Affirmations and the action you can take now

Affirmations an introduction

Affirmations are something else entirely.

You recently read about how I meditate and how I practice gratitude. Here’ another daily practice that I do and that is writing affirmations.

Affirmations aren’t the most hippy-dippy thing I do, but I’m self-conscious about it. I shouldn’t be telling you about this but in my quest to not be ashamed of anything, here we are.

Affirmations is either writing down something that you want or stating it out loud to yourself. I do a bit of both every day.

Part of my reason for telling you about all these unusual activities is that it’s to inform you. To tell you that there’s no set way of doing things.

I want to break down my method for others. If you’re reading this and struggling, then I hope that this will provide you with some help.

Scott Adams

You’re aware of affirmations, what they are, you make a positive statement about yourself. “I, Kieran Majury, am a confident person” was one that I used to use before going out in public. Over time I found myself becoming more confident.

You’re thinking, what a load of new-age nonsense.

I was in the same place as you. I thought, how the hell is that going to help?

It wasn’t until I read How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big that I took affirmations seriously. Scott wrote about several occasions that affirmations helped him out.

Scott Adams is a highly successful author. Adams created Dilbert, the widely syndicated comic strip and has written many books.

If anyone is living proof of the power of affirmations, it’s Scott.

Scott believes that humans are moist robots. Like other robots, we’re programmable.

What’s the harm in trying?

Summer of 69

Let’s take a trip back in time to the early 2000s. I was in Our Lady and St Patrick’s College Knock and being a hormonal teenager. I had sex on the brain 24/7.

It was a time before the widely available internet. There was the “family computer” so access to porn wasn’t instantaneous the way it is now. Back then, we had to make do with the Channel 5 Friday night movie (The Ups and Downs of a Handyman is a classic, the policeman falls over).

Due to my perpetual horniness, I saw sex everywhere; I saw the number 69 as having great significance.

I would consistently see the number 69, and it had to mean something, didn’t it? It got to the point that friends would point out the number out to me.

The joke became 69 would follow me everywhere except the bedroom. Was I being followed around by this number?

Short Answer

No.

Slightly longer answer

The number didn’t occur more than usual to me than it did to anyone else. What happened was that my mind had been programmed to be extra vigilant for that number.

Humans have inbuilt biases and pattern recognition. When these two combine you can see whatever you want yourself to see.

Younger me had decided that it wanted to see significance in the number 69 so it saw the number 69 wherever it could.

Reprogramme yourself now

You’re wondering why I’m telling you this. I’m telling you because it’s how I believe affirmations work. I’m not a scientist or anything like that, so take what I’m about to tell you with more than your RDA of salt.

Affirmations are a way of manually reprogramming your brain. I’m not one of these people who believes that I’m “asking the universe to get me a car”. Far from that. In fact, I’m asking myself to see opportunity where I wouldn’t before. In the end, I have to go out and do the work.

When you do affirmations your job doesn’t start and end with you writing them down. You have to get out there and do the work.

Affirmations are a way of getting yourself into the right mindset. Breaking out of the negative conditioning that the modern world has instilled in you.

The joke tells the truth. So there’s the man who asks God to help him win the lottery. Weeks turn into months turn into years “Oh God please help me win the lottery”. The clouds open and the man hears a deep, commanding voice “Buy a ticket”.

Possible evidence

If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ve probably heard me speak of how I need a new job. I’ve written about it a few times on Kieranmajury.com. Like the man from the joke, it would help if sent and application out every once in a while.

One of my affirmations was “I, Kieran Majury will get a new job.”

Recently I was offered a promotion at work. Was this because I did the affirmations? No, it was because through doing affirmations I became a better worker.

My time keeping improved, as did my attitude and I became a better employee. My employers recognised my improvements.

Do you want another personal example?

One of my daily mottos is “Kieranmajury.com will become a highly popular website”. Now it’s not blowing up or anything, but after a bit of a lull last month June is looking to be the best month since I started.

Do I believe that people across the globe are asking “I wonder what happens if I key Kieran Majury into the search bar?”

No.

It’s because I’m uploading more consistently than before and because of that I’m becoming more visible. I’m doing a bit more promotion and am less ashamed of my writing.

For better or worse Kieranmajury.com is on the up.

How to do affirmations

Affirmations are easy to do.

Get yourself an A6 notebook and write out what you will do, Do that fifteen times.

This is the perfect size notebook for affirmations.

My current one: I, Kieran Majury, will be rich.

It’s basic but it’s what I need. The one aspect of my life that needs improvement is my finances.

I also put a date on the top of the page so that if I ever want to see how I have progressed I can do that.

So do it every day as soon as you wake up.

The only thing you have to worry about is someone catching you writing your affirmations. You’ll get funny looks.

My dad found me writing them, “What the hell are you doing?” it would have been less embarrassing had he walked in on me masturbating.

Praying and Affirmation: A hypothesis

Do you pray? There’s a chance if you’re reading this that you’ve prayed at some point in your life.

You only bother a higher power when you want something. Prayers are a series of words recited, and when doing so, you concentrate on what you desire.

There isn’t much difference between prayer and affirmations. They take on different forms, but the route purpose is the same.

If you’re too self-conscious about writing down or speaking out affirmations consider saying a prayer.

So see how you get on.

It worked for Chris Pratt.

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Gratitude will make you have the right attitude

Gratitude is in short supply

Gratitude is essential, now more so than ever. You may have read my piece on meditation, but now I want to tell you about another aspect of my daily routine.

Again this is going to be a bit of a hippy dippy article. The main thrust is that you should practice gratitude daily. Gratitude is a way of reminding yourself how good life is.

Flashback to a lack of gratitude

As a kid, I was ungrateful.

I don’t know if I was a spoilt child, but I was a huffy one. I probably shouldn’t tell you about how much of an ungrateful kid I was but here goes.

Going back to the mid-nineties when I was still in primary school.

I had just got an A grade in my 11+ exam. I didn’t care about that. All I cared about was getting the Die Hard Trilogy game for my Sega Saturn. Games were delayed continuously on the Sega Saturn because it was a hard system to programme.

