#I get by with a little help from my friends…#

23 10 2011

Hello again readers, just a quick update this time as it’s been a few days since my last post.

This weekend in my opinion went all too quickly. Organised from a few weeks ago I was going down to Southampton to hang out with my friend Becky for the day on Saturday and then do my usual run around of seeing as many people as possible on the Sunday before I came back to Bicester.

So on Friday I got into Southampton about half past midnight and Dan very kindly loaned his flat to me for the night. Crashing out as soon as I got in I woke next morning to find Dan rummaging around in his room while I lay mummified in his bed. His flat get exceedingly cold! After the standard 90 mins of attempting to get out of bed but getting back had passed we eventually made our way (me, Dan and Becky) down to Number 10 around half 11. A little Italian place on Bedford Place that I don’t remember being there when I was at uni but they do some rather lovely breakfast options.

After Breakfast it was back to Beckys to chill out for a while and decide on what to see at the cinema that evening. In the meantime Happy Feet was put on the DVD, partly because it’s easy to watch and I’d never seen it before. having now seen it, loved it! Tin Tin was decided as the film of choice for the cinema but alas it wasn’t on. We ended up watching Contagion. Which was very good! So if you get the chance I would recommended seeing it. back to Beckys for dinner, we cooked a lovely sausage and bean stew with mashed potatoes. Dan and Jacqui joined us for dinner too which was nice. We sat down to watch Dreamgirls then, another movie I hadn’t seen and again quite enjoyed it.

This morning saw me at the Trago Lounge in Portswood, now being my second visit to there, I will firmly make it one of my places to stop at every time I’m in Southie. I met up with Elly, a friend who I hadn’t seen in almost 2 and a half years after living with her in Southampton, and we had a good old natter over brunch. Thoroughly recommend the Lounge Eggs if you go. They’re a little heavy-handed with the hollandaise but a rather tasty meal. We ended up chatting for a few hours and it was just lovely to reconnect with someone after not having seen them for that kind of time and almost carry on with without missing a beat.

I took a little wonder into WestQuay after me and Elly parted ways and swung by my old store, busy as always but good to see that some things don’t change. On my way to my last stop for the weekend to see Niamh, I passed by a Timpsons and found a selection of canes that I needed for my Halloween costume. After buying one, I decided to see what it felt like walking with the aid of a cane and it’s amazing how differently people perceive you. I was given a wide berth when walking through large groups. People actually apologised after even slightly bumping into me and seats were given up on the bus for me to. An interesting experience. A quick cup of tea with Niamh, some gluten-free sticky toffee pudding and short chatter and I was back on my way home to Oxford only to find I’ve come home to an empty house! I really couldn’t have asked for a more perfect way to end the weekend.

In essence I guess what I’m trying to say, is thank you. Thank you to everyone for this weekend, and thank you for the times that are yet to come. I am fortunate to have so many friends to be able to do these kind of mad rush around weekends and I look forward to the next one. Which in fact is only a few days away, cannot wait!



“To Be, Or Not To Be…”

14 10 2011

Hello again readers

I hope this past week has been pleasant. Today I wanted to talk about stories.

Stories have always fascinated me, whether its told in literature, Video Games, the silver screen or sitting around with friends. I really relish the opportunity to hear a good story, and to tell one myself! Over the years we all accrue our own little collection of anecdotes and tales forged from impromptu nights out or comedic misunderstandings or even emotional tragedy but the one thing I’ve always found to be true of any of these is for me personally, they always illicit a very visceral response. Whether its laughter, shock, tears and all of the above, I can always relate to something within a story.

One of my favourite stories to tell is the one of how my and my best friend Adam met, and over the years we have told it to so many different people in so many different situations it’s developed its own kind of comic double act with each one of us telling one different parts of the story at different points. It’s now gotten to the stage where although I’ll happily tell the story to someone by myself I don’t really feel I would be doing it justice without him there. Of course since then, we amassed our own collection or half remembered nights, and anecdotes that followed. Many of them involving alcohol now I think about it….

Now academically speaking, I think I remember learning somewhere that all stories, are derived from 6 or 7 original fairy tales. And if anyone can confirm this it would be wonderful. My real love is the cross over story. The genre mixes. Stories that keep you guessing till the very end and you go on talking about for a long time afterwards. Earlier this year, I went away with friends to a cottage in Somerset to celebrate birthdays of two of 3 of them, and as the evening wound down after dinner at that point between before the really heavy drinking started we’d be sat around the dining table. KJ, a lovely friend of mine told us a story about her hamster which even now still makes me cry with laughter and the slew of hamster related jokes and impressions that followed after it.

Stories is probably the biggest reason I wanted to become an actor. I wanted to be a story-teller and using my entire being to do it seemed like a dream job. If someone was to offer me a job as an audiobook narrator tomorrow however I’d happily live out the rest of my days doing that. But I digress. Stories was the main reason, the second reason was the opportunity to be someone other than myself for a short time but that’s a story for another day. (No Pun Intended).

So with that in mind, some of you know that I am in the process of applying for the Guildhall School Of Music and Drama to hopefully enter next year. My application is almost complete and ready to send off. I’d really love the opportunity to be able to do what I love professionally so in that regard keep your fingers crossed for me. I’m undertaking a massive reading and devouring most things of theatrical literature I can get my hands on, but if you have suggestions of things that you think would make good audition pieces I’m happy to welcome the suggestions.

Anyway, I just thought I’d share, it’s been a few days since my last post which was a little more emotionally charged, the situation at work is still going on but there are developments which I will post as they happen.

Until next time.


“Endure Master Wayne….”

9 10 2011

Todays post is very much-needed as I need to let off some steam.

I didn’t get a winks sleep last night, and I’m paying for it today. I’m feeling a lot of stress about my situation.

For those unaware of my situation let me enlighten you.

I lived a VERY frivolous and excessive life during uni evidenced by the number of parties, women, clubs etc etc that I went through. As a result I was spending a helluva lot more above my pay grade. A technicality for which I am paying for now. It wasn’t so bad while I was living in Southampton for the 2 years after I graduated from uni. I worked a steady job which allowed me enough money to pay off my debts and maintain some semblance of social life as long as I was conservative with my  partying. And it worked to a great extent. When the tenancy for the flat I was living in at the time with my best friends Dan and Pat came up for renewal we all took a little stock of our lives and decided that maybe it was time to leave the comfortable next that we had made our university home. Acting was and still is my primary focus so i decided to take the plunge and move to London to chase the dream. Dan was going to stay on in Southampton as he’d made a good circle of friends outside of me and Pat through his work and he didn’t want to give that up yet which I can understand, and Pat was originally going to move with me but alas circumstances changed and I ended up going to London by myself. Luckily for me, another old uni friend had a room available in her house at the same time as I was going to move up so things worked out pretty well considering. I was dreading the thought of moving in with randoms!!

So July 2010 I picked up and moved to the big smoke. I was fully prepared for the extra financial burden I was placing myself under by moving there. My continual debt repayment, added to the extra amount I was going to be paying in rent and then factor in the travel cost for the tube and what not and I was looking at a very meager existence at best. But the key thing I kept reminding myself of was that I was there to pursue acting and London would afford me the best opportunity to do it. Obviously I had to work during this time and my then job were gracious enough to let me transfer to a branch in London. This worked out well for a while, but slowly the commute was starting to drain me. Travelling over an hour to get to work in the morning, being on my feet all day and then huffing massive boxes up and down stairs to wait another hour and a half to get home again. It left me with very little time and even less energy to look for acting work let alone go out and audition for things! I was then offered another job and I initially took it thinking that I was going to be on a lot more money for a job that I was fairly familiar with how to do already. Little did I know that my biggest problems were about to start.

The job started out simple enough, same old things I was used to. The people were fun and generally made me feel welcome and it was good to be working alongside some old friends. Things started to turn sour very quickly however when I realised that the money that I had initially thought I was going to be making wasn’t a real possibility due to targets being set so high they became unobtainable and in effect hit my pay packet. Over the following months, my social life came to a standstill, going out was a thing of the past, my diet steadily got worse to the point where for a 6 week stretch I was living on 15p noodles and I’m ashamed to say that occasionally I did shoplift just to have something to eat. The rest of the time I ate by the grace of friends inviting me over for dinner and family who sent care packages occasionally and constantly borrowing money from a friend. Public transport was a daily challenge to see if I could ride the bus all the way to work without being caught by the ticket inspector.

This continued for a few months until I finally started to get things back on track but by that point it was too little too late unfortunately. My money situation had disintegrated into become a hobo in London or move back to Bicester and live in a house where I have to pretend to be someone I’m not. I chose the latter but it was a close call. At home, I have a brother who I don’t get on with because he feels somehow I’ve done wrong by him by studying and going to uni and he stayed at home after messing up his grades at college. He’s also 4 years older than. After having plenty of opportunity to go back and try again he’s decided to blame his failing to get anywhere in his life on me. I have a mother who is constantly wailing, yes I mean wailing, full on religious zealousy, to god about how her youngest son (me) could have gone so far astray from all the profound teachings of Islam they taught me. Free will and choice weren’t great ideas in the household where I grew up. I am still working for the same company as I was in London however I don’t envision this lasting.

So that’s my situation as it stands. There’s more than just this brief nutshell I’ve given you but there’s always another day. Everyday I go to work in a job where I’m not happy and come home to isolation from a family that doesn’t understand me nor does it want to make any attempt to even try to get to know me.

Today really has been one of those days where I would be happy to see the world burn….


Here’s To The Crazy Ones…

7 10 2011

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.

The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.

About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward.

While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

A rather famous quote that although not written by him, is most commonly credited to Steve Jobs and the Apple ‘Think Different’ Ad Campaign.

Having been a few days since his passing now I thought I’d put my thoughts down as so many other people.

His death came as a little bit of a surprise, although I think everyone assumed something was up when he stepped down from CEO earlier this year but it’s still shocking. Poignantly I found out about his death on one of the very devices he helped create and then spending the next hour on said device following the steady stream of tributes and mentions from some of the worlds most famous.

So I’d like to tell you all about my experience of what he created.

If I really think back to it, my first experience of Apple would have been back between the ages of 8 to 11. I recall memories of doing graph drawings on an Apple II I think. At the time, also the first time I had ever used a computer at all so all in all a rather prophetic time almost. After that a few years went by until I got to my college days. Having chosen to do a BTEC in Graphic Design, Macs were par for the course pretty much. They had of course advanced hugely by this point and we were now onto the ages of the G4 Tower and the eMac. And so began a 2 year love affair through college as I toiled away on those machines over the course of my time at college. During this time I took on a part-time job with a small design firm in my town and the affair continued outside of college.

The summer I left college I had decided to pursue my educational career into filmmaking. There was no doubt in my mind that for this, a mac was necessary. I had been preempting this thought for a few months before that, by saving and scrimping together all my wages and gifts and knick knacks I could sell and then finally, in the 3 weeks before I was due to start university, I places that fable call to the Apple sales line. 2 weeks later I was the proud owner of a Powerbook G4 with all the bells and whistles and an iPod for a treat to myself. Prior to this I had been using an Archos Jukebox. A lump of a thing that used 4 AA batteries to work and weighed the same as a small child! Nevertheless, I had now become totally and utterly one of the ‘crowd’ so to speak. That iPod and mac went with me everywhere. That kid you see in the Apple brochures sitting against a tree and tinkering about on his laptop was me! The thing that amazed me about it was how easy it was to use and how I ever managed to get anything done with my old windows machine. I must have had that Mac for almost a year before I discovered iPhoto on it, mainly due to the fact that I didn’t have a digital camera. All that changed the first christmas at Uni when I got a little Sony point-and-shoot camera. That “Penny dropping” moment as it were. Here was a way to treasure some of my fondest memories in a really simple and straight forward fashion. The Mac did get used for a little film editing too but alas, difficulties between transferring files from Final Cut Pro on the uni computers to Final Cut Express on my Mac just didn’t seem to have much joy so it ended up being my everyday computer.

Moving forward a few years and you’ll find me working at Odeon after a stint as John Lewis’s Mac expert on the weekends purely because along with another 3 members of staff, I had and used one on a regular basis. But I digress. I’m at Odeon, and word comes out in a small and subtle way. Apple is coming to Southampton. This began with one of the longest application periods I have ever experienced and it went as follows. I applied in June 2006, didn’t hear anything till October 2006, had an interview in November 2006, finally got offered the job in December 2006 and then started in the final weekend of January 2007. By this point, I was aware of who Steve Jobs was and his following. The Cult of Jobs so to speak!

During my 2 and half years I worked for Apple, I had found a place where the closest thing I can say is it felt like home and that’s no small thing for me. I’ve felt like an outsider for a large majority of my life but here was a place that accepted me warts an all, the friends that I made there became family, some to this day I still have close contact with. Others fell by the wayside and became forgotten but such is the way of life. I think you could evidence the fact that I was happy there by noting to date it’s still the longest job I’ve ever held. I have a lot of respect for that place and who knows, someday I may work for them again.

This is a very nutshell version of what my own experience was, the place and ethos that Steve set for the stores was really why I felt so comfortable there.

I’m not sure why, but this has been a difficult article for me to write. I’m saddened by the loss of a great man but also puzzled as to why it’s saddened me to the extent that is has. I thought to myself at first, it’s just my environment, being isolated from my friends and in a less than ideal environment but at the same time there’s plenty of other things related to that that could upset me but don’t. I’ve never really had anyone in my life to look up to and while I wouldn’t go so far as to say I saw Jobs as a father figure there’s no doubt he did have a profound effect on what I do today. A while before I started working for Apple I had seen the Stanford Commencement Speech, and I’m sure like many people it changed the way they look at things. It was at that point when I really started to believe in myself. Like I could actually achieve something.

I can’t really think of anything else to say so I’ll end with a simple goodbye and the conveyance of my deepest respect to one of the greatest men that I never had the opportunity to meet.


Your Mind Is The Scene Of The Crime…

4 10 2011

Hello again readers

I sit here today still suffering the effects of a particularly stubborn viral infection. At least that’s what the docs tell me anyway so I just felt like having a ramble.

A few hours ago I went back to bed as the pills I’ve been taking make me very drowsy so I gave in to the slumber and thus began a very weird and wonderful dream in which I played a wide range of roles. Some in part related to my current area of study, The Merchant Of Venice by William Shakespeare.

Although I do like Shakespeare I’m actually working through this as a means to learn some audition pieces for applications to Drama School next year. I have hopes of going to The Guildhall School of Music and Drama to study providing I can pass their 3 stage application process and get the funding, that would make me one very happy chappy :-).

So back to dreams, I often have my most vivid dreams if i’ve had some form of cheese related food before going to bed and went through a period a few years ago where I would purposefully eat two cheese toasties before going to bed! Todays particular dream saw me in the shoes of Shylock for the first half of the play as that’s where I’ve read up to so far but with an altogether more modern twist on the setting. Think Baz Luhrmanns Romeo and Juliet but for The Merchant Of Venice instead. With the principal characters being played by my friends who I’ve seen very recently, one of which has no interest in Shakespeare so an altogether odd experience to see him reciting lines for Bassanio!

I have the Al Pacino version of the play sat on my shelf ready to watch after I finish reading it so we’ll see how our performances fare comparatively. Once I have chosen which ever speech I decide to do I may upload a video on here to get some feedback from yourselves.

Anyway I shall let you people go, I just wanted a quick ramble. The next one may well be longer :-)

Toodles! x


The Importance of Being an Asshole by Kalam Abul

1 10 2011

Tonights post will be a shortish one due to me being a little worse for the wear. Caught the flu off a friend of mine after staying with him for the last week.

Two things:

1). Allow me to explain the title of tonights post first. I am going to attempt with all my blog posts to attempt to have some form of link back to film, TV or theatre as they are my favourite forms of media with Video Games and books coming into a close second. That having been said let’s move on with why I chose this particular title.

2). The eagle-eyed among will have no doubt realised this is a play (No pun intended) on the title of The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde.  The reason for choosing such a title will become clear.

“Nice Guys Finish Last”

A phrase I’m sure we’ve all heard and are familiar with to a degree. My own experience of the phrase coming in the form of Jim Carrey in The Mask as Stanley Ipkiss, the banker who wrote to a magazine with the article was entitled in the same catchphrase. I never really gave it much thought until I hit my late teen years when I became much more aware of the opposite sex and all the shenanigans of which I’ll spare you the details of my debauchery.

Now to touch on something for a little back story, let’s go back to my father. I think I’ve established in my previous post (The Opening Number) that he wasn’t exactly the greatest father. One of his biggest downfall in my eyes was his lack of education to me about the fairer sex. The “birds and bees talk” wasn’t something I was familiar with or even aware of until my late college years by which point American Sitcoms and the internet had provided me with sufficient enough knowledge to be able to keep up with the conversations with friends when it turned to such matters. What these things didn’t cover however was how to get to the “birds and bees” part. Lets fast forward to my first year of university. You have a socially awkward teen whose just decided to against the teachings he’s been brought up with throughout his entire life and you have potentially a recipe for an excellent Channel 4 Documentary or an E4 sitcom. Neither was the case for me.

Through an incredibly LONG  and sometimes painful process of trial and error I began to understand how to talk to girls without becoming a blubbering mess and in time, sleep with them. Alcohol playing no small part in this entire scenario. As time went on however and I became more adept at my extra curricular activities it dawned on me, and I’m ashamed to say at that point in my life, women had become very a disposable fancy for me to the point where looking at it retrospectively I wasn’t actually a very nice person, in fact I was a bit of a downright dick! I decided then and there that I should mend the error of my ways and endeavour to find a serious girlfriend or relationship as I didn’t particularly like the person I’d become. After numerous dates and failed attempts at any kid of meaningful connection I was still single and no closer to having what could be referred to as a girlfriend. As a side note, since then I have had 2 meaningful relationships….sort of. More on that in the future!

So what was it that changed between the “getting laid regularly Kalam” and the “treats women nicer and single Kalam”? And this brings me to my main point today.

I had a conversation with a friend recently where he told me about a work colleague of his, who on a night out professed to him that she was attracted to mean guys. Now she has a boyfriend and my friend has met him. According to him, said work colleague and her boyfriend had a good banter back and forth but hardly what you’d call being mean to each other. My friend is possibly the most harmless guy you’ll ever meet, a bit naive sometimes but he’s generally what you’d refer to as a “Nice Guy.” So on this night out, she’s had a few drinks and she tells him that there’s another guy in their office that she gets turned on by because for lack of a better phrase, he treats her like crap, but her brain tells her that she should want to sleep with my friend because he’s the more attractive of the two but she wont because he’s “too” nice. So they carry on drinking and she says that she’s going to tutor my friend to be mean so that’ll he’ll become more the kinda guy that she wants to sleep with. This takes place over the next hour and the save you time the punchline is they end up kissing. (I have warned him against the dangers of getting involved with someone already involved and someone he works with too, sticky situation to say the least)

Let’s just have a look at what happened there, he started acting like an asshole and voila! Instant results. Whose to say if he hadn’t continued more wouldn’t have happened. And maybe that’s what it is at the end of the day. Sometimes you have to be an asshole. Nice guys do finish last, and I have no doubt if there wasn’t alcohol involved that night he probably would have shied away from the whole thing, but as it is, he didn’t and now has a slight insight into the female psyche. That’s not to say all women are like that, but maybe that’s the same reason for my success let’s sat those years ago.

Women don’t necessarily like “bad boys” but they do like men who challenge them. The difficulty is striking the right balance between not being a complete dick and not being a complete pushover. The double life that we all lead with different relationships that we cultivate, as you’d never speak to your mother or your sister with the same banter style conversation you would to an attractive woman in a bar, yet using some of those same conversational skills might help you get that raise or promotion at work.

In some small way aren’t we all an Earnest and Jack Worthing?

Just something that’s been knocking around in my brain for ages and I’m sure some of this many of will be familiar with already.

Just something to think about :-)

Till next time

Kal x

PS – So much for being a shortish one :-P lol