SULLEE J: New Music Submission – All I Know ft. Marka

Acclaimed Baltimore, US, rapper and lyrical master Sullee J has released a brand new single this past week, as the prolific artiste continues his rise to the forefront of modern East Coast rap. He released his latest track, “All I Know” featuring fellow rapper Marka on the 5th November. The song was produced by Anno Domini Beats.

All I Know speaks on the various scenarios which occurred on the come up of Sullee J, a story shared with many others of his genre. There is a distinctively retro feel both in the official video of the song plus the Eighties style hooks of the track’s beat. While lyrics flash up on the screen of an old TV set like we all had in our parents’ living room as children, Sullee J rhymes emphatically about the struggles, dealing with the haters, fake associates and hypocrites, while reaching for the top. Especially, it is a lesson for everyone not to let the two-faced bring them down and to chart their own success, and to understand who their true friends and supports are.

In the near future, Sullee J plans to release his new album, Spear, by the end of the year.

All I Know is available for free downloads and viewing via his YouTube channel, xxsulleexx, and through SoundCloud.

Youtube Video Link: https://youtu.be/h5J5bw0BF28

 

 

 

 

SOURCE:

Team Justice/Sullee J.

 

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LOVE IN THE COUNTRYSIDE: Rural matchmaking programme returns to British television

London – VIJAY SHAH via BBC

While city dwellers have many means and places at their disposal to find their special someone, it is more of a challenge for their country cousins. With smaller villages and fewer places to meet up, not to mention the toughness of rural life, people in the country have to work that little bit harder to couple up.

 

The United Kingdom’s public service broadcaster, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has been a helping hand to lonely countryside hearts lately, with a difference. They will be meeting their other half via the concrete jungle, with the programme showing how people from the city try to settle down with their rural sweetheart in a world very different from their own. Their hit programme, Love in the Countryside, which helps country singletons find love, is now returning to its channel BBC Two for a second series, reports the BBC’s news division.

Love in the Countryside is presented by Sara Cox, who herself grew up on a farm, returning to the fields to help those who rely on the land for their livelihoods find love with like-minded people. The show has even helped cross boundaries, getting urban people desperate to leave the rat race of city life for a more serene marriage and relationship out in the provinces. The show follows the new couples as they adjust to very different settings and lifestyles. The programme is produced for the BBC by Boundless, an agency owned by international media producer Fremantle.

Speaking with the BBC, Cox said: “I’m so excited about dusting off my wellies and heading back out into beautiful British countryside to help find love for more rural romantics.”

The programme’s controller, Patrick Holland, commented: “Love in the Countryside brought a fresh tone and joy to BBC Two’s evening schedule and with Sara Cox at the helm, we are excited to see how the series can grow and develop.”

The BBC is currently on the lookout for rural singletons looking to bring back an urban significant other, or city types searching for a more tranquil setting for their love story. Interested people can apply via the BBC at http://www.bbc.co.uk/showsandtours/takepart/love_countryside or email: LoveInTheCountryside@boundlessproductions.tv

SOURCES:

HEM Journalism Portal, HEM News Agency, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/hem-journalism-portal

media.info UK tv, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/minfoUKtv

BBC Press Office, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/bbcpress

“Love in the Countryside returns to BBC Two for a second series to help more country singletons find love” – BBC Media Centre/BBC (7 October 2018) https://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2018/love-in-the-countryside

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Free stock photo of countryside, couple, field” – Scott Webb, Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-couple-love-people-136395/

LUIGI: Has the green brother of Super Mario been killed off?

Tokyo – VIJAY SHAH via WIL JONES and Joe

Super Mario, the games franchise featuring an Italian plumber who rides dinosaurs and has a penchant for golden rings, has been an icon of the video games circuit since its explosion in popularity. As anyone who has played the games knows, Mario has a taller, greener brother named Luigi. While not as regarded as his shorter sibling, Luigi is the quintessential sidekick, always supporting his brother in his endless quests to liberate royalty from towers guarded by baddies.

But, according to online magazine Joe, Luigi has now passed away. Killed off by his creators, Nintendo, Luigi shuffled off his mortal Kart only yesterday, reports Joe, and fans have reacted in protest and faux mourning.

 

The late Luigi, known only by his first name, made his debut in the very first Mario Bros arcade game in 1983. He soon became a fixture in further versions of the series, popping up in Super Mario Bros, Mario KartSmash Brothers, Mario Tennis and Mario Party. While at first Luigi was kept firmly in the pillion seat, he got his first lead act in Luigi’s Mansion, released on the now-archaic Dreamcube, back in 2001. He also made the leap from computer screen to the silver screen when he appeared in the Super Mario Bros movie, earlier in 1993.

Word first got out that Luigi was, as they say in Italian “la storia” (history) was when Nintendo organised an event to mark the launch of Super Smash Bros Ultimate on the new Nintendo Switch console. In the trailer accompanying the event, Luigi’s demise is actually shown. The unfortunate plumber has an encounter with the Grim Reaper, who literally scares him to death while he appears to be trapped in some kind of prison cell. Luigi’s ‘soul’ is seen departing his body.