This was also in the dark ages before the readily available internet. So if I wanted to find out if something was out or not I had to go into Belfast city centre, with my parents and find out in the shop.

How primitive, I hear you think.

Anyway, they didn’t have the game, and I went into a full-blown huff for the rest of the day. My dad, frustrated with me said: “You couldn’t tell that you passed your exam”.

I felt wick after he said that to me but it helped put everything back into perspective. Looking back, I’m grateful he helped me realise how out of order I acted.

I was an ungrateful kid.

Further examples of my lack of gratitude

The example above is a memory that sticks with me most clearly. Don’t get me wrong; I’m sure that there have been many other times where I’ve been an ungrateful little shit.

I want to give you a few more examples to show you how far I’ve come. Some of these are embarrassing, and I haven’t told anyone before, but I have to get these stories out of me.

Back in the nineties

Going back even further, to the early nineties. I can’t remember what age I was, but we were still in Beechill Park, the first family house. I was younger than seven.

So our parents never made that much money, they were civil servants. We were never poor or anything, but we were never rolling in money either.

Not that Claire or I ever noticed if there ever was any financial difficulty. Christmas’ and birthdays, Claire and I always got way more than we deserved. Well, maybe Claire got the right amount.

Here’s an idea of how much we would get, this isn’t my memory, dad told me this.

One year I was found shoving all my toys into wardrobes and cupboards. This was so that Santa wouldn’t know how much stuff I had and would get more presents. You know, because Santa’s an idiot.

I’m taking a long way to say that my parents were very good to my sister and me.

One Christmas I got a Batman Helicopter, but my Batman figure didn’t fit into it properly. I remember going to my mother and telling her it was “The worst Christmas ever”.

Again, how ungrateful was I?

More recent examples

I’d like to think that I’ve become more grateful over the years, but I still have my moments. I have noticed that my ungratefulness tends to be food related.

I was on holiday in Brussels, I asked for onion rings. The waitperson brought me green beans and wouldn’t change, holiday ruined.

There was a time when Boojum only had the one location, and it had limited seating. I went for lunch there with my girlfriend at the time, Grace. Got our Burritos, couldn’t get seated, sat in the park. I hate eating in the open air; we had to end our lunch date. I said to her “I’m going to go into a massive strop, we have to end it here for today”. I left her home.

Again how ungrateful.

Practising gratitude

When trying to get myself out of a rut, I discovered the act of practising gratitude.

I bought a notebook and made it my gratitude journal.

Practising gratitude is simple. You date the page, and you write down ten things that you are grateful for, you do this every day. It takes five-ten minutes.

Here’s an example:

  • I am grateful to be alive
  • I am grateful for my health
  • I am grateful for my height
  • I am grateful to be able to write
  • I am grateful for all my family
  • I am grateful for my friends
  • I am grateful to have a job
  • I am grateful to have a car
  • I am grateful that I am creative
  • I am grateful for all my experiences, good and bad

It may look like nonsense but consider giving it a go.

When you start practising gratitude you’ll become more thankful.

You’ll realise how great it is to be alive, to be living in such times and to have people around you who love you.

You and I have it so good

I don’t want to make too many assumptions about you, but if you are reading this, you have it good.

You have access to the internet, you are literate, and you have the time to read this post.

I’m not saying things are perfect for you; nothing is ever perfect. What I am saying is that you have so much good going on in your life. Can you appreciate all that you have?

If you can, that’s great, and I’m happy for you.

If you get into the habit of practising gratitude, it’s easier to turn that light at the end of the tunnel into a spotlight.

I’m not a big fan of going to the gym or doing exercise classes, but I want to live for as long as possible. I also want to have as much of my mind intact, so I have to keep fit.

When I feel like giving up, when that internal voice says, “I hate this, go home, give up”. I talk back to that voice out loud. “Kieran you are so lucky to be able to take time out of your day and devote it to improving your help. There are fat people who have lost limbs to diabetes that don’t have that opportunity.”

That shuts me up.

Quiet your negative voice, practice gratitude.

Meditation will make you more chill

Meditation is good for you

Meditation is great, do you practice?

I do, at least I used to every day. I’ve fallen out of practice and am trying to rebuild the habit.

This post is more a reminder to me to do so, but you’re free to read along.

The main takeaway of this post is that meditation is a great way to ground you in the present. When you aren’t worried about the future all the time you can get on with tasks now that will help you prepare for the future.

There is no right way to meditate. You can take as long or as short as you want, The more you do it the more you will notice yourself becoming calmer and more chilled.

Fair warning this is going to get hippy dippy from here on out. I’m going to be using words and phrases that I probably shouldn’t be using.

Meditate early meditate often

Looking at the stats over the two meditation apps I use I’ve spent over 170 hours meditating over the past three years.

If you’ve never meditated before let me be your guide and dispel some of the myths.

There are myths that you need to spend hours with your legs crossed, eyes closed chanting “om”. That isn’t the case.

You can take as little time as you want. If you want you can take a minute. If you’re starting out, I would say at least five-ten minutes is a good length of time. After a few months, you can either lengthen that or shorten that as you wish.

The purpose of meditation is to focus on your breath. To bring your mind back to the present. Become more aware of what is going on right now. All you have is the present. The past is gone, and the future will never come.

All you have is now.

Humans are terrible at predicting the future. You spend so much time worrying about what might be that it can spoil the appreciation of how good you have it right now.

Take five or ten minutes at the start or end of your day and sit in silence.

Set a timer on your phone and place your phone on the other side of the room.

Sit on the floor, straighten your back and focus on your breathing. Count each breath once you get to ten, start again. In through the nose out through the mouth.

If you live with someone, ask that person not to disturb you. If you have kids, I’m not a parent, get up before them or maybe if they’re watching TV or playing with their tablets do it then.

Whatever your scenario you have the time.

The importance is to build the routine in the first place.

There is no “right” way to meditate.

The instructions I gave you are arbitrary there is no right way to meditate. What matters is that you believe yourself to be meditating. If you think it’s stupid and isn’t working for you, you’re right. If you believe that you’re finally getting the hang of it, you’re also right.

Even I’m still a bit sceptical as to whether meditation works.

