Support for Mental Health

Hi all. Wizard has decided to offer a way for you all to reach out and chat if you are struggling at the moment.

You can email the Wizard on psychwizard@yahoo.com

You can contact day and night, there is no limit. Anything you are struggling with, he will listen. If you want to share that email address with someone who you think could benefit from a Wizard chat, please share the email!

Wizard hopes to create a WhatsApp group or another online support group soon where people can come together and chat informally about any struggles they have.

when you are feeling down in the dumps

turning round and giving yourself thumps

time to jump into the abyss

maybe someone will just about miss

who can blame you all for this

was coming eternal that we should be in this

Wizard ‘White Light’

Photo by vectors icon on Pexels.com

I have to give a presentation next Monday on the Youth Justice System…

Green tea is very beneficial for you. Wizard frequently drinks it. Apparently the benefits of such tea includes things like improving mood, increasing concentration and assisting in weight loss and sugar control…

Wizard also enjoys trying to use such substances to enhance his mind set when he is meditating. Aside from tea he also manages to write poetry as you know.

He still reiterates that you need love and self love. You need to love yourself and treat your mind and body with respect and remain loyal to God. Gaining all the power you need is easier than you think.

Treat people kindly, eat healthy, try not to spend too much time in front of the TV… you get the point yes? Maybe you consider yourself more than a billboard or advertisement? Personally I agree with Wizard most of the time, he has some interesting things to say. He also highlighted the importance of spending time together, smiling, and having a good time overall. I think you probably should be spending more time together, being ‘you’ and not holding back. Otherwise what is left?


Being British is good. He recommends people to take a moment to appreciate your origins. To really accept and put some faith and loyalty back into your native country. He sees many people nowadays who are abandoning their home countries in search of something better. Hindsight?

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Wizards lair is full of smoke sometimes, not the bad kind,maybe more of a myst? Myst as in mystical. Light or inner light that is found and worked using nothing but his bare hands is pretty incredible. Shaping and forming who you are from the inside out, and not the outside in. Being able to distinguish good people instantly, and being able to detect potential danger a mile away. Practice of meditation to strengthen the mind from the noise we all endure on a daily basis. He uses various shades of purple, not a lot though, as too much can be over powering. Purple is the colour of the highest vibrating state and that of the crown chakra. A symbol of Royalty, power and fantasy… To use to much can be akin to arrogance, as once upon a time it was only afforded by the wealthy.

magic

shooting from finger tips

love dripping from thy lips

pluck the petal

mixing metal

alchemical 

frying night

aura

Abandoned (Haiku)

Lonely fish swimming

sees the sunlight through the waves

there is no others

I guess it’s hard to love yourself when you feel abandoned

Wizard

My first real attempt at Haiku. Hopefully I did it correctly and that you enjoyed this.

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come and buy me

get your reward

you will never be bored

otherwise we cut the chords

of your life

maybe harass your wife

cause you tons of strife

did you see me?

hiding beneath the, freeway

painting coded rainbow sound

on your walks

in your mind

... and on your time


Dream Theater – The Astonishing – Review

A review of the massive The Astonishing concept album and the second concept album from the band written by guitarist John Petrucci.

A run time of 2 hours making this one of their longest albums. I would have reviewed it sooner but since its release in January 2016 I have needed all these years to let the story sink in. I think at the time I wasn’t quite ready to embrace all of this album. Only a few years ago did I start to listen to select songs from the album again. But ultimately the album is amazing, and I mean that.

It’s full of an incredibly inspiring story about music. It has its own cast of characters and fictional places. It has some amazing songs and singing, which I have yet to find anywhere else. The reason I appreciate it all now so much is because of the story and how beautifully the songs fit with the plot. 2 of the songs, ‘The walking shadow’ and ‘my last farewell’ although slightly sad, are really great songs. ‘A new beginning’ and ‘our new world’ really highlighting the bands musical talents. This is a softer album, but nonetheless powerful. I am not sure whether you need to listen more than once, but I needed to to understand many aspects.

You have to listen from start to finish to follow the story although I selected songs to listen to which I believed could also be in order and you would not be able to tell. This is a rock opera not to miss. It has all the elements of fantasy, both light and dark that you could want. It is musical equivalent to the Lord of the Rings. The main cast of characters from The Astonishing are :

  • Nafaryus: Emperor of Great Northern Empire of the Americas.
  • Arabelle: Empress and wife of Nafaryus.
  • Daryus: Crown Prince. Son of Nafaryus and Arabelle.
  • Faythe: Princess. Daughter of Nafaryus and Arabelle. Love of Gabriel.
  • Gabriel: Musician from Ravenskill and brother of Arhys. Love of Faythe.
  • Arhys: Brother of Gabriel, commander of Ravenskill Rebel Militia, father of Xander, husband of deceased Evangeline.
  • Evangeline: deceased wife of Arhys.
  • Xander: Son of Arhys and Evangeline.

The story is set some time in the considerable future. James Labrie deserves a lot of credit as the vocals on this album are particularly strong, not only throughout, has he managed to capture the ‘voices’of the characters, but he has portrayed them as human, whilst giving an amazing performance. It took real courage to develop this album, so you deserve the credit, Dream Theater.

