Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Blog Tour Spotlight: One Chance by Terroll Lewis (Non-fiction, Crime, Young Adult)

 


21st January 2021, Ad Lib Publishers, 256 pages, Hardback,

Summary from press release

“It’d be easy for me to go back to my old life, but I know where that old life leads you. You’re either behind prison bars or six feet underground.”

Born and raised on Brixton’s notorious Myatt’s Field and Angell Town estates, Terroll Lewis has lived a crazy life. Surrounded by gang culture from an early age, like so many other young inner-city people, he found it hard to resist the lifestyle.

By the time he was 15, he had already joined a gang, been stabbed, shot at, and was selling drugs. A chance to play professional football at Stevenage offered him a way out, but the short-term allure of a glamorous street life — the promise of girls, money, and cars — compared to the £50 a week he was being paid to play football, led Terroll back to South London and the notorious OC, or Organised Crime, gang. 

Violence and drug dealing were the norm in OC, and in 2009, aged 20, Terroll was accused of being involved in an extremely serious crime. After spending 11 months inside Thamesmead’s Belmarsh prison, he was acquitted of all charges and released back into mainstream society, which signalled the start of a new life.

Having used fitness, and calisthenic exercises in particular, as a coping mechanism while in prison, Terroll soon realised that there were other people like him who couldn’t pay for a gym membership, but still wanted to keep fit. Determined to spread the word further, he created a YouTube video demonstrating his workout regime. The views and messages quickly began rolling in, which encouraged Terroll to start conducting classes in local parks. As his client base grew, so did his ambition and self-belief. Leveraging his rapidly growing social media fame to reinforce his case, Terroll was granted a spot – a converted depot on Somerleyton Road in Brixton – to turn the newly titled Block Workout into a fully-fledged street gym.


 

Through Block Workout and Brixton Street Gym, Terroll is now able to give something back to the community he was raised in, offering young people an opportunity to follow a different road to the one he took during his adolescence — helping them to develop their minds as well as their bodies — and the chance to live a better life.

Not only is One Chance a truly authentic guide for the urban youth, steering them through the world we live in today – from education and relationships, to jail, social media and mental health issues – it also has the power to educate wider society on the experiences that this frequently demonised demographic face. Whichever form it takes, the aim of the book is to increase understanding on both sides, leading to a more harmonious, progressive, and positive society.

 

Nayu's thoughts

It being winter and given the state of the world I had to decline reviewing this book as from the info it isn't a light read. However I asked to be a spot on the tour because I have reviewed other crime books, with issues affecting young adults and feel that some of you may like to go check it out! It's impressive how much Terroll has turned his life around, he really is inspirational to other young people who also get lured in by the appeal of being a gang. Gangs are not good, but there are ways out and ways to stay away from them. I have faith this is an excellent read and may yet read it one day when life is less chaotic.  


More about Terroll from the press release

Terroll Lewis is the founder of the Brixton Street Gym, a charity-based community gym that has gained a huge cult following in the short time that it has been around. He also founded the BlockWorkOut Foundation — the charitable base that supports this amazing gym, making it accessible to everyone regardless of income — and The ManTalk, an online platform that promotes male positivity.

Terroll had been embroiled in some of the most serious street gang warfare even seen in London, leading a band of armed and dangerous young men through the streets of the city, a wild time that ended in him being accused of murder. He was eventually acquitted of the crime and proven innocent, but is thankful for his time in prison, as it enabled him to re-evaluate his life and come out a better man, the man he is today.

You can find Terroll on Youtube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. 

Thursday, 7 January 2021

GUNPIGS: Firepower for Hire by Flynns Arcade 8/10E, Shoot-'em-up, Nintendo Switch

Released December 2020, Shoot-‘em-up, £4.49, Flynns Arcade,

Have you ever played a shoot-‘em-up? Me neither, not until I was invited to try out GUNPIG Firepower for Hire by Flynns Arcade. I almost declined on the spot as my genres tend to be JRPG, RPG, simulation, adventure, rhythm games, puzzles. Shoot-‘em-ups have always looked far too complicated for me to keep pace with and actually enjoy instead of running all around the screen while screaming silently in my head because everything is trying to kill me. 


 

Confession: that’s exactly how I initially felt playing GUNPIG. It may have been the first level, but everyone was truly out to get me and it was scary. It was out of my comfort zone. The one thing that kept me going through those awful first moments were how cute the pig was. Just look at it! Who wouldn’t want to protect this little dude from harm and try to keep him alive. I failed at least once, but I somehow miraculously made it to the end of the first level without dying. The jubilation of completing that level was immense. I survived my first shoot-‘em-up level! Go me! I had saved the pig which in turn saved may other pigs!

It is a simple enough concept: destroy everything before being killed by the many hostile enemies. Moving around didn’t take long to figure out, what took longer was remembering to keep turning myself in the best direction to shoot – with a 360 degree attack range for both me and the enemies there was a lot of manoeuvring which accompanied me silently screaming ‘What on earth am I doing?’ ‘Noooo, I got hit AGAIN!’ While I am not a pro by any stretch of the imagination at least I can shoot in the direction I need to. Most of the time.


