Who Killed the Ship’s Captain?

A Murderplay by Chris Martin & A. P. Grozdanovic

All aboard and batten down the hatches for a murder-mystery of titanic proportions! The luxury cruise liner ‘the Celebration’ is the pride of the ‘Blue Triangle Shipping Line’, yet she’s sailing on choppy waters… and there’s an iceberg-sized scandal looming over the horizon!

‘Who Killed the Ship’s Captain?’ is set in the passenger lounge of the (fictional) ship ‘the Celebration’. It’s 1912, just 3 months after the sinking of the Titanic, and there’s more trouble brewing out to sea. Edward Pearson, the ship’s captain, is becoming increasingly unpopular. Ever since the disastrous voyage of the company’s rival, he’s had a sinking feeling of his own. Pearson’s become distracted, irritable and argumentative. Something’s clearly on his mind, but what? And more importantly, who would want to kill him? Could it be…?

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Elizabeth, his frustrated wife?

Cheerful cabin boy, Jack Bailey?

William Earnshaw, Pearson’s ruthless second-in-command?

Catherine Earnshaw, William’s pushy wife?

Ian Jackson, the ship’s doctor with a ‘complicated’ past. Or…

Pamela Davies, the captain’s (overly) personal secretary.

When the ship docks at Southampton, Inspector Peach from Scotland Yard is called in to sift through the flotsam and jetsam of a disastrous voyage. Life on the ocean wave has never been so turbulent… or as deadly!!

‘Who Killed the Ship’s Captain?’ is a one hour ten minute play for 8 actors- 3 male, 3 female, and 2 of either. Although still a comedy, the piece is murderplays’ most reserved, least frivolous, play, making it a popular choice for more ‘senior’ groups or those simply relishing the opportunity to ‘glam-up for a life on the ocean wave’!

Please CONTACT US to request a FREE copy of Act 1 of this play by clicking the link below:

Walking Football

So, what is Walking football? Put simply, it’s a slower version of the game, but just as beautiful.
Developed in Chesterfield in 2011 the game has taken on a whole new life of its own.
Designed to be played indoors and outdoors, the walking variant has been developed with the over 50’s in mind. Teams over 50, 60 and even 70 are competing throughout the country on a regular basis.
Helping to promote cardiovascular fitness, it prohibits both running, sliding tackles and general contact. This helps older participants, both male & female, to continue or restart physical activity in a responsible and safe way.
The game is inclusive, fun, energising and social.
In the couple of years I have been playing, I have met a great bunch of people from all walks of life. All with differing sporting abilities. But crucially, wanting to maintain or regain a level of fitness through a game loved universally.
In Bolton, where I live, there are at least three opportunities to play walking football.
At Burnden Park, the original home of Bolton Wanderers Football Club, the games are organised by Third Space Café, a charity led by Guy Hampson which helps people get fit and lead a healthier lifestyle. Bolton Wanderers Community Trust run a session at Bolton Arena.
While Bolton Arena put on sessions of their own on various days of the week.
As previously noted, all sessions are friendly and inclusive. And all give opportunities to go one step further by competing in various competitions.
(Below is a picture of the Bolton Arena side after their triumph in the 2018 Lancashire Cup held in Fleetwood.)

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The game is so popular now that there are county and international games organised. Leagues are popping up all the time. Many teams are making trips abroad to participate in tournaments in other countries, meaning the shackles are off when it comes to the growth of the game.
The clear message has to be that you’re never too old to participate in healthy activities that make you happy and feel good.
May the game continue to grow.

Thirdspace Walking Football Club

Going Home

The following is an extract from Going Home, a short story by A.P. Grozdanovic, that is available on Amazon Kindle…

The message had been straight-forward, ‘Zdravo. Prošlo je dugo vremena.’ – Hello. It’s been a long time. That’s how easy it is to connect these days. Someone you haven’t spoken to for decades can come straight into your home and metaphorically shake you by the hand.

