James & Friends playing a few covers

I need a break from all the insanity that’s been going on in this country over the past week or so. Don’t misconstrue me, I’m still doing my best to follow what’s going on, but I don’t want to bust a blood vessel.

Anyway, here’s Wonderwall (and La Bamba)…

I got to see James & Friends on two separate occasions and it was good despite being surreal seeing live music in 2020. It was at a restaurant with those tents for “indoor” dining even though there was limited space given state requirements and the tables were farther apart. It is strange how people have to go outside to be “inside”, but that’s the current reality. Don’t worry, I was responsible to have my mask on besides when I had food and I did social distance from others. They did covers those nights and I got to capture two of their songs. They covered “La Bamba” and “Wonderwall” by Oasis. Yes, all the 90s kids were singing along to the latter. Hahaha!

Hope you’re doing well, everyone.

https://jamesandfriendsacoustic.com/

Obligatory New Year’s Post

Happy New Year, everyone!

How was your first day of 2021? I didn’t bother staying awake until midnight or past that since I had to work early this morning. It’s not necessarily my thing. Wow, this makes me sound old.

2021 is still up in the air with the calendar and all. I don’t have any clear resolutions yet. I would like to do some creative things related to Ospreyshire (the spoken word project) as well as my other creative endeavors. Videography was very fun last year, so that could be something I could try. Weirdly enough, most of my specific goals involve watching and reviewing films on my other blog. I’ve been watching some interesting things including from countries where I didn’t know had their own cinema scenes. Posting poetry is something I want to do more often on this blog.

While I do have some hopes, I have to be honest with you that I have lingering depression and there was a time earlier today where I felt like I was hopeless while thinking this year is going to be miserable, but I’m not sure. Positivity can be foreign at times for me and this has been a thing even before 2020 happened.

I hope you have a blessed new year nonetheless.

As 2020 comes to a close…

This has been such a tumultuous year, but I’m not the first or last to say so.

We know about the things that happened this year with COVID-19, the racial tensions, the political circus in America, the tanking economy, so on and so forth.

There were some ambivalent things that happened.

Let me get some of the bad stuff out there first:

-I struggled with moments of depression, internalized anger, and even paranoia.
-I felt like things were hopeless after lockdown happened.
-I had to rethink so many plans due to COVID. So many Zoom meetings and phone calls happened to talk to family, friends, and even co-workers.

Now for some good things:

-I recorded my first split record.
-Getting back into doing videos of different kinds was amazing.
-I did a lot of reading and doing my best to learn some new skills.

There were so many takeaways to learn in this bizarre, yet tense times. COVID and everything else isn’t going to magically disappear once 2021 rolls around. I’m sure we can all agree with that. I do hope things can improve in some way, shape, or form, but I know this won’t be instantaneous.

There was one thing that I’ve been thinking about when it came to Ospreyshire the blogger as well as Ospreyshire the spoken word artist. Yes, I’m a man of multiple disciplines with poetry, spoken word, videography, film reviews, fiction, and music. As far as the Ospreyshire Realm is concerned (as in the blog you’re looking at right now), I feel as though there’s an identity crisis. My other blogs where I review films, documentaries, and anime as well as my fiction blog at least have clearly defined purposes. There are times where I ask myself “What is Ospreyshire in terms of this blog?”. Look, I attract bloggers of all races, nations, interests, hobbies, and content which is really cool. While blogging has allowed me to be outspoken when I’ve internalized so many things for most of my life (saying nothing about how I’m naturally introverted who pretends to have extrovert tendencies in my offline life, but that’s another story), I feel as though things are inconsistent from a content standpoint. I will still post poetry, audio projects when I do recording, or the occasional cross-promotion to friends or creators I like which is a given. The thing is I really have to rethink about how I do new projects especially with the growing irrelevance in music consumption (not that I expected to go platinum or even gold) as well as making a more clearly defined identity on this blog. Apologies for sounding like I’m thinking about what others may or may not be thinking about me since I used to have a really bad habit of caring too much of what others think, but I want to make sure people who read this blog have some more consistency in content. This doesn’t mean I’m going to abandon my art or some of my opinion pieces because I have a few in mind that have to be said like some sequels to some of my personal posts in the past for example. Stay tuned on that.

Anyways, I hope you all had a blessed holiday season and that you have a Happy New Year!

