Yes I’m back and I’m gonna be downright selfish. You people in the know must by now realise I love my music. So trust that I will always select an inspirational tune that fits somewhere in with my opinion, my memories or a current affairs topic that piques my interest.
The cut I have selected as this month’s Inspirational Song is there simply on merit I suppose. Taken from the eponymous 2000 album that bore many wonderful tracks. This was always my favourite. It was the beginning of the beginning of the end for me.
In times of depression, austerity, recession and uncertainty people will always look to basic staples to find peace, reassurance, relaxation, fun and at times inspiration. This is why we find many more people turn to religion and family or perhaps even food and of course music.
During the recession of the mid to late 1970’s the world was also in the grip of financial uncertainty and poverty. There was hunger, power shortages, industrial unrest and political agitation. Amidst all of this the world was also in the grip of something else; DISCO. Up and down the land people flocked to dance clubs and discotheques to forget all of their troubles, have fun and dance the night away. People dressed in their finest funky clothes and went for a night filled with music, laughter and sheer happiness.
Going back to my reggae inspired roots. I had me a little Bob Marley revival a few weeks aback following an inspirational visit to the Bob Marley Exhibition that was part of the British Music Experience at the O2.Which was brilliant by the way.
This has long been the motto and meaning behind the Olympic rings flag and movement itself . It is my belief that this motto was designed all those centuries ago to inspire the competitors to attempt to excel and exceed. Not only that, perhaps it was put in place to galvanise the athletes into believing that they can achieve more, much more.
I have watched over the past month both the Olympics and the Paralympics and marvelled at the endeavours of the myriad competitors. Of course, I am no stranger to the Olympics as my earliest memory of watching the Olympic games goes back to 1972. The fact that these games, the 30th of modern times, have both taken place in my hometown of London simply serves to pique my thoughts. How do we in a wider context, interpret the trials and endeavours of the Olympic competitors? Can we, indeed do we look upon the athletes, consider their sacrifices and years of training and then use them as an example, to reinforce and inspire us in our day-to-day movements?
By now we all know and recognise the elite high profile athletes of the able-bodied games. For most athletics and sports fans, it is natural to follow acknowledge and cheer our favourite competitors and will them to succeed; knowing that they have trained long and hard to achieve their goals. Depending on the individual and nationality, the goals they wish to attain will be relative to their expectations. This means that for some it is simply a matter of getting to the start line, and for others, the expectation is to gain a medal. Having been fortunate enough to attend an evening during the Paralympics last week I considered more closely the efforts made by Paralympians. For those who watched over the past 10 or 11 days; you will have noticed that many varied disparate categories of athletes with disabilities. Without belittling the efforts and hard work put in by their able-bodied counterparts, you cannot fail to look on and admire their efforts, their diligence, their sacrifice and sheer will in preparing for and reaching the start line. I confess that at times I have been in awe, whilst watching that the paralympian efforts on the track, in the pool, on horseback, on cycle and of course in a wheelchair.
Not only do many have to contend with training for their individual events for hours every day, but they have to further intensifying and adapt/adopt special training programmes in order to accommodate and overcome each individual is disability, illness or affliction.
What is also astonishing is that for many, many of the competitors they have come to London and established personal records, national records and world records. Not only have their efforts served to raise the profile of Paralympics and made the London games the most successful in history, but it has also illustrated to thousands, if not millions that dreams and goals can be achieved with patience and hard work. It also shows that success or the attainment of your dreams, very rarely comes cheaply, quickly or without personal sacrifice.
If you dare to dream and have ambitions then give yourself a reality check. The road is often long and arduous. Your journey may mean that you move slowly and often have to go back a few steps in order to move forward. You will meet many obstacles – most are surmountable, but patience and a strong will can see you move on towards your goals.
If for some reason you stopped watching the Olympics after the able-bodied competitors had ceased. I implore you to go back and watch the performances of the paralympians and hopefully bask in their achievements. Then use those efforts as a catalyst and inspiration to redouble your efforts in whatever it is you are trying to achieve. Consider their efforts, the next time you say to yourself “I give up.” Or “I’ll never figure out how to get around this,” remember, you can and you will. You may not get all the way along the road, but you will gain satisfaction in knowing that you tried and dared to dream.
For some, nothing is impossible. For some dreams can come true.
So it’s nice to be back after a touch of writers cramp and other issues that have meant that I have not been as productive over the past two months or so. My two songs of the month are Viola Wills mid 80’s love groove “ Dare to Dream” mainly due to the title – but it fits!
To supplement that I have gone with the Olympic feel and also picked Public Enemy from Channel 4’s Olympic theme “Harder then you Think” Keep listening and learning y’all!
