You are perfectly imperfect

It’s funny, isn’t it; we’re all so concerned with our own ineptitudes that we develop a tendency to attack others for their imperfections, out of fear that one’s own might be discovered. We judge everyone else continuously, in a way that demands them to be as perfect as us, yet our next thought is about what we did wrong today–usually something as trivial as a mis-timed joke or forgetting to put the bins out.

We also live in a culture where being too good is a sin! “How dare you be so good at something when I’m not?” It’s strange that we care enough to have a thought about it. Apparently we have to find the right balance of being good enough to gain respect but not too good as to make others feel bad about themselves.

Why do we strive for perfection when we know it’s not possible? What would perfection actually be? Would we want to be perfect and never make mistakes? What would we learn from it?

Maybe we should: forgive ourselves for being who we are and forgive others for not being who we want them to be.

Five reasons why Chelsea look awful this season

I don’t know if I really want to write this but I’m afraid it probably has to be written. 2015 has been a bit of an odd year for us Chelsea fans; from the highs of winning our fourth Premier League title in May, to the current lows of slumping to our seventh league defeat already this season.


We languish in fourteenth place, averaging a point per game and looking more likely to partake in a relegation scrap than a title race. Admittedly I had been in denial somewhat, naively hoping that our season would get started sooner or later. I thought a home fixture against newly-promoted Bournemouth could be our time to kick on and build our confidence.

Alas; it was not to be. Glenn Murray has made a name for himself, scoring indiscriminately against teams from all levels of the football league, and he did so again, sinking Chelsea and claiming all three points for the Cherries on their first top flight visit to Stamford Bridge.

It’s been billed as the most unpredictable season ever, with good reason; Leicester top the table fifteen games in and the other would-be Champions have all failed to really get firing. Hence, you won’t get a prediction from me about who will finish top come May–partly because it’s nigh on impossible, but partly because I’ll probably be living in a cave as I come to terms with Chelsea’s season. However, here’s an attempt at analysing the state we’re in:

1) We lack a proper spine

Over the past ten years, Chelsea have won everything. One of the reasons for this has been four key players through the middle, or ‘spine’, of the team: Cech, Terry, Lampard and Drogba. Not only were these players world class but they also had a presence on the pitch and in the dressing room. Now all but one of them have left the club, perhaps there is a lack of leadership in key areas of the team and John Terry is finding it hard to cope with the younger stars alone, who don’t seem to have blue blood as much as the four mentioned above. The spine we’ve had this season has been comparitavely poor: Begovic who, to be fair to him has just joined the club; John Terry, who has been partly absent in both game time and form; Matic/Fabregas who have both been off (and, as a good friend pointed out to me, have a symbiotic relationship with each other i.e. one only plays well if the other one does); and Costa, who is more concerned with eating defenders than scoring goals.


2) Key players not performing

Okay, this might be a bit more obvious but compared to this time last season when Chelsea looked almost unbeatable, almost all of our top players are woefully out of form. Fabregas, Costa, Ivanovic, Matic; all integral in the title win last season but all of which look out of sorts this time round. It needs several players to set an example to their teammates by taking games and the season by the scruff of their necks and get us firing.

3) Lack of transfer activity

Granted, we made more signings than Arsenal in the summer, but none of these were in key areas. Mourinho would have stated his case for splashing the cash to ensure we stayed at the top of our game and it may be that Abramovich and the board felt we were good enough to keep the chequebook clean for the time being. If this is the case then it was a mistake; standing still in such a fast moving game is foolish as all your rivals will improve, as we’ve seen with Manchester City bringing in Raheem Sterling and, more importantly, Kevin De Bruyne.

4) No Plan B

We’d arguably won the league by February last season. We limped over the line without having to play brilliant football due to the explosive start we had before Christmas; the fluidity of our game and the solidity of our defence was hard to deal with. However, we slowed down once opposing managers had figured out how to set up tactically against us and with no change of personel or tactics, we’ve come unstuck. Jose needs to get the players on song and alter our style of play to keep teams guessing. We’re no Barcelona, even at our best so keeping the same tactics game after game is not an option if we want to keep winning trophies.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 08:  Eden Hazard of Chelsea reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Swansea City at Stamford Bridge on August 8, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

5) Too many egos

Eden Hazard is a terrific player, there’s no denying that. But, unfortunately for Chelsea fans this season, he’s nowhere near the heights he reached last year. Maybe the young Belgian thinks he’s better than he is because he tends to walk around like he owns the pitch at times. You wouldn’t see Willian or Azpilicueta (known affectionately as Dave) swanning about or shirking their defensive duties. Hazard needs to learn to be a team player so that we have a little more cohesion on the pitch. He has the potential to be a huge player for us, and it’s true that he (maaaaaaybe) has the capabilities to be  as good as Messi and Ronaldo, or close to, but Mourinho saying this at the beginning of the season was a huge mistake in my eyes. Perhaps if Eden gets his head right then he will be–in terms of attitude, though, he should follow in Messi’s footsteps, not Ronaldo’s, who sometimes warrants his arrogance but mostly, I find it detracts from his game.

Of course, it’s not just Hazard who lives vicariously through his ego. Diego Costa, as aforementioned, focuses too much of his attention on anrgily clashing with defenders than letting his football do the talking. And now he’s sulking because he isn’t scoring as much as he’d like, all the referees have marked his card and football fans everywhere love to see him riled up.


And on top of this, if Jose admitted that it’s not just bad decisions that have gone against us (although there have been a fair few) and was more humble in defeat, then maybe we’d have a bit more go our way. Maybe the players would take heed of the example he is setting.

So, what’s next?

I wouldn’t sack Mourinho. There is no doubt that he is the right man to turn our season around. Plus, I can’t see any other managers wanting to stake their reputation on us right now. Despite this, if we lose to Porto on Wednesday and crash out the Champions League, I can see the Portugeezer getting the boot.

We need to sign the right players in January. It will be no mean feat, as the promises made will have to be believed. We could be seen as a sinking ship at the moment so are the likes of Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann and John Stones going to want to abandon their capable clubs for us? We need to improve in all areas of the team but the pressure is on us and the signings themselves to turn our season around.

The players need to learn to enjoy the game again. Yes, we all want the club to win games and it’s only reasonable to be upset when we lose, but if the players start to enjoy football matches nonetheless then we will belighter and have a bit more freedom to express ourselves. Perhaps the expectations upon our younger players are too much; perhaps they need to learn to lose before they learn to win again.


I can’t see us claiming any silverware this season unless we manage a cup run, although we tend to win things even when we’re playing poorly. But I’d like to see us make a good showing of ourselves at least. It looks as though our top four chances have run away from us, but who knows, given the way the season is unfolding? No-one has been consistent enough to claim they are favourites for the league (apart from Leicester) and the same could be said of top four.

There’s one thing I know for certain though; such as when we beat Liverpool on the last day of the season to get to the Champions League despite being millions in debt, leading to Abramovich choosing to buy us over Tottenham, or when we were essentially managerless and down against Napoli in the Champions League, only to go on and win the whole thing; our club’s entire narrative is built on things being up against us.


Opinion Piece No. 1: The current education system is limited

For someone with a love for writing, my blogs are too few and far between. In which case, I’d like to introduce my new opinion column. I’m opinionated on a various range of topics and, as such, I shall be writing them down for you lovely people to read if you so choose. With good fortune, you may agree with me. Alas; you may not and therefore wish to tell me off–to which I say, I welcome you to do so: discussion is what I hope to bring about with my articles. To kick me off, my first piece is on the subject of education.

I HAVE a great deal of admiration for teachers–well, most of them–and have the ambition of potentially becoming one myself. I count myself fortunate to have had some truly excellent teachers throughout my school education and I must add that, in my humble opinion, not one of them was a bad person.

I have often pondered what it takes to make a good teacher. I might say that anyone has the capacity to regurgitate a syllabus but it takes a special kind of person to inspire children in the right ways, someone with a warm heart and the best intentions. For if basic curriculum was all that was required, computers would suffice and we would have thousands of people out of jobs.

However, a criticism I would make, especially of the education I have received is how limited it can be. Most education systems become a means to an end: you are educated so that you can go to university and/or therefore get a “good” job that earns you money so that you can provide for yourself and your family.

In essence, I’m of the opinion that education can package and box a child up. Surely, this limits a child? From a young age, you take what you are given and very few people are able to think outside of this box. Your mindset becomes stuck on passing exams to get a good job to have a nice life. Little of what is taught in schools is necessarily relevant to life.

In this mode, you may be excellent at recounting information and passing the relevant exams, passing these exams to get the job you have been told you will be good at, and yet are you set up for what life will throw at you?

Similarly, you may naturally think outside the parameters of what you are given but lack the propensity for exams, therefore being deemed as not worthy of a “good” job. It is these children who are told they are not “clever” enough and have to deal with the pain of not making the grade for potentially the rest of their lives.

In this way, education is limited; those who are un-academic may find themselves feeling inferior when the truth is that we are all clever in our own, individual and unique ways:

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

Academia is not the be all and end all, therefore. I have witnessed people, including those in my own immediate family, claiming that they are not clever because the education system has apparently proved this to them. I can tell you that while some of my grades and academic talents might say I’m clever, there are practical aspects in which I have some catching up to do.

Setting up a child to pass exams might look good on paper and for the time being, but without knowledge of life, where does this leave them? True education teaches a child to be a good person, a good citizen, a good friend. Think outside the box; education does not simply deal with academia but with all aspects of what constitutes livelihood.

I’m fortunate to have a good moral grounding, but other people are not so lucky. My education in this respect comes from my parents but some have to learn this for themselves. It is more important to help a child progress in ways of morality and kindness than it is to pass a meaningless examination. Children are like sponges as we are often reminded; a good teacher will help create good people, a resource we could do with an abundance of.

Opinions are an off-shoot of this: children are all-too-often brought up with their parents’ prejudices. To counter-act this, perhaps a Cultural Studies lesson should be taught in Primary and Secondary schools, giving pupils a non-biased and well-rounded education of the countries and cultures that populate this world. It cannot be healthy for a child to base their own opinions in repeated information from their parents.

Furthermore, it does not do well to tell children the right answer always, but to help them arrive at the answer so they truly understand what they are being taught. It is also important to help them realise that wrong answers are not a bad thing but, moreover, a step towards self-improvement. My experience of fear of shame in saying the wrong answer was a tough one and, in hindsight, affected my ability to learn.

One thing I am constantly grateful for is my mother’s parenting, in particular her method of helping me see the other side of the story. I would come home from school or a friend’s house and tell her something I had learned and she would show me that there are differing opinions. This helped breed empathy and understanding. This should be commonplace in schools as so often kids grow up with self-assurance that becomes a teen or adult’s downfall.

We are blessed in this country that we can focus on the education system without most of us having to worry of any other ill-fated circumstances. Some small yet significant changes can be made so that our children grow up to be compassionate, socially aware and properly intelligent.

Album Review: All We Need by Raury

Raury’s aptly named debut album is, in fact, All We Need. It’s everything I’m about right now, namely revolution of thought, something deeper than accepted societal superficiality, and chilled melodies.


There is a level of sophisitication in the nineteen year-old’s lyrics that other musicians his age seldom show. Raury’s soul shines through intelligently, addressing issues inlcuding the plight of black Americans and the path down which humanity is heading.

The album combines classic R&B with Raury’s own rap style, as well as more poppy songs such as the track Crystal Express. The experiementation with different sounds throughout the album is refreshing and keeps you intrigued throughout; some musicians can be unimaginative when recording their album–not Raury.

Some might balk at my comparison of All We Need to Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On but the themes, melodies and samples used are strikingly similar. Though it would be premature and ambitious for me to compare them as musicians, the messages that Raury has for his listeners are cut from the same cloth as the great Motown singer himself.

I rate this album as one of the better debut albums I’ve heard in a long, long time. It combines many factors I consider to make a truly great record: clever lyrics, passion, emotion and something a bit different.

Of the fourteen songs on the album, there are five or six which stand out immediately, although they are all full of life. In particularly, I have fallen in love with the first three tracks: All We Need, Revolution and Forbidden Knowledge. Devil’s Whisper and Crystal Express are well worth a listen too.

It must be said that, although it’s not featured on this album, God’s Whisper by Raury is also a great track. Take a listen to the tracks I’ve mentioned or the full album. You might not have heard of him before but with such talent, he could soon be one of your favourite new artists.

Premier League opening weekend review

The eagerly anticipated opening fixtures of the best league in the world (hasn’t that been trademarked by Sky now?) has been and gone, starting at Old Trafford and finishing at the Hawthorns in two very different games, and with eight other fixtures in between of varying quality.

There were certainly some shock results–I’m sure few people’s accumulator’s came in–not least with Arsenal losing at home to West Ham, and ten-man Chelsea lucky to earn a draw with Swansea at Stamford Bridge.

We also saw glimpses of brilliance and solid debuts for a number of players such as Reece Oxford, West Ham’s youngest ever player to play in the Premier League. However, going by the reaction of some pundits and fans, everyone needs to calm down a bit.

