Monday, 19 October 2015

The music awakens! #CBSO #StarWars concert

Last Friday evening I went to see the CBSO (City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra) accompanied by the CBSO choir perform an evening of music from all six films of the Star Wars saga.

These aren't the droids we're looking for... #StarWars

A photo posted by Matthew Abbott (@abbott_56) on

The Star Wars films are some of my favorite films of all time, and the ever expanding Star Wars universe is one of my favorite fictional places to retreat to for entertainment, comfort and escape through the many avenues of media that Lucas Arts and now Disney have delved into.

The epic, sweeping compositions by John Williams is a massive part of what makes the Saga so special for so many. The use of an orchestral soundtrack for a 70's Sci-Fi movie, as apposed to the ambient synthesizers and computer noises of other sci-fi films, instills wonder and awe, love, humor, tension, drama and excitement in the viewer. Williams excels at being thematic with his compositions,  associating the most memorable of musical themes or light motifs to some of the worlds most memorable on screen performances. Then he went and did it again for 3 more films - and is going to be doing it again for the upcoming Force Awakens this December!

I was completely enamored then by the performance of the CBSO this evening, who were not only all excellent in their musicianship, but absolutely in sync with each other, and with conductor Michael Seal. After playing in orchestras and ensembles as a flutist all my life I'm always picky with the professionalism of performances. Even as a lowly teenager in my local music service's wind ensemble, it was strictly adhered to that we must always watch the conductor, and seeing this executed so eloqeuntly was a sight to behold; all bows moving in unison and instruments being raised at the correct times. Truly at one with the force, they were. Mrrhhmm.

The CBSO and the CBSO chorus have been absolutely stunning so far this evening. #StarWars

A photo posted by Matthew Abbott (@abbott_56) on

The addition of the CBSO Chorus only increased my enjoyment, especially for my favourite piece of Star Wars music - The Dual Of The Fates. Of course, the encore was the terrifying Imperial March, and they even played the most reveered of pub soundtracks - The Cantina Band theme. The percussionists in particular were great fun to watch for this one. Furthermore, host Marc Silc (who plays a senator from Malastare amongst other TV characters) added some well fitting levity and introductions into the proceedings.

Friday, 16 October 2015


I forgot to add yesterday that I've also taken to Twitter recently using the hashtag #3GoodThings to remind myself of at least 3 good things that have made my day, every day. 

This could be something as small as enjoying my superbly crafted (if I do say so myself) porridge in the morning, to a good day at work, to seeing friends or simply catching up on some much needed me time. 

It doesn't matter what, as long as each of those 3 things has made me smile or content in some way, shape or form. And it helps keep me in good spirits, knowing that it's the little things that often do make me feel content. I find this is also helping me avoid slumps in mood, as I'm reminding myself on a daily basis about what makes me smile. 

Check out my twitter feed at and why not join me in making yourself aware of what makes you smile? #3GoodThings

Thursday, 15 October 2015

A little bit of life update

So, a few things have been going on in the world of abbott_56 recently, but I generally feel I'm on the way up, in terms of mood, sociability and my diet. However, I know not everyone would agree with that, and I'm still predictably being very strict about what passes my lips, possibly to the point of obsession, but I feel thanks to not counting calories and generally trying to worry a bit less, that I'm less concerned and am enjoying myself more. I do have the odd down day when it gets me very stressed, but who doesn't have an off day? And who doesn't have their shit? If there's anything I've learned from this It's that everyone, and I mean absolutely everyone, comes with some sort of emotional rubbish. And this is fine, it's just part of the human experience! I don't think I'll never not have this eating disorder and OCD now, but the key is learning to live with it and not have it diminish my enjoyment of everyday life. And though I have my blips, I feel I've improved loads since my time off work.

And actually, work is where I feel happiest at the moment. I'm really enjoying supporting a number of schools with their ICT requirements. And it's not just about fixing problems (queue telling teaching teachers to turn it off and on again!) but about innovating and investing in new tech. Just today I've been playing with touch screen student netbooks and interactive HD displays with in built Android systems and app stores, wirelessly mirroring displays and working between devices to share resources. I can't wait to involve more of the teaching staff and get them as excited about this stuff as me. 

Out of work, I'm going out with friends for a bit more and making a more conscious effort to be sociable, as well as taking time for me and the things I enjoy - reading, good TV, cooking etc. The only aspect of my hobbies that seems to have suffered is my gaming! And I don't really know why - I still love it, and I'm still increasing my collection - I recently bought Mario Maker, Yoshi's Wooly World, Bayonetta 2 and Hyrule Warriors, not to mention a couple of nice looking retro bargains (How I've not played Banjo Kazooie yet! I can't forgive myself!) I just seem to lack the motivation to actually game right now. I did sample the beginning of the original Dead Space last night, so maybe that'll spark something off. I fancy some Zombie-esque games with Halloween looming ever closer. The Last Of Us may have to be played again. Possibly Resident Evil 4 on the Wii. Zombi-U! RARGH!

I just need to make sure I keep this up. I have been feeling a bit lethargic and tired, possibly due to diet but I think it's just a shock going from time off sick to a very busy full time job. I'm just glad it's one I enjoy. I'm out tomorrow with the folks, going to see a Star Wars classical concert, which I'm very excited for!

If you know me, or even if you don't, feel free to get in touch! I would love to hear from anyone who's anyone and I'm always up for people encouraging me to actually do stuff and try new things, even if it's just a bit of online gaming. My PSN and Nintendo ID is abbott_56 and I can normally be found on that ID anywhere!
Look forward to hearing from you!

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