Keep up with our Features Writer and Song of The Month Writer BrooklynFlyer on TWITTER@brooklynflyer
Over here in the months of June, several issues affected us in the UK and amongst those were the banking scandal brought about by Barclays bank rigging certain rates in order to make money or indeed extra money from national and international lending. Additionally, and on a lighter note, we have had the Euro 2012 football championships in which the England team put in a somewhat lacklustre and at times dismal showing. Moving back up the scale of severity and onto the political agenda saw further discussion about upcoming social welfare changes. The high profile ones being; Universal Credit, the Benefit Cap, and the reduction, or removal of housing benefit for under 25’s. The benefit Cap will be introduced from 2013, and simply means that no one on welfare benefits, especially income support or jobseekers allowance will have an income greater than those who are actually working. This includes housing benefit entitlements. Apparently this will affect a great many Londoners, but as part of the welfare reform Bill is only right. Universal credit on the other hand, is simply another simplification of the benefit system.
The most controversial change that has been raised is the suggestion that housing benefit will be removed for under 25’s. The financial facts are that an excess of £2 billion is spent on housing benefit for those young people under 25. The Prime Minister David Cameron suggests that the move is not simply one designed to balance the books, but one which he hopes will pave the way for re-establishing an underpinning of family responsibility. There are over 210,000 young people receiving housing benefit, that is a fact. However, there are nearly 10 times as many still living at home under their parents roof ranging all the way up to around 34 years of age. Traditionally a fair proportion of these are young males. The way I see it is that we have lost the balance. An example of what I am talking about is say, for instance you have a young couple who live at home and are saving to either buy or rent their own property and start a family. On the other hand, you have a young person who at 19 decides to leave home or make them selves homeless, pops down to the council offices and eventually is allocated his or her own accommodation. Perceptibly the latter scenario can be enhanced and accelerated if the young person is a female, and becomes pregnant. Where the imbalance comes is that the couple in the former example will be perceived as doing the right thing, but in the long or short term, come out as the loser, especially if they happen to be working. What Mr Cameron is saying is that this cannot be right. If someone is able to stay at home and is welcome home; where there is adequate space and the environment is safe, then they should stay, in effect, nobody should leave their home if they cannot afford to do so. If a young person does leave home, then the burden should not be on the state alone to provide for them. There should be some form of partnership whereby the parents or legal guardians and the state support the young person until they find their own financial feet, as it were.
There is a little history to be considered here. From the late 70’s onwards under successive Labour and Conservative governments young people (who are not coming from care) were afforded accommodation with almost flagrant ease by local authorities. If you are a young lady with a baby or one on the way, you were almost guaranteed a flat. This practice continued well into the last decade when it became harder because of the rising housing shortage to place people in accommodation as quickly. The bottom line is that from around 1976 to 2006, all you had to do was become pregnant. Some people say that is too basic a way to explain it. But trust me, for thousands of people. That’s the way it was.
Until recently, again, in my opinion, it has gone largely unchecked. So what society in Britain now has is a core of young people who have their own accommodation, but largely fall into two camps. The first are those that are happy to live virtually rent-free and have no desire to change that circumstance and the second of those who want to work and pay their rent, but find themselves in a situation where the rental valuation of their flat is so high that if they were to go to work their salary would either not cover all of the rent or pay the rent and leave with nothing else. Irresponsibly local authorities and housing associations have allocated in many cases accommodation which carry very high rental figures. Thus, many young people through no-fault of their own are trapped. Moving into work for many, would result in rent arrears and eviction.
Going back to the previous point about family responsibility, it is interesting to note that in some countries, notably Holland, there is no responsibility for the government to look after people benefit wise who are 21 and under. The onus for care still rests largely with the family. This way, their benefit system which is not as robust and extensive as ours is not put under strain and can better serve those older people who perhaps find themselves out of work. Unfortunately, in the UK the benefit system, which was put in place to give you a helping hand, has in fact, for many become a holding hand.
So Mr Cameron wants to remove housing benefit for the vast majority of under 25’s. I can see why he wants to do this, and the proposals are only at discussion stage, but it does appear somewhat ham-fisted and perhaps you could say he’s using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Does he for a moment think that many of these young people can simply walk back into the family household? That is, if they still have family to go back to. Many may not be welcomed back for a whole raft of reasons. Furthermore, if he’s going to remove this benefit, then he had jolly well better find jobs for people so that they can then pay their rent, and as we discussed the salaries would have to be sufficient for people to be able to pay rent and survive; a liveable wage. He would also have to consider the impact those young persons returning home would have not only socially, but also financially on the parent or carer or responsible person.