Of course, the dramatic narrative of the Premiership is better for post-match analysis by experts and back pages of newspapers spelling out doom for certain clubs is a surefire way to garner interest in the new season, but perhaps our lack of appropriate alternatives has left us, as fans, with a little too much bottled up excitement.

Just as I thought...
Just as I thought…

And yes, the opening fixtures are a chance to highlight weaknesses of title challengers and can create momentum for the inevitable “surprise package” of the season, but after all, it is but one game. Here I analyse the teams and players that fans and pundits alike have been discussing in fervour for positive and negative reasons, and give them all a “Cause for Concern/Celebration” rating out of ten.


Starting alphabetically, and, conveniently, with the team that gave us what was perhaps the biggest shock of the weekend, we have the Gooners. A 2-0 home loss on the first day of the season was certainly not in the script. There seemed to be a feeling of expectancy in the Arsenal camp before the weekend. Many have been tipping Arsenal for the title, which has been unheard of in the era of Chelsea and the Manchester clubs’ domination over the past ten years. Something didn’t go right at the weekend tactically, and this, coupled with Cech’s mistake for the opener, has given a lot of people a reason to believe the hype around Arsenal in pre-season was indeed just that; hype.

Kouyate's header sends the Hammers 1-0 up
Kouyate’s header sends the Hammers 1-0 up

However, Wenger’s men do have the right ingredients for a title push, if certain players live up to their potential. We’ve all seen what Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere can do and if they and players like Ozil have good seasons, this win may be but a blip in their campaign. Who knows, this could be the kick up the proverbial behind they desperately need.

Cause for Concern Rating: 6/10


Despite Arsenal’s recent surge of backers, Chelsea were still tipped by more pundits to win the league again. Mourinho has arguably strengthened slightly–only time will tell–but he has brought only a few squad players. Many agree with his philosophy not to have changed his first XI, especially with very little challenge to their title win last year but that may have been found out at the weekend. Chelsea looked poor, especially defensively, which is highly uncharacteristic for a José Mourinho team. Ivanovic was given the run around by Jefferson Montero–the Serbian full-back could get nowhere near the Swansea winger all game–and Gary Cahill also looked to have trouble against the Swansea frontline. Add this to Courtois’ red card and a difficult run of early fixtures, including a trip to the Etihad, and you might suggest Chelsea’s title retention will falter somewhat.

Swansea celebrate Gomis' equaliser
Swansea celebrate Gomis’ equaliser

Having said that, the Blues arguably could have nicked a win had Courtois’ rush of blood not resulted in a red card or a penalty. Although the Swans would have been deserved winners and had more shots, the dismissal changed the dynamic of the game. Chelsea’s strength in-depth and tactical nouse of Mourinho should see them through and although they might not have an easy path to the league title this year, this draw won’t concern them as much as it could.

Cause for Concern rating: 5/10

West Bromwich Albion

The last fixture saw the Baggies take on another of the title contenders in Manchester City, who I will cover next. Tony Pulis’ side were all over the place defensively and looked scared of City, who looked more like the home side on the night. For most of the first half, in fact, West Brom were camped in their own half and had very little idea going forward.

But a Tony Pulis side is yet to be relegated and I’m almost certain that record will remain in tact. In a way, WBA can shrug this off as early nerves as they were effectively expected to lose. The signing of Solomon Rondon from Zenit St Petersburg and rumours of Jose Enrique arriving at the Hawthorns should improve the areas they were lacking in on Monday night.

Cause for Concern rating: 7/10

City looked more of a unit than last season
City looked more of a unit than last season

Manchester City

Perhaps the weight of expectation on the City players’ shoulders was somewhat lightened by talk mostly of Arsenal and Chelsea in contention for the title. Either way, Pelligrini’s men were awesome last night, taking control of the game from start to finish and dispatching of the home side excellently. Well worth their three goal margin, some performances from key players would have pleased City fans after last season’s forgettable campaign. If anything, the blue side of Manchester look the strongest shouts for the title after the first round of games.

Nevertheless, it was, like I say, one game and for everything positive said about City last night, you could say the opposite for their opponents. One might argue that the Etihad side had the easiest opener out of the projected top six too.

Cause for Celebration rating: 5/10

Reece Oxford

A lot has been said about this young man; a sixteen year-old with a bright future ahead of him if Sunday’s calm and collected performance is anything to go by. He has the stature of someone a lot older than him, both in technical ability and height. A future England talent he may be.

Oxford looked comfortable with the pressure
Oxford looked comfortable with the pressure

As we all know, though, some young players’ career trajectories can often be decisively different from early predictions. Oxford needs a few more games under his belt before we truly can profess his greatness.