The below is extracted from wikipedia:

Act 1

In 2285, the northeastern region of the United States has turned into a dystopia ruled by the oppressive Great Northern Empire of the Americas. The only resemblance to entertainment that exists is the electronic noise of the Noise Machines (NOMACS). The empire is ruled by Emperor Nafaryus, Empress Arabelle, Crown Prince Daryus, and Princess Faythe. In a distant village called Ravenskill, a man named Gabriel possesses the natural ability to make music and sing (“The Gift of Music”). He has an older brother, Commander Arhys of the Ravenskill Rebel Militia, who has a son, Xander, with his deceased wife, Evangeline (“A Better Life”).

Nafaryus hears a rumor about Gabriel being the savior of the people. He and his family travel to Ravenskill to see him for themselves (“Lord Nafaryus”). In the Ravenskill town square, Gabriel is performing for the people when the royal family shows up. He continues playing at the emperor’s request (“A Savior in the Square”), nearly bringing them all to tears (“When Your Time Has Come”). As he plays, Faythe remembers how she found a music player when she was a child and kept it a secret all her life, and as she and Gabriel stare at each other and fall in love (“Act of Faythe”). Nafaryus, though briefly moved by Gabriel’s song, sees him as a threat to his rule and gives the people of the town three days to deliver their savior to him or he will destroy the town (“Three Days”). Arhys hides his brother and refuses to give him up (“Brother, Can You Hear Me?”).

Back at the Emperor’s palace, Faythe decides that she must see Gabriel again. Disguising herself, she begins to travel back to Ravenskill. Arabelle, knowing about her daughter’s intentions, instructs Daryus to follow and protect her. Daryus feels he has always been overlooked by his father in favor of his sister, so he travels to the town with his own intentions (“A Life Left Behind”). Faythe arrives in the town and finds Xander, who trusts her and leads her to his father Arhys. Faythe convinces Arhys that she can help, so he brings her to Gabriel’s hideout. Gabriel and Faythe embrace, and she tells him that she believes she can convince her father to give up his hunt for Gabriel (“Ravenskill”). Gabriel tells her that if he could just meet with the Emperor, he could inspire him to restore peace to the land using his gift of music (“Chosen”).

Meanwhile, Daryus finds Arhys’ home and takes Xander captive. Daryus promises he will guarantee the safety and wealth of Xander in return for Arhys bringing Gabriel to him. Daryus does this hoping that it will gain him respect from his father (“A Tempting Offer”). Arhys is forced to agree to the deal, remembering a promise he made to Evangeline to protect their son (“The X Aspect”). Faythe travels back to her father’s palace and learns that her music player once belonged to her father. After a while, Nafaryus bows to the pleas of his daughter (“A New Beginning”) and agrees to meet with Gabriel at an abandoned amphitheater called Heaven’s Cove (“The Road to Revolution”).

Act 2

Arhys informs Daryus that Gabriel will be at Heaven’s Cove that night (“Moment of Betrayal”). While the meeting time approaches (“Heaven’s Cove”), Faythe decides that she wants to use the power of her royal status to change the world for good (“Begin Again”). At the amphitheater, Arhys changes his mind on the deal, and when Daryus shows up, they start a fight. Daryus overpowers Arhys and kills him (“The Path That Divides”), unaware that Xander followed them and saw the whole scene. As Xander runs to his father’s dead body, Daryus sees the silhouette of someone approaching him. Assuming it to be Gabriel, he attempts to kill him, realising too late that it is actually Faythe (“The Walking Shadow”). Gabriel arrives at the scene and sees his dead brother and the dying Faythe. Covering Xander’s ears, he unleashes a scream that causes Daryus to go deaf and that is heard by Nafaryus, Arabelle, and the entire town (“My Last Farewell”).

Nafaryus and Arabelle arrive and beg Gabriel to use his gift to save Faythe (“Losing Faythe”), but Gabriel is unable to sing after screaming so loudly (“Whispers on the Wind”). The people, attracted by the scream, show up and start singing, giving Gabriel hope. He finds his ability to sing and brings Faythe back to life (“Hymn of a Thousand Voices”). Nafaryus, realising what he has done, decides to end the conflict with Gabriel and shuts down the NOMACS for good. Daryus is forgiven for his actions, and Gabriel and Faythe raise Xander as a family (“Our New World”). Nafaryus promises to govern the empire as a fair leader in a new world where music is appreciated again (“Astonishing”).


It can be quite a moving story. The last part where Gabriel saves Faythe rather than Aryhys struck me as strange. Why not bring back his brother, rather than the princess who is the daughter of the bad leader? Why does Gabriel let his love for Faythe come before his love for his brother? Thoughts like this should be allowed and questions should be answered. It’s a very bitter sweet ending. The journey is thoughtful and interesting. There could have been more characters, but it is small enough to remember and yet, enough to make it nice and complicated. If you tried to figure out the story just by listening to the songs, maybe looking at the insert inside the album, you might understand the story… might. You should read the synopsis first to get a grip of this vast album.