As fans on Twitter mourned his death, things have started to be a bit less straightforward it seems. Nintendo UK Versus claimed on the social network that “Luigi is okay”, but did not give any further details. Could it be that Luigi managed to escape the clutches of the Grim One? As we all know, the entertainment industry have a habit of ‘killing’ off their characters only to resurrect them by some twist of the tale. The mystery continues.

Luigi is ‘survived’ (maybe) by his partner Daisy, brother Mario, his alleged son Baby Luigi, and his evil alter-ego Waluigi.

SOURCES:

Ali Hassan Besher/Facebook.

“Nintendo has ‘killed’ Luigi, and it has not gone down well at all” – Wil Jones, Joe (8 August 2018) https://www.joe.co.uk/gaming/nintendo-has-killed-luigi-and-it-has-not-gone-down-well-at-all-193926

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Focus Photo of Super Mario, Luigi, and Yoshi Figurines · Free Stock Photo” – Pixabay via Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/focus-photo-of-super-mario-luigi-and-yoshi-figurines-163036/

BERMONDSEY CARNIVAL: With a Latin American twist

London – VIJAY SHAH

If you like family days out and happen to be south of the river in London this Saturday, there is a cool dance festival just waiting to be visited, completely free of charge. The Bermondsey Carnival, being held at the Southwark Park this Saturday, 30th June 2018, is the perfect family fun in the sun session, with a summery mix of dance, music, events for adults and children and its own funfair.

South London is home to many vibrant Latin American communities, with Londoners from Brazil and Colombia forming the majority of them. This year, the Bermondsey Carnival will honour local South American communities by taking on a Latino/a theme, with performances from the Abba Gold Girls, the singer-songwriter Mancie Baker and a Salute to Sinatra from Louis Hoover, the original star of the Broadway show.

 

There will also be dance workshops (including a children’s dance tent for the little ones to practice their samba and Fortnite emote dances) and fun activities such as making masks, alongside food and drinks stalls. Look out for the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’, a massive jumble boot sale’ hosted by local residents, and the Plaza Latina with its South American music, food and dance, the Plaza is new for 2018.

The Create and Play Zone
An assortment of talented artists, performers and designers providing a multitude of engaging things to do

Nest Box and Mask Making Workshops with Café Gallery
Crafty Beasts Making Workshops with Time & Talents
Totally Wild Foraging Adventure walks running throughout the day (12.30pm – 1.30pm – 2.30pm – 3.30pm)
Jumping Bean Stories and Rhyme Tent (12.15pm – 1.15pm – 2.30pm – 3.30pm – 4.30pm)
Make Theatre with London Bubble Theatre. Turn yourself into a story gatherer, a story teller, a character creator or a history maker In the beautiful Bubble Yurt throughout the day from: 12pm to 4pm.

SE16 DANCE Tent hosted by the Movement Factory.
Come and take part in an exclusive range of free dance workshops running throughout the day. No previous dance experience necessary

SE16 Dance Tent Workshops Times
12.00 to 12.30: Musical Mayhem- Musical Theatre
12.30 to 13.15: The Movement Factory- Street Dance
13.15 to 13.40: Kinetika Bloco
Performances Times

13.40 to 14.00- Kinetika Bloco
14.00 to 14.25 – Musical Mayhem
14.25 to 14.30 – Ellz & Sharz
14.30 to 14.40 – Hazel
14.40 to 14.50 – The Mia Dancers
14.50 to 14.55 – Jerdy
14.55 to 15.00 -Ellie
15.00 to 15.05 – Gawz
15.05 to 15.10 – Double Twist Dance Co.
15.10 to 15.30 – Southwark Gymnastics
15.30 to 15.40 – DHK Shortman
16.00 to 16.45 – DHK Shortman / Dance Hall
16.45 to 17.30 – The Movement Factory

The festival is being organised by Southwark Council, along with Bermondsey Beat and The Friends of Southwark Park.

Sat 30th June, 12pm- 8pm: Bermondsey Carnival
Southwark Park, Gomm Rd, SE16 2TX

SOURCES:

Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984

Super London, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/SuperLNDN

Skint London Mag, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/SkintLondon

“Top Skint picks for the Weekend!” – Skint London (29 June 2018) http://www.skintlondon.com/top-skint-picks-for-the-weekend-48/

“Bermondsey Carnival 2018” – WISE16.CO.UK https://www.wise16.co.uk/free-bermondsey-carnival-2018-at-southwark-park/

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Samba procession @ Carnival De Cuba, London 2008” – jf 1234, Flickr (29 June 2008) https://www.flickr.com/photos/kde-head/2622435786

WELCOMING 2017: Ilford’s Ashgrove restaurant launches NYE night

gb

Ilford, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH

 

 

Popular Ilford based Indian gastropub the Ashgrove Restaurant has formally announced a special New Year’s Eve night to welcome in 2017 for local partygoers to come and enjoy great music and traditional and contemporary Punjabi, Indian continental and Chinese fare, great music and visual entertainments.