I agree with the idea, but the first step really is to address those people, not just young people, but those people who are happy to settle and live without working and contributing. These are the people, for which cuts and stricter benefit regimes should be administered. The UK has a culture of benefit dependency greater than any other Western country. It is laughable that so many people, generations, in fact, can sit down on their backsides and reap the benefits of the hard work put in by others. How often do you hear the cry that that particular person doesn’t work yet has a better standard of living than I do? This should not be the case. So in developing his strategy. Mr Cameron is right to target the roots, which is to avoid young people becoming benefit dependent from an early age, but he must also tackle the older, tougher thicker parts of this problem in order to make real inroads into this issue. It would be unfair to simply target younger people. The problem is that they are the symptom, but not the cause.
Put simply, if you can address worklessness right across the board, targeting older people, then that may free up funds to assist younger people off of benefits and into work, therefore reducing the housing benefit bill. Of course, making rents affordable, especially in London and the south-east may go some way to inspiring younger people to seek work more actively knowing that they will be able to cover their rent and live relatively comfortably.
Let’s target the workshy and feckless first, then surely the rest will be easier to sort out.
So that’s all I have to say about June. Let’s look forward to July in a positive way, right across the board. We’ll see further down the line what positive steps, Mr Cameron takes to address the situation. The Olympics is now only a few short weeks away and I for one cannot wait to see the undoubted joy and inspiration, it will bring to not only London and the UK, but probably most of the world. Enjoy.
This month’s inspirational songs are surprise, surprise from the vaults again:
“Time to time you just gotta LISTEN to the words”
Be Inspired by the spoken word, Jazz, RnB style of the legendary Gil Scott Heron
Let us talk about the Olympics that are coming to London this summer. I am going to assume that only a person living under a rock would not know by now that the 2012 Olympics are happening in just another two months. So why is it I have chosen to comment on this event?
Well, for one, having been a keen sports person I am always interested in seeing sports that I have participated in in the past, plus it’s a big sporting occasion, and I’m always interested in watching those. Furthermore, quite simply, it is happening in my home city of London.
Surprisingly to some people I actually find this very exciting. For not only are some of my favourite sports being showcased in my very own city, but they are being showcased under the banner of the Olympics in my city to the world. The Olympics are taking place in London for a record-breaking third time. No other city in modern times has hosted the Olympics that many times. For me it is a pleasure to be in the midst of an event that will be a significant part of this city’s history and also to be able to say that I was part of the population that hosted the 2012 games. I would also add the word “Proud” to my statement I was born in London and so am naturally proud of anything good that happens to or in London; and for me the Olympics is definitely a good thing.
I hear people saying “it’s got nothing to do with me.” Or “I’ve got no interest in it.” About the impending Olympic Games. I have to ask, have you no spirit? Are You Mad? The greatest show on earth is about to hit town and you have no interest. I do not understand the apathy that a lot of people are showing towards the games I have to wonder if this is indicative of people’s attitudes generally in London and the greater society today. Even if you do not have a ticket, of which I am one of many, to witness the games firsthand. Surely, it still feels good to know that such a grand event is happening in your very own backyard. Every time you turn on the TV, you will see pictures of your hometown being beamed around the world, showing A Positive vision of your city.
The only negative I have on the subject of the Olympics is that as a Londoner, I was asked to pay extra in my taxes to help fund the games and although the games in a wide aspect represents Britain as a whole. I do think that the people of London should have been given more of an opportunity or indeed first choice to get tickets to watch the events unfold. In this particular instance, I do feel that all of London has been somewhat shortchanged.
Nevertheless, if you take the whole event as a positive for the city and also recognise that you are part of history in the making. Surely with what is to come, you can feel and will feel inspired. For not only will you see individuals, teams and in some cases animals,honed to perfection. But you will see them striving to achieve their goal. All of these sportsmen and women will have done this by training hard and more importantly, by sacrificing a great many things to not only compete, but to attempt to be the best in London.
Not only will I be proud to watch people giving of their best in their chosen sporting field. I will experience the feeling I always experience and that is a mixture of elation of happiness, of pride and inspiration. I myself never reached Olympian standards, but remember quite vividly attempting to do so. So I can understand and empathise with the sacrifices athletes make, so perhaps that goes some way to me being proud of their efforts and proud that they’ll be making those efforts in London this summer.
I am hoping when all is said and done, that even the apathetic amongst us , gains some inspiration from the efforts and sacrifices that others are making in these games, in our city, in our time. The likelihood is, we will never see the like of this type of event in London, ever again in the lifetimes of most people reading this.
