Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Dancehall Lovers- Macini Hits Spain this Friday!


Sharing a recent Facebook update:

'Popular Dancehall/Reggae artist Macini is thrilled to announce that he’ll be performing again in Europe on Friday 23rd June. You’ll find him pumping up the party vibes at Sin’s Villa Pool Party, Cala Tarida, Sant Josep- perfect for Ibiza. ‘Man A General,’ as he’s become known since first performing his song in Gambia where he thrilled an audience of over 20,000 at the NationalStadium, has found his career spiralling upwards. Macini was invited to Germany off the back of this song, and Shaggy was so impressed when Macini sang it at Shaggy’s single release party where Stylo G also performed last year, that he called him back on stage and shook his hand! More recently Macini has blown people away with ‘Bad Gal,’ a song for the ladies, receiving airplay worldwide which has resulted in countless interviews and invitations for live performances including the Pool Party. Macini’s next interview is ‘the biggie’ on Jamaican Station ‘Nightly Fix’ at 3pm Jamaican time, Tuesday 13th June; so catch it if you can! Make sure to link with Macini on your social network sites for more updates.' 

Jaz McKenzie~The Word Magician

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Reality TV- Are we doing our kids a favour?


The world of reality TV has opened new doors- but what do you want for your child? To dream about being on TV and becoming a celebrity or would you prefer them to understand that there's more to life? This is a one of the challenges facing today's parents.

Progress is and was and ever will be. Children used to be children but now they're frequently mini-me's due largely to media influence across the board; but following on from fashion, a new phase has swept nations worldwide to influence us- it's called reality TV.

Reality TV has become so popular it's taking over more than the airwaves, it's actually programming our minds. Top of the list are the talent contests which have gained incredible momentum, giving people their 5 minutes of fame and possibly a great career. Having proved hugely successful, The Voice is now running a children's talent contest. Is this simply ITV capitalising on our hunger for talent and love of child performers or do the producers genuinely want to offer youngsters an opportunity? That's the first debate- the second is; are these programmes of real value to children?

In some ways society seems to embrace talent above and beyond other more basic values. To be a star is a common dream and always has been, but today there are many more avenues to fame, so all children have to do is keep dreaming and keep practicing! Many youngsters have grown up in the talent show era and the only thing they have ever wanted to do is get on the Xfactor or similar. It could be deemed sad given that the vast majority will not make it beyond the auditions, however ambition is a better choice than lack of ambition and gives children something positive to work towards. The Xfactor has a track record of producing huge stars- not so with The Voice, but at the same time it is very cruel; the nature of the business is cut throat so unless your youngster has a steel core they will endure heartache.

There have always been truly talented children who are destined for fame and these children will naturally be obsessional about their dream, rightly believing them to be their destiny. The majority of children on The Voice have musical backgrounds, attending stage school or having experience of gigging and singing in public. They really want to make this their career. But children are susceptible to suggestion and trends, so how many just jump on the band wagon and see this as their escape from what might be considered a less glamorous future? Years ago children wanted to be policemen or air hostesses- thanks goodness we have moved away from gender stereotypes; so is this really any different or do these shows fill a generation with false hope?

Children's pageants have been running for years and we are often horrified by compulsive, driven parents who deprive their children of childhood in order to live their own dreams and drag their children around the country. Children have always been pushed if they show talent; gymnasts, footballers and ballerinas come to mind- but how does this equate with new TV opportunities? That will depend upon the parent, but what is the reality in households where dreams such as these are prevalent and the children are not being coached? Coaching is the key difference here however you could say the application process will weed out the no-goers and acts as a safety net. You could also say that these programmes provide free tuition for children with potential and give them the kind of contacts and opportunities they cannot otherwise access.

Social history is interesting. Years ago the average teenager admired pop stars and had countless posters on the wall, dreaming of meeting their idol, but now huge numbers want to be the star. Is reality TV a good thing or a bad thing? It's definitely not a trend having continued to grow  rapidly over more than a decade. If you have children, it's something to think about. We need to encourage ambition and ambition is born of dreams so it's a difficult balance. Children grow up fast physically and have more emotional pressure than they did a couple of decades ago, so we need to be clear as to our own family values and create as many care-free hours for our children as possible. Keeping it real is key. Family, friendships and school should come first and your children should benefit from using their leisure time as they choose.

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician

Saturday, 10 June 2017

How well do you handle criticism? Reject Criticism~ Reject Growth-


All of us face criticism at times within our personal and professional lives. Dealing with criticism requires a level of self-confidence and maturity coupled with understanding. When criticism is dished out on a regular basis it can impact upon the individual's confidence and personality, creating self doubt and acting as a barrier to natural positive energy. In the long run constant criticism can lead to low self-esteem in both children and adults, who often become easy to manipulate as they begin to doubt their capacity to think for themselves and make good decisions.

When does criticism become intrusive? People who consistently criticise a particular person are actually abusing them through an insidious form of bullying. Sometimes people do this through their misguided belief that repetitive criticism will spur people into action. It doesn't work. People who are constantly told to do something such as lose weight or stop smoking rarely respond to criticism especially if they are made to feel badly about themselves.

Now let's good consider 'good' criticism, the type designed to help us move forwards. When people are very skillful criticism can come across more as suggestion. Example: When shopping, you might pick up a top that seems to drain the colour from your complexion. Rather than saying- that top's dull and does nothing for you, a sensitive person might just offer a couple more tops for consideration. Where this technique is used you create a win-win situation. Even if the person sticks with their original choice, you have presented an opportunity to expand their thinking; the aim of critique.

When we have what we believe to be brilliant ideas it can be hard to accept criticism, especially when we feel flushed with success, but we are all students in life and learn great things from one another. I was criticised by a friend last night and yes, I naturally felt defensive however I have learnt to listen patiently, go away and digest the information. Sometimes I will seek other opinions or research for myself before making a decision regarding the advice received.It is this process that leads to growth. If you receive criticism from an expert, realise that experts usually get it right due to their wealth of experience.The times people refuse expert advice on programmes such as 'Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares,' or 'The Hotel Inspector,' are rare. People often put up resistance initially, especially as people such as Gordon Ramsey deliver their critique likes bulls in a china shop, and barriers may need to be removed before advice can be actioned. If you feel really upset by a criticism, ask yourself why. It might just be they way the criticism was delivered. Alternatively, it could go a lot deeper especially if viewed as personal. Uncomfortable feelings usually point us towards issues needing to be resolved or suggestions that might go against our integrity. Past experiences can be the underlying issues that create a defensive stance. Of course, experts aren't always right so just understand the reasons for your decisions and allow gut instinct to have its say.

 At work we receive performance reviews to help us identify our strengths and weaknesses. SWAT analysis are essential tools for large and small organisations, enabling them to constantly monitor goals, input and output. Achievement is key. Ultimately strengths and weaknesses occur in everyone and everything. Pause for thought: the beauty and strength of the flower lie in it's roots, colour, shape and scent however the stem is usually it's weakest point and if bent, can destroy the flower. It's worth remembering that weakness is natiral, especially when feeling vulnerable.

We often criticise ourselves, but how many times have we done something a certain way for years and suddenly discovered an easier way to do the exact same thing? It's part of our purpose as we are here to develop and expand, not to stay still! Good bosses encourage employees to assess themselves and good bosses seek criticism regarding their own performance. This is why organisations send out questionnaires and sales assistants often ask you to go online and comment on their service. Evaluation is an everyday tool so we should embrace criticism, but not be overly critical and too harsh on ourselves- that can create fear of failure.

Criticism activates the mind. We often pay to be criticised- does that sound strange? If you pay for tennis lessons your technique needs to develop so you will be criticised whilst you're learning- and at world class level when you make a mistake! The question is, how well do you give and receive criticism?

Once we accept criticism and decide to act on it we create new momentum in our lives- change activates momentum. People notice when we do things differently and often comment on our growth. As we improve new opportunities reveal themselves leading to more choice and control over our lives.

Be wise- actively encourage criticism and open the doorway to growth and opportunity- alternatively, stay where you are and critise those who critise you, keeping the ball of negativity rolling!

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician Contact: itsbraap@live.co.uk



Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Black Diamond- Poetical Tribute to Angie Le Mar



Recently I blogged about Angie Le Mar's book launch, an event that quite literally spoke volumes. As I concluded my piece the words, 'Black Diamond,' jumped into my mind; so I immediately started working on the poem! After several edits it has reached a point fit for publication. Many of my works are posted unedited but when writing biographical poetry or poems of significance such as, 'A Change is Gonna Come,'  and 'Warrior For Love,' I like to sit on them for a while as they tend to brew, just like a good cup of tea! I believe that when crediting people who have made an impact on me, attention to detail is especially important.

Just a quick note regarding this beautiful image of Angie, I discovered it at schotheatre.com and decided to go with 'natural' as we're speaking 100% real woman!

BLACK DIAMOND
A tribute to comedienne, presenter and personality: Angie Le Mar

You’re a black diamond
No debate
Without question
A jewel in Black British history
Your-story, needing to be told
So you led the way by writing immortal lines
Revealing the winding road to your fame,
Whilst riding a horse
In life’s un-ending Grand National
Whose official name is
‘I can open any door!’
You tackled life head on
Setting yourself challenges
And jumping hurdles of ‘ISMS
Whilst blinkered by dyslexia-
So let’s give thanks for these afflictions
Without which there would be no solutions!

Forward vision hastening
Beneath you a concrete foundation
Eyes fully opened to the truth
My future is in my hands
And I am strong!
I will overcome every set back
I will create change, cut a path
Through the carefully laid strata’s
Of British society, World society
When the cap doesn’t fit
I’ll throw it to the wind!
And design the beret of my choice
Using textures and colours
Knit from the fabric of my life

You see- the talents of a woman
Are aligned with the truths of her soul
And there is nothing on this earth
That can keep the cork in the bottle
When personal expression reaches overload
Non-acceptance, ambition, desires- explode
IGNITED- the Black Diamond creates
Energy, fueling her destiny
In the only way she has ever known
Whatever you start... Finish
The greatest lesson imparted
By a loving Father to his Daughter
Absorbed by the Black Diamond
Of comedy, wisdom and ingenuity

Life is an upward spiral of expansion
And satisfaction, a constant evolution
Where love, faith and charity commune,
Leaving the presence of the Black Diamond
To remain in her wake
As a spark of pure joy, an inspiration
Dwelling in the hearts of those
Who truly appreciate the richness
Shared by such an open, honest soul.

But how do we benefit from the richness of her legacy?
By overstanding the core values
In evidence before our very eyes
Laughter, love and empathy
The humanitarian formula
At the centre of the Black Diamond
And therein, lies the secret of her success
The pathway to individual happiness and fulfillment
A great example to our generation
And all those who follow on.

Jaz McKenzie ©2017



Friday, 26 May 2017

BGT- Age is nothing but a number for The Pensionaires | Britain’s Go...



Britain's Got Talent is one of our most successful TV shows and has gone from strength to strength. Every year the acts become more complex and we really do see things we have never seen before. People are frequently on the edges of their seats for many of the artists and it has become the greatest variety show on earth. People fly from as far away as China to take part yet there are always one or two more simple acts.

The Pensionaires are a wonderful example of people who still want to give it a go and live their dream.These guys are 84 and 75 and have such a special bond that actually took my mind back to Morecombe and Wise. Their song choice was brilliant as was their performance. The audience clearly warmed to them and yes, wouldn't it be wonderful if they won and went on to perform at the Royal Variety Show- I'm sure the Queen would really enjoy this!

The likelihood of that happening might seem far fetched however we are an emotional species and the probablity of this may be a Bookmakers dream or nightmare- I am really not going to guess! Last years winner deserved the title, entertaining us with a highly original programme based around his career in the military. It will be very interesting to see which of this years contestants make the final week and who can pull off the coveted title of 'Winner!'

Jaz McKenzie ~ The Word Magician

Sunday, 21 May 2017

The Project- a Jaz McKenzie Poem


A little motivational poem! This came about when I was starting a new project however facts are facts.

THE PROJECT

We're going to do it
We're going to try
Coz if you don't spread your wings
You're never gonna fly
We have the info
We have ideas
So we'll put them to the test
And forget about our fears
Without venturing
nothing is gained
And pleasure means more
When you understand pain
Challenges are great
Challenges are fun
And the prize is right there
Waiting to be won...
So bring on the battle
Here we go...Round one!

Jaz McKenzie ©2017

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Are you too helpful and experience rejection?


Are you the kind of person who is continually helping others only to be left feeling unappreciated or worse still, rejected?

This is quite a common phenomena and happens to people who help others with the best of intentions. When we have an outgoing, helpful nature it is very easy to get into the 'habit' of helping others. Some help could go under the heading, 'good manners;' when we help people up and down stairs with buggies, help out with chores or other practical elements. Suggesting a good book to assist someone's studies is a perfectly acceptable form of help but even little things can create tension.

Elderly or infirm friends and relatives who refuse help can leave you feeling embarrassed when they insist on carrying the shopping, weeding the garden etc. Whereas we understand the importance of maintaining independence there are times when it can be foolhardy. It can even be selfish if other people are left feeling awkward when offering help with the best of intentions. I accept offers of help now and hopefully won't be cranky about it in my old age!

If people ask for our help we tend to give it but have you noticed how help and advice can still backfire? There are many reasons. The one to avoid is giving advice where you might open yourself to rejection. Marital situations and our children's relationships with their partners are a case in point. So many times we might utter words that are thrown back at us when people reconcile- very tricky. People can sometimes ask for help as an avoidance technique. This help will not be appreciated, it will be expected and taken for granted; encouraging laziness of mind or body. If you do your children's homework how will they learn and who will get the blame if errors are made? Not the child whose homework it is that's for sure. Helping children too much financially isn't a good idea either. Most of them require some help however they need to learn to contribute and understand the true cost of living and how to juggle money. It is a society of credit cards but financial responsibility also needs to be mastered.

Now on to the big one. Emotional assistance. Your friend has problems and it's upsetting to see, so you really want to help them straighten themselves out and reach a better place. Great objective; the problem is you are not them. Firstly, why do you want to do this? Does their condition make you feel uncomfortable? Do you want more from them than they can offer- if only I could help her get a better job so we could go on holiday etc. Sometimes it is good to identify your desire to help. Some people are constantly down or facing one bad situation after the next.This lifestyle has become their default setting and there are people who would be unable to cope if all was well and they no longer need attention.Subconsciously people might be afraid of losing that type of attention and do not know how they would interact if all was well. If all is good in your world others may regard you as a bit of a do-gooder and then they will resent you.

One of the underlying causes of resentment that is less obvious is, by helping find solutions for people we actually strip them of their power. Does the man in the picture need an umbrella or might he benefit from a good soaking to get back in touch with himself? You see, too much protection shades us from our true feelings and ability to tune into ourselves. Sometimes we just need space to work it all out. The solution you come up with might seem obvious to you however you do not know the processes and learning points another person requires on their journey. We all see things differently and if someone is constantly coming up with solutions it may feel more like conflict, especially if they have very different opinions. For example, a risk taker might want to give up their job and go to university whereas a 'safe minded' advisor might think it a bad idea. If the risk taker requires courage to follow the plan they have decided upon, presenting the safe option may create unnecessary internal conflict.

When you help someone through a difficult time and then they reject you this can be very hurtful. It might be that they don't want to be reminded of their weaker side or having you around becomes a constant reminder of that period which they haven't completely put to rest. If people ask for our help and reject our suggestions that is healthy. It is a rejection of the suggestion and not of you. If you feel rejected then you have an issue to deal with as it has created some insecurity. If you need to be needed, you clearly need to invest more in yourself- more love, more care, more time tending to your needs. Being over helpful and pleasing others continually is not a healthy way to be and detracts from a balanced lifestyle.

Next time you are about to offer help consider:

  • Have I been asked for my opinion
  • How often do I help this person
  • Will my help really benefit them
  • Am I the best person to help or can I recommend another source
  • Am I doing this to satisfy my own needs
  • If things go wrong will it backfire on me
  • What degree of help can I afford to give
  • Will giving help strengthen or weaken this person
Helping people at the right time and to the right degree is a necessary part of all our lives and to be commended, but there are times people need to find their own solutions in order to grow and feel good about themselves. Instead of rushing in, relax and decide upon the best course of action.

Jaz McKenzie~ The Word Magician  Contact: itsbraap@live.co.uk