Monday, 19 November 2018

HATERS- My least favourite topic!

I really have no time for haters but once again Facebook keeps sharing little messages about them. I am not interested. Why? Haters do not deserve any of my mind space or yours! So what if people are bad minded and say nasty things about you? Your true friends know the truth and those who don't can remain ignorant or ask for your side of the story.

Very often these people make snide remarks that they hope will undermine your confidence. The thing is, if you are confident, which you should be as you are obviously doing well enough to command attention, then these comments should slide off you leaving the hater frustrated.

There's a phrase I have heard so many times and fail to understand. It goes like this:
'I love my haters because they inspire me to do better.' Think about it for a minute. Why would you embrace hate in any form? Why would you be inspired by so much negativity? Why would you introduce negative vibes into a positive project? I find this crazy. Inspiration should be rooted in positive vibrations, thoughts and feelings if it is to flourish.

Let's consider the hater a bit more. Why do they hate? It's actually not because you are doing better than them, It's because they do not have the necessary elements to be successful right now. They may not be confident; lack inspiration; lack dedication or have all of these qualities but cannot maintain the belief that they will be successful. Mindset is key and they need to get it right to succeed.

How can you deal with your haters? This will depend upon the severity of the problem. In extreme cases it is probably best to cut contact. If you are having difficulty with a friend or family member, you might need to recognise the jealousy for what it is and decide if there is a need to support that person, or simply acknowledge the comments without giving them any credit- 'is that what you really think?'- and carry on.

The key to success is to focus on success. Let your achievements speak volumes and allow your mistakes to whisper. The message I have picked up recently is to keep building on your strengths rather than tackling your weaknesses. Maybe this would be a useful piece of advice for your haters and one that helps them to turn the corner. There really is no point in wishing people ill regardless of what they do or say about us. Our aim should be to go up not down, so do not lower your standards and embrace other people's poor attitudes. Love is more powerful than hate and leads to happiness whereas hatred increases bitterness. Next time you receive hateful comments, pay no mind and keep doing what you're doing- remember, ultimately you burst your own bubble!

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Big Brass Ska Band strikes the Madding Crowd!!

Feel the vibes~ Big Brass Ska

Introduction before commencing to our live event at Madding Crowd.Club; a collaboration with Urban Delight Entertainment.

I think most people would agree that Ska music is possibly Reggae's most fun platform and one that truly needs excellent live musicians on board to perform it. In fact, I wouldn't appreciate Ska any other way. Strangely enough, up until this point I had never been to a live Ska night despite attending many Reggae events; very odd really given that I interviewed Free Town back in the day for Numen Records! My greatest Ska- (well, skinhead Reggae officially) experiences prior to this event would be seeing Frank Pitter (Symarip Pyramids) perform 'Skinhead Moonstomp,' a smash hit and revolutionary song, in Balham. This was where we first met, and since then I have interviewed both Frank and Monty Neysmith, also from Symarip Pyramids, about their musical journey on different occasions for Buffaloo Radio.
Frank Pitter Its Braap Interview.

Ska is a genre that appears in the charts from time to time and is currently very popular however stays just below the major musical radar. I believe 'My Boy Lollipop,' by Millie, was the first major hit here in the UK- pause for thought guys- who in their right minds would put the words 'boy and 'lollipop' together these days? In a way, this tongue-in-cheek approach is essential to Ska, the words being a huge part of the fun that makes this a care-free art form.


Now onto the big stuff you've been waiting for! I love the way Big Brass Ska take a jovially serious approach to their music. They are a highly professional outfit who even wear branded gear, so take a quick look at the back of their T-shirts to know who you are speaking with and which instrument they play! It's a novel approach and I heard one of the crowd saying what a great idea this was- and the band hadn't even warmed up yet! Getting to the action, these 10 stunning musicians kicked off with 241, making an instant impression on the audience, especially as they literally have a proper brass section which, when combined with great chemistry across the board, adds that extra ingredient responsible for producing fully flavoured Ska. Somehow the whole band fitted on the stage but ultimately they didn't restrict themselves, spilling over onto the floor as the night progressed- to the delight of the audience who were fully immersed in popular track after popular track. We had songs from classic Ska bands including Madness and The Specials; too many tunes to name really and they had everyone singing and dancing all night long.


Following the intermission we were treated to a couple of songs by Urban Delight artist and Lover's Rock/Reggae singer, Norris B. Norris is blessed with an exceptional voice and great stage presence. If I were an X-Factor judge I'd be saying, 'Norris is one of the nicest people I have ever met!' When we were chatting during the interval Norris said to me, 'I would love to perform with this band.' The universe was on point when, having sung his first number, 3 of the band mounted the stage and accompanied him for his second song, 'Hands of Time.' You can check the video to catch the result which was totally unrehearsed. I'll just add that the ability to freestyle successfully with an artist distinguishes quality musicians from average musicians.

Now, onto my surprise of the night! This came in classic form when the band played their version of, 'Tears of a Clown,' -Smokey Robinson's outstanding hit. I have always thought this to be an immensely clever song- how many of us hide our fears and worries beneath a daily up-beat facade? The big question you may be asking- does this work as s Ska cover? Hell Yeah! By taking an upbeat tune and making it even more update the band are simply adding to the original concept.


To finish with, there's a little saying that comes to mind when enjoying Big Brass Ska, 'It ain't what you do it's the way that you do it.' I give the band huge kudos for their energy, performance and unity- BUT, I'm taking away a point for failing to play my favourite song- where the heck did that rat in the kitchen go? Well, I guess he's just not allowed on licensed premises!!

Please note: all links have been highlighted so you can check out my references.

Jaz McKenzie ~ The Word Magician

Thursday, 8 November 2018

'Singing in the Rain'- Photo by Maurice Sparrow.

I literally haven't blogged since July, however, I was thinking it's time to start back when one of my favourite photographers, Maurice Sparrow, posted this beautiful photo of a Kingfisher entitled, 'Singing in the Rain.'

This was one opportunity I couldn't pass by, looking at such beauty and perfection. Sometimes that's what it takes and words flowed just like the stream of raindrops above.


No rain will ruffle my feathers, 
for I stand proud.
No wind can rock me off my perch;
I'll open my beak and sing out loud.
'I am as beautiful as the sun
rising in the sky.
I know my worth!
And the storm can't make me cry.
By the time the sun sets
My feathers will be dry
And peace will be restored.'

Jaz McKenzie 2018

These words are not just those of a humble Kingfisher; they are the words of a warrior, that is, those who know what it really takes to live this life and push on through. Our feathers will become ruffelled from time to time. Sometimes we feel as if one bad thing happens after the next, but like the Kingfisher we must allow the water to roll off our feathers and drain away. We know the sun shines tomorrow and a little rain can be very refreshing, creating contrast. Appreciation truly is a product of contrast. Imagine how less appealing the Kingfisher would look if he were all one colour! It is worth recognizing that life is as much about contrast as is good photography.

Big 'thank you' to Maurice for allowing me to use his photo. It added far more than a splash of joy to my day.

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician