Art · Writing

Soul Survivor Scotland

I’ve had such an awesome week down at Soul Survivor Scotland as a youth leader with WCC Youth.  They are such an incredible group of young people; it’s a constant privileged to get to hang out with them.

It was absolutely amazing to see 1,000+ young people meeting with God in a really powerful way, encountering his real love for them, and making brand new friendships with people from all across Scotland.

Really hope I can be a part of it all again next year!

Ps: here’s a wee lil’ sketch of our campsite… (:

Writing

*Short Story* – ‘Haunting’

(I wrote this in 2010 as part of my creative folio for Higher English.  It’s very, very over-the-top and really hyperbolic, but still remember having a bunch of fun writing it (:

My inspiration for the main character was Yassen Gregorovich from Anthony Horowitz’s ‘Alex Rider’ series, and for the setting it was the ‘Escape From Colditz’ board-game and the second level of ‘James Bond 007 Nightfire’ for the PS2!)



‘HAUNTING’

 

The fortress stood before him, an imposing outline in the winter Scottish valley.  Moonlit.  His merciless posture seemed to shrink its immensity.  He had no real name: it had been forgotten long ago.  They called him Haunter, the image of a living ghost.  His target was inside, known only as the General.  He didn’t care why they had to die.  He didn’t care about what they had done.  He only cared about the money.  He was the ultimate mercenary.  He took a step back, fading into the cold.

 

He stole over to the side of the building, looking back to survey the path he had taken through the battalion of guards and the several searchlights defending it.  He turned, and threw himself to the ground.  Two guards walked past, but he went unseen: his dark clothes merging with the shadows.  Then he was up again, moving like spilt oil.  He made his way towards the guardhouse, gliding over the gravel, almost soundlessly.  He looked in the window, seeing three uniformed men lounging in the warmth.  They were laughing, oblivious to the fatal venom closing in.  Heartlessly, Haunter drew his gun.  He aimed.  Three muffled coughs divided the night, finding their targets.

 

He rose up the stairs.  Another guard appeared.  A woman.  For a second she was paralyzed with fear, then tried to shout.  The noise never left her mouth.  A silver blur glinted in the artificial light, ending an existence.  He removed his knife; blood glistened on the blade.  The body slumped to the floor.  Ruthlessly, he continued on.

 

He was in the library.  The General was through the door, at the far end of the room.  The stacks of books acted liked guards, blocking his way.  But they were powerless against his pitilessness.  A naked light bulb hung from the ceiling, barely illuminating the gloom.  It flickered out, as if he had extinguished it.  Haunter paused and closed his eyes; focusing his mind. He opened the door.

 

There was the General, sitting to the left of the large table, listening patiently to a man avidly making a point.  The meeting taking place was drawing to a close, the eleven participants beginning to shuffle their papers and pick up their briefcases.  Haunter was on the balcony, spying on the khaki-dressed men and women below him.  He wasn’t concerned with what had been discussed.  It was irrelevant.  The cold-blood pulsed through his veins, as he moved in.

 

His target was the last to leave the room.  The General placed his jacket over his forearm and, picking up his briefcase, moved towards the door.

 

Haunter dropped to the floor, noiselessly.  He promptly cut off the General’s only escape, standing casually, but ready to strike.  His target froze, defenceless.

 

Now, invincible, Haunter once again drew his knife; it was still fresh with crimson blood.  The General was backing away.  He let out a shout, but nobody came to his aid.  Nobody ever did.  Sweat began dripping down the sides of the General’s face; the floor swaying beneath him.

 

He advanced, raising his weapon; each step a tidal wave of callousness and fear.  His feet didn’t seem to touch the ground, but still they clicked ominously on the tile floor.  They were counting down the seconds to the inevitable.

 

The General began withdrawing backwards, faster and faster.  But he was unable to keep his eyes from his killer.  He was hypnotised.

 

Haunter was expressionless.

 

The General’s voice was reduced to a high-pitched squeak as he desperately tried to negotiate with the brutal monster before him.  But he only met silence.  Suddenly, he toppled over a chair; clattering to the ground.  The General’s body went rigid, his face fixed in an expression of pure horror.  He let out a whimper, a cry of mercy.

 

Haunter’s face didn’t change at all.  It was unmoved, remorseless. Uncaring.

 

Inhumane.

 

He raised his knife one last time, and then stabbed down.

 

A klaxon began. The bodies had been discovered; the catalysts of mass panic.  Red lights flashed on and off. Doors opened and closed.  There were shouts, screams.  A multitude of guards flooded out of the building, disoriented, half-dressed and confused.  They were running around blindly, searching for the invisible threat that had already slipped away.

 

The next target had been located.  The last already forgotten…

Music · Writing

*Song* – ‘Waiting’ For My Real Life To Begin’ (Live cover)

I find it absolutely crazy to think that it’s been over six years since I performed this cover of ‘Waitin’ For My Real Life To Begin’ by Colin Hay at Westhill Academy (apologies for the rough sound quality).

It was during a school concert night, a couple of weeks after I’d performed it at the ‘Westhill Academy Young Musician of the Year’, and somehow won the senior musician competition!  I  remember being super, super under-prepared for the competition, just picking this song because I’d been jamming it out in my bedroom the night before.