The restaurant, a short walking distance from Seven Kings town centre, will have music entertainment on the night provided by DJ Kash of local outfit Kash Events, which provides party and other event planning services as well as boasting a wide music portfolio from the Bollywood, bhangra, RNB and ‘club classics’. The NYE event is currently being promoted on the restaurant’s social media page where they promise it will be an ‘amazing evening’. A finger food buffet will also be available.

Located on Green Lane, Ashgrove, which was formerly a public house, is renowned locally for its dishes, including chilli paneer (Indian cheese), lamb and chicken grills, kebabs and snacks – including vegetarian, coupled with a well-stocked bar. The restaurant is popular with local sports fans who flock to watch football matches on its many widescreen televisions. It also boasts a beer garden to round off its unique ability to combine a traditional English pub with a modern Indian restaurant.

The event will be held on 31st December 2016, with tickets costing £25 for adults and £10 for children under 12, with buffet included. People interested in attending should call +44 208 599 4181 or email info@ashgroverestaurant.co.uk. The Ashgrove Restaurant is situated at 271 Green Lane, Ilford, Redbridge, Essex, United Kingdom IG3 9TN.

 

SOURCES:
Ashgrove Restaurant, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/ashgroverestaurant/
Kash Events, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/KashEvents/
KASH EVENTS http://kashevents.co.uk/
“About” – Ashgrove Restaurant, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/pg/ashgroverestaurant/about/
IMAGE CREDIT:
“The Host” – SteFou! (Stephen Oung), Flickr (13 September 2011) https://www.flickr.com/photos/stephen-oung/6268131892

RUGBY WORLD CUP 2015: Newham’s Fanzone

London, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH via the Newham Mag

As one of the ‘host cities’ for the Rugby World Cup of 2015, the London borough of Newham has pulled out all the stops to welcome the sport’s fans from across the world to watch and celebrate the dozens of great teams taking part, from Australia to Samoa. As part of the celebrations, the borough has opened a special Fanzone at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Almost 70,000 sports fans from all over the world visited the Park where they were able to view the matches on big screens and join in on fun activities. The Fanzone has proven to be a huge success for Newham, as it builds on its legacy from the London 2012 Olympics, the council magazine Newham Mag has reported.

The park, situated in a heavily redeveloped area of Stratford, near Newham’s borders with Tower Hamlets and Hackney boroughs, saw a footfall of 200,000 global visitors as a whole, many of which had booked tickets to watch RWC matches at the showpiece Olympic Stadium. So far four Tournament matches have been played at the stadium, with one more still to go. 

Newham’s Mayor, Sir Robin Wales told the Newham Mag “When we were awarded the honour of hosting Rugby World Cup 2015,we said we would put on a great party and we have proved it”

The rugby tournament is now in its semi-final stages, although home country fans were left disappointed by the England team’s dismal dropout in the early stages. Despite this, there is still great enthusiasm and pride that the RWC has made its mark in east London. Attention has now switched from the main matches at the Olympic Stadium and the park to other fanzones set up outside Newham in Trafalgar Square, central London, and the home of Greater London rugby, Twickenham, as the Newham Fanzone temporarily shut up shop for the rest of the World Cup.

The Stratford Fanzone will return in earnest on the 30 October 2015, when the ultimate Bronze Final of the World Cup kicks off at the Olympic Stadium.

SOURCE:
“Thousands give fanzone a try” – The Newham Mag – News/Newham Council [Issue 327], 23 October 2015
IMAGE CREDIT:
Getty Images via Zemanta.

PARAMOUNT RESORT: New theme park to launch 2020 in south-east England

Sunny Atwal (contributor)

Vijay Shah (reporter)

London Town is about to get that bit more exciting as a new entertainment park and tourist attraction gets ready to attract film buffs and day trippers to an area brimming with both film history and cultures that draw in film makers from all over the world.

While not exactly in London itself, but on the Swanscombe peninsula in north Kent, about forty or less minutes from the centre of London by train and less by road, the London Paramount is a ‘world-class’ entertainment resort that will be opened by famous Hollywood studios Paramount Pictures very likely in another five years’ time, and will be an ambitious project and a first for the Hollywood studio in the UK.

The resort is being bankrolled by investment firm London Resort Company Holdings (LRCH), who are in the final stages of consultations with the public on the project. LRCH have created a website outlining their plans for the theme park project, along with downloadable materials on the new park and how it will benefit tourism and local communities.

Paramount Pictures in Hollywood, CA
Paramount Pictures in Hollywood, CA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

London Paramount will feature an exciting variety of themed rides and attractions for everyone, especially youngsters, families and groups, as well as crazier rides for the adventurous thrill seekers looking for that next adrenaline fix. In the centre of the resort will be the Entertainment City, which will play host to a selection of indoor, covered and open-air experiences as well as a variety of cafes, bars and restaurants. From time to time, the  City will also be a venue for live shows and music concerts that will set south-east England ablaze. There will also be a special ‘Paramount and Friends’ carnival taking place every day that will see Paramount characters such as Betty Boop, Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and the stars of Madagascar parade and meet-and-greet fans alongside many spectacular shows featuring some of the Paramount studio‘s most iconic characters.