Pero Saric had only joined the social network revolution to promote his business. He had been reluctant to take part in the continuing craze for social media. More fearful of the unknown than excited by the possible. But he had been convinced by the staff, who had said it was too easy an opportunity to raise the profile of the elderly care home he owned. He had relented and signed up. If it made the staff of Easy Living Care Home happy, it was okay by him.

Families, friends and God-knows who, had liked or followed the Profile Page within days. The staff, overseeing the pages for him, were pleased with the response. They had advertised the annual fête the Home was hosting and within hours lots of people had committed to attend and contribute items for sale. The pages had cost nothing to set up and they were paying dividends almost immediately.

Up to the day of the fete the staff had been working long hours to get the place ready. Pero had recognised this, filled in where necessary, and let them finish early where possible. He’d try to make it up to the staff at bonus time. But his attention had been taken away from their efforts and the fête itself on that very morning. Having picked his morning coffee and toast up from the kitchen he settled at his desk to plan for the day ahead. He always started with the days physical correspondence, then incoming email. He had now added the social media aspect of the work to this morning routine and as he was going through his online content, he had noticed the message from Selma Sokolovic. He had neither seen nor heard from Selma, the only girlfriend he’d ever really known, in over twenty-five years. She still lived in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia Herzegovina, formerly part of the Yugoslav Republic – Pero’s birthplace.

Pero had tried to suppress his feelings for his homeland since the Balkan War of the early nineties. The death and destruction, especially the siege of Sarajevo which lasted from 1992 to 1996, bit into Pero’s heart deeply. He’d watched on the news daily how his countrymen had killed neighbours and seized land. His former country had now split into six independent republics. Never had Europe witnessed so much barbarity since the Second World War.

At first, he didn’t know whether to answer or simply ignore the communication. What on earth could Selma want after all these years? He clicked on her profile. Nothing was hidden. Her photos and friends’ list, some of whom he vaguely recognised, were all visible. His staff had told him that it was important for personal social media sites to maintain a sensible security level. The business page didn’t need the same level of filter as they desired visibility. Selma, it appeared, was a little cavalier with her online activities status. Anyone could open her page and see where she had been and who were her friends.

The weeks passed, and then out of the blue, Pero received another message. Again, it was a simple opening line, but this time in English: 

‘How are you?’

Pero still didn’t know whether to respond or not. Over lunch he had mentioned this second message to the staff. To a person, they sat bolt upright.

‘Of course you should respond,’ said Gail.

‘What have you got to lose,’ demanded Jane, crunching through a slice of toast.

He had no response to their enthusiasm. What could he lose? He concluded, absolutely nothing.

To read more of Going Home visit:

 

Stalag Britain

The following is an extract from Stalag Britain, a short story by A. P. Grozdanovic, that is available on Amazon Kindle…

’On this historic day, the twenty-six of June 2016, the British electorate has spoken,’ the news anchorman declared, ‘and it’s a definitive rebuff to the Remainers. The UK has turned its back on the Prime Minister and the European project. By a margin of 51.9% to 48.1% Brexit is now a reality. For some analysis on what this means, we’ll go over to Darren Reynolds, our Chief Political Correspondent, in Downing Street. So,’ the anchor momentarily paused in thought, ‘what does this mean?’

The camera cut to the reporter in Downing Street.

‘Put quite simply, Michael, no one knows. We can take a wild guess: market turmoil, factory closures, years of renegotiating trade deals, university funding cuts due to the number of foreign students falling. The list of negatives seems endless. 

‘But, of course, some will see this as scare-mongering. They say that this is the beginning of a whole new chapter in the relationship we have with the entire world, not just Europe. One where the British people decide for themselves what they want. From trade to immigration, from law to subsidies. And there are champagne corks popping across the country in celebration at this new opportunity.’

‘And what about the Prime Minister?’

The reporter gave a definitive, ‘He’s toast! The Prime Minister staked his whole political career on a referendum that many new he couldn’t win. Polling shows that not only were the electorate voting to leave the EU, they were also voicing their dissatisfaction with the government and its austerity package. Quite simply, he put himself in a no-win situation.’

The camera cut back to the studio.

‘Do I smell the whiff of resignation?’

The camera returned to Downing Street.