What do you think a gunpig would shoot? Mud? Worse substances? Both are incorrect (although would be fun to implement if updates are considered for the future). A gunpig shoots fruit! Not just any fruit either, oranges, apples, cherries and more all can be used by going onto the fruit changing spot. Each fruit has different properties including frequency they fire and range of attack, finding the one to fit my playstyle didn’t take too long: regardless of if it fit my combat style I frequently used cherries as I love both how they look and how they taste. Yes, I can be superficial in games and if it is a weak weapon I simply persevere until I’m stronger. I can be quite stubborn when it comes to what I can play with. There is a lot to shoot in a level, from the enemies, a variety of barriers, items that need collecting to help my fight etc. Whether this is how I’m supposed to play I go by a rule of shoot everything in sight (it is a shoot-‘em-up game). Later levels may mean I need to be selective in my targets, but for now that is working out for me.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the game – I do need to have enough mental energy to cope with how busy the screen gets with the entire world being against my mere presence, so this won’t be a constantly played game or one played a lot (less so in summer when I have tad more energy). However, in very short bursts I am enjoying GUNPIG immensely. I’m sad that I can’t change either the style of pig or the clothes it wears, but there are fun stickers to collect throughout the game – getting my first was a joyous moment. The stickers don’t do anything other than be an indicator of how well the game went. 


 

FYI yes I’m Muslim and avoid pork, but I have loved piglets since I was a child as they are ridiculously cute and one of God’s many creatures.

While shoot-‘em-ups will never  be a favourite genre because I need to focus so much to stay alive, GUNPIGS: Firepower for Hire has been a fun first dip into the new to me genre of games. I do suggest you try this genre out as you may like it more than you think. Plus who could resist wanting to keep this piggy alive? 

Cute piggy with attitude! Shown again because it's adorable.

 

Monday, 4 January 2021

Happy New Year!!!

 


Morning! Happy 2021 (or 0021 as I initially typed). I'm sorry for being so silent for several weeks. Me and winter don't get on at all, add on to that current events that were present in 2020 and yeah, I focused on surviving.

This year I'm trying my best to blog more regularly. I tend to think I have blogged, then realise all I've done is posted updates on Twitter. It's the sole social media I'm on and I use it daily. I know not everyone is on it, so I'm sorry for not keeping this and my other blog updated. I am going to try harder, even if it's just a couple of sentences to keep you up to date with life. 


Today I'm patiently awaiting a fun parcel. Although I wish I didn't have to buy it, I am excited about it's contents. I'm getting a new Nintendo Switch Lite! Yes I still have the one from last January, but unfortunately I'm experience the dreaded Joy Con Drift. It isn't as easily solved in a Lite as it is in say the original Switch where new joycons can be bought and used. The Lite is my favourite console of all time. I play on it over 6 hours a day. It truly is important part of my life, and I do rely on the games I have to help my mental health. Yes I have other hand consoles, and yes I had wanted to wait to see if there would be a new version of the Lite this year. Unfortunately the third party PowerA wireless controller that I have did not work well with all games - Super Mario Odyssey I'm looking right at you. It was a case of buy a pro controller, or for 4 times the price of a pro get a new Lite. 


Ever since I bought my Lite last year I knew this could happen. Nintendo recently told me my gaming time, and with over  2000 hours of gaming clocked up it has more than paid for it's price tag. Once everything is trasnsferred onto the new Lite, and once a week or two has passed to get through the post new year rush, I will send the faulty one to Nintendo and pray they can fix it for me. If they turn round and say they won't, or if it will cost a lot of money then I will say no thank you and just keep it as it is. I'm praying they can fix it for free - I've never used them for repairs before. I have bought new joy cons when my old ones started drifting. I've never had to buy a new controller in my entire 30 years or so of gaming, which is pretty reasonable, so I think the problems are just a build up of my being so lucky with controllers. 


Anyway, that's it for today. Craft...yeah let's just say I need to slowly build up my craft skills again. Like I said, unless you lived under a rock you know what 2020 was like. Begin extremely high risk from the virus, living with two key workers one in a hospital, plus some other life stuff I'm not yet at liberty to say but I will share later in the year when it's hopefully all sorted, means life is rather stressful for me, despite not having to work so I can stay isolated at home. 


I know 2021 still has the issues of 2020. But just by being a different year there's more hope. I pray that it is a great year for all of you. And here's to regular blogging! 
Artist unknown

 

Monday, 23 November 2020

Nayu's Gaming Time #28 Hyper Reality Gaming Bar (alcohol free) in London

Downstairs area in Hyper Reality

I am super excited to write this post because it's about gaming!  Due to Covid19 and also London being far away and difficult for me to visit outside of hospital appointments, I have not been able to visit Hyper Reality in person, but the team have answered all my questions. This isn't a sponsored post, just me promoting a company I want to share with all of you.

When the word bar is used it is predominantly referring to alcoholic drinks. Not so in this case! Here is what the team say about Hyper Reality. 