For the more sedate and relaxed, London Paramount will also host West End-quality theatrical and general productions as well as showing of films and other programmes from Paramount, the BBC and Aardman studios, home of the much-loved plasticine comic duo, Wallace and Gromit. There will also be live comedy acts invited to perform at Paramount’s first ever resort on these shores.

The resort plans to opens its doors in 2020, with new rides and attractions appearing shortly afterwards. Highlights include the Port Plaza, paying homage to Kent’s maritime heritage; the Myths and Legends castle, based on the castle that appears on the film studios logo, designed after its founding in 1911 and the oldest Hollywood logo in existence; the Paramount Port Bay, featuring canals and pleasure barges, and the excitingly jaw-dropping Adventure Isle. Other attractions include a 1,500 seat West End theatre, Europe’s largest indoor water park and specially-created wildlife habitats to promote conservation of the animals and plants that call the river Thames’ banks home.

It is expected to attract up to 40,000 visitors per day with a range of hotels and restaurants being planned close by to cater for them.

The London Paramount project is projected to bring a massive financial boost to the Ebbsfleet and greater north Kent region, with the park and associated creative hubs and shopping centres bringing in 27,000 jobs and revitalising the area and local communities as well as having knock-on effects commercially and creatively for the rest of Kent and London.

For more information visit:

http://www.londonparamount.info/

SOURCES:
“WELCOME TO LONDON PARAMOUNT” – Paramount London Entertainment Resort, PPS Group http://www.londonparamount.info/
“RIDES AND ATTRACTIONS” – Paramount London Entertainment Resort, PPS Group http://www.londonparamount.info/the-project/rides-and-attractions/
“Paramount Pictures” – Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paramount_Pictures
“BENEFITS” – Paramount London Entertainment Resort, PPS Group http://www.londonparamount.info/benefits/
“THE PROJECT” – Paramount London Entertainment Resort, PPS Group http://www.londonparamount.info/the-project/
IMAGE CREDIT:
“File:ParamountPictures01.jpg” – Gary Minnaert, Wikimedia Commons (21 January 2007) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ParamountPictures01.jpg

JURASSIC WORLD: The dinosaurs are back!

with Sunny Atwal (feature contributor)

Back in 1993, the first of the instalment of the Jurassic Park movies enthralled and terrified audiences equally with their fearsome flesh-eating T-Rexes and velociraptors, alongside giant plant-eaters like Brontosaurus. We watched in horror as the kids were cornered in the kitchen by a bunch of bloodthirsty raptors and laughed at the sneezing Bronto. The Jurassic Park trilogy helped define millions of childhoods in the Nineties and now the franchise comes roaring back. Directed by acclaimed director Steven Spielberg and starring Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill and Laura Dern, a group of palaeontologists visit a remote island off the Costa Rican coast where a scientist (Richard Attenborough) has created a park of prehistoric lizards derived from ancient DNA mixed with frog genes. Events in the island soon take a turn for the worst as the dinosaurs break free and inflict an orgy of destruction and gory snacking on the Jurassic Park staff and visitors.

Fast forward 22 years and the park has reopened. With the loose T-Rex finally back in its enclosure and the park’s security systems updated, once again the world of 65+ million years back is open to the public.

This time round the film is directed by Colin Trevorrow and stars Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Irrfan Khan, and B.D. Wong. The usual inmates behind the electrified fence are in place along with a host of fun visitor attractions including interactive galleries, dinosaur feeding areas and the ubiquitous coffee shops, but now a group of geneticists bankrolled by investment dollars are hard at work behind the scenes, working on a mysterious ‘hybrid’ dinosaur as the new park’s main attraction. Little do they know that the hybrid has plans for a bid for freedom, one which will bring death and destruction to Jurassic Park once again.

Jurassic World is slated for release in North America on the 12th June, 2015 with the rest of the world following a few days afterwards.

The Half-Eaten Mind brings you a selection of videos, sneak previews and trailers, official and unofficial, of the biggest and baddest dinosaur movie in recent memory.

http://uk.jurassicworldintl.com/

http://www.jurassicworldmovie.co.uk/

https://instagram.com/jurassicworld/

 

The official globally issued trailer for Jurassic World, released on Youtube in high definition by the film’s studios Universal.

Jurassic World – Official Global Trailer (HD)
The Park is Open June 12

Steven Spielberg returns to executive produce the long-awaited next installment of his groundbreaking Jurassic Park series, Jurassic World. Colin Trevorrow directs the epic action-adventure based on the novel “Jurassic Park” by Michael Crichton. Frank Marshall and Patrick Crowley join the team as producers.

Jurassic World will be released in 3D by Universal Pictures on June 12, 2015.

Promo trailer of the Lego toy company’s video game release tied in with the film.

Take a look at this trailer for LEGO Jurassic World which shows off some gameplay footage of the different types of dinosaurs you’ll see in the game.

TV spot advert broadcast in America.

Special featurette video featuring interviews with the film’s cast and how the Jurassic Park films inspired them. Released by Universal Pictures.

Video commentary on the new movie and what it needs to have to be a success, according to Erin Robinson of Clevver Movies.