‘It’s more a stench than a whiff, Michael. Some say the Prime Minister won’t last the day.’

The camera cut back to the studio.

‘So that’s it, folks. Once Britain triggers its formal intention to leave the EU the countdown begins. Historic times indeed. Goodbye from us.’

To read more of Stalag Britain visit:

Time for Labour to Stand Up

Brexit, in all shapes and sizes, looks to be a complete dog’s dinner. It’s hard to look at it any other way.

While we have a government led by the ineffectual Teresa May, leaving the European Union with a good deal looks about as distant a prospect as man landing on Mars.

Since taking over the Tory leadership she has misfired at every turn. She called an early general election (despite fixed term parliaments being a Coalition success) and lost a Commons working majority. She then effectively handed control of Brexit policy to the DUP and the right-wing Brexiteers in her party (not to mention noises off, Farage). And since then she has limped from one Brexit crisis to another. 

How humiliating must it have been to have Brexit Secretary, Davis and the blonde mop and dinner party raconteur, Johnson, resign over her Chequers deal. And then have it effectively thrown in the incinerator by European negotiator, Michel Barnier

The vision of Brexit by its champions is one of nirvana. The It’ll Be Alright on The Night Brigade never seem to deliver a coherent picture of life outside the European Union. Yes, they point to better trading deals with countries like the USA. But do we really want to be standing alone in a trade deal with someone like Trump in the White House, slapping tariffs on anything that takes his fancy? By pulling the drawbridge up on Europe, our biggest free trading partner, does that make Britain great again? It’s a big question. 

And it’s an even bigger question when time and again reality bites and warnings are delivered as to the what will happen if a cliff-edge no deal wins the day.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (who work towards eradicating poverty in the UK) say families will continue to struggle regardless of a Brexit deal.

In a survey conducted by Odgers Berndtson of a hundred UK business leaders over 50% wanted to stop Brexit altogether.

Jaguar’s boss warns of high job losses with a bad Brexit deal.

Honda’s European boss says the company would lose tens of millions of pounds.

These are obviously selected clips from what the hard Brexiteers would call Project Fear, but when you consider recent polls by Yougov showing public opinion is drifting away from Brexit, things begin to look different. Do people still think that this is the future they want for Britain? Maybe it isn’t.

In a Yougov survey of 2,700 members of Unite, Unison and GMB it showed a clear majority for staying in the EU. This is just over two years since the narrow victory for Vote Leave. 

Times change.

It’s time for Labour to stand up and be counted.

We now have a convincing majority of Labour members who want their party to opt for the so-called People’s Vote. The enthusiasm for this is now charging forward apace.

With all this evidence – business, Union and public opinion – shouting from the rooftops that they want a new vote now the reality of Brexit is knocking at their door, it is incumbent on Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party to be the trusted opposition to a catastrophic hard-Tory Brexit. 

By changing their policy and supporting a People’s Vote (and writing it in their manifesto), Labour will give people a real choice at the ballot box. Because Brexit is the only game in town. Get that right and you can begin to move on and work towards a better health service, a world class education system and quality employment. The things this government and Brexit has derailed.

This article was originally published on 22 September 2018

Aftermath, Extreme Measures 2

The following is an extract from Aftermath, Extreme Measures 2, a short story by A. P. Grozdanovic, that is available on Amazon Kindle…

Maybe this was the happiest day he’d ever encountered in his whole life. He felt at peace. Maybe it was the last place he would like to see before…

Glenn had learned from watching a plethora of action movies that you don’t pull a trigger. You caress it. You squeeze it gently. Contrary to that advice, at this moment he wanted to pull it hard. Hard in the hope that the bullet would come out of the muzzle so fast, with so much explosive power, that it would rip through George Forester’s head and make a real mess of it.

But first, he wanted to see Forester sweat, and to suffer the reality of the situation they both found themselves in. He needed Forester to understand he had no control over his own fate. And to be fair to his captive, he was in serious distress. As Glenn stood over Forester, the last words he heard Forester bleat out like a frightened child he was were, ‘Glenn, no! Don’t! Please!’