Experiment with meditation. It’s quiet time for your mind. It’s about slowing down and chilling out.

In fact, meditating and the “proper” way to power nap aren’t that different. In the book Tired but Wired, Dr Nerina Ramlakhan tells you the proper way to power nap.

Sit, don’t lie, keep your eyes slightly open and take deep breaths.

Walking in nature is a form of meditation.

This is my favourite form of meditation. You and I live in a world dominated by technology. Smartphones and the internet control our lives. The technology explosion is recent. Humans have spent the majority of our existence among nature.

Nature, forests, woods and trees are part of who we are and to lose that connection isn’t right.

You and I need nature. The colour green has a significant effect on our mind. To step away from the modern world and go back to basics is good for you.

Drive to a forest, leave the phone in the car and go for a walk.

Disconnect to reconnect.

What to expect from a meditation

Your experience will be different from mine.

One meditation it felt like hours had passed when I’d only done ten minutes. It felt like I had just woken up from a great sleep, totally refreshed and full of energy.

Meditation is almost like a deep sleep in waking state. I don’t always have that experience but when I do it feels like my mind has opened. Through repeated meditation, you’re increasing the chances of having an experience like that.

My hypothesis on the point of meditation

I’m going to make an analogy comparing brains to computers. This won’t be that persuasive but bear with me on this one.

When you meditate, I consider it to be cleaning out the recycle bin on your desktop. It’s uninstalling the unused apps on your phone. That unnecessary noise your brain picks up throughout the day. You may not notice but it clogs your mind. After a while, you can’t concentrate. Like when you have a load of tabs open and the computer grinds to a halt. You meditate as a form of task killing.

This is why I’m building the habit of avoiding my phone until noon. As soon as you let a little in it comes in flood.

You open an email, follow a link that leads to twitter. That tweet leads to Facebook that leads to Youtube. You click on a suggested video before you know it you are in a comatose state of endless scrolling.

Meditation is a form of safeguarding against the background noise that gets louder throughout the day.

Meditation apps

There are a few apps that you can use to get started in meditation. There is Headspace. I don’t know about you, but the guy’s voice began to grate after a while. It has a paid subscription that you can use, but I can’t really recommend the service.

I bought a two-year subscription that still has a few months to go but I don’t use the app anymore.

I recommend Stop, Breath and Think. It has a load of free meditations and is easy enough to use. They’re moving into the paid subscription space, but you don’t need to use that.

There is also this guided meditation on Youtube.

Hope that you found this helpful and that at some point you’ll come round to the idea of meditating.

On Thursday I’ll be talking about gratitude.

See you then.

Ocean’s 8 will flop: 8 reasons

Ocean’s 8 is out today

Ocean’s 8 is in cinemas from today so I’m going to write about it.

I’m on a bit of a roll writing-wise. Did you read my update from Saturday?

Ocean’s 8 will flop and here is a totally non-gimmicky list of eight reasons why.

Zero hype

Did you know this film existed?

I didn’t, maybe that speaks more of my ignorance than anything else, but there has been zero hype for Ocean’s 8.

I know that it’s all female but after that, what’s the hook?

No one is excited about this film, no one asked for another Ocean’s film and no one is going to see it.

It’s champions lack enthusiasm.

This film will probably be fine.

It’ll be bland because most movies made today are inoffensive, insipid forgettable trash. Ocean’s 8 will be no different.

It’ll lack passion because it’s a film put together by committee.

There haven’t been many bad reviews but read between the lines of the “positive” reviews.

Several critics have said that the Ocean’s 8 isn’t perfect. Pointing out that something isn’t perfect is the most non-committal milquetoast observation you can make.

Of course it isn’t perfect; no movie is perfect.

Even films that I consider perfect contain imperfections.

In Ghostbusters how does Venkman know they have to empty their heads? Robocop, it isn’t clear if Clarence recognises Murphy as the cop he murdered. In Shadow of a Doubt there is, when, the, you know what, that film is perfect.

They’re damning Ocean’s 8 with faint praise.

Releasing on a Monday

Releasing a film on a Monday shows a lack of confidence from the studio.

Friday is the standard practice day to release a film. Release on Friday and you take the weekend gross to work out if the film is a success or not.

That’s because a film usually drops it’s revenue by 50% by the second weekend. Even films that most people consider to be “good” have this sharp decline.

If a film releases on Thursday that means that the studio is confident in the product and are hoping for good word of mouth to get the weekend crowd in the door. Look at Hereditary as a recent example. It’s been getting critical buzz even though it is splitting audiences, it will do well.

Releasing on a Monday means the studio don’t have any faith in the film.

Remember from Monday-Sunday is counted as “opening weekend”. Studios will count the whole weeks gross as opening weekend. You’ll hear that the film did great but don’t forget they’re counting seven days as three.

If the film does OK it will be because there is no competition. Solo was as genuine certified bomb and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has been out for a while.

Heist films are meh

Does anyone like heist films? I’m personally not a big fan. The moral tends to be crime doesn’t pay or if you’re the lesser of two evils, it does.

Heist films tend to have a significant portion of the run time spent looking at maps and planning stuff out.

The stakes in heist films are too low. No one dies in heist films. The hero may get sent to prison, but usually, they come up with “one last job” while inside, so incarnation is no big deal.

Characters in heist films tend to be selfish assholes. You accept men as selfish assholes because we tend to be that way. Will people take women in the same way?

Good heist films tend to not be about the heist itself.

Reservoir Dogs doesn’t have a heist. Inception is about dreams. The Killing is probably the best film about a heist, which has a heist in it.

Ocean’s films are even meher

Is there a nostalgia for the Ocean’s films? If so I’m unaware.

Full disclosure, I’ve never seen any of the Ocean’s films. Not the Sinatra one, not the Clooney ones.

The films never interested me. All people ever said was that Brad Pitt eats in every scene, does that mean it’s good?

Were the sequels not famous for being bad, even by sequel standards? They had a whole bit were Julia Roberts character poses as Julia Roberts.

So good for you Ocean’s 8, you have brand recognition, score.

Women working as a team

This is the point you were expecting weren’t you?

I can’t go on too much about my thoughts about a group of more than three women working together harmoniously John Mulaney does a far better job.