Jurassic World is stomping into theaters this coming summer on June 12th, 2015 and we could not be more excited! Of course, we could also not be more fearful of this becoming another treasured franchise getting a lackluster reboot. To help avoid such a thing, we compiled a list of 7 things we think need to happen in Jurassic World to make it successful.

In this clip from the movie, Owen flees the paddock of the genetically modified killer dinosaur Indominus Rex as it breaks free and chases him after devouring his colleague.

Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as originally envisioned by John Hammond. This new park is owned by the Masrani Corporation. Owen (Chris Pratt), a member of Jurassic World’s on-site staff, conducts behavioral research on the Velociraptors. After many years, Jurassic World’s attendance rates begin to decline and a new attraction, created to re-spark visitor interest, gravely backfires.

A look at the star of Jurassic World, the Indominus Rex, which makes the T-Rex look puny in comparison. Beware this video contains SPOILERS!!

The park is open. Meet the hybrid dinosaur now at Jurassic World.

HEM 3rd anniversary banner pizap.com14293560242241

 

 

ADDITIONAL SOURCES:
“Jurassic Park (1993)” – IMDb/IMDb.com, Inc./Amazon http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107290/
“Jurassic World” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jurassic_World
VIDEO CREDITS:
“Jurassic World – Official Global Trailer (HD)” – Universal Pictures, YouTube GB (20 April 2015) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJJrkyHas78
“Dinosaur Trailer – LEGO Jurassic World” – GameSpot, YouTube GB (14 May 2015) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcAWX3tR9Oc
“JURASSIC WORLD Extended TV Spot #8 (2015) Chris Pratt Sci-Fi Movie HD” – CBR Trailers, YouTube GB (14 May 2015) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2cc5lQuWfI
“Jurassic World – Featurette: “Welcome To Jurassic World” (HD)” – Universal Pictures, YouTube GB (1 May 2015) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PA4IdQZ7k7w
“7 Things That Need To Happen In Jurassic World” – Clevver Movies, YouTube GB (30 November 2014) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZn_vz9eIr0
“Jurassic World Movie CLIP – Owen Escapes the Indominus Rex Paddock (2015) – Chris Pratt Movie HD” – MOVIES Coming Soon, YouTube GB (23 April 2015) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2R8Dt6WDPU
“Jurassic World – First Look – Indominus Rex – Flix Movies” – BTV, YouTube GB (30 January 2015) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rlwHjZowZQ

 

 

BIRTHDAY SPECIAL: Vijay turns 30

Say R.I.P. to your amazing twenties

As you enter your boring thirties

Say goodbye to your crazy ways

Say hello to monotonous days

Bid adieu to irresponsibility

As you strive towards accountability

Don’t worry, I am just fooling around

Don’t let this rhyme bring you down

You will have the best time at thirty

So chill out, relax and take it easy

Happy 30th birthday

(c) MyNiceProfile.com

Yesterday, Saturday 4th October 2014, I officially kissed my eventful years of being a twenty-something goodbye and said “Oh hi…er…Hello” to my third decade and thirtieth year of milling around on this green, green planet. Needless to say, while you cannot have a cat in hell’s chance of stopping the advances of age, it still was a bit of shock to me. I am actually going to be 30. Thirty!!. That’s a big chunky number. Part of me was telling myself that now I’ve reached the big Three-Zero, maturity and reflection on life was the name of the game, then there was a part of me that felt almost geriatric. Fair enough that I already got my first few white hairs some years back and being tall brings some aches and pains, but this morning I woke up with some noticeable leg cramps. I’m surprised I wasn’t dreaming of dusty suitcases from trips to the hospital, long post office queues and those god-awful 50+ life insurance adverts that infest daytime TV. But thirty is hardly old-age pensioner. It is a decade that will hopefully bring big changes into my life. Marriage, settling down and starting a family, being hired into a better-paid position (hopefully in the media), moving into my first flat,…and many smaller milestones that will turn when and whether. Being thirty is a transition point, a halfway house between the carefree and carelessness of youth and the responsibility, organisation and enhanced maturity of older adulthood.

My thirtieth birthday was a small and private affair with family, with of course many well wishes from friends and acquaintances new and old, and special greetings messages from the extended family in Mauritius. On Friday night (the 3rd of October) I visited my mother, who is recovering from a recent leg operation, to see how she was doing and to have a special dinner with the family. We ordered the food from a local takeaway and I made sure to get my favourite. A lamb doner kebab. This one was tasty but did reek of onions. Sadly there was no cake but I got lots of dosh and a gift box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates, and most importantly the love and best wishes of my family together. My 5-year-old niece even pulled out a little gift from her jacket pocket as she came to hug me and wish me a happy birthday in advance. The gift was a small blue toy car. She must have chosen it especially for me. Once I get a decent-sized place of my own to live in, her toy auto is going on the mantelpiece or shelf. I then went with my niece and my sister to her place, where I spent a short while with her and her husband, before heading off to my home.

