Alexander Gordon Smith

Archive for the Category Kung Fu

 
 

US Tour Part 1: Seattle!!

I flew out to the States a week ago today for my Fugitives tour. Seattle was the first stop, which is cool as I’ve always wanted to visit (being a huge fan of Frasier). It’s a cool city, with way too much to ever fit into a couple of days. So I opted to be adventurous and do the least touristy thing possible… The Space Needle!

Lunch at 500ft!

Not only is it stomach-churningly high up, but the whole restaurant actually rotates, meaning that by the time I got up there the last thing I wanted to do was eat a three-course meal! But I soldiered on and managed to finish it without hurling. I was pretty relieved when I got back to solid ground, though.

After the Needle I discovered quite possibly the coolest museum ever built, which is right next door. It’s called the Experience Music Project, and it’s a museum dedicated to music, science fiction and popular culture. Yes, you heard that right. I won’t tell the story behind it here, check out its official page. But the whole building looks like some huge alien craft, and inside there is so much cool stuff!! I spent hours downstairs in their horror movie exhibition, which included awesome genuine props from some of my favourite movies!!

I'm gonna get ya!

There was also a copy of Bram Stoker’s original Dracula Manuscript, complete with his handwritten notes, which was just amazing to see. Sorry the photo isn’t great, if you used your flash they unleashed the xenomorph.

Dracula!!!

How cool is that!!!! There was also a huge Battlestar Galactica exhibition that I rushed around, and an Avatar exhibition that I didn’t get a chance to see. There was so much stuff about music too, but just not enough time!! I would recommend this place to everyone, it’s so much fun. Oh, and there was this, the weirdest thing ever, which turned your shadow into a monster. This is me:

Monster Me!

I also got a chance to make a pilgrimage over to the Lakeview Cemetery, which has a number of famous graves, including one of my heroes, Bruce Lee. He’s buried there because it’s Linda Lee’s hometown. It was a beautiful place, incredibly peaceful and moving. The inscription on his grave reads: “Your inspiration continues to guide us toward our personal liberation.” And he was such an inspirational guy. Brandon Lee is also buried there, by his side, and he has an inscription on his grave that reads: “Because we don’t know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.” So sad  : (

RIP Brucie

I had a good wander around the city, saw Pike Place Market and the original Starbucks, the waterfront and the ferries and some pretty cool buildings, plus I got to ride on the famous Seattle monorail too. It was an awesome weekend, thank you Seattle!

Events started on Monday, and IT WAS THE BEST WEEK OF EVENTS EVER!!!!! I’ll write about it in the next post!

:-)

They make a good cuppa!

How is this building not falling over?!

 

 

Room With a View


Hello everybody! It’s been a good long while since my last entry (which is becoming a rather standard first line in my blogs recently) but I have been on tour again so I do have an excuse! But right now I’m sitting in my new office (the picture above is the view from my window, which isn’t great I have to admit but that is a field you can kind of see in the distance) with a bit of spare time so I thought it was a perfect opportunity to catch up!

Why the new office? Well, I usually work from home, which is absolutely perfect most of the time. However, anybody who works from home will be able to tell you that it is often quite difficult to motivate yourself to do any work at all. “Working from home” becomes more like “washing up from home” or “doing laundry from home” or, more usual for me “playing on the X-Box from home”. There’s just something about getting out of bed and strolling through to the living room that really doesn’t feel like work.

So… Tired of not getting much done, I decided to look for an office. And it was good timing, as two great friends of mine, Luke and Nathan, were also looking for a space to work in that was far enough from the telly (or in Luke’s case a new baby) to be conducive to a little hard work. Luke discovered an old shoe factory just down the road from us that was offering rooms on the cheap, and after a quick look round we took it! It is a fantastic space, and the building itself is very inspiring (well, for horror stories, that is, as it’s full of creepy corridors and shadowy old factory floors). I’ll take some more piccies soon and post them here.

I haven’t had much of a chance to use the office yet (which Luke affectionally named The Garret), as I’ve been so busy on tour. But I have been sitting here today and it’s been so nice to have a space without any distractions (apart from Facebook, and drawing hilarious but inappropriate gags about Nathan on the new blackboard wall…) and I have actually managed to get loads of stuff done!

Anyway, speaking of the tour, I just want to say a huge thanks to everybody who came to see me talk, and who joined in the workshops, I have had an amazing time! I’ll write about it in more detail very soon, but for now let me just give a shout out to all the pupils, teachers and librarians at Edenham School, Oasis Academy, the Archbishop Lanfranc School, the Archbishop Tennison School, Harris Academy and Riddlesdown Collegiate in Croydon, Christ’s College in Guildford, Seven Stories in Newcastle, the Durham Festival, the Richmond Festival, Worksop Library (and the school that came to visit) and Buxton Library! I think that’s everyone… Two more events to go and then I’m taking some time off to do some writing! It has been an amazing month though!

Right, I’m off to Kung Fu, see you all soon!

Hai Ya!

This weekend was a busy one, preparing for our Kung Fu testing on Sunday. We did our first grading three months ago – learning the basic stances, blocks, kicks and punches for our white fringe. Going for the yellow fringe is a great deal harder, however, as you have to have mastered the first three forms – long, complicated routines of punches, kicks and stance work. I love doing forms. They are difficult, but extremely satisfying once you’ve committed them to memory. And they’re great exercise too! So on Saturday we were about to start training when Jamie dropped a bombshell – he didn’t want to do Kung Fu any more! It’s such a shame as it was something I really enjoyed doing with him, but the last thing I want to do is force him to do it. Hopefully it’s just a phase and he’ll come back to it when he’s ready.

So, sans Jamie, Lynsey, Lucy and I headed over to our Kung Fu school on Sunday afternoon, all extremely nervous and convinced that we’d forgotten everything. There were quite a few people doing their testing this time round (which is good in some ways as you can hide at the back behind them all) and we all passed without a problem! So now we’ve all got our yellow fringes, which really does feel like quite an achievement. Well done everybody! We start learning the forms for an orange fringe today, and they look DIFFICULT!!! We rewarded ourselves with a big dominos pizza (well, three of them actually) plus loads of chocolate and then the four of us played poker and watched the first Harry Potter film.

The weekend wasn’t all work, though (not that you can really call any of that work…). On Saturday afternoon Jamie and I went to the cinema to see The Final Destination. We’re both big fans of the previous three films, and the fact that this one was in 3D made it unmissable! The plot was EXACTLY the same as its predecessors. And I mean EXACTLY the same. Only with different death scenes. But the death scenes were what we were going to see, so that’s okay! Every time I see a 3D film I’m amazed by the technology, and this was the first time I’d seen a live action movie in 3D. Absolutely stunning. It really looked like there was blood and guts spurting out of the screen. Lovely! So I’d recommend going to see this at the cinema as on a 2D screen at home it will just be a rubbish horror movie!

And last night Nathan popped round for another Fallout 3 session. I just love this game sooooooo much. I still wish I lived in the Wasteland, how cool would that be?!

Anyway, I’d better do some writing this week as I’m getting a bit lazy… Life can’t be all Kung Fu, cinema and computer games. Can it…?