What is going to kill Ocean’s 8 is that they are going to portray the women as these angels who walk among us. You can’t have them fall out because that might be sexist. Women not fighting may be politically correct or some nonsense, but it is not dramatic.

Look at Gone Girl, one of the finest films about male and female relationships. It was brutally honest about men and women, both were shown to be assholes and it was considered misogynist.

The Bechdel test is nonsense.

You will probably hear that this film passes the Bechdel test.

What is the Bechdel test?

If your film has a scene with two named female characters talking about something other than men, congratulations you passed.

It makes a film more female-friendly because women struggle to empathise with others, isn’t that right? If women don’t see other women in movies, they can’t relate.

I know this pain because I can only enjoy films with tall men in them (my favourite films, therefore, are Space Jam, Roger Moore James Bond, and Steel)

Examples of female-friendly/Bechdel test passing films: Annihilation, Alien saga, Die Hard and the first Terminator film.

Enjoy ladies.

Examples of films that don’t pass, Kathryn Bigelow’s entire filmography.

The Bechdel test is pointless, most real-life women wouldn’t pass it so who cares if fictitious women do?

Half-assed feminism

They never go all in on the feminism gimmick they always half-ass the job. Why stop at all-female principal cast? Make the crew all female?

Why do these “all-female” gimmicks stop at the cast? Why is the director always male.

Ghostbusters 2016 had a male director, Paul Feig. I hate Paul Feig’s directing, this video explains many of my problems with him.

If you’re going to make something all female then why not go all in, get a female director and all female writers.

Who directed this? Gary Ross, great the guy who hired Michael J. Fox to be his camera person on the first Hunger Games film.

I also see James Cordenmeofffromthepublic is in it too, wonderful.

So what’s the matter Hollywood, don’t you believe in women?

One final observation, did they spoil the “twist” in the first image they released? Is an antagonist going to be in on it from the start?

Why is Anne Hathaway on the train with them?

oceans-8-slice-600x200

Mini-Update

Mini-Update: Good Month

Hi just thought I’d give a mini-update. This month has been good for the site. I’ve already passed the visitor count of May, so that makes me happy.

I don’t know who you are but thank you for coming to the site and taking the time to read my words.

Changing the days

I’m changing the days that I upload.

It used to be on Monday, Wednesday and Friday but I’m changing my posting each one a day across. From now on I’ll be posting on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Even though I’ve been keeping to it what has been happening is that I finish it the next day then alter the upload time. Due to my schedule, it suits better to move the post day.

Looking back

I’ve written fifty posts averaging around 1k words per post. In the grand scheme of things that isn’t much but I’m glad that I’ve committed to regular posting. I’m enjoying the writing and having people read the work.

I’m going to be spending my time between writing new content and going over older posts and improving them.

You may not notice but either I’m becoming more confident in what I am writing, or my writing is improving.

People responded to my 5 things about bombing blog.

The success of that blog has shown me that way forward will be getting more personal with you.

That’s scary, but I am looking forward to doing that on some level. I don’t get embarrassed often.

I’m always surprised whenever I divulge a secret because someone approaches me and says “I had that too”. You never know how many people are going through what you are going through, sometimes saying that you are is half the journey.

Revealing private aspects of yourself, making yourself vulnerable is a good way to develop strength. You don’t need to strengthen your strengths; you need to strengthen your weaknesses.

Another aspect that I’ve touched on elsewhere is the importance of offence and causing it. If you read something that offends you on this site, good that’s the point. I hope we can offend each other together as we go on.

I’ll write about the importance of offence at a late date.

Next week I’m writing about meditation, gratitude and the power of affirmations.

See you back here on Tuesday.

Muliplex and it’s slow death may be good

The multiplex is dying but it’s not all bad news

The multiplex may be dying but I’m going to tell you why that isn’t a bad thing.

On the Outside looking in

“What’s on?”
“A few films are starting soon, did you have any preferences?”
“No.”
“OK, I’ll tell you the next films are coming up. There’s a superhero film, an indie drama and a rom-com.”
“What about Austin Powers 4?”
“That doesn’t exist.”
“I heard they made it.”
“If they did our cinema isn’t showing it”.
“Oh, doesn’t matter then.”

I’ve worked in a multiplex for almost a decade, and if trends continue as they have been, I’m not going to last another ten.

First, let me make my bias’ clear, I love the cinema. Not just movies but the act of leaving the house. They go with people you know to sit in the dark with other strangers and look at images projected onto a screen. If the filmmakers have done their job correctly, then we all feel an emotion.

There is a nostalgia attached to the experience. I remember the Curzon, my local cinema (not a multiplex). I remember going to see Independence Day, feeling like a rebel because I wasn’t twelve yet.

The point I’m trying to make is that I love movies. The cinema and sitting in the dark with strangers watching people’s faces blown up by the size of houses. It is frustrating to see the direction cinema is headed. There are two kinds of films that are available at the multiplex. You have the issue film awards fodder. There is the big-budget invincible people punching each other for three hours.

A defence for the multiplex

There should be some sympathy for the multiplex. The multiplex has had to bend over backwards for the distributor and the customer. There was when Disney ransomed Star Wars for theatre space. Odeon was going to boycott the Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland over the home release market. There was also the 3D mess where everything had to be 3D, and then a few months later everyone was sick of 3D. Despicable Me is notable for being marking the beginning of the end for 3D as it’s 2D sales outsold it’s 3D.

More recently we had the film vs digital argument revived over the summer with Dunkirk. The cinema I work in holding onto one film projector, so we were able to give customers a choice between the two. Honestly, it’s not a great idea to provide customers with more choice. Customers don’t care, and they want things simplified. As a cinema worker, the best way is to give them the best quality of sound and picture possible.

There is a chance that cinema has always been two films. I’m starting to notice but there used to be degrees of difference between the two. The middle ground of film is disappearing. These films still get a release in the theatres. More rarely, the last notable example being The Nice Guys. That is what I want to see on the big screen, a bit of banter, boobs and some grounded action.

The multiplex is at war with technology. We have so many ways of taking in movies and so many more films being made it’s impossible to take them all.

The elephants in the room

There is something important to address when it comes to modern cinema that is ruining the experience; other people. The multiplex has transformed into an extension of people’s front rooms. In a means to pack in as many people as possible, there is no code of conduct for the customer. Do what you want, make yourself at home, use your phone, bring in the stinkiest food you can find and talk as loudly as possible to the person you’re with, absolutely fine.

The multiplex itself must bear some responsibility for this. The ticket is checked, and we hope not to see you for at least another two hours, no one has ever come out midway through a film to say that things are going great. Cinema ushers can’t enforce any rules because there are none of the customers. Customers can be asked to keep it down or leave, but the power rests with the disruptive customer and how open they are to peer pressure.

The slow death of the multiplex

The multiplex is dying a slow death; prices rise attendance is down. As disheartened as the circumstance is it is for the best. The multiplex is for people who don’t care about film. This sounds like a contradiction in terms, but there is a logic at work.

Seeing the film on the opening weekend is one of the great cons that the industry has performed on the audience. The argument has more clearly shifted from is does the film work to how many people were we able to trick into seeing it before word gets out that the film is terrible.

The subjective experience of enjoying a series of images edited together to elicit an emotion is comodofied. from us has turned into how many zeros are we looking at on Monday morning.

The people that show up on a Friday night for the showing of Flying Man 2: Punch Harder are not always die-hard fans. They are more that they are easily manipulated by the marketing machine.

The multiplex only cares about wanting your money from the concession stand. That’s why cinemas will try to fob you off with tickets if you are less than satisfied with the experience.

Cinema can look back.

The most pleasurable experience I had this year was when the cinema I worked at put on the 1980 Blade Runner. The cinema screen was packed out, and during the show there was silence. These were people who wanted to be there. There was respect for one another and a mutual degree of understanding.

One of the biggest draws for our cinema was Hocus Pocus over the Halloween weekend. We got two thousand people in over that period whereas Star Wars: The Last Jedi got in…

There is over a hundred years of film history, so many classics from years ago. The multiplex could do with taking a look back every once in a while. Filmmakers are so cineliterate.

Customer cinema experience and how to improve it for you

Hello customer, last time I wrote about why I work in one of the best cinemas in Northern Ireland. Now I’m going to tell you how you can help yourself to better customer service.

1: As a customer DYOR (Do your own research)

I don’t know if you already do this as a customer, but before you come to the cinema have an idea what you want to see.

“What’s on?”
“Are you here to see any particular film.”
“No”
“There is Star Wars, Avengers and Deadpool”
“Is that it?”
“Yes”
“Never mind.”

I understand that you can roll into a cinema and not know, hold on, you know what I’m trying to come across as understanding but I can’t. Who goes to the cinema not knowing what they want to see?

Who are these people

You put the time and effort into leaving the house, going through traffic and entering a cinema. What is stopping you from putting in that little bit more effort to find out what is on?

These people aren’t the norm, and none of them will read this article. I would guess that these people make up a third of the cinema-going population. You and I know who they are. They’re also the ones who sit in front of you, and that unmistakable glow emanates from their lap.

These people don’t actually like cinema. They only go because they feel they have to. Have you ever been to an event with a group of friends and there is always that one person who you think doesn’t really want to be there?

These people exist because I have been that one of them. I shouldn’t tell you this, but I’m not that big a fan of live music, especially open-air concerts. I went to see Aerosmith, and it was meh, I spent the money but if you had said: “Kieran you have to go before Aerosmith play and you won’t get your money back” I would have said, “OK”.

You’re probably thinking what the hell has this got to do with not knowing what to see at the cinema? They’re related, but it feeds into my overarching hypothesis. People aren’t that into things they just like congregating in groups.

The main takeaway at this point is, if you are going to the cinema, have an idea of what you want to see and what it is about.

2: Just ask

I’ve noticed that the customer would prefer us to come to them rather than the other way round. People will stand at one end of the concession area so that we have to walk down and offer help. Rather than them coming to us and directly asking for what they want.

All interaction that you have, whether with customers or friends are exchanges of status.

Here’s an example two people talking about holidays:

“I’m going to Australia” (Taking the high status)
“Oh, I’ve been there, it’s alright if you like racism” (I’m better travelled than you, high status)
“Australians are lovely people you must have annoyed them”,(You being a horrible person has led to negative experiences, high status).

Do you get what I’m saying?

There is a status struggle in all customer/seller interactions. The question is this, who has the power?

You’re probably thinking that since the lowly cinema attendant’s job relies on customers, the power resides with the customer.

That’s cool and all but let’s break that down. In the UK there is minimum wage and cinemas don’t have any kind of commission on sales made by staff.

Whether you buy or don’t buy it makes no difference to the cinema employee. I don’t know what percentage of cinema staff are shareholders in the cinemas, but I would say it’s negligible.

The point I’m trying to make is this: It’s in your own interest to ask for what you want.

Decision restriction

There are a couple of interesting quirks in customers that I’ve found through trial and error. You are standing at a till and a customer who comes and asks what’s on, they say they don’t really know what they want to see.

You look down and see three films are coming up. Usually, you would give the customer all three choices. I discovered that if I only gave them two options, they were more likely to ask about the third.

I’m looking to do more research into this, but you can try this out for yourself. If someone is being indecisive get them to choose what you want by removing an option.

Final point before moving on

Cinema seems to be the one place where you can be vague when ordering. You don’t go into a restaurant and say “One food, one liquid please” yet in cinema people say “A drink and popcorn”.

You could ask for specifics, but you will usually have to list every item on the menu. I’ve found a far more efficient way, and that is telling them what I’m giving them, it’s up to them to correct you.

3: Our opinion doesn’t matter

There is this weird thing that also happens were customers will ask you for an opinion on a film. What are you supposed to say if the movie sucks? Do you lie to them tell them it’s fantastic or do you tell them it’s not great? It’s a moral quandary.

My taste isn’t great either, I love Killing Them Softly, everyone else hated it. You and I probably don’t have the same taste, so asking my opinion is pointless.

What I’m trying to say is that who cares about my opinion, all that matters is your own.