I think it was an important moment for me: it gave me a big boost in confidence, after a few years of thinking that maybe playing and making music wasn’t really something I was meant to be good at.  Certainly looking back now I think it helped push me on a bit to become a better musician, and consequentially a better worship leader (which is something that is so, so important to me today).

I think about the song often too.  A lot of the time it’s because I’m in the middle of a ‘Scrubs’ re-watch, and the episode with the song in it hits me right in the feels every time!  I love the words and the story it tells, but I think what really gets me is the question of: when will your ‘real life’ begin?  As for me, I don’t want to have to wait for it.  I want it to start right now!!

I got a chance to see Colin Hay perform it live in Aberdeen a wee while back.  So good!

Song lyrics:

Any minute now, my ship is coming in
I’ll keep checking the horizon
I’ll stand on the bow, feel the waves come crashing
Come crashing down down down, on me

And you say, be still my love
Open up your heart
Let the light shine in
But don’t you understand
I already have a plan
I’m waiting for my real life to begin

When I awoke today, suddenly nothing happened
But in my dreams, I slew the dragon
And down this beaten path, up this cobbled lane
I’m walking in my old footsteps, once again

And you say, just be here now
Forget about the past, your mask is wearing thin
Just let me throw one more dice
I know that I can win
I’m waiting for my real life to begin

Any minute now, my ship is coming in
I’ll keep checking the horizon
And I’ll check my machine, there’s sure to be that call
It’s gonna happen soon, soon, oh so very soon
It’s just that times are lean

And you say, be still my love
Open up your heart, let the light shine
Don’t you understand
I already have a plan
I’m waiting for my real life to begin

On a clear day I can see, see for a long way

Art · Writing

how will you grow?

This week I’ve been away at a worship leaders conference called ‘The Week’ down in Birmingham with Worship Central.  It’s been such an amazing time: incredible, incredible teaching, and such sweet times of worship.

One of the images that Ken Costa shared was about how the hopes and dreams each of us have are sort of like acorns.  These acorns can either die as young saplings, or grow into strong oak trees.

I don’t know about you, but I want all of my hopes and dreams to grow strong…

Art · Writing

A new heart.

Sometimes our heart can feel so broken: battered and bruised; beyond all hope of saving; “I’m too far gone”…

But I believe that God loves YOU.  I believe that God made YOU.  I believe that God has the power to transform your life, to transform your heart and make it new.  To take away all the hurt, the pain, the struggle, and replace it with hope and joy everlasting.

He is willing.  He only asks that we call on His name.

“Father, Dad, I need You…”

Video · Writing

When Pokémon meets Star Wars…

I have really loved making and recording all of my Pokémon videos.

I would say that I’ve had four main ‘seasons’: my let’s play of Red, my (unsuccessful) ‘evolocke’ of Crystal, my (successful) ‘nuzlocke’ of Ruby, and my short-but-sweet playthrough of Sun (with little bits of Mario, Metroid, Battlefront and Contra intermingled in between!)  I think somewhere in the middle of playing Crystal I reached the peak of my YouTubbing proficiency, regularly uploading three episodes a week, and really enjoying every episode I recorded.

However, what I loved maybe even more than playing the actual game was crafting this weird, crazy backstory behind all my videos.  It all started with me doing a Marvel-post-credit-esque scene after I ‘died’ in my Crystal evolocke (all of my Pokémon fainted in heart-breaking fashion as I battled the the Elite Four – “Hard times!”)  In the clip I was confronted by a mysterious character, who offered me a chance at Pokémon-playing “redemption”.

Over time these extra scenes escalated further and further, and eventually I ended up recording the above video, affectionately and pretentiously named: ‘To Catch A Jigglypuff”.  There are deaths, wild animals, a lightsaber battle, secret maps, pop-culture references, and all sorts of other craziness.  Out of all the videos I’ve made so far in my life it’s my favourite, and the one I’m most proud of.

Hope you enjoy it! (:

(Ps: the Pokémon Platinum Egglocke will happen… maybe…….. someday…)

Art · Writing

“Pokémon: gotta catch ’em all…”

IMG_5940

Pokémon is the greatest video game franchise of all-time.  Search your feelings: you know it to be true!

I’ve been playing these games since I was four years old and we were still living in Calgary, Canada.  Even now, ‘Pokémon Red Version’ is still my go-to game if I’m ever feeling ill and in need of a pick-me-up.

I’m kinda sad that I’ve only had time to play through Pokémon Sun (my chosen version out of the two most recent entries in the franchise) just the once.  Normally I blitz through each new game at least a couple of extra times: to find out everything I can about all the new Pokémon, and about the new world I have to explore.

So, out of remorse for the good old days of levelling up my Charizard to level 100 with reckless abandon, and throwing 65 Ultra Balls at Mewtwo until I made him my own, here’s a drawing of the ‘Gen. I’ games: Red Version, Blue Version and Special Pikachu Yellow Version.  They will always hold a special place in my heart (and on my shelf of games!)…

Ps: if you want more Pokémon, my ‘rarmstar’ YouTube channel has a whole bunch of them!  (https://www.youtube.com/user/theRArmStAr)