Come the big day I was as happy as Larry. I don’t know who Larry is, but I was feeling great. On Facebook, I arranged with my brothers to go to the nearby Westfield Stratford City shopping centre to go bowling and then later, the cinema. It started off a bit crazy though. My brother didn’t have his phone with him as it was in a repair shop having its speaker fixed. He had been having no end of problems with that phone. While chatting to him on Facebook, I had also forgotten to say to him exactly where we were going to meet up as Stratford is  a big place. Cue me waiting like a bum at the area’s bus station for one and a half hours wondering where the hell my brother was. He had been dropped off by car and was also planning to get some clothes shopping in, with the money he received for his own birthday, which falls one week before mine. After frantically Whatsapp messaging my other siblings to try to get to the bottom of this missing persons inquiry, I decided to head up the short walk across the glass-sided bridge to the Westfield shopping district. I started hunting around the nearby clothes shops to see if I could spot the missing brother. No luck. I scanned the crowds, hoping for a glimpse of him. Nah, not happening. Then something told me to head to the Vue cinema that sits on the third floor of the shopping mall. I thought it unlikely he would be there, but I took a chance anyway. Long story short, once I arrived at the picture house, I saw my brother on the balcony of the cinema’s courtyard. He had borrowed another shopper’s phone and was calling home. At the same time as I saw him, one of my sisters messaged me to say where he was. A very strange and almost psychic experience I think. Thankfully we was reunited and went to the bowling alley. All Star Lanes, which is based a very short walk from the cinema, is basically a bowling alley for all ages. It also has an American diner-themed cocktail and milkshake bar with a restaurant serving typical diner food. We booked our lane for the two of us (my other brother was sorting out transport to arrive later to watch the movie). Unfortunately we were told by reception that there would be a twenty minute wait before the lane would be free to use and they armed with a buzzer that looked like an oversized car alarm key. Me and bro decided to kill time by going to the clothes shops. We visited adidas, Topman while my brother tried to find a hoodie he liked. We saw a lot of cool and ridiculous stuff. Ridiculous in both price and aesthetic appeal. Sadly brother could not find the hoodie he wanted. The buzzer apparently went off, but I felt and heard nothing, though I was holding it in my hand to the point my palms were sweaty and probably fusing with the plastic. 

(c) gifovea.tumblr.com via Giphy

We reported back to All Stars and because we had missed the buzz, we had to wait another ten minutes. Me and little brother went to the milkshake bar and ordered a shake each. He ordered vanilla, I got one flavoured with Oreos, in keeping with the American theme. Well mainly really because I have a primal weakness for Oreo-flavoured milky beverages. It was delicious. I was even scooping out the cookie dough like sludge from the bottom of the glass with my straw and eating it because, blimey, it was THAT good. Me and little bro had the third lane from the left and while he was a bowling veteran, this embarrassingly was my first time. I even had to figure out which fingers went into which holes in the ball. I had fortunately played enough bowling of the virtual variety that that experience helped me pick the real thing very quickly. Although little bro triumphed over me, beating my score of 74 points with his haul of 96, we both managed to do I think around three strikes combined, with myself demolishing all the pins on my third go on the lane. It was quite stuffy in the alley though and not even the ice-cold shake could cool me down, but it was a brilliant time.

We sauntered around some more outlets selling designer garments. This time we hit up the Nike Shop and admired their sportswear, their mind-boggling array of trainers, including a ‘trophy case’ display of them pinned to a wall. We saw lurid pink ones, technologically-advanced ones, stylish ones and even ones with holograms and ones that were fitted in material that looked like the metallic skins of bluebottle flies. I saw a few Nike brand basketballs lying around and was tempted to dribble like the great Shaquille and score a triple-pointer. But being booted kicking and screaming (haha, booted) out of Nike by security is not the best way to remember your 30th birthday.

Towards the end of the night, my other brother finally arrived after catching a train from further east and we had booked our tickets. The film we got into was “A Walk Among The Tombstones” starring Liam Neeson. Obviously as it’s a new film, I don’t want to give away any spoilers. I will say that he plays a washed-out former policeman. Divorced and trying to stay sober, he operates as a private detective. A drug trafficker calls on his services to help locate the kidnappers who took his wife. If you are planning to see this film, keep an eye for TJ. He’s hilarious.

My thirtieth birthday may not have been as monumental as other peoples’, but it was a tight family affair. It put a smile on my face and joy in my heart. Reading the many social media messages from my friends and family, plus the texts and calls was the real icing on my birthday cake. Thank you to everyone who made it special. You all made my thirties much, much sweeter.

P.S. For the Half-Eaten Mind’s regular readers on WordPress who were wondering what happened to my usual Saturday article, now you know why!!