Take a good listen to the songs. Such music as ‘a life left behind’ and ‘chosen’ are real great examples of genuine rock music, not only rock music, but more developed sounding music. It has all the elements of soft rock. I’d argue dramatic too. ‘Chosen’ is definitely a ballad. It is also more than that, it’s a love song.

The entire story focuses on using the magic and power of song to save and free the kingdom. We can see that it is also a love story with sad losses and happy endings. The album is considerable different to the original concept album by Dream Theater – ‘Metropolis part 2. Scenes from a memory’, released in 1999. It is lighter in tone, but also seems to be able to be received by more people. It is no doubt a dividing album, splitting the opinion of fans. As a fan myself I originally felt really let down. But it is a good album. I suppose as a band the highlights are there, vocally at least, even if you cannot appreciate the sweeping guitar parts. Drums are not as prominent and neither is bass. Keyboard/piano and guitar are at the forefront of the entire story with the singer. There is a lot of acoustic guitar work and there is the use of instruments that really mix things up. The band utilise bagpipes in the song ‘The X Aspect’. They use the FILMharmonic Orchestra Prague, Pueri Cantores boys choir, and Millennium Choir.

When we approach the end of the album ‘Hymm of a thousand voices’ stands out as being a subtle yet beautiful song about this large group of people being called to use their voices to save someones life. They gather together and light up the dark using Sky lanterns and candles. It’s a good way to bring hope and peace to the land, to introduce once again ‘the gift of music’ that Gabriel was capable of.

As we become aware of what changes have unfolded, ‘Our New World’ stands out as a really enjoyable and moving song about starting to build a new world after the absence of music. Faythe and Gabriel go off together with Xander, and they will start to live out the rest of their days. We have to wait until the very end to hear ‘Astonishing’, which is a good an ending as any. It has been astonishing and an incredibly complicated journey, yet all over so quick… ‘Because of you I live again… now I can be a voice for change’.

Although the Astonishing is something of a dividing concept album, it has many great songs, great music, great story and vocals and aims to be one of the better ‘stories’ in modern music. Remember Pink Floyds The Wall? Yeah, Dream Theater aimed this high, and did very well.

I think you’d be able to listen to this album and feel fairly satisfied at how a lot of it plays out, suprisingly so.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

*It doesn’t quite get 5 stars. We all need to be able to appreciate efforts like this.* Well Done.

Thanks for reading.

Temptation

Every once in a while...

claws drag down my back

I pull the cloak from the rack

ocean waves... roll back

city skyline, turns black

temptation, like a viscous attack

clackety clack... there is no way back

temptation, emptying its wholesome pack

on you

check out this old post from 2016!

The Oscars Assault

Today I found out that Will Smith has allegedly assaulted Chris Rock at the Oscars. I was told that it was a punch. I didn’t believe it. I thought it was staged. When I got home earlier, I searched YouTube for the clip. It is on there.

I can’t really believe it. When I started to watch the clip, and I heard the joke about Smiths wife, I didn’t think much of it. Will Smith is also laughing at the joke. But off camera, he must rise from his seat and start to walk on stage.

This is where we start to see that divide between rich and poor. Not only can the rich and famous get away with assaulting someone on live air, but also killing people too. That latter part is me referring to Alec Baldwin shooting someone on set. You see in the normal world, if I did that, slapped someone hard in the face, I’d be arrested. There are millions of witnesses, and yet, what is the outcome?

Chris Rock handled it well being a comedian. You can tell that he is genuinely shocked and the incident seems to be one of two things. It could be the result of a hidden feud between the pair and this is the climax, which is not unusual in Hollywood, where stabbing people in the back on live air seems to be the norm. It could also be the result of Will Smith being so rich and famous that it has gone to his head. Seriously, what was he thinking?

Being rich does not give you a free pass. In fact, being such a role model ought to have consequences. I suspect his masters will be having a word with him, possibly some form of payout to keep it ‘looking good.’ Then there is the mass of delusional celebrities stating that he was defending his wife. No… he attacked Chris Rock. That is not defending anything. If he had shouted at Chris from his seat rather than hitting him, that would have been defending her. Instead he took it too far. I guess you can see ever so slightly that he is upset about the incident. Maybe he had enough of the roasting that they all get? Maybe he had no other way to demonstrate ‘doing the right thing.’

But in reality, there is more to this. To do it live on air, in front of all those people is more a statement of ‘look who I am, and what I can do,’ rather than being a defence against words. Also, since we are talking about jokes, it was not that funny. Free speech campaigners including famous celebs have constantly advocated for freedom when it comes to stand up comedy. Is Will Smith stating that he is against freedom of expression in comedy? What he is ultimately trying to prove? The matter could and should have been resolved off screen and no doubt that it will impact his image.

There are better ways to deal with issues. I urge you all not to take notice of this incident as a way to deal with them. You can do it better. Will Smith can too, and I suspect that if he is a good human with a good heart that he will apologise. Apologising at the Oscars to the academy is his way of bowing to the corporate masters who can cut him off from it all. Basically, he realised he messed up.

What do you think? It’s a hot topic right now, so I wanted to see how you all felt too.