Here’s to 2021! [clinks with my glass of sparkling grape juice]

Dave Emmerson 2020 Interview with the Antidote (ZAP Records Requiem)

Episode 442: ZAP Records Requiem


Here’s a part II to Monday’s post. While this interview has been around for a few months now, I thought I would still promote it, so you can hear it. Canadian radio station The Antidote interviewed Dave Emmerson from ZAP Records as he talks about music, why he closed down ZAP, and his new plans. It was another great interview and not just because I know both Daves talking to each other. Yes, I’m namedropped briefly, but don’t listen to this interview because of that. It really gives insight into Dave’s ideology in music and creative projects.

Some music I’ve heard recently to have some positive vibes going on

Yes, I do listen to some classical and symphonic music while I don’t consider myself well-versed in that field. I recently discovered the Guadeloupean composer Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges after watching a documentary about him. He was a multi-disciplined man who was a virtuoso violinist, champion fencer, composer, and was even the a general, too. It was also surprising since I didn’t know many Black or biracial composers in the classical era and what made learning about him more interesting is that he actually inspired Mozart of all people when the much more famous musician was younger. I’m glad some people in the art music world have been doing their best to revive his works.

Okay, Driver Eight isn’t new to me and some of you know about me liking them in older posts. After watching No New Kinda Story which was a documentary about Tooth & Nail Records, I had a nostalgia trip. While I didn’t know or listen to this band until several years after they broke up, I really like their only album “Watermelon”. They have a good mix of indie rock with a hint of shoegaze. All the songs were good and “Getting This Thing to Go” has a place in my heart for me because that was the first song I learned how to play a guitar solo from. How many people can say that given how obscure Driver Eight are.

Before anyone else says anything, I’m aware they’re named after an REM song. Thank you. 🙂

Now here’s something completely different! I had never heard of Beverley Knight until recently. I heard this particular song while shopping and it was stuck in my head. Naturally, I typed in lyrics of the song to my phone and Googled it after the fact. I think she’s got a great voice and I liked the mix between R&B, soul, pop and some of those disco-esque strings in this song. While this is poppier than what I normally listen to, I actually enjoyed it. I even found out that this singer was from Wolverhampton, England of all places (that’s near Birmingham, by the way). Maybe that city has a good music scene there?

Here’s some music from different time periods, different genres, and from different countries as well. I just needed some positive jams (Hold Steady reference!) to listen to as well as share.

All videos are property of their respective owners.

Recent cooking projects

Here’s something completely different.

One thing I’ve been trying to do to curb whatever internalized anger and depression was to step my culinary game up.

The first picture is angel hair, but there’s spinach, flax seeds, chopped shallots, and white mushrooms with a light sprinkling of olive oil and a dash of Khoisan salt.

For dessert, I had yogurt with flax seeds and organic blueberries. This isn’t just any yogurt, but made with cashew milk. If you’re a vegan or lactose intolerant, then this treat is for you! I got the ingredients the last time I did some grocery shopping, but I wanted to buy individuals foods instead of just microwavable or frozen food. A lot of these things I used are good for you.

Hope things are well with you!

Some various thoughts I’ve been having recently

It has been a crazy busy few weeks. There’s been work and me participating in NaNoWriMo. Of course…there’s been everything else going on in the world especially in America.

Relax, I won’t be talking about anything partisan let alone anything political in this post. I can hear the collective sigh of relief no matter if one is to the left, right, center, independent, or apolitical. With that said, I still have been thinking about serious things nonetheless.

In addition to work and writing another book, I have been having thoughts of so many things going on in my life.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been bullied in my life and at times it was quite severe. In hindsight, some of it was very low-key that psychologically affected me. When I would fight back, I would be treated like the bad guy even though I wasn’t being physical against anyone or insulting them. It made me wonder how docile I was while abusive people get away with everything even when I would call them out on their crap. It’s no wonder I can’t stand those who hurt others with impunity as well as never owning up to their misdeeds. I’ve had to own up to my mistakes and sins, so why couldn’t they? It’s like I’ve been getting bad advice for years from people who should know better. Part of me wondered if I should’ve improved in snappy comebacks or insulting people because I’ve always struggled in that regard. It’s sick how I felt like I wasn’t “allowed” to stand up for myself.

There are times where I wonder if it was worth having certain kinds of dreams and goals. I’m sure I mentioned this in a post earlier this year about random goals I used to have like owning a record label, voice acting, or being a touring musician, etc. I guess with COVID, in a weird way, I’m relieved that i didn’t go forward with those pipe dreams. My goals have changed like getting more into writing as well as videography. I have those skills and it allows me to put them to use. There are other ideas for goals that could be more constructive, but I wondered how possible they would be.

The last movie I saw was a documentary about the Congolese Genocide and Leopold II. It was so heartbreaking and it was one of those historical aspects I wish I learned when I was a lot younger regardless of my DNA results. I learned more things and I certainly was uncomfortable with the brutality. It angers me how Leopold never got punished for being responsible for several millions of people dying under his colonizing rule. It was a powerful watch and I think more people should learn about this atrocity.

Those were various thoughts I had recently. I just had to talk about it instead of just a poem or opinions on a news story. Sorry it wasn’t fun. I hope you understand.

The racial issues I talk about

There was one comment I got a few weeks ago on one of my posts that’s been in my head for a while now. I won’t name names even though I have nothing against this blogger at all. They discovered Ospreyshire’s Realm through another blogger I follow since I’ve commented on multiple posts of theirs.

To paraphrase what they said, they’ve said that I talk a lot about racial/POC issues.

Do I talk about those issues? Yes, and I’ve been doing so before the recent police brutality cases this year. I’ve shared news stories, written poems with that topic, mentioned it in some film reviews on my other blog, written stories with that as a concept (usually on the more subtle end while doing my best to have positive racial representation), and I even have recordings that allude to racial issues especially with my “They Dreamed of Devastation and Deceit (Circle of Lies)” single and multiple tracks from my first full-length album “Dear Innovare…”. This is something I do care about not just on principle given my heritage, but also because it’s a human issue and I wish more people would realize it.

I wasn’t like this at first when I started blogging when I came up with the Ospreyshire project and eventually my other blogs. I didn’t talk about those subjects at first on here since it was mainly for my first EP, my more innocuous poems, and promoting other people on this blog. Things took a bit of a change where I started to talk about these particular issues in overt and abstract ways (mainly with my creative projects) in my other blogs and it trickled down here. It’s been surprising how supportive people have been with what I’ve been blogging about since I revealed my racial identity, talked about some of my personal experiences on that matter, and to expose more people to these important issues whether it’s with some conversations, poems, music, news stories, film reviews, or personal opinions on different subjects. 2020 wasn’t some trendy thing for me to talk about these subjects. I’ve been doing so before that. I used to shy away from these topics offline most of the time, but I can’t hide or certainly lie about these things. Blogging has made me braver and more outspoken whether it’s talking about racism or at the very least mentioning uncomfortable truths or unpopular opinions.

Before I finish this post, I do have some advice for some of my readers out there on this subject.

1. Don’t make racism a partisan issue at all especially in this election year. This isn’t a left-wing or right-wing issue since both sides have been guilty of bigotry. This is a HUMAN issue, as I’ve said before.

2. Get (un)comfortable learning lesser-known parts of history. Learning about Black Wall Street was the first big example for me of a real life part of American history I never learned about during all my years of schooling.

3. Realize that even so-called “innocent” media can contain harmful subtext. Watch how things can be slanted or what the implications could be in a story, movie, TV show, etc.

I hope this post worked in some way for you. I wanted to do something more constructive than just ranting and raging over everything even with what’s going on right now. That doesn’t mean I’m ignoring these issues at all. Have a great day, everyone.

Dystopian Futures: Space Junk Music Video

I have some bad news and good news for you. Bad news is that Dave Emmerson decided to close down his DIY label ZAP Records. It’s quite sad since there were so many good bands associated with that indie label. I’ll be talking about my thoughts on the matter in a separate post. Good news is that his band Dystopian Futures is still going to make music and they just came out with a new song called “Space Junk”! Oh, yeah. I even got to make the music video, too.

Dystopian Futures certainly continue to use their quirky experimental punk rock for this song. It’s a story involving a cosmonaut who has been in stasis in a spaceship for a century while trying to flee from his vice-ridden past. Things don’t go to plan as he’s in the cosmic ocean.

Feel free to buy the song on Visions Press’s Bandcamp!

Misconstruing Inconvenience as Slavery

Did it really feel like oppression?

Don’t misconstrue everything. Everyone isn’t faring so well with this environment at the moment.

Job opportunities become ghosts, masks are everywhere, and hand sanitizer companies are raking it in.

When the comparisons to slavery came up, there was a serious debate on whether to facepalm or to laugh at the sheer lunacy of a statement such as that.

False equivalency detected!

Funny enough (or sadly enough), those same people are paid handsomely for their careers.

This worldwide inconvenience was a shock to everyone and there are no ill-wishes from me, but the level of stupidity and fallacious rhetoric is laughable if it wasn’t so offensive.

Excuse me while I check to see how much sympathy I have…Sorry, I don’t seem to find any for that kind of argument.