Finding my voice…

Howdy… I’ve been rapping today. No, wait, come back…

A few years back, I made a few EPs in the guise of MC Spacecat, a twelve-year-old kitten from the tower blocks, who is backed by the taciturn DJ Tyrone. It was weird, yet fun rapping in character, quite liberating actually. This year, I’m writing a mini-series about Spacecat and Tyrone which also traces the history of hip hop from the early 80s to the present day. It’s going to be a multi-media affair, with music and videos too.

I’ve written some raps for Spacecat in the first chapter, and worked on some instrumental tracks in the guise of Tyrone, based on 80s synthesiser sounds from Vangelis and Tangerine Dream. Where does the rapping come in, you ask? Well, you need to hear Spacecat’s words too, so I’m doing them. When I did the earlier EPs the raps were almost comedic, with a funny ‘street’ voice, as it was a cheeky kid rapping. This time round, it’s different, as ‘Spacecat’ is writing more conscious words and raping more clearly. I’m learning how to flow, emphasise and pitch words, what works, what doesn’t, and how to sound, well, good.

I’ve been reading some really good articles from some of my favourite MCs, and the major thing that comes through is that you have to love hip hop, to really feel it, live it and be it. I get that. Not in a fake, gangsta swagger kind of way, but in your heart and soul. It’s not about money, cars and booze, it’s about craft, respect, lyricism, truth, honesty, what matters to you as a person and other people too.

I’ve rambled a bit here, but my point is, I’ve started on a journey which really started when I was 12 and heard hip hop for the first time, like Spacecat, and was transported by words and beats to another level. Finding my voice is the missing piece, and something I’m learning by doing, listening and being. Hope it makes sense to you all. Thanks for reading…

MC SPACECAT?

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Catching up…

Morning! (Well, it is in the UK as I type this…)

Revising for a counselling exam (today…) meant little time for anything else other than our business last week, so I’ve been unwinding with drawing and reading comics. The knee is still a little problematic, so physical activities have been gentle, mostly walking our lovely German Shepherd, Fizz. BUT, I did get out to ride BMX for a short while while with our grandson at the end of the week.

I ride Flatland, while is kinda like gymnastics on a bike. Flatlanders are sometimes seen as the outcasts of BMX. I’m not very good at it, but it’s a wonderful mix of fun, meditation and skill. When I’m riding, I don’t tend to think about anything else, just zoning out and being in the moment. But I love it, it makes me happy. It’s amazing to me that I still ride when I’m 45… I thought I’d stop at 40 for some silly reason. I don’t want to quit. The knee wasn’t even an issue either, which was a nice bonus.

I’ve ridden BMX on and off since I was 12. I bought a cheap BMX again in 1997, and it’s my favourite form of cycling. I have a really nice bike now, worth silly money, but it fits me like a glove, and is part of me. Flatland has led to making some amazing friends, travelling around the UK for comps and jams (I even won a prize at one!), writing for websites (www.global-flat.com), and meeting fellow riders from all over the globe. When I go to comps and jams, it’s like being with family. It’s another part of me.

I could write so much about what Flatland has given me, in fact, I used to have another blog about it, but I’ll just go out for another ride. I’ll be the older dude in the car park, rolling in circles on a BMX with a big smile on my face.

Northampton Flatland - Edited

A walk in the park…

Lovely morning today (Tuesday) walking and talking in one of my favourite places, Bradgate Park, in Leicestershire…

Okay, so it was an early start (up at 6:00am to start walking at 8:30am), but it was definitely worth it. It was so nice to be in the park nice and early, feeling like we had the place to ourselves. I think there was about 30 of us, and we set off in pairs, primary school style, talking about our businesses and life in general. Every five minutes, one of the organisers blew a whistle, and we moved up to the next person. Great fun, and a wonderful way to network and get to know people.

We also had one of the park wardens with us who stopped occasionally and pointed out interesting parts of the park, telling us about how Bradgate Park has become self-sustaining. There was a big ‘ahh’ moment when we saw the new herd of deer, including very little ones. The deer have the run of the park, and it’s a beautiful sight seeing large groups of deer moving around, feeding, grooming, just being deer.

It was a little squishy underfoot, given the time of year, but you were busy chatting and taking in the atmosphere that you didn’t really notice. After walking for an hour, we all headed to the cafe for coffee, tea and bacon butties! (Or croissants and jam, if bacon isn’t your thing…) There was the opportunity to network further during breakfast. I met some lovely people from all kinds of businesses, and hope to be working with them in the future! I’ll definitely be walking and talking there again.

From an exercise point of view, it was great, as the pace was good for my knees, and the softer ground meant lower impact too. I’ve been doing yoga too for the last week, as that is also really good for my body, battered as it is. It’s helping my balance and flexibility, which will pay off big time when I ride Flatland BMX this weekend, weather permitting. Low impact exercise is paying off mentally and physically, and making me really happy, and more importantly, fitter and healthier.

It's been raining...
It’s been raining…
Deer
There are lots of deer in the park, honest!

Time to think…

Happy New Year!

Hope you all had a good New Year and didn’t over indulge… I spent mine with my grandson, who just about managed to stay up past midnight (he’s 10…), and had a lovely evening. We watched funny stuff that he chose on YouTube, and classic anime, also on YouTube, that I chose. Oh the irony, seeing as this site is about having fun offline! We did also have fun making comics, playing games, eating sweets and dancing! I love spending time with my grandson. He’s funny, smart, energetic, loving, crazy, creative, and a ton more besides…

The following morning, New Year’s Day, we did a double whammy at our local park. We took Fizz, our German Shepherd for a long walk and plenty of chasing after her ball, then went back to play football. Well, for my grandson to ‘coach’ me in football. He got hooked on football (soccer to those outside the UK) last summer at school, as they have weekly games in PE, and he really enjoys it. He’s also really good too. So, we used the basketball area to practice shooting and goalkeeping, then the main pitch for ball control and getting used to controlling power and saving goals in a full size goal. After an hour and the threat of rain, we went home for hot chocolate and lunch.

We relaxed for the rest of the day, watched some lectures about robotics, drew more comics and laughed a lot, then I took him home. The next morning, my right knee was really hurting. I thought I’d rested it properly after my running injury, but apparently, injured knees and moderate football practice don’t mix. To cap it off, my back has been really painful this weekend. I’m a little concerned…

I’d already decided to focus my exercise regime around cycling, as it’s easier on my joints, and will allow me to build my strength and stamina up again, and get properly fit. Riding differing disciplines (BMX, Road, MTB) enables me to exercise different parts of my body in different ways. It’s also great mental exercise too… I can really zone out and focus on nothing but riding.

BUT. I had to cut a family get together short today as my knee and back were really painful and wouldn’t let me settle or properly interact with my grandchildren… Back to the GP in the morning. Fingers crossed.