There’s also an element of power dynamics in their too that I’ve noticed thanks to this video. Some people are there to belittle you over your taste.

A personal example, you remember the Hobbit films? As well as standard screening they were also shown in HFR (Higher Frame Rate). I’ll write about why HFR is terrible some other time, but the brief version is this, it looks like it’s been sped up and hurts your eyes.

One set of customers asked me which one I would recommend, standard or HFR?

I told them that standard was way more enjoyable and made a case against HFR. Of course, they picked HFR. Why did they ask my opinion? It annoys me a bit but now, knowing some customers want to go against what they are advised it makes it easier to get them to do what you want. If you want people to follow your advice, tell them the opposite.

4: We’re on your side until you abuse us

Eventually, something will go wrong at the cinema. Cinema, like all other human-made industries, has it’s uniquely human problems.

You got sick, you came on the wrong day, there were rowdy kids in the screen. We get it we understand. I don’t think anyone working in the service industry dislikes customers. You can get frustrated with them at times, but overall customers are the real bosses that keep us employed.

In short, we want to help.

We are on your side. If you have an issue, we’ll listen and try to help you.

That is until you verbally attack us. I understand that it can get a little frustrating at times, but cinema staff, service staff in general, are on your side.

Don’t swear at us don’t rant and rave.

When a customer complains what they are saying is “I’ve wasted time”. This is the essence of most customer service complaints. People don’t mind wasting money as much as they do wasting time. You can make more money you can’t make more time.

I would add that you are further wasting your time by getting upset and not being able to let an issue go. We understand that you are angry you don’t need to tell us. We want to save you as much time as possible, let us get on with that.

5: Not bringing stuff in is a myth

This one is a biggy. I don’t know where this myth has started, but it is just that, a myth. I have never stopped anyone bringing in their own foods.

There was a colleague who tried to stop people from bringing a coffee from outside. “Sorry you’ll have to finish that before you come in” We gave him dogs abuse for a few days after.

One thing that I will mention is that if you like the cinema, occasionally buy a drink and a popcorn.

Not because I think that it’s an essential part of the cinema-going experience, I don’t. Popcorn and fizzy drinks shred my stomach.

I say that you should buy because that is the central area where cinemas make their money. Cinemas make little money from ticket sales. Disney is the leading big-budget film producer, they take high percentages of ticket sales.

If you want to support a cinema you like, get a popcorn.

5 Reasons Odyssey Cinemas is Northern Ireland’s best

I’ve worked in Odyssey Cinemas for several years now.

This week I’m going to be putting my many years of experience to good use by writing about the cinema.

I love the cinema-going experience but I’ve fallen out of love with movies recently and have been doing some thinking.

I’m going to write about the specific cinema I work for in this post and then I’ll be writing about how you can get a better cinema experience overall. Finally, I’ll write about where I see cinema heading and what that could mean for the multiplex.

Coming up in August will be my ten year anniversary for working in Odyssey cinemas. This place was supposed to be a stop gap, a means to make some money before going on holiday. Somehow I ended up staying.

I thought it would be good to give a shout out to the place that has given me money for the guts of a decade. The cinema has also given me the flexibility to make my own film, be in a band and mostly avoid the grind of a 9-5.

You should know that I’m biased. I’m not getting paid to do this nor has anyone asked me to write this article.

What follows is the five reasons that make my cinema the best in Belfast if not all Northern Ireland.

The list covers the good Odyssey Cinemas does from both a staff and customer perspective.

5: Odyssey Cinemas staff

This one is a reason for me, but it also translates over to you, the customer. I have been fortunate to work in a place that has always had sound staff.

Everyone gets on with everyone. There are occasional disagreements, but there’s a sense of camaraderie among us.

There is a particular kind of person who works in the cinema. They tend to be less money or career driven, that’s obvious. There is also a dislike of the 9-5 and that’s a prevalent attitude amongst us. We’ll take more freedom even if it means less money.

The place has seen it’s fair share of artists, musicians and actors over the years. You know, creative types. Could be that jobs with irregular hours have a tendency to attract irregular people.

As a customer how does that translate for you?

The service is more personalised. We engage with you more. I don’t know if there is such a thing as an emotional IQ test but if there is I would say Odyssey Cinemas staff would come out on top.

If you’re a regular, there is a rapport that builds with frequent visits. I know this because there are certain people who will come to me specifically and there are other customers who go to “their person”.

There are places that you frequent that leave you feeling like a stranger. That’s not the case at our site.

The staff at Odyssey cinemas do recognise you, what makes us different from other places is that we acknowledge it.

4: Our place is practically unheard off

The Odyssey Complex feels like it has been forgotten. The Complex was ahead of the times. The building sprang up in the middle of nowhere, an island on an island.

Only recently has the surrounding area started to catch up.

There is the Titanic Museum, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Northern Ireland. There’s also the Paint Hall studios where they film Game of Thrones. A university campus has located nearby and there are also apartment buildings.

What I’m saying is that the area is starting to fulfil it’s potential.

For many Belfastinians, there isn’t much reason to come to the area. Weekends are busy but the rest of the time it’s quite quiet.

This means that if you go any day from Monday to Thursday, there’s a high likely hood that you could have a screen for yourself. You can consider Odyssey Cinemas has two of the largest screens in the North. If you’re like and prefer going alone and not having to sit near anyone, it makes for a great cinema experience.

3: Tiered seating and the VIP

Seating is important to me when I go to the cinema. If I’m going to be sitting for two hours I don’t want my caboose to be needing a masseuse afterwards.

Odyssey Cinemas have the most comfortable seats out of all the greater Belfast area. If you try and tell me that the big screen at the QFT has better seats your wrong, not enough leg room, especially for a lank such as myself.

Odyssey Cinemas also has is tiered seating which is a significant benefit.

I know that no matter where I sit in the screen I’m not going to have to worry about having my view obstructed. Even though I’m a tall guy no one is going to lean over to me and tell me to move my head out of the way.

Odyssey Cinemas also has VIP screens. Honestly, these aren’t for me as all I need is a comfortable seat to watch a film.