Here is a small selection of pictures from my birthday:-

Photo 1: A birthday ‘e-card’ made by my cousin Vipul using some of my Facebook pictures. The theme he ran with was ‘shisha’. One of my hobbies, although it’s been a while since I made an acquantaince with a hookah (stupid snigger). If you’re wondering, my usual flavour is double apple, but I’ve done everything colour in the flavour rainbow, from chocolate to melon.
Photo 2: The toy sports car (Cadillac…Lambo?) gifted to me by my niece Shaniya.
Photo 3: An ‘old chap’ greeting card given by my sister and her family. She just loves to call me ‘grandpa’ now *rolls eyes* *laughs*. I really like the vintage look though, even if it makes me feel a smidgen dessicated.
Photo 4: Another greeting card from my Mum and siblings. Nice blue metallic finish that matches well with Shaniya’s car in Photo 2. I’m seeing stars!!
Photos 5 and 6: Some night time pictures I took of the buildings at Westfield Centre in Stratford City as we waited for my other brother to arrive. The shopping centre does look amazing at dusk.
ADDITIONAL SOURCES:
“30th Birthday Poems” – WishesMessages.com/Valuetivity http://wishesmessages.com/30th-birthday-poems/
IMAGE CREDITS:
“LOOP ANIMATED GIF” – gifovea.tumblr.com via Giphy http://giphy.com/gifs/5BKL0c6zQYWYg
“Happy Birthday 30th” – MyNiceProfile.com http://www.myniceprofile.com/happy-birthday-123299.html
piZap http://pizap.com/
The Half-Eaten Mind/Vijay Shah, Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/110818734@N02

WWE ATTITUDE: An era in wrestling entertainment

By Vijay Shah

The WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) is one of the world’s most widely referenced and talked-about forms of wrestling entertainment. It’s United States-based parent company earns millions of dollars every year from ticket sales alone, bringing to screens and stadia an awesome collection of wrestling greats and gripping storylines. From John Cena’s illicit relationship with AJ Lee to the rivalry of deep hatred between Dolph Ziggler and Alberto del Rio, already this year has proved to be a blockbuster one for WWE, and the sports entertainment franchise has bounced back from a previous decline in quality caused in part by the departure of several big name superstars.

WWE, and its previous incarnation, WWF (World Wrestling Federation) have for nearly thirty years entertained its fans across the globe and launched the careers of some of the sport’s biggest personalities. To really understand how the WWE had become the behemoth of athletic entertainment that it is today, and how it keeps inspiring legions of fans to pursue their dreams of setting foot in the ‘square circle’, we have to take a trip back in time. 

(c) WWE/Wikipedia
(c) WWE/Wikipedia

From about 1995 to the early 2000’s (the exact dates are disputed among WWE scholars), WWE experienced the Attitude Era, an age where it underwent a massive transformation from being a niche, little-known weekly show for die-hard wrestling fans into a multi-million brand whose characters soon overtook superheroes like Batman and Superman as the role model for thousands of children in playgrounds all over the world. WWE Attitude saw the rise of influential superstars. Stone Cold Steve Austin, the Texan Rattlesnake, famous for his quad bikes and consumption of copious amounts of beer. The Rock, the Brahma Bull – the people’s champion who made a lifetime’s work out of giving ‘jabroneys’ a candy-ass whooping. The tough, fearless man-mountain known as Triple H. All of them saw their careers take off in the Attitude days. Established superstars like the Undertaker (who has enjoyed a 30-year career with WWE/WWF) and his brother /on-and-off nemesis, Kane, also were re-invented.

Wrestlers with rival franchises like ECW and WCW (World Championship Wrestling) soon saw the new developments going on at WWF and decided that there was where the action was at. The Bigshow, the world’s biggest wrestler  at 7 feet tall and weighing 500 lbs, alongside the late Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit, decided to jump ship. Making the switch to WWE was a bold move, which took their careers to dizzying heights.

There was a massive change in the programming content. While wrestling enjoyed a boom in televised ratings during the 1980’s, competition with other sports, changing trends and a formulaic approach to setting up matches contributed to the sport’s declining popularity markedly. Attitude changed all that. Gone were the days where wrestlers would come to the ring with just a cheering crowd and a sweaty coach for company. With Attitude we saw a shift to adult-oriented storylines and content, with more violent matches (Tables, Ladders and Chairs & Hell in a Cell for example) being introduced. Characters which were controversially sexist, violent and abusive were created to add further shock value. While many wrestling purists criticised the move by the WWE brand’s owners, the McMahon family, its chief executive, Vince, soon sat back and laughed as ratings soared both in free television shows, and the exclusive pay-per-views made available to America’s rising numbers of cable and satellite viewers. While the purists felt Mr. McMahon was cheapening and devaluing a sport of ancient heritage, that celebrated masculinity and strength, the WWF’s boss knew in his opinion, and certainly in the opinions of many fans, that ushering in the Attitude Era was a solid business decision  one which reverberates throughout the wrestling world to this day.

Stone Cold Steve Austin, one of the World Wres...
Stone Cold Steve Austin, one of the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) superstars performing for the Coalition troops at Camp Victory, Baghdad International Airport , Iraq (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Attitude Era, which some wrestling aficionados pinpoint at starting around the year 1997, took its name from the one-word “Attitude” slogan that appeared under WWE branding used at the time. WWF and rivals WCW were engaged in a bitter standoff that culminated in the Monday Night Wars. The era eventually drew to a close with the  main event of Wrestlemania X-Seven which was held around 2008. After that milestone, the policy of gratuitous violence and over-12’s storylines was shelved in favour of PG-rated family friendly material, a move meant to silence critics of wrestling entertainment’s impact on young minds, but also one that disappointed many fans who were brought up on the tougher stuff that Attitude brought to the WWE.

