Category Archives: Vivika’s Musings

The Deadly Sins

We all have our vices. Some are worse than others but as human beings we are far from perfect. I read an interesting article the other day which questioned why atheists don’t indulge in their darkest desires since they don’t believe in a God to offer them moral teaching. It was concerning to think that the presence of some kind of almighty was all that was keeping people from hurting one another. When you think about it, the presence of deitys has been the reason we’ve been hurting one another throughout our existence. Still to this day, arguments over who’s God is better leads to the deaths of hundreds. It got me thinking, is the fear of an almighty a good enough way to keep people following a code of morals?

Fear is no way to hold anyone in line. There are many people who know it’s wrong to hurt others or treat people a certain way without believing in God. There are many strict believers who are perpetrators of the worst crimes. Take the Magdalene sisters for instance. By definition they were righteous, Holy nuns but the way they treated the girls in their care was in no way moral. I’m not an atheist. I consider myself a spiritual person just not necessarily a religious one. I don’t always make moral decisions because I’m a flawed being the same as everyone else but our morality is something that is deeply rooted in us. We treat each others well because our natural being knows that is how society should work.

Greed, Lust, Gluttony, Pride, Anger, Envy, Sloth are considered the deadly sins. I guess this is because to indulge in these particular attributes makes you a bad person by any moral standards, relgious or otherwise. Show gratitude for what you have and you’ll never be greedy. Explore your urges in a respectful way and you’ll never be cried lustful. Treat your body well with the fuel you give it, never become gluttonous. Know your worth but not at the expense of others. Remember we are all on our own journey and our paths differ so you can’t compare your own to that of someone else. Sloth? Well, that just makes good sense.

All in all, folks, it shouldn’t take fear of the repercussions of a God to form your morality. We should treat each other well because we are all human, we all have our sins but we also have this beautiful capacity to help one another.


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Character Profile: Seth Bergman

“A lovely boy is Seth. A lovely boy!”

Name: Seth Bergman

Occupation: Diamond Merchant

Features in: PURPLE RIBBON ; KNOCK KNOCK

As the son and heir of the Bergman Diamond Parade, Seth is known to carry himself with dignity and charm. He is much beloved in the community in which he lives and like his father, Howard, he enjoys a sterling reputation. Once head boy at the notable Kingsgate School where royals are taught, Seth has been preparing for most of his life to take his father’s place at the head of his family business.

Seth is intelligent, kind and has a talent for his work. However, diamonds require the sharpest tools to cut and Seth has a razor wit and a temper that certain things can provoke. Despite his naturally pleasant demeanour he can be temperamental when his family are in danger. His kindness is often mistaken for weakness. Seth may not be the most physically intimidating figure in the Shady City but should circumstances require he can be fearless and dare I say a little ruthless too.

His pacifistic father, Howard, has raised him to stay clear of the corruption and violence that is common in the Shady City but as things close in on them Seth believes they can’t avoid it forever. Being lifelong friends with the infamous Penn triplets, Seth could very easily slip into a way of life he is just not cut out for!


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Character Profile: Queen Francesca Chamberlain

“Bring me this one, and that one. I want their heads for a stew.

That fat one cowering in the corner? I suppose he’ll have to do.”

Name: Francesca Chamberlain The First

Features in: PURPLE RIBBON ; KNOCK KNOCK ; THE BOSS

Occupation: crowned queen five centuries prior to current events.

Painting of Francesca Chamberlain the first.

Despite her not living in current times the presence of Francesca Chamberlain is still felt, most notably in her castle in the northern city of Bournton. The call the castle The Boss because of the way it looms over the town below. It is currently a high security prison for the worst of the worst in the Shady City. It hasn’t changed much in the times since Francesca’s reign in that even then it was a dungeon that many feared to be held behind. Francesca was a bloody and merciless ruler taking great pride in the torture of her prisoners. They called her a witch because of the young maidens she drove to madness.

Francesca’s statue within The Boss

She may have been ruthless but most rulers in those days were. What she did hold dear though were her nephews, princes James and Edward. As sons of Francesca’s brother Henry, James was the rightful heir to Chamberlain dynasty. Having died in battle Francesca brought the princes to the castle for safe keeping. The intention was to rule in James’ stead until he came of age.

Whilst staying in the castle the younger prince, Edward, fell ill. Francesca believed a witch among them had cursed the little boy but luckily the arrival of a Holy man named Noah Wigan brought the boy back to health. From that moment Francesca was dedicated to the church Wigan was building. She heeded his advice above all and she became quite mad with her devotion.

Times have moved along since those days history books refer to as the Ballad of Blood. The modern Chamberlain family have left swords behind but bloodshed remains stained on the golden crown.


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My hero

We all need some inspiration. We all need someone to look up to. What do we seek in our heroes? I guess we look for someone who embodies the best elements we wish to see in ourselves. We look for a hero who can show us what it means to be braver, kinder, stronger or better in some way than we generally consider ourselves to be. You may find this in superheroes. It would be easy to when the media is so saturated with them. We may see it in public figures who have some qualities we look to emulate or are doing work that we find admirable. Heroes of all kinds inspire us to do our best and reach for a goal.