Hyper Reality is a bar that combines state-of-the-art virtual reality with nostalgic video games, allowing people to escape the stresses of the world and immerse themselves in a host of interactive experiences. It has three distinct gaming zones – The Arena, The Place with No Name and Rollercoasters – as well as a Lounge and a private Karaoke and Gaming Room.

There is also the stylish Hyper Dry Bar, serving quality non-alcoholic drinks, including beers from Hop and Hemp, adult mocktails from Three Spirit and a selection of gourmet coffees, teas and milkshakes.

Inside Hyper Reality

The concept of Hyper Reality intrigued me because it combines gaming, both traditional board games, video games, and virtual reality games, and there isn't a single drop of alcohol sold! This is a huge plus point for Muslims and any other other religion that prohibits alcohol use, making it a safe environment to visit. It means all the drinks are safe to try, aside from various types of coffee there are several mocktails which include Pentire Gin: again, it is non-alcoholic. Never heard of it, probably because I've never had an interest in gin, but I am intrigued by it for sure. Snacks are on offer too. 

Mocktail drink Happy Ending at Hyper Reality

 

The prices are extremely reasonable: the mocktails average around £5.50. Here are some of the prices if you turn up on the day without booking taken from the website:

  • The “Place with No Name” Experiences- £12 and up
  • The Arena Experiences- £8 and up
  • Rollercoaster Experiences- £3 and up
  • VR Go-Kart Experience – £6.5 per person per race
  • Ask at The Bar for more information on what worlds can be delved into.
  • Place with no name and Arena experiences are for players 7 years old and older
  • Experiences typically last for £1 a minute, though if your hidden profession is a super hero or a ninja, then experiences can last up to 15 mins in The Arena on one credit
  • £1.50 discount on each experience for students (please present student ID)

 

Hyper Reality bar and rollercoaster area

So what type of games does Hyper Reality have? In addition to a lounge area with board games and video games, a karaoke area, there are three areas for VR experiences. There is one which is a rollercoaster VR ride. Obviously it's not an actual rollercoaster, but there are several themes that can be visited. I like the look of the children friendly ones, the Dinosaur Land which looks to include a T-Rex!

Picture from Hyper Reality website for Dinosaur Land!

 and Goblin Town which looks so cute. The others really do emphasize heights and exhileration for those with braver stomachs than mine. I prefer my feet safely on the ground.

Picture from Hyper Reality website for Goblin Land
 

The other two VR areas include The Arena which offers boxing, zombie shoot games, etc. The third area, Place With No Name allows you to walk around a world in various RPG settings - haunted house, wizard quests, etc. There is plenty to check out and good incentives to return in future visits. The team very kindly answered some questions I had about the company.

Are there any specific challenges for running a gaming bar?

There are a ton.  As we are dealing with many of the latest technology from software and hardware, we need to constantly update and train ourselves to the latest processes.  Sometimes stations can shut down simply from a faulty update.  It is surprising how the internet is also essential in running our business so sometimes when there are network issues, it also influences the operation of the shop.  We are also constantly updating our Food and Beverages offering so it requires additional training to the staff members regarding our new dry-bar cocktail recipes and new drink flavours.  

What was the reasoning behind being alcohol free? As someone who avoids alcohol for religious reasons it is extremely welcome to have somewhere free from it. Would you ever consider alcohol in the future?

VR and alcohol simply doesn't go well together.  As many of our experiences on offer are quite intense, we've found with experience that intoxicated customers usually have a poorer experience than sober customers.  We are also finding a great refreshing niche market in the dry-bar market and we thought we'd give it a go mixing our Cyberpunk DNA into our drink offerings.  So far it's been going well for us with our dry bar recipes like Space-Sip and Pathetic Fallacy, as well as our offerings of CBD Beers and Drinks.  Never say never regarding offering alcohol in the future, but that is to be explored at a later stage.  

How often do you add new games to your collection? Do you run themed events in the year?

Hyper Reality was founded during the Halloween season of 2018 so we will also be running Halloween specials for the foreseeable future.  We also often run special themed events during Valentines as we have become quite the popular date spot for couples.  New games are added every quarter to every two quarters depending on the freshness of the content offered and market response.

Do you have an estimate on what percentage of your customers return regularly?

We'd say right now we are seeing roughly 30% of our customers returning often bringing friends and family along.  

Are you able to share any future plans you have for the bar? Would you look to expand in different locations?

We are already in the process of building out our own IP which should have a completion date by Q2 2021 and we are excited to share that with the public.  We are looking to expand our CBD Dry-Bar range to make that an additional niche angle for our consumers.  Finally, we are certainly looking for additional locations for expansions but given the current state of COVID, we are taking a more cautious approach and focusing on improving all of our existing offerings before venturing out to build our second shop.  We've already been approached by a few Mall developers and potential franchisees, but we will review this as we have more clarity on the COVID situation.

Again thank you to Hyper Reality for answering my questions. There are explanations of Covid-19 rules on their website here. Be sure to get in touch using their contact form to check out opening times during these strange times and to make a booking! Let me know if you visit it too.