He’d let the girl, Anna, go. How young and naive she was, they all were. He couldn’t have kept her any longer. She’d been beside herself. It wasn’t until she’d left that Glenn realised how much he needed a woman’s touch. He’d forgotten how distant he and Elena had become in those last turbulent months. Of course, before he’d let Anna and John McCarthy go, they’d tried to talk him into giving himself up. But it was too late. The dye had been cast.

And at the precise moment Forester was screaming ‘Please!’ Glenn had made peace with what he had done. He didn’t believe he’d chosen this particular path. It had been forced on him. 

Glenn was content. 

Glenn could guess what was going to happen next. There would be a police marksman out there somewhere just waiting to pick him off. He’d searched desperately through the setting sun, but failed to get a glimpse of the man who would be his executioner. He’d concluded some time earlier that once he made the move to kill Forester he was more than likely signing his own death warrant.

And now the time had come. A calm descended over him. Despite his earlier inclination, he took the advice and slowly squeezed the trigger…

To read more of Aftermath, Extreme Measures 2 visit:

Chaos Rules the Day

Along with religion and politics in general, Brexit has become the subject to avoid among friends.

Everyone and his faithful dog has an opinion. But, unfortunately, no one has the same view.

I predicted before the referendum in 2016 that politicians would try to find a position where-by they could say Britain was out of the European Union, but effectively still be in it. A fudge. And that is exactly what Theresa May has attempted to do. 

To say she has divided a nation even more than it already was is an understatement.

No one group enjoys confidence in the deal struck with the EU. 

Members within the different groups don’t even agree. From hard Brexiteers who want ‘out means out’ WTO to Leavers who are comfortable with Canada+. We even have Norway+ being bandied around. The devil is in the detail, and whatever the minutia in those suggestions is well beyond this mere person. What is still confusing is what Her Majesty’s Opposition thinks of it all. The more Corbyn talks about his solution for our European future, the more confused I am.

Of course, we have the Remainers who are still clinging to the chance of a People’s Vote. This could either turn the 2016 result on its head or modify the deal so much that many of the benefits we get will stay as they are. Despite many of those benefits being the reason why some people voted to leave in the first place.

From pay-offs to fish. From border control to the establishment of a European army. From elected officials to non-elected officials. Not many agree.

Even the simplicity of the referendum question has been queried. 

Did we really mean out, out? Yes we did, I hear people saying steadfastly.

When I voted remain, I meant to stay in with all its faults and under no circumstances do I think the EU needs reform.

Heels are being dug so deep, movement is near impossible. So, would a People’s Vote be worthwhile? That depends what side of the Brexit fence you’re on, of course.

Some people say we should just get on and respect the referendum result. That’s democracy in action. It is. But do you just agree with the opposition after any election? No, you don’t. You fight for change. Just like prominent Brexiteers have been doing for decades. They just weren’t called Brexiteers back in the day. Democracy gives you the ability to disagree and fight for the change you want.

And what about the politicians whose job it is to take care of our wellbeing, our prosperity and our safety. They are as confused as the rest of us. Do they back May or sack May? That is a big question.

But who could take her place? Who can bring the country together?

Take it from me… No one.

The whole debate has fractured this country right down the middle. It has paralysed this government and any future governments for generations. Everything will be seen through the prism of Brexit. Are you a Remainer or a Leaver. Can you trust your traditional party of choice to honour your view on Brexit?

The answer to that is also a big fat No.

Brexit is too big a question. And there is no politician in todays ranks that can bring the population together. The whole electoral system we have has shattered into fragments of differing opinion. Candidates will jettison their party if they don’t get what they want. A party’s traditional broad-church approach to politics has disintegrate over Cameron’s disastrous Brexit legacy. 

The agents of change through chaos have won the day.

This has been written before Theresa May’s parliamentary vote is taken on her deal. Reports are saying it’s a dead-duck. Just like her Premiership. Whatever the future holds, People’s Vote, May’s Deal or Brexit means Brexit, the future is as cloudy as a smoking room in Smokesville!

This article was originally published on 10 December 2018