You might think heroes are something for children to look up to. I would argue that it’s not just young people who need the inspiration. Adults would do well to find someone to look up to. It could be someone younger too. Take Malala Yousafzai for instance. She is a truly inspirational girl who fought for the rights of others like her to have an education, something I took for granted to a certain extent. Her fearlessness in pursuit, despite her youth, is to be admired. She is a hero in a lot of respects.

For some a hero is someone who lived a long time ago but their impact is still felt such as Sophie Scholl, another young activist. Along with her brother, Hans, she resisted the Nazi indoctrination that was surrounding her. She boldly took part in distributing anti nazi leaflets. The reason her actions still resonate is because of the danger she knew she was putting herself in but still she continued. Eventually she paid the ultimate price for it but she believed there were more important matters.

We live in an age where it is so easy to be bombarded with the evil that is present in the world. There are so many bad people out there it would seem. I dare say there could be stories told about the people I have mentioned that wouldn’t place them in the best of lights. They are only human after all but if you find something in them or anyone for that matter that inspires you then embrace it. On the days you are finding it difficult to find a hero then take that as a cue that it’s you who is to step up. You can be the hero if you need to be. We all can. We can find inspiration and we can inspire.

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Why do you have to be that way?

I’m going to be blunt here because as you will find from the content of this particular post that’s just how I am. Ever since I was a little girl I have always been made out to be some kind of freak because I tend not to go about things the ’normal’ way. The other kids were, I guess, expected. When you are growing up you don’t know much about the world and you are learning so I can see why I was seen as being somewhat unusual by my peers. That wasn’t just it though. Adults were much of the same opinion.

What made me so freakish? What did I dare to do that was so unconventional? Nothing really. It was a curiosity I had about the world around me that others wanted to curb. They said they were concerned about me. After all, curiosity brought about the demise of the proverbial cat. I wanted to visit museums rather than playing with the other children. I wanted to read books rather than take part in party games. For that I seemed off and weird.

As I grew up I continued on that trajectory, caring not one bit about what others thought. As an adult I was considered strange because I had no interest in having children or getting married. To me marriage is an outdated concept that has no real place in modern society. Sure, there are plenty of people who love being married, are excited to be married or can find happiness in that kind of partnership but it’s just not for me. As a thirty something woman with my own independent life I don’t see any way a marriage could improve my current existence. I’m especially close to my little 11yo niece and my 3yo nephew so they are all the children I need.

I guess the point of this rant is to urge you all to live your life the way you want to. Do the things that make you happy despite what society might think is appropriate. I’ve grown up people thinking I’m a freak. Embrace that freakishness because odd things, atypical hobbies or out of the ordinary life decisions don’t make you any less valid than the most conventional of people. What would the world be without that varied tapestry?


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Dinner for Four

It’s an age old question that seems to be important to a lot of people. You most likely would have been asked it in your life in some shape or form and that question is, ’if you were to invite anyone in the world (living or deceased) to a dinner party who would those guests be?’

I like this question because to me it highlights the human want to connect with others, no matter the barriers. It shows we like to connect in an intellectual way. The purpose of this exercise is to show who you would like have around your table for the purposes of hearing what they have to say. A dinner party, by nature, is a way of sharing discussion and opening up. Those you would chose to sit around your table says a lot about your personality. So for the purposes of this discussion, my pick of dinner party guests would be as follows:

Charles Dickens

Not only is he one of my most favourite authors and a huge inspiration of mine, he was also a critic of the moral evil that was present in Victorian London. He used satirical writing to bring attention to these injustices and he was effective in doing so. This undoubtedly influenced writers who came after him to approach their work with the same boldness. I know that certainly was the case for me. From what is told he was a kind hearted, intelligent man who paid close attention to what was going on around him and for that reason having a chat with him would be an opportunity I would hate to miss.

Harry Houdini

Escape artist, circus performer and spiritualist debunker. Houdini is already an admired figure of mine so he would naturally make for an exciting presence at my table. I would love to ask him all about his escape acts and his performances. His thrill seeking presence would keep things lively and I’m naturally engrossed by people who have a performance flare. He spent a lot of his later career debunking spiritualists. Discussing this could make for a lively debate. Also, after some wine has flowed and bellies were filled he could grace us with a demonstration of one of his tricks.

Anne Frank

If there is ever a girl with a story to share at a dinner table it would be this one. She lived through great adversity and it was of no fault of her own. She was just a young girl who had no control over the devastation that was arising around her. She already had a fascinating story to tell as is evident in her famous diaries. Learning about this young girl’s remarkable experiences from her own mouth would have the discussions going on well into the small hours.

Those are just some examples of the fascinating figures I would invite to my dinner party. Given the opportunity to reach out to anyone, who would you choose? Funny? Inspirational? Intruiging? What would you look for in your dinner party guests.