Along with CEO Vince McMahon, the era’s other main architect was head writer Vince Russo. Russo’s dramatic storylines and match-booking style was dubbed by the media as ‘Crash TV’.

The two Vinces were responsible for the introduction of the effeminate golden-clad wonder that was Goldust. Despite his appearance, he had prowess in the ring, though his fortunes were not always as golden as his Lycra jumpsuit and face paint. The duo were also behind the controversial scene where Brian Pillman pulled a pistol out on Stone Cold, and they also are credited with introducing the WWE Divas, female wrestlers who, although often seen as eye candy to pull in male punters, also held their own in wrestling matches and often had personalities more developed than some of the male athletes they shared the ring with.

Vince McMahon, the Chairman of the Board of th...
Vince McMahon, the Chairman of the Board of the World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Dec. 5, 2006.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was the feud between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, who hated each other even in real life. Russo exploited that, and had them both appear in on-camera interviews where they persistently laid into each other. The conflict, ironically, was over the changes that Attitude was ushering over the changing rooms. Hart disliked the increased sexual content being written into the shows, while Michaels, who once stuffed gauze down the front of his biker shorts while making dirty gestures, favoured the new approach. This rivalry led to Shawn Michaels forming a new collective with Triple H, Chyna and Rick Rude. Named “D-Generation X” and later reforming as just “D-X” minus previous members Triple H and Chyna, the disruptive quartet became legendary for their crotch pumping and X gestures (crotch chops) while shouting the catchphrase “Suck It”

Stone Cold Steve Austin was redubbed as Austin 3:16, also an accompanying  phrase that became a marketing juggernaut for WWF, while helping create a very popular and strangely likeable character out of the leather-clad Texan among fans. Highly irreverent of both his fellow wrestlers and his paymasters, Austin once carried out his signature move, the “Stone Cold Stunner” on Vince McMahon during a special interview in 1997, leaving the CEO unconscious. His gritty humour and ability to call up beer tanker trucks at short notice made him many enemies in the locker room, but an anti-hero among WWE devotees.

Other highlights of the Era included a simmering feud between Shawn Michaels and veteran wrestler The Undertaker. Michaels found himself in the Undertaker’s revenge sights after incurring the Deadman’s wrath by mistakenly striking him with a chair. The Deadman had been wrestling during a crucial match between himself and Bret Hart at Summerslam 1997. Boxer Mike Tyson made a guest appearance at WWF’s franchise show Raw the same year, in which during a segment where Tyson was to be announced as a special referee, Stone Cold showed up and made an offensive middle-finger at the heavyweight boxer (another of Stone Cold’s characteristic signature traits, usually delivered to an opponent before a Stunner). Tyson objected and challenged Austin, leading to a televised scuffle that made media headlines and putting WWF in the spotlight.

English: From left-to-right: Undertaker (real ...
English: From left-to-right: Undertaker (real name Mark Calaway), Vince McMahon, Brock Lesnar and Sable (hidden behind Brock, the blond hair is hers). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Another Attitude Era personality who was strong with witty catchphrases and is still a widely loved legacy of the Attitude Era was the Rock. Born of mixed Samoan and African-Canadian heritage, the Rock, real name Dwayne Johnson, was the progeny of a succession of wrestling greats from the south Pacific. His uncles were Peter Maivia and Jimmy Snuka, who headlined the WWF in its 1970s embryonic days . The Rock made his début in the Survivor Series of 1996, where his novelty and baby face made him a target of booing by disgruntled event-goers  Initially known as “Rocky Maivia” in honour of his illustrious relatives, the boos and chanting of “Rocky sucks” unnerved him, forcing a drastic change. The Rock shed his old personality and was reborn as the self-styled ‘People’s Champion’  and won the Intercontinental Championship belt a few times. He made an art out of ‘talking trash’ and like Stone Cold, would insult all and sundry, even referring to fans as “trailer park trash’ while he was aligned with the Corporation. The Rock soon endeared himself to fans however, thanks to his clever insults, proficiency with the guitar, and his widely emulated wrestling finishers. He was a strong rival of fans’ loyalty with the Texan Rattlesnake for many years, helping pave the way for his current movie acting projects.

The Attitude Era remade the fortunes of WWE and changed the face of sports entertainment. It helped introduce a wider audience to the sport and made massive far-reaching efforts for inter-communal relations, from including a powerful team of female wrestlers to employing athletes from all over the world – such as the Indo-Canadian Tiger Ali Singh, Carlito from Puerto Rico, the gruff and distinctively old-school Lancastrian William Regal and Japan’s diminutive Funaki – and moulding them together as a team in a common arena. Though the era is now very much a thing of the past, it still survives in the WWE’s current lineup, DVD sales fuelled by fans’ nostalgia of those golden days and a successful tie-up between the WWE’s merchandising wing and video games producers. But above all, the impact of the Attitude Era still persists most strongly as memories. Memories that will always remain as fresh as ever among WWE’s family and its fans, no less.

Many thanks to Sunny Atwal for suggesting today’s article.

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SOURCE:
“The Attitude Era” – Wikipedia LINK