Bonus Family

Watching this series was a warm embrace of familiarity.

It is increasingly common to see divorced families in the western world, and this Swedish dramedy explores the complexities of such family set ups. One superficial difference is that in the U.K. we call our parent’s partners ‘step parents’ whereas the Swedes use the term ‘Bonus’. That’s the main difference because the dialogue and character interactions are a truthful reflection of family life itself.

So Patrick and Lisa are a new couple in the 30s, both of which are recently divorced from their former spouses, Katrin and Martin. Katrin is cold and career driven, Martin is a bit more carefree and he can’t quite get over Lisa having left him.

Both Patrick and Lisa have a ten year old son from their former relationship and Lisa also has a teenage daughter. Patrick’s son William is polite, does well in school and introverted, Eddie is sporty, social but also loud and outrageously sweary, Bianca is a typical teenage girl.

The premise is fascinating, and the characters all bring about idiosyncrasies that bring about conflict, Patrick’s desire for routine and order vs. Lisa’s embrace of unpredictability and chaos. One of the key features of the series is Patrick and Lisa’s couples therapy sessions and what is great that we see the therapists discuss and analyse their sessions afterwards as well as see the shortcomings of their own relationship.

So many questions are explored in this series, and some of the characters earn your respect from the get go (Henrick in particular is a character I greatly admire), some drive you insane and some grow on you. There are plenty of laugh out loud moments as well.

How do you create a desirable family life in such complex situations?

How do you communicate with your loved ones and your exes?

How do you manage career aspirations and family life?

How do you raise children in a way that is consistent and fair?

How do you accommodate all generations in a family environment?

How do you manage disappointment and your expectations not being met?

It is a fascinating, hilarious and warm series and I whole heartedly recommend watching it.

Changing personal environments.

What kind of work space is ideal for you?

Is it minimalist, or chaotic, spacious or enclosed, filled with decorations or clear?

How important is lighting for you? I for one thrive better when there’s some natural light available.

The other thing I find that like doing is changing my environment.

And working from home, I enjoyed taking my portable laptop around different rooms and switching it up as it created the placebo effect of refreshing me.

I also consider myself to be quite kinetic, and walking and pacing are things that I do to get myself thinking with more clarity.

It’s worth exploring what works for you and feeling free to experiment with it, especially when the nature of offices may be changing as we move forward.

Never too late

I always admire adults choosing to continue their learning path and start something new.

Learning should be laugh and for the most part, age shouldn’t stop from learning a new musical instrument, language or skill.

It’s easy to let habit or the story we tell ourselves say that the time has past for us to be able to pick something new up and that mindset along is the biggest challenge to overcome.

Everyone owes it to themselves to be encouraged and excited by the notion that everyday gives us an opportunity to elevate ourselves.

We just need to be brave enough to decide for ourselves that that is what we will do.

Long term planning

I wouldn’t be so quick to write off Liverpool for this season. They played rather well today too.

There’s this expectation that because Man City and Chelsea have spent big, they are the main contenders, and they would be right! Man United are in that category as well, such is the modern game we see today.

And some (to put it bluntly) plastic fans are kicking up a hissy fit because Liverpool haven’t bought big this season but if you look closer, they are securing long term contracts with players who have grown and established themselves whilst younger players are coming into the fray.

Maybe another signing could happen, but it’s not a necessity, and we will see if the squad has enough depth.

But the ethos of Liverpool, as it is with a team like Brentford is to be admired and it’s great to see some teams thrive when they’ve played the long game in terms of their recruitment and belief.

Over in Spain, we are seeing Barcelona suffer the sever consequences of spending big and beyond their means and it’s frankly astonishing that a club of that stature has got itself into such a mess.

It’s satisfying to see a club buy into the long term ethos, and I think companies, artists and all sorts of organisations can reconsider ways they plan their way forward to plan for success, and succeed with integrity and dignity.

Showing up

How do people, most notably tradesmen, survive if they don’t do this?

The shoddiness on display from supposed professionals at times is outrageous and it seems to occur more than people think.

The dominos effect of this can be enormous. You fail to show up to the wrong person and they can spread the word, and reputation does count for a lot when you are out there doing your work.