Cause for Celebration rating: 7/10


My blogs have become woefully inconsistent in nature. I’d promised myself I’d write three or four times a week but, of course, that didn’t happen. Due to my sporadic and unordered mind, inspiration finds me at the most inconvenient times– when I’m without writing utensils most frequently–and, often, when it comes to actually typing up a post, my brain inevitably turns to mush.

In January, I decided to create two blogs to add to this, my main one. These were more specific, focusing on two of my core interests: spirituality and the media. My intentions of writing more started well but dwindled when I took my foot off the pedal. I’ve hypothesised that one reason for this is my self-imposed high standards for my writing. It’s the only part of my life that I have an all-or-nothing attitude towards; with most other things I’m dangerously laid-back.

My style across my three blogs was also incredibly varied, meaning I’ve set myself back in my efforts to distinguish my voice. For instance, my blog on spirituality was reasonably vanilla, mostly regurgitated tenets of the subject that I had learned. I’ve found it’s not been entirely succesful, mostly due to my naivity surrounding the topics–you have to be assured of your own knowledge for your writing to flow.

My love for writing is as changeable as the British weather. When you don’t love what you’re doing, it’s hard to produce your best work. I’ve also had to contend with my own laziness–it’s much easier mentally to play Xbox than write a thought-provoking article.

I’m going to only be using this blog from now on, covering all of my interests and consolidating my portfolio into one place for convenience. This post is my way of siganlling a fresh start to the reader but also for my own benefit.

My aims are to simplify my posts on spirituality/meditation to make them accessible to everyone and to write consistently in order to rediscover my voice.

True Detective – Season 1 review

We are very much living in the, for want of a better word, ‘era’ of outstanding TV dramas wherein the plot-lines, actors and budgets are what we would usually expect from cinema, giving us gripping adaptations of renowned books and suspense filled series full of originality.

One is oft-greeted with animated fervour upon any mention of Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad and House of Cards from friends, colleagues, strangers, generating either a rapturous conversation discussing EVERYTHING about it, or awkward stares and possibly loss of respect if you’ve not watched it. They will certainly urge you, almost pleadingly, to watch their favourite show, as if it were life or death. It is, of course.

It can be wondefully bemusing to hear of those who reject the hype around certain programming for the simple fact it is popular; perhaps upon consideration they allow themselves to believe this makes them “cool” but the future of their reasoning will present them with two possibilities, and two only: 1) They will remain adamant in their position of apparent social superiority and miss out on an amazing show, or 2) curiosity and being surrounded by avid viewers of the show will eventually break their resistance and they will decide to watch it.

That might sound ominously conformist, but you get the point; we are lucky to be blessed with such stellar entertainment and the reasoning of “everybody else watches it” doesn’t really wash.

There is little wonder why True Detective has received such plaudits and high ratings (it currently has a rating of 9.3 on IMDb). As an audience, we are confronted with intrigue and mystery from minute one, the scene which sets up the premise of the show. Initially, we meet the protagonists and former detectives Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Marty Hart (Woody Harrelson) in the present day, undergoing interviews by two current officers about a previous case, one that involves a homicidal Satan worshipper.

Dark story lines highlight the true monstrosities of the world in which we live, eschewing a pessimistic narrative and sinister implications. Not for the faint-hearted, True Detective explores paedohphilia and murder, as well as deeper psychological aspects and pessimistic existential philosophy, the latter through the brilliant mind of McConaughey’s character, Rust.

The character of Marty balances out what would be an intimidatingly dark drama; his incredulous one-line responses to Rust’s perceived kookiness adds a light-hearted feel. Marty is perhaps a more typical police officer than Rust, who is often seen as an outsider, and his character is used as a device to explore the American male and his gender role in relationships, society and the workplace.

The flashbacks provide us with a dual plot-line, as told by Rust and Marty, which adds dynamism and originality to the show as we find out more about the characters’ personalities and how time has altered their perspectives. The separate timelines offer the viewer an insight into the changing relationship of the two main characters, the apparent animosity that has developed between them and their work on the case.

The ingenuity of Rust is captivating and his abilities are showcased as the series progresses. This, coupled with the intrigue of the plot, makes for another binge-worthy TV drama. Unsurprisingly, McConaughey and Harrelson are faultless throughout, both cementing their reputations as top class actors.

So this is a plea to watch it; don’t be one of “those”people because you’ll miss out on one of the most fascinating dramas on television.