The VIP screens are popular and frequently sell out. Odyssey cinemas has three VIP screens. Forty seats per screen. Leather recliner, small drink, popcorn, car parking paid and a hot drink per ticket. At £17 for a ticket (£15 with members) you might think it a bit pricey but when you consider everything included, it’s actually great value. You also can upgrade your snacks.

Again, not for me but there are people who love it so much they don’t even care what film they watch.

2: You don’t have to spend that much money

There is a stereotype that cinemas are expensive. This is true to an extent, but if you’re smart, you don’t need to spend that much money, especially in Odyssey Cinemas.

We have a discount card that no other cinema in the North does. You can save on cinema tickets and if you come on a Monday or Thursday tickets are only £3.

If you are smart with your purchases, you don’t need to spend that much money.

1: The point system

As well as discounted tickets there’s our point system. 10% back on every purchase in the form of points. Staff can’t use them but for customers it’s great, and many people are taking action.

Recently there were people with as many as 4000 points, that’s the equivalent of £40.

I don’t know what they are waiting to spend them on, but the points quickly add up.

If you never heard of any of these features before I hope you found them helpful.

If you do decide to come along make sure to sign up an Xtra account.

Hope you found this informative.

Female Stand-Up: A male perspective

Female Stand-Up Definition

First of all, this post is specifically about female stand-up, not female comedians.

I know what you’re thinking, “Wooo, another male perspective on comedy, just what we’re short of”.

This post isn’t going to be another one of those clickbaity articles on whether women can or can’t be funny. That people even have that discussion anymore is sexist and absurd.

If you read my post from Wednesday you’ll know that it didn’t go too well.

Another occurrence on Monday

I wasn’t even going to tell you about the other occurrence that happened on the Monday I did stand-up. In fact I probabably shouldn’t be telling you.

The people who were there on Monday witnessed what happened and to behave like it didn’t happen wouldn’t be honest.

I’ve had some time to process it and gather my thoughts so now I’m going to tell you even though I shouldn’t.

Never compliment a female stand-up (on stage)

The first act on Monday was a female stand-up. Her act was about going to the gym and her lack of success on Tinder.

At one point she said that the reason for her being single was her looks and personality. It was a joke, but no one laughed.

My reaction to the line instead of laughter was, “don’t be so hard on yourself”. Fair enough it was OK not to laugh but what I shouldn’t have done was give voice that reaction. Especially not on stage

I’m not that smart.

When it was my turn on stage I said: “Don’t be so hard on yourself, you seem like a lovely person. Men are intimadated by your confidence”. Normally this would be fine, but on stage in the context of stand-up, I was signing my death warrant. Even though I mentioned every other act, I should have pretended that the female stand-up didn’t exist.

The reason I should have ignored her was because of what happened next.

Nothing comperes to you

The compere, out of all the acts I spoke about homed in on me complimenting the female stand-up. Even though there was only one more act to go on after me, the compere milked it for the remainder of the night.

The compere went on and on. It was funny but to some degree I was feeling a bit wick. Not because I complimented her but because she was continuously brought up for comic effect.

The compere made her a prop and it was my fault.

“Don’t worry love, Kieran has complimented you, so it’s all been worthwhile”, he said. He added “It must be so great now that you have approval from a man”.

I wasn’t trying to give her approval. I was trying to be positive about all the acts, but that doesn’t matter that’s not how I came across.

If people say you’re dead, lie down.

It’ll be alright when he white knights

The experience was strange. While I was ham-fisted with my compliment, the host defending her was equally bad. Did he have to jump to her aid because she was incapable of standing up for herself?

The girl I was with pointed this out to me. While my comments were unnecessary and weird the host was just as if not more condescending.

He went to town trying to protect her. At one point someone sitting near the front shouted, “Your white knighting has been noted”.

Despite the embarrassment, I was glad of the slagging I received.

First, it taught me that I should never acknowledge a female stand-up on stage.

Secondly, the compere’s reaction to my reaction got me thinking, and now I’m going to share my thoughts.

Gender gaps

You’re not going to agree with my hypothesis. I can feel you getting angry before you have even read it. I’m going to share it with you anyway.

Stand up is strange. You stand up in front of people, tell them your most embarrassing thoughts or secrets and hope they laugh at you.

You have to degrade yourself before strangers.

Men degrading themselves is grand. Power for the course. It’s part of our disposablitiy.

History is strewn with the corpses of men who debased themselves for the greater good.

Whether that is through war, workplace mortality, incarceration or a cheeky suicide, men die earlier more often. These are gender gaps that no one seems interested in bridging.

Men are disposable.

I’m going to delve further into male disposability at a later date but first of all, let me get you into the right mindset.

Titanic

Would the Leonardo DiCaprio/Kate Winslet Titanic be as romantic had Jack lived?

Imagine an alternate ending where they took turns going on the door, and they both got rescued. The ending would have lost all impact, and the film would not have had as many women returning to watch the movie.

The romance from Titanic comes from a male making himself disposable for a woman.

There’s another reason why I think it struck a nerve with audiences but that’s for another post.

Men are disposable while women are precious, why is this?

To put it simply, it’s to do with our ability to reproduce. Reproducing is hardwired into our genes. A man can impregnate several women in one day and keep fertilising eggs up until death. Yet, a woman can only get pregnant once every nine months and has until menopause to have her children.

The window for women to potentially reproduce is much smaller than it is for a man. This scarcity is what makes women more important than men.

What has this got to do with female stand-up?

I have taken you the long way for a shortcut so let’s get on with my hypothesis.

Hypothesis now

The female stand-up said that she was single because of her looks and personality. That brought out a subconscious protective instinct in me. I tried to give her a boost. You and I both know that was a mistake.

The host saw my compliment as an attack on her. That brought out his subconscious protectionist instinct.

What I’m trying to get across is that when a heterosexual man sees or hears a woman being down on herself, our reaction is not to laugh but to want to pity.

When a man talks about how he’s a garbage person you expect that because many men are awful and we recognise that. Whenever it is a woman talking about how awful she is men don’t believe them. Unless your Baby P’s mum or Maxine Carr men will instinctivley think of you as better than the majority of men in the room. The bigotry of high expectations.