Things do happen from time to time, that inhibit you from showing up on a day or on time but at least give the courtesy of letting your client know as soon as possible.

No sign of showing up at all, especially when you say you will is amongst many things disrespectful.

You are essentially giving your competitors far reaching advantage as well.

So when offering up your work and services to others, do it with passion and commitment, make promises you can keep and show up.

Kinky Wizzards – Live

I am very pleased to share the news that Kinky Wizzards will be playing live again in our hometown Cardiff, at Clwb Ifor bach on the 10th September.

We will be announcing special guests for the show soon.

You can purchase tickets for the show via this link:

Infrastructure continued.

I recently read that China had succeeded in building a ten storey building…in a SINGLE day!

Watch the clip of Jeremy Clarkson driving through China’s newly built road system and you’ll be amazed.

Meanwhile, the USA infrastructure is falling apart, and Biden has only just managed to put in legislature to try and tackle it, but there’s every chance a building or highway could collapse, like the tower in Florida.

Why does it always have to take a tragedy with multiple deaths for the western world to get their act together!?

In fact, scrap that, the U.K. has moved at a snail pace in response to the Grenfell disaster and most of those in power let alone responsible don’t care.

Like political discourse, everything seems to be on a far end of the spectrum without the apparent option of a middle ground.

I’m absolutely positive that countries don’t have to be authoritarian to get stuff done but processes to improve and develop western countries such as U.K. and USA are tediously and painfully slow, and it’s no overstatement to say that this complacency and lack of work ethic and efficiency has cost people their homes, and at times, their lives.

Time for the western world to find ways to make things speed up, or else see themselves fall behind.

Transport and Infrastructure

It would have been hard to have avoided the huge headlines earlier this week regarding the stage we are at in regards to the climate crisis, and a crisis it is, that’s what we need to start calling it.

It’s hard not to feel helpless. I’m quite frankly sick of the short sighted and totally selfish views of the few companies in charge that are responsible for the majority of global emissions. That aligned with complacent politicians have made for a deadly combination.

So whilst we agitate at the top ranks for the necessary changes, we will be looking to ourselves to see what changes we can make, (at least those who read the news and care, not enough people do).

I for one, have not yet driven a car. I didn’t see the point when I was living in cities but since I’m back in Wales, I have little choice but to learn because the infrastructure of public transport in and around Cardiff is not really up to scratch. In fact, it’s very poor, especially as far as trains are concerned, which is a shame because my city has so much good to offer. Transport for Wales came in promising to make changes for better, and it hasn’t yet happened. Cancellations still happen, bus replacement services cause disruption, tickets are overpriced and the trains themselves are a stinking mess.

Making public transport that can be electric and efficient both in energy and delivery of service is a step forward on a localised scale and I’d like to see it happen. The good news is that there are plans for a metro service that are currently being working on. The problem is that it’ll take at least five years to fix.

In the meantime, there’s little to no incentive to use public transport as an alternative to driving.

Tokyo 2020

I love watching the Olympics.

It cannot be overstated how much of a positive impact that the Olympics has globally.

There’s the reputation of every country, and the chance for everyone to play a part, including refugees.

There is the enormous diversity of the games, and the Olympics continue to incorporate new sports into the games such as skateboarding and surfing.

There is the breaking down of conventions of what it means to be an athlete and the promotion of different sports that people can participate in.

And besides the awe inspiring physical prowess on display, there is also the extraordinary mental battles that go on and that are so visceral on our TV screens, and you feel the empathy of everything the athletes feel, between the injuries, failures, and victories and triumphs.

I’ve been lucky to have had a summer break to watch a lot of the games, and if you haven’t had the chance, I do encourage you to watch the highlights on Iplayer.

There’s plenty to be inspired by.

Amgen Eisteddfod

I am pleased to share with you the video presentation of the Encore stage in partnership with the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Ty Cerdd and the national Eisteddfod.

I was asked to compose a piece inspired by a traditional Welsh folk piece, and I decided to compose my own piece in response to ‘Morfa Rhuddlan’ for viola and Celtic Harp.

I’ve never composed something like this before so it was a wonderfully rewarding challenge and I loved being part of this event.

The link to the video is below and my composition features at 15:25.