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Hell Awaits Our Unfortunate Inmates

Gather round, ladies and gentlemen. Gather round, for a tale of desperate men on society’s ultimate time out. 

You may find yourself feeling sorry for them. But don’t. They know why they’re here. They know what they did.

Here we have murderers, thieves and vagabonds of all descriptions. We are home to the worst of the worst in the Shady City. They will now pay for their crimes. They won’t be shown an ounce of pity.

This castle was once home to a glorious queen. You can’t imagine the battles and blood shed she had seen. Times may have moved on quite a bit since then but our dungeons are still filled with the cries of desperate men.

Bring me that one! And that one! Yes, and that one too!

That fat one cowering in the corner? I suppose he’ll have to do.

Bring me him! And him! That one appears to be at a loss. 

You will all be reminded I AM THE BOSS! 

PART 1 AVAILABLE NOW


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Television and Cinema: The big vs small debate

When I was younger the big screen was held as the epitome of the entertainment industry. There were popular television shows but if you really wanted your name in lights the cinema and the great red carpet premieres were the ultimate goal. Movie actors had a lot more credence than their small screen counter parts and the cinema was a treat for all the senses.

One of the first movies I remember going to see was Jurassic Park. (Yes the first one. Yes I am dino cups being sold in McDonalds years old). I’ll never forget the rumbling of those almighty notes as the park itself is first revealed. I still get goosebumps when I see it. I’ll also not forget being accidentally smacked in the jaw when the T-Rex burst out of its damn cage! (Too soon for spoilers?). It was a completely immersive experience you wouldn’t find in your living room with the television. Going to the cinema was an event. The smell of popcorn, the advertisements for the latest movies and the ridiculously expensive snacks all made for a great night out. The love of cinema continued for me with the release of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I was obsessed with the movies and Return of the King was one of the few I had went more than once to see. The only other exception to that was the Truman show which I saw five times. The quirky premise was unusual for the time. It was before reality TV became common place. Coupled with the beautiful Philip Glass soundtrack and the island setting, it was a cinematic experience I opted for again and again. But I digress. My point is cinema was an exciting place.

Television isn’t without its merit. What the cinema offered in experience the television made up for by giving families, companions and friends a place to gather round. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of my family gathered together to watch our favourite shows. When I first went to uni I was thrown into a hall with strangers but as soon as we put on the television and watched together we became friends. Where the cinema was an exciting out of town visitor the television was your constant companion. I often hear people talk of putting on their favourite shows for comfort as they fall asleep and I find that remarkable.

Which brings me to the modern day. Before the days of the disease which shall not be named, the cinema was already losing its grip on the collective imagination. Streaming services became common place and more and more people were opting to stay at home and watch their favourite shows. When cinemas closed for an extended time it seemed to be the final nail in the old girl’s coffin. The glorious cinematography of a Marvel movie is great but when there are shows and stories you can lose yourself in just as easily at home (the Loki series for instance) then it doesn’t seem the cinema is holding its worth any more. To me it seems that cinema is something of a bygone era now. The big movie releases are becoming a thing of the past and instead more focus and attention is being placed on the latest shows the streaming services have to offer. Maybe that’s just my experience. Maybe I’m just cynical. Maybe I should give our times of recovery more of a chance.

What are your thoughts? Do you think the cinema still has the same sway it used to? What are your favourite movies and shows? Let me know.


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Reasons to Smile

With the world around us being something of a mess and more pressure thrust upon us each day we can all feel a little overwhelmed to a greater or lesser extent. We’ve just come out of January – the Monday morning of the year. A virus is still raging, threatening to dictate our lifestyle and politics is a hot mess across the world. There are many reasons to wake up and think, ‘this bloody place!’ Yes it seems dire but let me make a suggestion. Take the time to consider the best parts your day. I know that sounds like stupid advice from a grumpy author and it might seem a dreadfully simplified response to what’s going on. However, allow me to explain.

Like many I find myself falling into depressive episodes. Mental and physical exhaustion often manifests itself into a train of morbid thoughts that can’t be shaken off. Then the need to step outside and put on that smile sends a bag of wriggling anxiety worms chewing through that depression. I decided that although what I was feeling was valid I wasn’t going to let it consume me. So, now each morning (even on those days I’m struggling to get started) I ask myself to recite at least three things I am looking forward to in that day. I urge myself to focus on the little things that will make me smile or breathe a sigh of relief. These can be really simple things like I how I’m looking forward to grabbing a coffee in my favourite book store or I’m going to be having a visit from my niece or nephew. They don’t have to be especially life changing, sometimes the best things are the simple ones. I found that no matter how dreadful the day seems if I can point out little things that make me smile it shows me it doesn’t have to be all so bad.

I’m not a professional in mental health so this is by no means sound medical advice. I’m hoping that by sharing this little tip others will be able to calm themselves and perhaps find that road to recovery that can seem all so far away.

All in all, look after yourselves, look after each other and I urge you to pick just three little things about your day that you are looking forward to or will make you smile. It will make even the toughest situations that bit easier.


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