Comedy, for better or worse is a male-dominated space. That won’t change anytime soon. If you want me to go into detail as to why that is would you mind commenting because I could do a whole essay on that.

Here is my hypothesis, female stand-up acts who go too hard on themselves will never get that many laughs. Not because it’s not funny but because it will arouse pity in the male members of the audience.

If you want to get laughs you are going to have to find a different way than behaving like a man.

I can’t tell you what you should do.

My experience on Monday has given me insight into why I react in specific ways to certain kinds of female comedians.

All I can do is point to some of my favourite female stand-up, like Sarah Silverman and Lisa Lampanelli.

I also recommend Teresa Livingstone.

I wish you all the best. Although, I will never tell you that I wish you all the best.

You never know when there is compere lurking.

5 things I learned bombing at stand-up

Stand-Up

Stand-up is one of those things that people tell me I should do.

While I appreciate, stand up I’ve never felt a burning desire to it or pursue it further than an infrequent hobby.

However, every so often I get the itch to get up on stage. On Monday 4th of June 2018, I scratched.

I bombed big style.

Let me tell you what I learned from bombing, so you don’t have to.

5: Prepare a little

First some context.

When I first did stand-up, I used to learn the lines so rigidly that if I was one word out it would throw me off completely.

When I last did stand up I didn’t prepare as much as I usually did and it went better than expected.

I thought that for Monday I would push it even further and freestyle the whole set.

I made a mistake.

The set wasn’t a complete write-off but I’m not going to tell you what went well. You didn’t come here for that.

What happened was that I bounced around from subject to subject without developing a through line. Some jokes came out of nowhere with no set up so they didn’t land as well as they could have.

When you don’t prepare, there is going to be several long pauses. Those pauses kill the timing.

You’re reading this thinking that something as fundamental as not preparing is not a lesson you need to learn. I’m not that smart.

From past performances of stand up, I’ve learned that you don’t want to lock yourself too tightly into the words. If you do any flub will send you flying off course.

On Monday I learned that winging it isn’t good either.

Next time I do stand up, I’ll be trying to find that sweet spot between over and under-preparing.

The point of preparation into to lock yourself in it’s to give your mind the freedom should something unexpected come up.

4: You’re on your own

Stand-up is strange. You get up in front of people, recite a couple of sentences and hope that they laugh.

Your goal is to change how people view things through comedy.

Now that you know what stand up is I can tell you first hand what it isn’t. It’s not acknowledging the other acts.

When I performed with my band, Mental Deficiency, I would mention the support acts and thank them.

You don’t do this in stand up. I found out the hard way.

One of the performers on before me didn’t get many laughs. They were young, and I thought it would be a good idea to, on stage, tell him he did well.

Now in my head, I thought I was coming across as “Hey kid we’ve all been through it”. It wasn’t until a friend told me after that it came across as “Hey kid listen to me the old pro”.

How condescending, I’m not a pro, I’m not even amateur. When I realised this I cringed so hard I castrated myself.

Stages are strange; they’re an elevated piece of ground that as soon as you step onto it you’re a performer no matter what you think.

Keep in mind the context of what you are supposed to be doing on stage.

My mistake was that I thought I was coming across as helpful and inclusive. In a stand-up setting it may have come across as, at best mocking or patronising at worst.

Don’t worry about anyone else focus on your own act first. Acknowledge no one.

3: Never admit that you are screwing up while screwing up

Your perception of time changes when you’re on stage. Seconds turn to minutes, minutes to hours etc.

A silence can last a lifetime. There are going to be silences. From onstage someone listening and someone unimpressed sounds the same.

What laughter there is you can’t hear. A feeling of dread rises from your gut, “I am bombing” it’s the only thought in your head. You’re arrogant and didn’t prepare. You don’t have anything to steer you through the vacuum, so you announce “I’m bombing”.

Big mistake, if you weren’t bombing before, you’re bombing now.

Friends who came to see me said that I wasn’t bombing until I announced that I was bombing. Whether I was or I wasn’t didn’t matter, I had sealed my fate.

In stand up as in life, people hate weakness. We’re sharks in that regard, any hint of blood in the water and there’s a feeding frenzy.

If you think you’re not doing well, don’t let on.

Admission plants doubt in the minds of others. There’s also the added bonus of it becoming self-fulfilling prophecy.

2: Don’t attack the audience

Attacking the audience is the worst mistake I made. What was worse was that I didn’t realise that I had attacked them until after.

There was a group of improvisers in the front row. I performed in an improv group for several years. During my time in the group audiences offered us the same suggestions repeatedly, such as “Taxidermist”, “Sex-change” and “Meat factory”. It got a bit old.

I riffed on that saying how frustrated it was getting the same words all the time and how annoying improv audiences could be.

Again someone had to point out to me, an attack on one audience is an attack on all audiences.

It’s not even like I was unaware of this. Ghostbusters 2016 died on its arse because it attacked the audience before the film came out.

I was aware that attacking the audience is a no-no. Even though I believed that I was having a go at a entirely different audience the stand-up audience couldn’t tell the difference… because audiences are fucking stupid (;D).

This bears repeating, not for your sake but mine; DON’T ATTACK THE AUDIENCE.

1: Keep up the momentum

Before I went on the compere gave me an excellent introduction that was high energy.

The MC got the crowd going, he gave me the gift of a hyped audience, and I squandered it by not jumping straight in with a joke.

That’s going from 100mph in fifth gear to dropping down to first.

Dropping the momentum was not my biggest mistake. It was, however, the first thread that unravelled the stand-up sweater.

You have to keep the momentum going. Yes, there are going to be ebb and flow moments. You slow down to build up again, but you never stop.

It’s harder to start if you never stop.

Keeping up momentum applies to life. You have to keep up the momentum no matter what. Even if you are not good, you will get better through repeatedly doing. You may not make much progress, but you will make progress.

That’s what I need to do; I need to keep the momentum up. Before, I was never interested all that much in stand up, but now that I’m in the minus column, there has been a fire lit under me.

I have something to prove and I can’t wait to turn this defeat into a victory. Now that I have something to aim for and can’t wait for my next shot.

Stand up may have been in the background for me over the years but now it has my undivided attention.