the concrete jungle, tamed like wild animals in a circus by the self-proclaimed kings of this jungle, like all other living things in this world they want to control and own them. They are self-proclaimed as their egos are so big; the shelters they build for rest are grand and fill with objects that serve no purpose other than they feel the necessity to own them. One such object is a black box that sits in a room meant for living, which is ironic as the black box means they do not live but worship it like a false god giving it praise each day rather than see what is outside the concrete jungle they’ve created and the walls that block the daylight from shining.

This false god they believe what it tells them, when in reality it is all carefully orchestrated to appeal to their egos and desires as much as their love and empathy, making sure they invest their emotions again and again in this false god as believe informs educates and entertains them. They react not with their fellow kings with conversation but reach for smaller boxes to complain and praise, under a false belief they can change the future despite the fact the script is already written, all was planned years before, and they are merely players in a movie themselves. Some remove the false god, knocking down the walls of concrete to rediscover the multi-coloured and multi-sensory it hides; like Neo in the move “The Matrix” it feels like they have taken the red pill and awoken from deep sleep. Where as many continue unknowingly or unwanting to acknowledge what they see take the blue pill as rather have the comfort the false god brings.

I have had enough concrete jungle, I prefer to sit among the autumn leaves listening to their stories and songs than listen to the autotuned songs and false stories that the kings of the concrete jungle tell. This world is incredible, the trees of different shades with birds singing 101 songs as the wind tickles their branches and rivers do not run but massage the wounds of the mountains and forests. Take a hammer to break down the wall of concrete or smash the glass of the window in the room of living to begin to live. Pick up the telephone or write a letter, create something new, be it a pot of lentil soup or cakes with butterflies on them to a painting of the view from the broken glass to a song celebrating your love for another.

© Fi S. J. Brown

Book, movie, or song on humanity

Upon reading blogging prompts I came across the following: “The friendly, English-speaking extraterrestrial you run into outside your house is asking you to recommend the one book, movie, or song that explains what humans are all about.” So I decided to pick one from each medium, as for me life is full of so many multisensory experiences that one medium alone cannot bring out or showcase truly the individuality, creativity, empathy, hope and love that makes us human.

If I was to recommend a book it would be the Epic of Gilgamesh as it for me, despite its age, still shows the nature of humanity in a nutshell. The power of friendship, as someone we let close in life leaves a mark so great upon us that we feel their presence even when they are not physically there; the inevitability of death, no matter what happens during our journey it will end one day but what we do during our lifetime is what is important; wisdom has to come through experience in life, it is not just through hearing about it but feeling and seeing it too; and finally, we may think we can control nature or to change it, but nature will come back again, as it will continue even if we are not.

If I was to choose a song, which as a self-confessed music nut is extremely difficult to pick but one, it would be a song called “Hard Sun” by Gordon Peterson. It is best known for the version by Eddie Vedder from the soundtrack to the movie of the book “Into the wild”, a book worthy of my choice of book or movie on it’s own. For me this song says much about our relationship with nature, which is written like a relationship between a man and a woman (who in this case is Mother Nature), and how we are letting this relationship get estranged as we feel we no longer need her in our lives. What would this world be like if we had not rivers, forests or mountains? The reality is we need her in our lives, as the song says it makes him a better person with her there, and acts to remind us there are some relationships in life worth holding on to.

If I was to recommend a movie I would find it difficult to choose one as rarely go to the cinema, however I have chosen “12 Monkeys” with Bruce Willis. The main character finds himself in a world he does not know, he is confronted by the confusion that is the world we live in, yet the majority of us accept it as normal. The movie makes us question who are the truly mad ones: him, for seeing the world differently to us; or us, as we accept what goes on in the world, for the most part without question. It also features the inevitability of life, that even if we know something is going to go wrong, there is often little or indeed nothing we can really do to stop what is going to happen in the end, as we are merely players acting on life’s stage.

© Fi S. J. Brown