So feel proud that the world is coming to your town and gain inspiration from the efforts that participants will display. For the fact that the Olympics is coming to London shows that anything can happen if you make the right sort of effort. No matter what happens, you can then be sure that you’ll be proud of your efforts and endeavours; and others may well be in turn, inspired by efforts.
Remember that once you gain pride in yourself and in the achievements of others, you too will become somebody and the world will then belong to you.
The Olympics and London will belong to you too. Be Inspired……
Here are two Inspirational Songs for this month to accompany this article. Enjoy
“It’s an effort to revive proper music and educate”
Recently, I am once again fortunate to say that I have been able to travel again. A few weeks ago I was in vacation in New York. I am fortunate to have had relatives both elderly and young living in the vicinity for decades so I have the best of both worlds; in the sense of being a travelling tourist sightseer and the stability of hanging out with loved ones.
It is, I think, imperative for people to travel and have a good time. All work and no play can make us all very dull Jacks and Jill’s. You need time to have fun, relax and gain perspective. Nobody EVER got anywhere by having their foot firmly to the floor everyday on the accelerator. Read any self help book and they will tell you that all you achieve by that is burn out.
Read any commentaries on success by luminaries such as Oprah Winfrey or Richard Branson and they will say that amidst all the hard work and determination was always a period where they slowed down, kicked back and took stock.
I have always found that getting away from the familiar is the best way to relax. Travelling abroad is not always possible or affordable but I have found places in the British Isles (being British) that I can travel to to chill and ponder. Don’t worry I am not about to turn this into a travel guide!
I think that travelling away from your immediate surroundings allows you to gain a different perspective on how you live, how and where you fit into society, and perhaps even how you and your actions, are viewed by others. Maybe even see how the way you live impacts on others in society whether near or far. I actually love the idea of sightseeing and discovering new things about people where ever I go.
Which takes me back to the main point…. Having FUN!!! No matter where you go, you need to have fun and enjoy yourself. There is no better trier or achiever than one who is relaxed and chilled. You gain a better focus on what you want or where you want to be when you are recharged and have shaken off lethargy. All seems well once you have vacationed and repositioned your energies.
On to this month’s Inspirational Songs:
Old School Rules again this month so lets go for 1 of the most sampled tunes in history and one of THE MOST chilled rare groove tunes ever to grace a turntable.
Keep up with our Features Writer BrooklynFlyer on TWITTER @Brooklynflyer
I’m not usually a person who requires a lot to be motivated; however I am not easily demotivated. In writing this article monthly, I have found many subjects to link to the various songs that I have deemed inspirational. Unusually, for some reason I have been finding it difficult to pinpoint the subject as a point of discussion and therefore an appropriate song to illustrate the subject. That is not to say that there has not been sufficient enough going on in life, to warrant discussion and to be inspired about…… That is until the last 24 hours.
With the onset of the new month of March we begin to herald a new season; that of Spring. With the advent of spring, which officially starts on the 21st which is the spring Equinox, comes new hope so they say. We all know what traditionally happens in spring. New flowers begin to grow, the days get a little longer and if you are a farmer, lambing starts! Perhaps for some of us it means we start to put away our winter clothes and look forward to upgrading our summer garments. Things begin to look a bit brighter and we look forward to the summer months. So March is a month of new beginnings, of new hope, of potential as yet unfulfilled. It is quite possibly the only month of the year where positivity positively overflows. March is probably the first month where we unfurl ourselves and take stock inwardly of where we are, how we are and where we want to be. Maybe even more so than the end of December or the beginning of January.
Is it the time where everything looks fresh, clean? Where things awaken from their winter slumber? Where the world returns to glorious technicolour. (In HD of course) Perhaps it is this burst of colour that brings forth our enthusiasm for the coming months and prompts us to regenerate and renew our efforts in achieving our varied goals, whether they are in vocation or in love or life.
So let us metaphorically throw open the doors unlatch our windows, open our arms and welcome March 2012 the chrysalis month. Let us embrace the warmth it promises to bring with it and use that as a springboard towards inspiration and success for the months ahead. Once again I have chosen 2 songs to illustrate my article and to act as a tool for your inspiration as you meander through March. The first song is, unsurprisingly, if you know me by now, from back in the day. Fittingly, it is the titular “In the springtime” by Maxi Priest , which I hope lyrically and rhythm wise will get those toes tapping and fill you with life and love. Lovers rock at its finest…yes man!
The second track, I have selected is “Up-and-down girl” from the talented South London collective Bakery Boys featuring The Thirst. The track is flowing with melody and lyrical freshness that could have been hatched in March itself. Selfishly I am feeling their work quite heavily. They really know tune and melody.
So go ahead, be in-spired!
Keep up with our Song of the Month writer Brooklynflyer on TWITTER @brooklynflyer